One of the places that we visited during our trip to New Orleans, Louisiana was the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery. They offer several tours a day during the week and a couple of tours on the weekend and the cost is extremely reasonable at $15 per person. It is the oldest premium rum distillery in the United States, which has more to do with the fact that the previous distilleries all closed in the 1970’s, so when they opened in the 1990’s, they became the first to reestablish a presence once again. Now there are more than 200 distilleries making rum once again, but the Old New Orleans Distillery is not only the oldest, but probably one of the best, winning several awards.
We were greeted with a cranberry lime punch with their Cajun Spice Rum. It was absolutely delicious and certainly a great start to our tour. Then our guide, Bob, began explaining the history of the distillery, as well as rum in general, while pouring several shots into cups in front of him. He then engaged our group with a quiz where the person who answered the question correctly was rewarded with one of the shots of rum. We answered a couple of questions, but stopped answering anymore since we knew that there was still a tasting to come later in the tour. It was a fun and lively way to get the entire group to participate and learn some interesting facts.
We then entered the distillery itself and learned about the process of distilling rum. Interestingly, it doesn’t take as long to make excellent rum as it does other types of alcohol. We were shown the marks on the wall that showed how high the floods of Hurricane Katrina had reached within the distillery causing them to lose a majority of the oldest rum. Today, they keep the oldest rum on the highest shelves in order to avoid that from ever happening again. As with any distillery tour, it was informative and interesting to learn what makes them so passionate about their product. They are very proud of the fact that they take the extra step to filter the rum with activated charcoal, which makes it even smoother and enhances the overall flavor.
After the tour, we ended with a tasting of all six varieties of rum that they produce. We were certainly warm inside by the time our tour had concluded. Obviously there is the option to buy bottles of rum at a discount, but since we were traveling with carry-on bags only, we chose not to purchase anything at the time. We will, however, definitely look for them at our local liquor stores and certainly buy one of them the next time we are need of some rum for a party. If you have a few hours to spend while you are in New Orleans, taking a tour at the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery is certainly a worthwhile activity.