Boutique RumFest

rum experience no date

Firstly, a little aside. If you have read any content on this site previously, you will know how much we enjoy and respect the work of Foursquare Rum Distillery’s Richard Seale. At Boutique RumFest we got to meet him. The evening was destined to be enjoyable after that moment.

So, on to the Boutique RumFest.

The whole experience was our first chance to sample the delights of the weekend as events had previously conspired to keep us away. We were fortunate enough to be allowed access to the Boutique RumFest which started off proceedings at 3pm on the Friday. We arrived at Euston, jumped in a taxi, checked into the hotel, took on refreshments and undertook the arduous journey down the stairs to the ILEC Conference Centre. Once inside we were greeted by a whole host of brands that we had not previously heard of and a few that we were familiar with. First up was Gold of Mauritius, who through good fortune, we had prior knowledge of. Amazingly, the Rums producer, Frederic Bestel was in attendance. There were then a few brands that we had not previously heard of. Amrut’s Two Indies Rum, various Rums (flavoured and unflavoured) from Fiji courtesy of Paradise Beverages, Koval Rum from Chicago and Sippin from London. All unique and interesting products in their own right. Familiar brands were also present in Ron Cubay, The Duppy Share, Dos Maderas, Clarkes Court, Green Island, Ron Centenario, Seven Fathoms, Opthimus, The Real McCoy, English Harbour and St Nicholas Abbey.

So many brands in a confined area for us to speak to, the beauty of the Boutique RumFest lies in the fact that you can grab more time with the exhibitors to hear about the Rums and their plans.

20141010_160402Two Indies

Two Indies from Amrut, which should hopefully see a release in the UK pre-Christmas is a blend of younger Caribbean Rums from Jamaica, Barbados and Guyana blended with a 3-year-old Indian Rum made from Jaggery Goor which is palm sugar obtained from the Date palm Tree. We have plenty of experience with jaggery goor (one half of Rum Diaries just happens to be Bengali) and when poured over fresh Luchi (a Bengali flatbread) it is sublime! This Rum was a real treat and I hope to grab a bottle as soon as it sees a release.


Paradise Beverages

Paradise Beverages has a vast array of their Fijian Rums. Flavoured Rums included Golden Honey, Coconut, Coffee, White Chocolate, Banana (very successful which is hard to execute), Rum Liqueur and they also had a White Rum.  Their range of Bounty Rums included a great Overproof Rum, Dark Rum, Spiced Rum and a White. Stepping things up they also had Ratu Spiced Rum, Ratu 5 Year Old Dark Rum and their limited release Lautoka 12 Year Old Solera Rum. We really need to reacquaint ourselves with these Rums as the range has a lot to offer.



Sippin had a very interesting pair of flavoured Rums. Both at 37.5% abv, there is a Mulled expression flavoured with Orange, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Ginger amongst other things which is going to be just right for drinking in a month or so as the weather chills and a Spiced expression containing Lime, Honey and Ginger which is both refreshing and has a real kick of heat from the ginger. Both would be ideal served hot or cold. Good stuff.

20141010_181441Dos Maderas

Dos Maderas with their sherry cask finishing methods add a new dimension to the base Rums and we would like more time with all there expressions. They had three expressions. The 5 + 3, 5 + 5 PX and Luxus. All expressions utilise Rums aged in their countries of origin, Barbados and Guyana. They are then shipped over to Bodega Williams and Humbert and aged for a second period. The 5 + 3 utilises 5 Year Old Rums and has an additional 3 Year Solera ageing in their 20 Year Old Dos Cortados Sherry Casks. The 5 + 5 PX utilises the same process and base Rums but also has another 2 Year Solera ageing in their 20 Year Old Don Guido (Pedro Ximinez) casks. The Luxus utilises 10 Year Old Rums as a base and then undergoes an additional 5 Year Solera ageing in their 20 Year Old Don Guido (Pedro Ximinez) casks. Rancio is the key word here………

20141010_184308St Nicholas Abbey

St Nicholas Abbey is a brand that we are  familiar with. We own the White and 10 Year Old Expressions and really enjoy them both. We also got to try the 15 Year Old…unbelievable stuff. New to the line-up is the natural progression for St Nicholas Abbey, their own 5 Year Aged Rum. Made on their estate, in their still, and aged by them. Both the taste and aroma are wonderful and come it’s 2015 release, interest should be at hysteria levels for this Rum, and rightly so.

20141010_160514The Real McCoy

The Real McCoy is a brand that we’ve had our eye on for a while given that its origins can be found at Foursquare Distillery in Barbados. The Real McCoy is the Rum inspired by William McCoy, a Rum Runner who during prohibition times anchored off the coast of Long Island and supplied Rum to the knowledgeable few. We got to meet Bailey Pryor, company CEO and Emmy Award winning Director of The Real McCoy, a film about the life of William McCoy. We already had high expectations for these Rums and this was confirmed once we got to try them. The 3, 5 and 12 Year Old expressions are a great representation of Bajan Rum and once again, a real credit to Foursquare Distillery. They are not just repeats of Doorlys 3 and 5, they are their own animal and display their own characteristics whilst still belonging to the Foursquare stable.

2014-10-02 15.07.18Gold Of Mauritius

Gold of Mauritius is a brand that we have recently come to know as I was fortunate enough to meet a few weeks ago with Darius from Trilogy Beverages who are distributing the Rum in the UK. The Rum is an interesting one for sure and talking with Darius and Fred gave an insight into the processes involved and the essential barrel choice and barrel prep. The Rum has a pretty unique character that allows it to be unbelievably tasty on its own but also allows it to mix well. I also had the opportunity to try something that was pulled from beneath the counter.I REALLY need to try it again as it was another beautiful Rum.

20141010_193538Ron Cubay

Ron Cubay, a brand that we have believed in since their arrival in the UK had their new Extra Viejo expression available for tasting for the first time in UK. It is a blend of aged stock, both white and dark, which is then filtered before bottling in one of the most striking presentation bottles that we’ve ever seen, all accompanied by a beautiful display box. Look out for an update to the Ron Cubay article soon to including tasting notes for the Extra Viejo.

20141010_200454English Harbour

This then leads nicely onto what we believe was the truly defining moment of the whole evening. Antigua Distillery Ltd had brought along their English Harbour line of Rums. The 5 Year Old you can already read about on Rum Diaries Blog. We also got to sample the 10 Year Old which kicked things up a notch in terms of depth of flavour but still had that satisfying kick. They had also brought along the 25 Year Old English Harbour 1981. It was beautiful. Probably one of the more complex Rums that we have tasted up to this point. It was a discussion point all evening between us, so much so that whilst sitting in Euston Station on Monday morning awaiting the train home, we ordered a bottle.


We were also able to meet up with Peter Holland of The Floating Rum Shack, Ben Gane of Drink More Rum, Robert Burr of Rob’s Rum Guide, Helena Tiare Olsen of A Mountain Of Crushed Ice and numerous other Rum Royalty. We also had the opportunity to meet up with some wonderful distributors too. Maya and Francis from Distillnation, Jenny from Sip Or Mix, George and Jessica from The Westbourne Drinks Company and Darius from Trilogy Beverages to name a few. Boutique RumFest was a really great opportunity to experience new Rums and to get an insight into the processes involved in getting a new brand to market away from the noise of the main event……but of course the highlight for us was having a photograph taken with Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador. A real gent and a true champion of Rum.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



Posted by on October 16, 2014 in Rum


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It’s Rum Month for WIRSPA and ACR

*Press Release*


It’s Rum Month!

The Authentic Caribbean Rum Marque will be present at the leading rum shows during October, one of the busiest months in high quality spirits events around Europe. With the German Rum Festival, RUMFEST UK, Show Rum in Rome and the Belgium Rum Festival all take place during October 2014, along with other leading spirits shows like Bar Convent Berlin, Barforum in Barcelona, Boutique Bar Show in Edinburgh and Salone del Gusto in Turin, the Authentic Caribbean Rum Marque will provide training and information to trade professionals during many of these shows to continue with its educational campaign around Europe.

If you are a spirits professional or aficionado, the month of October is one of the busiest months in the calendar. In fact, Germany hosts one of the leading spirits events in Europe (Bar Convent Berlin) and a Rum Festival just days before. Likewise, London Cocktail week takes place the week before Rumfest UK takes over the ILEC Conference Centre in Earls Court. And with other key industry events taking place all over Europe, October can clearly state its case as “The Rum Month”.

ACR Logo

Which is why the Authentic Caribbean Rum (ACR) Marque, developed by the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association (WIRSPA), will be present at some of the leading events in order to continue its international educational campaign for drinks professionals.

The timetable of  “Spirited” Events during the Month of October include:

During the 4th and 5th of October the Marque will be present at the German Rum Festival, one of the most successful themed rum events in Germany. International Panel member Bastian Heuser will represent the Marque, providing sampling opportunities with a stand and providing further insight in a master class during the event. Two days after, the Marque will participate in Bar Convent Berlin, hosting a stand and offering a master class that will be delivered by ACR International Panel member Andrew Nicholls.

On Friday October 10th, during the start of RumFest London, WIRSPA will hold a special seminar with the objective of developing business internationally for producers of the rums under the Authentic Caribbean Rum (ACR) Marque. The seminar will include the participation of Ian Burrell, world rum ambassador and creator of RumFest UK and a presentation by IWSR on the rum category worldwide.

Following events in Germany and the UK, the Marque will continue its October tour of Europe to participate in Barforum Barcelona (20th-23rd), the Boutique Bar Show in Edinburgh (22nd) and Salone del Gusto in Turin (23rd– 27th). In all events the focus will be in providing information and education to all drinks professionals interested in learning more about the category.


Having attended the ACR Training on it’s Manchester visit to Liars Club, I found it to be a worthwhile venture to transfer knowledge about the marque and also the Rums under the umbrella to get some unbelievably great Rums out into the public consciousness. I personally got to try some Rums that I had never tried ( I still can’t locate a bottle of the amazing Monymusk ) and although the training is geared more towards the trade aspect, I thoroughly enjoyed my day. Of course it helped that the training was being delivered by Amit Sood and that I was sat next to the knowledgeable Michael Sweetman of the UK Bartenders Guild and Phil Nienhuis, who is also a massive Rum fanatic. If you have the opportunity to attend an event, I suggest that you do!

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Press Release, Rum


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Wild Geese Golden Rum

IMAG0011_1Relatively new to these shores, though released elsewhere in 2010, Wild Geese Rum is a range of three Rums, Golden, Premium and Caribbean Spiced. They are from the same stable as Wild Geese Irish Whiskey and I happened upon them whilst browsing for Rum online…..a pursuit that I often undertake. The marketing information spins a wonderful story………..

Voyages and Men

Ireland was torn by injustice and natural disaster. In the years leading up to the Treaty of Limerick in 1691, when The Exiles took the name the Wild Geese believing they would return, many had already been forced from their homes and transported to the Caribbean and Americas to work on plantations.

Hold Fast

Sent into darkness and exile they did not flinch when faced with this unimaginable horror. Many rebellions were to follow. Their story and courage has been largely untold until now.


Determined to win freedom, those that escaped, blazed a trail across the endless blue as liberators and pirates of the Caribbean. Navigating their way across the featureless seas and against all odds their only option being to survive and succeed.



Wherever you are in the world, if you are of Irish descent you are part of this story and entitled to call yourself ‘Wild Geese’.

Wild Geese Golden Rum – 37.5% ABV

IMAG0008_1There is little to no information on the blend of Rums within Wild Geese Rum, therefore I decided to ask the question. I’ve been informed that Wild Geese Golden Rum is a blend of five Rums sourced from five distilleries. Again, similar to a recent post, the Rums are from Demerara Distillers Limited in Guyana, Angostura in Trinidad, Hampden in Jamaica, St Lucia Distillers in St Lucia and the excellent Foursquare in Barbados. The Rum from Guyana, St Lucia and Jamaica is pot distilled and the Rum from Barbados and Trinidad is column distilled. The constituent Rums are a mix of ages with the Rum from Barbados being 5 years old and the remaining 80% between 3 and 5 years old. Again they are blended, reduced to the bottling strength of 37.5% ABV, batched with caramel for colour only and then bottled. The Rum has gathered a host of awards over the past few years winning Rum XP Gold in 2013, Silver at the WSWA 2013, Bronze at the ISC 2013, Silver at the IWSC 2013, Gold from the Beverage Tasting Institute in 2013 and was also rated 4.5/5 by Diffordsguide in 2013. Praise indeed but before moving onto my tasting notes, I have a few gripes. Firstly, the bottle label mentions that the Rum is ‘Part of the Internationally Acclaimed, Award Winning, Luxury Collection of Premium Spirits’…the term ‘Premium’ has lost its resonance with me now given it’s overuse of late. Is that where ‘Super Premium’ comes into play??? The ‘top of the range’ product from The Wild Geese Rum is actually called ‘Premium Rum’…..big shoes to fill. Secondly, the bottle label really confuses me. A Crystal Skull (we all know how that film turned out), a Pirate Ship against a moody moonlit backdrop and more text fonts and sizes than you can shake a stick at. I find it a little busy and confusing and quite unattractive. That aside, I’m not a treat for the eyes myself!  I do like the bottle shape though. As I keep telling people, ‘it’s what’s inside that counts’. Wild Geese Golden Rum is priced at around £19 a bottle which is right in line with Bacardi, Havana Club, Mount Gay, Appleton and Cockspur, so these will be the direct competitors if it makes it onto supermarket shelves, online is a different story.

IMAG0010_1Tasting Notes

In the glass: The Rum is a pale golden straw colour in the glass. Caramel, butterscotch and fudge lead the way. Vanilla then creeps up along with a light apricot syrup, the kind left over if you buy canned fruit. This is all rounded out by a little funkiness from the pot still Rums. It’s pretty pleasant stuff and bodes well for the tasting.

In the mouth: What strikes you immediately is how light a body this Rum has. The pot still element is the first thing that greets you alongside a mild spice. Vanilla and butterscotch follow with a little marzipan edge. It is, so far, totally consistent with the nose. The finish is quite short and is full of buttery fudge and that apricot syrup.

Mixed drinks pose another issue as the light body of the Rum requires something not too overpowering. With Coke, the pot still element shows through, but it’s the only thing that does. In a daiquiri, it works quite well as it is not overpowered by the citrus. It did work well in a little punch that I concocted using fresh lime juice, a passion fruit syrup and sugar syrup 50/50 mix, a good 60ml of Wild Geese Golden Rum and all topped up with peach nectar. Tasty stuff. There are several suggested cocktails on the Wild Geese Website here but in some, such as the Mai Tai, the Rum is overwhelmed by the other ingredients. For me, stick to simple and you won’t go far wrong.

This Rum is a good example of something that I think, on the visual front, is trying way too hard to stand out. So much so that what it actually does is mask what is clearly a decent, flavourful blend of Rums. You can hide behind crystal skulls and a marketing fanfare but put simply, this is a tasty, relatively inexpensive Rum, that is interesting due to the blend of Rums and the quality of the ingredients. The beauty of this issue is that if required, the label can be amended, and this is no way affects the product contained within. This is just my opinion though, so if you’ve tried it, if you love the presentation or have any other opinions, it’d be good to hear what you think.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

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Posted by on September 28, 2014 in Rum


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Doorly’s XO

IMAG1183_1Stepping online and looking up into the £25 to £35 price bracket opens up a veritable feast of amazing Rums to those who are willing to look beyond the supermarket shelves (though some great Rums are available there too). One such Rum that makes you feel almost guilty of theft is Doorly’s XO. A Spanish Oloroso Sherry Cask finished blend of Rums from Barbados that offers incredible amounts of flavour and countless glasses of enjoyment. It’s a steal at £25 a bottle and can compete with other more expensive and also highly regarded Rums. It will come as no surprise then when I tell you that this is another Rum produced by Richard Seale at the amazing Foursquare Rum Distillery. You will have read about my love of all things Foursquare and Richard Seale in my article on R.L Seales 10 but if not, click here for some background information on the distillery and Rums.

Doorly’s XO – 40% ABV

IMAG1182_1Although there is no age statement on the bottle (there is on the 5 and 3), I have it on good authority that the minimum age of the Rum in the blend prior to the second maturation is 5 years old with the second maturation in seasoned Oloroso Sherry Casks is for a minimum of 1 year. This it seems is where the general consensus comes from that the youngest Rum in Doorly’s XO is 6 years old. There will be older Rums in the blend prior to the second maturation but the omission of an age statement gives Foursquare the flexibility in their control over the necessary time spent in casks of different ages at each maturation stage and it also allows them to emphasise the fact that the Rum is twice matured. This second maturation adds another level of interest to the Rum. Oloroso Sherry is a Dry Sherry with a nutty flavour profile. It is often used as a base to build upon to create sweeter sherries. In the case of a bottle of Matusalem Oloroso Sherry that I have, it is the addition of 25% Pedro Ximinez that sweetens the Oloroso Sherry and the flavours within that bottle really are something else. The bottle itself (although different in other territories) is a part of the family of Doorly’s Rums that sit on my shelf. The XO, 5 and 3 all have the same shape of bottle and all have the image of the Blue Hyacinth McCaw on them. The same label shape and size make for an attractive presentation when all lined up in their varying stages of emptiness… least at Rum Diaries HQ. A place which saw me finish and then re-purchase a bottle of Doorly’s XO whilst taking my tasting notes, such was my level of desire to get my notes correct…………..

Tasting Notes

IMAG1184_1In the glass: The Rum is a deep coppery orange in the glass and displays bountiful droplets with a slight reluctance to move. The Rum has deep caramel up front with aromas of orange oil and orange zest. There is a little spice tingle and a dark fruity oak. As the Rum warms up in the glass, coconut, peach, passion fruit and a little fudge reveal themselves.

In the mouth: The Rum is awash with peppery spice and heat initially, wrapped in a nutty sweetness. Orange zest and oak are also present. As the dominant spice subsides, the nutty, sherried oak comes to the fore with a little caramel sweetness. After time, the peach, passion fruit and coconut show up on the back-end. Further sips confirm the prominent spice but the sherried oak develops more quickly as your mouth acclimatises to it. This again develops into caramel, coconut and peach. The Rum has a beautiful character whereby it is the Rum, not the sherry that defines it. The sherry is the vehicle on which the other flavours are transported. There are no dead spots where you are left wanting for flavour. The Rum has a long finish that starts peppery and ends with toasted coconut, slight oaky bitterness and faint peach. Tobacco shows up as an after smell in the glass. An example of sherry maturation executed correctly. Never dominant and never defining the Rum, just allowing the right amount of influence to come through.

This Rum really does deserve a place on everyone’s shelf, not just those with a real interest in Rum. It sits at a very accessible price point and is equally at home neat, with a mixer, or in a drink such as the Corn ‘n Oil. It is a fine example of the craft of sherry maturation by a master of his craft. Wonderful, thought-provoking stuff and as a fanatic that buys a lot of Rum, it is an absolute steal for a Rum of this calibre.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



Posted by on September 21, 2014 in Rum


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Angostura Butterfly House

*Press Release*


The taste of Trinidad comes to London Cocktail Week as Angostura creates Butterfly House

Angostura Butterfly House 1

A truly unique experience will be coming to this year’s esteemed London Cocktail Week as Angostura rum brings tropical Trinidad to London’s Shoreditch. Open from Thursday 9th – Sunday 12th October, The Angostura Butterfly House will bring fluttering moments of joy to all who take a stroll within it.

When the butterflies dance, the sugar cane is ready for harvesting and at the Angostura Butterfly House an array of butterflies will be dancing to the tune of Trinidad’s legendary rum and bitters. Bringing to life the story of Angostura, the pop-up will offer visitors the chance to experience the sweet, sweet sights and tastes of the most treasured plantation fields.  Be embraced by friendly butterflies in the ethically created Butterfly House, press your own sugar cane juice and have it transformed into one of the delicious butterfly inspired Angostura rum cocktails on offer, sure to send you fluttering into the night.

A series of masterclasses and other events led by Angostura’s Master Distiller, John Georges and Global Ambassador, Mike Tomasic will also take place within this tropical paradise in the heart of Shoreditch at 31 New Inn Yard, including:

From Cane to Cocktail: all the way from Trinidad, House of Angostura’s Master Distiller, John Georges talks sugar cane and molasses while Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge winner and Global Brand Ambassador, Mike Tomasic leads a tasting of infused sugar cane juices v gomme syrups.  Thursday 9th October, 3.00pm – 4.00pm (Tickets £9 – limited to 16 places)

A Bitters Heart:  Angostura Aromatic Bitters is famed throughout the world for its ability to enhance flavours. Prepare to be surprised as Global Brand Ambassador, Mike Tomasic showcases an array of cocktails – each one of them including a whole shot of Dr Siegert’s classic creation.      Friday 10th October, 3.00pm – 4.00pm (Tickets £9 – limited to 16 places)

Nectar and Nous:  what would it be like to taste through your feet?  Imagine only being able to see green, yellow and red.  What an odd life you’d lead with no mouth to drink.  Be fascinated by the life of a butterfly as expert, Luke Brown (who has over 30 years experience in creating perfect environments for butterflies and has helped bring the Angostura Butterfly house to life) fires facts and figures while the guys at The Cocktail Lovers will create cocktails they’ll love to savour.  Saturday 11th October, 3.00pm – 4.00pm (Tickets £9 – limited to 16 places)

Float Like a Butterfly…:  No punches will be thrown, but the fight will fast and furious as reigning champion, Australia’s Mike Tomasic takes on Scotland’s Angostura City Sessions winners in a title defence of the House of Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge middleweight belt he won in March.  Three rounds, three drinks and plenty Ali-shuffles to some solid beats.  Sunday 12th October, 3.00pm – 5.00pm. Free entry.

Angostura Butterfly House 2THE ANGOSTURA BUTTERFLY HOUSE will be located at 31 New Inn Yard, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3EY

Opening times as follows:

Thursday 9th October 16:00 – 23:00

Friday 10th October 12:00 – 23:00

Saturday 11th October 12:00 – 23:00

Sunday 12th October 12:00 – 23:00


From Cane to Cocktail: Thursday 9th October, 15.00 – 16.00.  £9 (16 places)

A Bitters Heart: Friday 10th October, 15.00 – 16.00.  £9 (16 places)

Nectar and Nous: Saturday 11th October, 15.00 – 16.00. £9 (16 places)

Float Like a Butterfly…: Sunday 12th October, 15.00 – 17.00. Entry Free

Everyone is welcome to enter the Angostura Butterfly House and entry is free. Tickets for the masterclasses are priced at £9 and can be purchased in advance via the London Cocktail Week website:


© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Press Release, Rum


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RumFest….One Month To Go….

*Press Release*


rum experience no date


Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th October 2014
London’s ILEC – Earl’s Court


Fans rejoice as The RumFest returns to the UK on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th October with a fresh look and a new venue. London’s ILEC Centre in Earl’s Court will play host to the eighth annual event, a celebration of rum and rum culture and in particular for 2014, a look at some of the most premium blends on the market. As a finale to the London Cocktail Week celebrations, attendees can sip and savour tipples from the vast variety of rums available from all over the world. Whether household and revered names like Bacardi, Havana Club, Diplomatico, Angostura and Mount Gay to discovering the industry’s best bourgeoning or spirits such as Duppy Share, Pusser’s and Abelha, there is no other place in the world to rejoice in a love of rum. Not only this, The Rumfest is a chance for both novices and discerning drinkers alike to delve deeper into this vibrant culture, with a variety of masterclasses and seminars including cocktail workshops, rum and marshmallow pairing and chef & cocktail demos. Complete with a very special charity auction hosted by Christie’s supporting WaterAid and a carnival atmosphere, The Rumfest is the perfect place to bring the warmth of summer into the autumn months, a truly ‘rum-derful’ thing indeed. Tickets are now on sale for £49.95 available with more information from the The RumFest website. To apply for press accreditation visit the online application form.

The RumFest embodies the heart and soul of the spirit and the passion of its founder Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador. Recognised worldwide as the go-to event in Europe for the rum category, it brings together the world’s biggest, smallest, established and up-and-coming brands for a weekend of celebration, discovery and community.

Now in its eighth year the two-day event attracts both consumer and trade professionals alike, succeeding in developing even the most educated rum fans knowledge whilst introducing the spirit to complete novices. 2014’s RumFest will take proceedings to the new heights with a focus on the premium brands and blends within the category. The all-new Golden Tot Tokens will give visitors the opportunity to take part in some exclusive tastings of ultra-premium blends that retail between £80 – £2000 a bottle. With limited amounts available, visitors are urged to get in quick before stocks of these exquisite blends run out fast.

Guests are invited to take part in Seminars, Masterclasses and Workshops taking place across the two days set to bring to light the delights of the category. Seminars hosted by prestigious brands including Angostura, Diplomatico, Mount Gay, Havana Club and Don Q who will take attendees on an intimate journey of rum discovery. A selection of the industry’s greatest ambassadors including Richard Seale of Foursquare rum and one of the world’s best distillers Michael Delevante, will share their wealth of knowledge with a captivated audience. Food will also play a big part in this year’s proceedings with chocolate and marshmallow pairings, plus live cooking demonstration on the main stage washed down with handmade cocktails from the Global Rum Ambassador himself. Finally, the floor will be filled with live bands, souk dancers and the spirit of rum fully embraced in the ultimate party hour finale each day. A truly ‘rum-derful’ thing indeed.

The RumFest takes place in London at the ILEC Conference Centre, Earl’s Court on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th October 2014. Standard tickets are now on sale at £49.95 via the website, which include access to all areas of the event and single measure tastings from the majority of exhibitors. Golden Tot Tokens are £5 each and allow for additional access to the more premium rums on offer. One token can be exchanged for rum retailing £80 – £100 and more expensive rums will be available for additional tokens. This year as a precursor to The RumFest, Global Rum Ambassador, Ian Burrell will host a very special world record attempt for the World’s Largest Rum Tasting on Thursday 9th October. Limited tickets are available and can be purchased for just £10 via the RumFest website.


I’d love to say that I wasn’t at all excited about RumFest…..but we all know that would be a lie……

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Press Release, Rum


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Rumburra Orach

RB-logoYou can be forgiven for having never heard of this particular Rum brand as I most certainly had no idea of their existence until a chance Twitter based encounter made me very intrigued by the Rum. One thing led to another and I find myself in possession of a bottle of Rumburra Orach. Rumburra is a play on the Rums Edinburgh origins and Orach is the Gaelic way of saying Golden. I always like to find out the source of the Rums in a blend and I am keen to understand the origins and background of a brand.

Just over twelve months ago, Gregor Hutt, along with other family members, decided to start a project blending their own Rum. They sourced a contract distiller to blend the Rum and set about obtaining a selection of Caribbean Rum. The Rum itself is a blend of four overproof Rums that are aged in their country of origin prior to being blended, reduced to bottling strength and bottled in Scotland. Numerous attempts were made to adjust the quantities of each of the Rums in the blend to arrive at the current bottled product.

Rumburra Orach – 40% ABV

Rumburra Bottle 1

Rumburra Bottle 2The blend, composed entirely from Column Distilled Rums, comprises a 6-year-old Rum from Guyana’s Demerara Distillers Limited, a 3-year-old Rum from Jamaica’s Hampden Distillery, a 1-year-old Rum from Barbados’s Foursquare Distillery and a 1-year-old Rum from Trinidad’s Angostura Distillery. All rums are blended and left to marry for a short period prior to the 70% ABV Rum blend being reduced to its bottling strength of 40% ABV. Flavourless caramel colouring is added to the blend to stabilise the colour of the batches after the water has been added and it is bottled not too far from Edinburgh city centre. Gregor is quite keen to hammer home the point that aside from the Scottish Water and Caramel Colouring, nothing else is added to the blend. Good information to know.

The label is quite understated with only black and silver present. It should catch your eye on a shelf when placed next to a myriad of colourful labels so shouldn’t get lost. The rum is a nice dark golden colour in the bottle and it looks pretty inviting……so let me tell you how it tastes.

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The rum displays itself as a light, vibrant gold and swirling the glass releases long thin legs. The first aroma to spring from the glass is that of a fruity honey. There is absolutely no astringency at all with the rum. Slight Demerara notes come through alongside overripe banana and malted milk biscuits. Light caramel carries the banana further forward alongside subtle sugarcane notes and fresh mango. There is a light aroma of pink shrimp foam sweets and marshmallow. This is a very pleasant Rum to sit with and the blend really does bring character to it and it hints at a complexity within. I can’t wait to taste it.

In the mouth: The rum is very balanced on entry. It washes over your mouth with a light bite of pepper. This immediately subsides and leaves your mouth awash with fruit but this rapidly dries out. Peaches, and light but certainly present Demerara drag along caramel. Further sips reveal honey, a touch of leather and cherries. It has a medium body and on the way down it leaves your mouth with a peppery bite and a hint of the savoury. The finish is of a medium length and full of oak and peach loop sweets. Tobacco rounds out the aromas as you sniff the glass.

The rum is really well-balanced and the flavours aren’t clamouring for your attention. It is not as complex to taste as it is to smell but that is in no way a bad thing. It is quite an understated product that creates no fuss in its presentation yet provides way more depth and character than numerous other Rums that have high marketing budgets and have ad campaigns and labels full of words such as Premium.

I have also been informed of a few cocktail recipes that have been worked on by the folks at Rumburra. They have no names but one is a definite winter warmer whilst the other sounds like a very refreshing summery concoction. They can be found at the bottom of this article.

This Rum retails for around £25 a bottle and at that price, for me, you get a very tasty Rum. It isn’t available in many outlets at all which is a real shame as this deserves to be way more well-known than it is.



37.5ml Rumburra Orach

50ml Cloudy Apple Juice

20ml Cabernet Sauvignon

20ml Ginger & Lemongrass Cordial

2 dashes of Chocolate Bitters


Mix all ingredients into a heat proof jug and steam using a coffee machine steaming wand. Serve in a Martini glass with a large orange tweel.


50ml Rumburra Orach

25ml Lime Juice

50ml Clear Apple Juice

Half a Granny Smith Apple

Small bunch of Coriander

A pinch of Black Pepper


Muddle all ingredients in a Boston glass. Shake well with ice and strain into a Collins glass. Top with Ginger Ale.

Both sound great!

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Posted by on September 14, 2014 in Rum


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