ABC Distillers is not a distillery of any kind, but a brand of rums still being made (with different labels), on behalf of the ABC Fine Wines and Spirits liquor chain in Florida, brought to life by Florida Distillers (no direct connection, just a commercial one), and in this case dating back to the seventies and eighties.
ABC is a chain founded in Orlando just after Prohibition ended, in 1936 — originally it was a series of bar-and-lounge establishments named after its founder (Jack Holloway) but seeing the opportunities and lesser risks of the retail trade, switched over to liquor retail shops, and renamed itself ABC so it would always be first in the yellow pages. Nowadays ABC has over a hundred stores around Florida and has expanded into all sorts of other businesses. This particular rum we’re looking at today was made by Florida Distillers’ facility in Auburndale, but whether modern variations continue this association is unknown.
Florida Distillers – one of the largest distilleries in Florida you probably never heard of – are the makers of the Ron Carlos brand and Florida Old Reserve Rum, as well as manufacturing the Noxx and Dunn 2-4-5 rum we’ve touched on before, and clearly have fully embraced the “more is better” philosophy of rum making, since nothing they produce is particularly interesting…but they sure make a lot of it, and not just for themselves. They have several distilleries churning out both industrial and commercial alcohol products and act as blenders for smaller companies who want to make use of their output and expertise.
Colour – Pale yellow
Strength – 40% ABV
Nose – Gentle, mild and floral, slightly sweet and in no hurry to get anywhere or do anything. It’s quite delicate, with some light peaches and apricots, pears and a bright line of red grapefruit and vanilla running through everything
Palate – Here it goes to earn its sobriquet of “Extra Light and Dry”…or tries to, for it’s astringent and blade-sharp, but lacking any kind of real dryness, and tastes more like a boosted cheap zinfandel. Slight brininess, a fruit or two, and overall it’s nothing really special. It’s too light to make a real statement, even in a mix.
Finish – Surprisingly long and ultimately bland. One can taste some faint and vague florals and white fruit, and that’s it.
Thoughts – By modern standard it falls down flat, of course. Even standard strength rums today have a profile that tries to be more than just a flavourless alcohol delivery system for a cocktail of some kind, as this one is. It’s something of a shame so many US brands even back then did nothing but try to copy that light Bacardi style instead of forging new paths, but that’s Bacardi’s legacy for you.