Sugarcane is a group of tall perennial grass, in the genus Saccharum, that are used for the production of sugar. Although there are thousands of different varieties grown around the world, the most common species used for cultivation are Saccharum Officinarum, Sinense & Barberi. The cane typically grows 3-5 meters tall with a diameter of 3-5cm and at peak maturity it cane contain between 10-20% soluble sucrose, making it one of the most successful photosynthesizers on the planet. First cultivated on New Guinea around 8000 years ago, seafaring Austronesians, Persians and various Europeans have since spread cane around the world. Almost exclusive grown in tropical or subtropical regions because of its need for abundant sunshine and water, but the worlds largest producer is Brazil.
Sugarcane can be grown from seeds, but seedlings or cuttings are more common, and it comes in all the colors of the rainbow.
The variety of cane, the soil it grows in, the climate and topography of that environment are all factors that determine the terroir and the first creations of flavor in the rum making process, although mostly noticeable in rum distilled from fresh cane juice. Every bottle of rum, starts its journey with this humble grass, but the voyage is long and we’re just getting started.
Follow along as we go on a weekly odyssey of rum production, to help us understand all the work that goes into our favorite sip of rum, and how decisions made at every step will influence the final product.