Angostura – Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean Rum

To Trinidad

Venezuela was not as politically stable as Simon Bolivar had promised. There was internal strife and dictator followed dictator. After Dr. Siegert died in 1870, Carlos and Alfredo decided to leave and chose the nearby island of Trinidad as their country of adoption. In Trinidad, Carlos and Alfredo were joined by their youngest brother, Luis, and together they set up business once again. Angostura® aromatic bitters made the brothers remarkably prosperous.

In 1903 Carlos Siegert died followed in two years by Luis, making Alfredo the sole owner of the secret formula for Angostura® aromatic bitters.

In 1904, Alfredo was appointed purveyor of Angostura® aromatic bitters to the King of Prussia and in 1907 to King Alfonso XIII of Spain. He went public with the company and named it Angostura Bitters (Dr. J.G.B. Siegert & Sons) Limited. Three years later the Company was appointed purveyor of Angostura® aromatic bitters to King George V.

Alfredo speculated in several business projects and lost, great sums of money, and the House of Angostura passed into the hands of its creditors.

Angostura Award Winning Rums Tasting By John George of Angostura at Premier Beverage Brands, Dublin on 13th October,2011 and hosted by Paul Maguire


A marvelous añejo made from a blend of light and heavy molasses-based rums aged for a minimum of 8 years in charred American oak bourbon barrels.

Angostura® 1919 rum possesses a rich, golden-amber hue with excellent clarity. The rum exudes a complex bouquet brimming over with aromas of cocoa, molasses, caramel and vanilla.

It is remarkably soft and well rounded as the rum glides over the plate without a hint of harshness or biting edge. Within moments it opens up, revealing a generous and long-lasting array of toasty flavours. The finish is warm and very relaxing.


Angostura 1824 Limited Reserve is a blend of the finest mature rums, hand-picked by the master blender from select casks. These rums are aged in charred American oak bourbon barrels for a minimum of 12 years and then skillfully hand-blended and re-casked. Upon the rum’s optimum maturity it is hand-drawn, filtered and hand bottled.

The rum itself excudes a rich bronze colour with a seamlessly smooth texture and well rounded, medium to full body. The bouquet is seductively rich with aromas of sweet molasses, vanilla, honey, spice and cognac-like notes.

The palate of Angostura 1824 offers mouth-watering flavours of honey, fruit, chocolate, spices and herbs. The finish is remarkably long and flavour-packed.

An excellent rum with a good Cuban cigar. The cigar blows the flavour up.

This is a rum for drinking and not mixing.


Blending two varieties of citrus essence with their distinctive herbs and spices – creates a truly unique new style of bitters. A harmonious balance of bitter orange fruit and sun-ripened sweet oranges from the Caribbean bring a depth of orange flavour. The perfect enhancement to an endless variety of culinary delights and cocktails

Global trends in the bitters category have been diversifying into flavoured segments. Angostura, world renowned for its aromatic bitters has used nearly 200years of experience to formulate this zesty new orange bitters

Angostura 1824 Limited Reserve is a blend of the finest mature rums, hand-picked by the master blender from select casks. These rums are aged in charred American oak bourbon barrels for a minimum of 12 years and then skillfully hand-blended and re-casked. Upon the rum’s optimum maturity it is hand-drawn, filtered and hand bottled.

The rum itself excudes a rich bronze colour with a seamlessly smooth texture and well rounded, medium to full body. The bouquet is seductively rich with aromas of sweet molasses, vanilla, honey, spice and cognac-like notes.

The palate of Angostura 1824 offers mouth-watering flavours of honey, fruit, chocolate, spices and herbs. The finish is remarkably long and flavour-packed.

The following Rums were also tasted: Angostura Reserva, Aged 3 Years, Angostura 5 Year Old & Angostura 7 Year Old


ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters is a highly concentrated food and beverage flavouring. Made from a secret formula, it is a unique blend of natural herbs and spices which is used to flavour a wide variety of foods and drinks.

The “secret” was developed in 1824 by Dr. J.G.B. Siegert, a Surgeon General in Simon Bolivar’s army in Venezuela. He used his aromatic bitters to improve appetite and digestive well-being of the soldiers. The word “Angostura” came from the town of that name in Venezuela where Dr. Siegert was based.

Angostura aromatic bitters is a unique flavour enhancer for food preparation, beverages and deserts; just a few dashes can enhance the flavour of any dish.

It is not bitter when added to food & drink, but rather has the ability to marry flavours, bringing out the best in them without masking their taste.

Other Rums Tasted:

Angostura Reserva, Aged 3 Years possesses an exceptionally dry taste with a rich and warm flavour of vanilla and a finish that is smooth and relaxing. A good starting rum for cocktails.

Angostura 5 Year Old. This rum can be enjoyed neat as a sipping rum, or over ice, but its deep character lends to being mixed with stronger mixers, spices and herbs.

Angostura 7 Year Old. This is a complex and sophisticated rum. It is full of mouth watering flavours that include maple, chocolate, honey and toffee and presents a rich full-bodied taste that tapers off into the classic rum finish.


When the family moved to Trinidad, they had some experience in making rum and had produced its signature blend – Siegert’s Bouguet Rum infused with bitters.

By the turn of the century, the Company ventured into the rum market, at first just in bottling bulk rum from other distillers. After years of intensive research in fermentation and distillation processes, the Company purchased a distillery called Trinidad Distiller’s Limited, which was installed with a state-of-the-art distillery in 1945 and named a wholly owned subsidiary of Angostura Limited. This heralded the company’s entry into the production of rum on a major scale

By the end of 1960, the Company had extended distribution of its products to over 140 countries across the world, becoming well known internationally for its high quality rums in addition to the now world famous Angostura® aromatic bitters. During the year 1973, Angostura purchased the well known distillery owned by J.B. Fernandes, adding to its product lists established brands such as Fernandes Vat 19, Fernandes black label and Ferdi’s Premium rum.

In 1985 Angostura Limited became the proud recipient of a National Award, the Humming Bird Gold Medal, for its contribution to industry in Trinidad and Tobago, the first company to be so honoured.

Within the past few years, Angostura has doubled its overall distillation and storage capacity in Trinidad with average production levels rising from 1.3 million litres in 1960 to 20 million litres in 1998. At the turn of the century, rectification capacity increased to 50 million litres. More than 95% is exported to consumers all over the world.

The core business of the House of Angostura is now located on a 20 acre complex in Trinidad and includes its administration facility, a museum, art gallery, auditorium, merchandising shop, wine and spirits retail outlet, dining room and hospitality suites which facilitate visitor tours. In 1997, the Company installed a new manufacturing facility for its line of sauces which was previously packaged in the United States of America.

Distilled in Trinidad, using the secret recipe since 1824, and the same natural blend of herbs and spices, Angostura® aromatic bitters is versatile beyond belief. It has retained its original formulation, one of the few remaining true trade secrets, an international brand that over the centuries has continued to flavour the world. Read the label, which is itself perfect. It will give you an insight to the product, with suggestions from savoury sauces to cakes, through crispy vegetables, meats and cocktails.

You will soon find Angostura® aromatic bitters indispensable, subtly marrying flavours, enhancing and enriching, turning every meal into an unexpected experience. A bottle of Angostura® aromatic bitters in the kitchen is the hallmark of a good Caribbean cook.

Summary of Rum Manufacture at the Trinidad Distillery.

The distillery is designed to produce 60,000 litres of a 96% w/w alcohol product from the anaerobic fermentation of the sugar in molasses by yeast. The following is a simple process flow diagram that gives an overview of the operations at the distillery.

To make rum one has to start with sugar from sugarcane. Molasses is a by-product from the sugarcane industry. It is the slurry that remains after most of the recoverable sugars have been extracted from the crushed cane. Generally, it is composed of 70-80% w/w solids and 20-30% w/w water. Of particular interest to the distillery is its fermentable sugar content which typically amounts to 35-55% w/w (sucrose, glucose, fructose); this is what the yeast “feed” on during fermentation.

This is a uni-cellular organism of the Saccharomyces Cerevisae family. Aerobic conditions promote propagation and growth of the yeast, while anaerobic conditions result in alcohol fermentation – the basis of the rum industry. Yeast, being living organisms, requires a controlled environment with the right amounts of vitamins, minerals and nitrogen. All of these are present in sufficient quantities in the molasses, except for the nitrogen, which must be supplied as Ammonium Sulphate (NH4)2SO4.

The molasses is dissolved in water in the ratio of approximately 1:3.  We add a small amount sulphuric acid to reduce the pH to control bacterial infections. It also has the effect of assisting by reducing the amount of non-sugar dissolved solids that can be harmful to both fermentation and distillation.  The resulting mixture called ‘mash’, is about 12 – 13% sugar.


4.3 Germination (Growth of new yeast cells):

Clarified mash of specific gravity 1.050 – 1.060 is sent to a germinator, along ammonium sulphate. This mixture is sterilised using low-pressure steam before the yeast culture is added. This culture is either obtained as 2-6L lab grown cultures or retained contents of the propagator. Germination proceeds for approximately 12 hours before the contents of the vessel are transferred to the propagator. During this time filtered air is injected into the vessel to maintain circulation and aerated conditions.

4.3 Propagation (Increase in the number of yeast cells):

Contents of the germinator are added to the sterilised contents of the propagator (Yeast feed, mash and ammonium sulphate). Propagation continues for 18 hours, before being transferred to the growing tanks. Aerobic conditions are maintained in the vessel by the addition of filtered air to the propagator. This, as well as the water circulation through the external water jacket, maintains the temperature at 30-32ºC.

4.3 Yeast Growth (Increase in the size of the yeast cells):

Mash + (NH4)2SO4 + Propagated culture → Growing Tanks

The culture is allowed to grow for 24 hours. Injected air and circulation through the wash cooler maintain the growing temperature at 30 + 2°C. Antifoam (food grade) is also added during the growing process, before the contents are transferred to the designated fermenters.

Propagated Yeast Culture + Mash (s.g. ~1.096) + Nutrients → ‘Wash’ (8-10% alcohol)

Alcohol is formed according to the following equation:

C6H12O6 + Yeast → 2 C2H5OH + Heat

100 lb → 51.11 lb + 48.89 lb + 17,000 BTU

Fermentation is completed within 36-48 hours and the temperature is maintained by recirculation through a cooler. A pH of 4.2 – 4.5 and a temperature of 32-35°C are considered to be optimum for alcohol production. The above equation also shows that carbon dioxide is produced.

The purpose of distillation is to obtain the alcohol from the fermented wash (8-10% w/w alcohol composition) and ultimately refine it to produce the spirits that will be used to make the rum. The fermented wash contains not only alcohol but also many by-products that as a group are called congeners. These congeners are vital to the taste and aroma of rum.

The first column is the Wash Stripper or Beer Column; it removes water and residual solids from the ‘wash’ stream. The product from this column is heavy rum steam (80-85% ethanol by vol). This is our first product. It contains all the congeners from the fermentation. It is very flavourful and aromatic and it is inevitably aged. To make light, the heavy rum is then sent to the Purifier (Hydroselector) Column. Here the water added changes the vapour/liquid equilibrium so that the light components separate easily from the alcohol. The head goes to the alcohol recovery column, while the bottoms feeds the Rectifier Column; this stream is typically 12% alcohol. The rectifier concentrates the alcohol to be separated; a stream close to the top of the column is sent for final rectification, the bottoms is recycled to the purifier and the other cuts are sent to the Alcohol Recovery Column. This Recovery Column recovers the alcohol from all the by-product streams from the other columns.

The Final Column produces a bottoms product of 96.6% alcohol (light rum) that may be used to make rum.

The light and heavy rums are aged in oak barrels for periods of not less than two years and up to fifteen for the heavy rums. The spirits are eventually blended and sometimes colouring is added. For white rums, the residual colour from the barrel is actually removed.

The difference between rum and whisky manufacture begins with the starting point. Whisky starts with barley that must be malted before it is converted from a starch to a sugar that can be fermented. After fermentation, it is also distilled usually using a pot still or single column.

The sugar that is fermented to make cognac, come from grapes. As is the French style, only grapes grown in a particular area in France can be used. First the grapes are fermented into wine and this is distilled in special stills to yield cognac.

Brandy is made the same way but because the grapes aren’t grown in the Cognac region, it can not be called cognac. All spirits are aged in a special barrel prior to blending and bottling.

Andrew O’ Gorman, 14/10/2011.

Leave a Reply

Visit Us On InstagramVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Facebook