Rum connoisseur interview of the week: Scott Blackwell – Master Distiller, HighWire Distillery


Scott Blackwell

    Master Distiller, HighWire Distillery

1) Who is Scott Blackwell? 

A “serial entrepreneur” since the age of 10, Scott Blackwell has built his success one innovative culinary venture at a time.  From pie maker, restaurateur, coffee roaster and most recently, commercial baker, Scott is passionate about blending culinary creativity with high quality, artisanal ingredients. The sale of his most recent venture, Immaculate Baking Company to General Mills, inspired him to return to small batch, artisan made products in the form of High Wire Distilling Co, downtown Charleston’s first operating distillery since Prohibition.

2) What made you fall in love with rum and when did it happen?

My love affair happened when I was about 18 during my first trip to the Caribbean. This would have been early 1980’s, and the only rum in the states (to speak of) was Bacardi and Captain Morgan (neither of which appealed to me). During my travels, I was exposed to multiple styles and had my first taste of aged rums- which is my preference.

3) The biggest achievement you personally feel you have accomplished for the rum industry.

My wife Ann and I feel like our biggest achievement in the rum industry have been introducing one of the only American made Agricole style rums. This style appeals to me for the purity and rawness. I like that it changes from year to year and lets the terroir of our area shine through. It’s not the easiest path in rum making especially since we don’t have commercially grown or harvested sugar canes here in SC (South Carolina) but that’s what also makes it more special.

4) What is that thing that makes you want to continue in the rum industry?

I love working with the farms and honing my skills as an Agricole style rum maker. My hope is that we do the beautiful fresh cane flavor justice by just letting that shine through.

5) Favorite Rum Drink?

To be honest I love our rum neat but if I’m making a cocktail with Blanc-ti punch or other styles I’d say a classic Hemingway style Daiquiri. simple fruit juice and not too much sugar.

6) Where do you see the rum industry today and in the next 5 years?

I see the category of specialties rums as the growth in the industry not sure where that will go $$ wise but there’s lot of room for improvement.

7) Share some (2-3) of your mentors and how they have helped you. 

Writers Wayne Curtis and Robert Moss have both been great on the history and styles.

8) What 3-5 things do you have on your bucket list for the next 12 months?

We are working with more farms this fall on sugar cane juice and we plan to do a single source series this fall featuring three separate farms juiced, fermented, distilled and bottled separately by each farm. I’m curious at to what differences we’ll see.

9) Any last words?

One thing I’ll add is that we have also made molasses based rum and enjoy that style. but Agricole styles have excited me more and I feel we’re contributing something unique to the rum category by making it.

10) How can people learn more about you? Website? Social Media Page?

You can find me at the High Wire Distilling, at HighWireCHS onTwitter & Instagram and at High Wire Distilling Co on Facebook.

Author: Fede

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