Kings Landing is an interesting place. As New Brunswick’s chief live action museum and heritage preserve it’s a great space for the casual tourist to spend a day wandering about soaking up some old timeyness. For those willing to dig though, there’s plenty of stories, peculiar connections ,and apparently some closely guarded secrets.
For the last year CövenHöven Distillery have secretly been aging their rum on site for the last year. Now, before the product is officially available anywhere else, the distillery are offering tastings at Kings Landing all season long.
This is a curious case of the Maritimes being a very very small place. One coincidence after another. For starters, CövenHöven, located in Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia, is named after another heritage site: the Van Horne summer residence in St. Andrews. Secondly, the property the distillery is located on belong to John Morehouse, and his brother Daniel’s home is now located within Kings Landing. Oddly enough, the connection came as a surprise to everyone involved.
“It was funny. We didn’t even know until after the contract was signed. I met the Executive Director at Harvest Jazz and Blues and he suggested it. We had a couple of meetings and it was such a cool opportunity we couldn’t pass it up,” says Nicole Robinson, president of CövenHöven Distillery.
Robinson says that the idea for the distillery formed shortly after the property was purchased in 2012 by business partner Chris Thibodeau. The first conception of the distillery existed only as a drawing on a sheet of drywall as the property underwent renovations. Robinson and Thibodeau both received training from the Artisan Craft Distilling Institute in Seattle and hired Thomas Fogarty of Moncton as a full time distiller. Three years later the partnership with with Kings Landing formed, and now are we beginning to see the fruits of their labours.
The first of distillery’s products is their Block & Tackle aged rum which they describe as a mix of fancy and black strap molasses with a wonderful nose of caramel and subtle aftertaste.
This year their Block & Tackle rum was all distilled at their Sandy Cove distillery, and completed the process of aging, blending, filtering and bottling on site at Kings Landing. CövenHöven will be offering tastings during the tourism. They’re hoping that by next year they’ll be able to complete the entire process from the location.
“It was a secret aging in the Welcome Centre for a year. Only a few people knew. We would go over every few months to do tastings
just to make sure it was tasting good,” says Robinson.
“The Agriculture Hall is now the tasting room that will tell the history of rum and distilling. It’s a great experience for visitors to the settlement. Rum was a big thing from that era; temperance and prohibition.”
CövenHöven expect to have their products available in NSLC stores within two weeks, and the application process has already begun to sell through ANBL. Their product line up will include vodka, gin, rum, and expect to see whiskey eventually (it does have to age after all).
“Rum will definitely be the flagship. It is the maritimes…”