Gordian Knot Reserve Rum landed at the central ABC Warehouse Friday, and the response has been nothing short of overwhelming. The posts on Facebook, the messages, the calls and orders from so many people who have waited for its arrival has been heartening to us, and a headache for the North Carolina ABC. An ABC Board official, who will remain nameless, called and said they have been receiving requests for delivery from Asheville to Hatteras, and asked if we were going to be a problem child all the time. From the bottom of our glasses, thank you all so much for making us a problem.
When Tom and I started our company, we did it with the agreement that we would never put out a spirit that bore our brand solely for the purpose of profitability. With my background as a chef in white linen restaurants and Tom's business acumen, we had both seen our share of "good enoughs"....products meant to mimic a superior effort in the name of a bottom line. Tom put it best when he escorted a sales rep out, saying, "we only want the best; knock-offs are not in our wheel house."
How right he was. When I was coming up through the kitchen brigade early on in my career, I had the privilege of working with some amazing chefs, and from all of them, I heard two things: Garbage in, garbage out was one of them. In other words, you can't make a superior dish using inferior ingredients. The other thing they said, I cannot repeat in mixed company.
The real fun began when we started the gargantuan task of permitting and regulatory approval. Unlike many other industries, the spirit business is tightly controlled at federal and state levels, so the process of getting government approval for formulation, labels, importing, blending, proofing, shipping, receiving, transport and distribution was a series of lessons, some cheap and others expensive, but all insightful about the machinations of this amazing, growing industry of which we have become a part. But through it all, we never took our eye off our goal of making the best rum we could make. And starting November 1st, Gordian Knot will be on the shelves in North Carolina. If you don't see it, please ask for it!
When we started working on Gordian Knot, we did it with one thing squarely in our minds: we did not like rum. As drinkers of scotch, and then bourbon, we found the usual suspects of the rum sphere to have a unique flavor thanks to its sugar cane provenance, but they ranged from anemic and thin with a hot finish to overly candied and syrupy. Defenders of these rums, those rums with tropical fauna, sailors and buccaneers on the label, would respond with, "yeah, but it's good when you mix it with some Coke, ginger ale, or punch"...
Such a statement is like telling a woman that she looks good for her age. We wanted a rum that held its own on its own, one that compared to the finest bourbons, whiskies and cognacs in a glass, neat or with a couple of cubes of ice.
We set about tasting rum after rum...a tough, dirty job, but it needed to be done... to find casks with the character and qualities that we wanted in our final rum. The resulting spirit is a blend of premium rums from different origins and of different ages, that come together for a weighty mouthfeel, a butterscotch nose, and a long, spicy, smooth finish. Elegant, layered and very limited in production, Nicks and Bruce's Gordian Knot is now available in select U.S. markets. Ask for it by name at your favorite restaurants, bars and retail stores.