Rumnaissance…..Rum Diaries Blog at Manchester Science Festival

msf-logoThis one is a little bit of a personal post asking (pleading) for your support as I take my first steps into talking to members of the public about the Rum in their glass.

It is worthwhile pointing out that the evening will be in its most basic form, a Rum tasting, but with added information about production and categorization. The event title is Rumnaissance and I have pieced together a little look at the breakdown of how I plan to structure the night:

Rums classifications have become somewhat outdated. Location based style classification is difficult as many rums straddle a line between styles. Colour based classification along with such horrific terms such as ‘Premium’ and ‘Super Premium’ give no indicators of true intrinsic value.  A new classification system proposed by Velier’s Luca Gargano and backed by Foursquare Distillery’s Richard Seale highlights a category of identification based upon the method of distillation employed in the Rums production.

During the evening we will discuss the proposed categorisation which from the top down is split into the distillation categories of batch and continuous, and then into further categories. We will look at the basic principles behind each distillation method, how they are used in Rum production and further explore how this relates to the proposed categories. We will also look at the effects that contact with wood has on a new spirit and also how Tropical age delivers a different result to European age.

To help you along during all of this we will be tasting Rums that demonstrate these categories as we discuss them. You’ll get to try Rum-Bar Aged and unaged “Pure Single Rum” from Worthy Park in Jamaica, Doorly’s “Single Blended Rum” from Foursquare Distillery in Barbados, Admiral Rodney “Traditional Rum” from St Lucia Distillers, “Agricole Rhum” from Martinique, and Ron Cubay “Rum” from Cuba. You’ll also get to try Glorious Revolution, an Unaged 100% Pot Distilled Rum made here in the UK by Spirit Masters. A few nibbles will be provided during the break, but even then, you’ll be tasting at least 6 or 7 Rums so it is advisable to fill up before you arrive.

The link to purchase tickets is here and it would be great to have your support if you can make it.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2016. 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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Compagnie Des Indes Barbados (Foursquare Distillery) 16 – Cask Strength Denmark Release

Back with independents and back once again in familiar Foursquare territory. This time though we’re looking at a cask strength proposition….60% abv to be precise. If you’d like to refresh yourselves on the 45% abv release, please have a click here and I’ll see you in a second. In my write up of that release, I added at the end that I’d love to try this 60% release. Fortunately for me I have some friendly and generous readers. Step forward a chap called Eigon Vilhelmsen. He emailed me and offered up a sample of the Danish only release along with a few bottle shots, and I’m very grateful that he did.

Compagnie Des Indes Barbados (Foursquare Distillery) 16 – 60% abv

cdi-foursquare-16-danish-release

Bottle image courtesy of Eigon Vilhelmsen 2015

Again, as with the lower abv release this Rum was distilled in December 1998 and bottled in March 2015. We’ll have to run with the same mix of tropical and European age to make up its 16 years with 7 of those years spent in the warm climate of Barbados and the remaining 9 being in Europe…somewhere in Amsterdam. The Rum is a blend of both Pot and Column and was matured in an ex-Jack Daniels barrel. The Barrel Number as displayed on the bottle was MRS236 and this yielded an out-turn of 250 bottles at 60% abv. Again, no sweetener or colour has been added to this release.

Tasting Notes

cdi-60-glassIn the glass: the Rum displays itself as a dark copper and initial forays to the glass give rise to heavy astringent oak and a really intense apricot. It’s the oak that dominates the Rum for a good 5 minutes or so before it starts to back down a touch and open up. Light floral notes and bourbon like cherry follow and aromas of Bakewell Tart are aplenty…..I’m also convinced that there is a little solvent in there. Further trips to the glass remind me of the Neisson Reserve Speciale that I’ve been enjoying recently which can only be a good thing.

In the mouth: Initially the Rum is very warming but feels nothing like its 60% as its unbelievably approachable. A light sweetness on entry brings with it butterscotch and apricots like an apricot tarte tatin. It becomes dry quite quickly with very apparent oak and vanilla. The vapours creeping up my nose remind me of Peach Loops, Lidls finest children’s sweets and something that I seem to notice a lot in Foursquare Rums!  What surprises me about this 60% release is just how well-balanced it is. Nothing is too dominant and there are no off notes. It all just plays nicely. The finish is shorter than anticipated given the abv but is full of apricots, a peppery bite and it sees the return of those Neisson Agricole notes right at the death.

So, with thanks to Eigon, I have had the opportunity to try the highest abv Foursquare Rum that was available….I say was, as the Velier Foursquare 2006 trumps it slightly…..and given the well documented event that I’ll now call ‘Night of the Living Speculators’ it is another Dane that I need to rely upon to allow me to experience that particular Unicorn…..but that is for next time.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2016. 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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Drinks by the Dram unveil the Whisky (and Rum) Advent Calendars for 2016

*Press Release*

Drinks by the Dram 2016

Drinks by the Dram unveil the 2016 Whisky Advent Calendar

  • Drinks by the Dram launch the 2016 Whisky Advent calendar containing drams aged for over 50 years, and worth up to £600 per bottle as part of a range of 23 unique spirit-filled calendars.
  • This year’s new additions to the range include Advent Calendars dedicated to Scotch, American, Irish and Japanese whiskies, as well as collaborations with Glenfarclas, That Boutique-y Whisky Company and Origin Gin.
  • Drinks by the Dram also unveil the Very Old & Rare Whisky Advent Calendar, with an RRP of £9,999.95 and boasting a bevy of extraordinarily rare whiskies.

For the fifth year running, the range of Drinks by the Dram Advent Calendars has returned. The selection once again features classics like Whisky, Ginvent and Rum, while exciting new additions include calendars dedicated to Scotch, American, Irish and Japanese whiskies along with calendars full of Glenfarclas Single Malt, independent whisky bottlings from That Boutique-y Whisky Company and Origin Single Estate Gins made with juniper sourced from specific regions all around the world.

The Whisky Advent Calendar was launched in 2012, and has since become a tradition among whisky enthusiasts, letting them count down to Christmas and explore the world’s best whiskies. Each handmade, wax-sealed dram allows whisky fans to sample a new expression, tasting everything from single grain and bourbon to rare Scotch worth up to £600 a bottle.

Drinks by the Dram 2016 Box Image

2016 marks the debut of the Drinks by the Dram Very Old & Rare Whisky Advent Calendar (RRP £9,999.95), developing on the concept introduced by the Old & Rare Advent Calendar launched in 2015. Each calendar is a bespoke wooden box built by hand by cabinet-maker Simon Jewell Designs in Kent, and is available in a walnut or Macassar ebony finish. Within every calendar sit 24 individually numbered 30ml drams of some of the world’s most sought-after whiskies, including expressions from long-closed distilleries, a 60-year-old single malt and a whisky worth up to £19,000 a bottle.

Drinks by the Dram’s 2016 Advent Calendar range also includes calendars filled with single cask whiskies, mezcal, gin and more. The full range of calendars (listed below) will be available later this month.

 

Very Old & Rare Whisky Advent Calendar
Old & Rare Whisky Advent Calendar
Premium Whisky Advent Calendar Craft
Premium Whisky Advent Calendar Red

Whisky Advent Calendar Craft
Whisky Advent Calendar Red
Glenfarclas Whisky Advent Calendar
That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s Advent Calendar
Single Cask Whisky Advent Calendar
Japanese Whisky Advent Calendar
Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar
American Whiskey Advent Calendar
Bourbon Advent Calendar
Irish Whiskey Advent Calendar
Cognac Advent Calendar
Armagnac Advent Calendar
Rum Advent Calendar
Mezcal Advent Calendar
Tequila Advent Calendar
Absinthe Advent Calendar
Ginvent Calendar
Gin Advent Calendar
Vodka Advent Calendar
Origin Single Estate Gin Advent Calendar
Naga Chilli Vodka Escalation Advent Calendar

Drinks by the Dram’s 2016 Advent Calendar range will be widely available from leading retailers including Amazon, Master of Malt, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Fortnum & Mason, WaitroseGifts.com, Ocado, GinKiosk, Majestic Wines and Laithwaites, with more being announced when they launch at the end of the month.

*End*

Rum-Craft

We all know that THIS is the one that you’ll be after! Last year was great so with a bit of luck we hope to get our hands on another one this year to see what delights await within!

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2016. 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.

 

Wray & Nephew Carnival After Party

*Press Release*

WRAY & NEPHEW PARTNERS WITH BOILER ROOM AND NTS RADIO FOR NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL AFTER PARTY  

Wray’s Rum Tings consumer summer events line-up comes to a close with Boiler Room and NTS Radio Carnival activity and music extravaganza

Wray Carnival

Wray & Nephew has announced a partnership with the world’s biggest online music broadcaster Boiler Room and NTS Radio, to entertain Carnival party-goers and music fans later this month. The Wray & Nephew Carnival after party is taking place on the last day of the Notting Hill Carnival, Monday 29th August, at Paradise by Way of Kensal Green.

The gig promises to be a night to remember with an amazing line up of the UK’s best underground acts. The full line up will be announced closer to the Carnival, although Boiler Room has revealed that top acts Grandmixxer, Neptizzle, Crazy Cousins, Siobhan Bell, Skinny, Daniel OG, A.G, Covco, Blaise Bellville, Nonsense, Lord Tusk and Dean Blunt will all be making appearances.

Eager gig-goers can apply for tickets via The Boiler Room (https://boilerroom.tv/session/wrayandnephew/) now, with tickets costing £15 each.

This is the first year that Boiler Room has officially partnered with the Notting Hill Carnival, so who better to drum up excitement alongside than Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum – as flavourful and full of character as Carnival itself!

It’s not just underground that Boiler Room and Wray & Nephew will be entertaining the masses however. The partnership also includes 3,000 exclusive, co branded free Carnival kits containing dual-branded flags and horns. These will be given away during the festivities on Monday 29th August while stocks last.

The Carnival kit giveaways and after party mark the last events in Wray and Nephew’s Rum Tings summer line up, which has seen sold out events in London and Birmingham.

*End*

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2016. 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.

RumFest Announces 10th Anniversary Event

*Press Release*RumFest 2016

RUMFEST CELEBRATES NATIONAL RUM DAY & ANNOUNCES 10TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT

TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR THE UK’S LARGEST CELEBRATION OF RUM CULTURE

Saturday 22nd & Sunday 23rd October 2016 
London’s ILEC, Earl’s Court

rumfest.co.uk

RumFest Carnival Hour 2015

With the arrival of National Rum Day today, RumFest announces its return to the capital for the nation’s biggest celebration of rum and rum culture. Pulling out all the stops for an impressive 10th anniversary year, the event will host a myriad of rum-related offerings with the spirit’s leading brands and aficionados all jam-packed into two days at London’s ILEC, 22nd-23rd October. Over 400 rums will be available for ticket-holders to sip, savour, try and buy to take home with RumFest’s Golden Tot tokens making a welcome return to give the more discerning drinker access to ultra-premium and rare rums, that would otherwise cost over £200 a bottle. The comprehensive programme will see rum tastings, in-depth seminars, The Rum Auction sponsored by Christie’s, incredible food and a party atmosphere to match, not to mention a new Sunday rum roast and special guests Levi Roots and Beach Bum Berry joining in on the celebrations. Tickets are now on sale from £39.50, including a VIP package priced from £69.50 which includes fast track entry, goodie bag and a three course Caribbean lunch. More information on tickets and the event can be found on the website via rumfest.co.uk.

Launched by Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell, RumFest has become the main event of the rum calendar and the event’s 10th outing is set to be its strongest yet as it invites the nation to delve into the world of rum.

Over 400 rums from around the world will be on offer, with a myriad of exhibitors including Diplomatico, Havana Club, Don Q, Bacardi, Mount Gay, Pussers, St. Nicholas Abbey, Richland Rum and many more.

Seminars and workshops take place across the two days where brands, ambassadors and leading industry figures give an in-depth insight into the world of rum including rum and food pairings and the making of rums. Top blenders, mixologists and distillers will be on hand to teach ticket-holders the art of cocktail making as well as more ways to enjoy their favourite tipple. Highlights include a rare rum seminar with Ian Burrell himself, an Aroma Academy, a sit down with award-winning master distiller Richard Seale, chocolate and rum pairing plus an exciting look into the world of rum with author Dave Broom. Head to the RumFest website to book seminars in advance from September.

This year RumFest are going big on Sunday. Reggae Reggae Sauce’s Levi Roots will be taking over the main stage and sharing some of his incredible cooking secrets and bringing his newly open Caribbean Smokehouse restaurant to RumFest. Sunday’s RumFest will also team up with Sandals Resorts to offer the chance for two lucky ticket-holders to win an incredible seven-day holiday to a Sandals Resort in the Caribbean to get even closer to rum’s roots. Rum & Roast will be introduced for Sunday ticket-holders, cooking up a Caribbean twist on the Sunday classic and VIPs will be treated to a roast option for their three course meal.

The Rum Auction sponsored by Christie’s returns to auction off yet more precious and rare rums for charity to the highest bidder while the action heats up with live stage demos showcasing rum pairings, cigar & rum pairing, cooking demos, cocktail competitions. On Saturday’s RumFest “the Indiana Jones of Tiki drinksBeach Bum Berry will delve into the art of Tiki cocktail making. Rounding off each day, rum-lovers will be invited to party with RumFest for its famous carnival hour, celebrating the spirit of rum with live bands and dancers.

RumFest Founder and Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell is the leading name in rum. Dedicating his life to promoting rum and rum culture around the world, over the years Burrell has been recognised with a number of industry awards as well as regularly appearing as a rum expert at events and on television shows like Sunday Brunch, the Alan Titchmarsh Show and more.

Speaking about the 10th year, Ian Burrell says, “When we launched 10 years ago we could never have imagined how successful RumFest would become. For us rum has always been a way of life and we’re thrilled to still be spreading the word and celebrating the spirit a decade on. We’ve got something for everyone this year with even more rums, tastings and talks as we hope to make RumFest 2016 one to remember for rum-lovers up and down the country.”

RumFest takes place in London at the ILEC, 22nd to 23rd October 2016. Standard day tickets are now on sale from £39.50, which includes access to all areas of the event and tastings from all exhibitors. VIP tickets are on sale from £69.50 and allow for early access of one hour ahead of standard ticket buyers along with a three course Caribbean lunch. 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. For full information on RumFest and to buy tickets head to rumfest.co.uk.

*End*

We’ll be there again and (not wanting to wish the next few months away) can’t wait, with highlights being the chance to see Jeff Berry in action! Again it looks like there is a whole host of fun planned! Roll on October.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2016. 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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WeiRon – Super Premium Aged Caribbean Rum

PrintHere we go then…..The claim is a big one…SUPER PREMIUM AGED CARIBBEAN RUM! A very brave claim and one that people will be wanting to disprove…..but they may have a hard job doing so…especially given the principles adopted by Peter and Tommy of Svenska Eldvatten (Swedish Firewaters). Svenska Eldvatten are independent bottlers from Sweden who specialise in Whisky, but also release Rum and Tequila. One of their most noteworthy Rum releases (among an excellent Jamaican and beautiful Demerara) has been the frankly phenomenal Barbados 2000 ‘Rockley Style’…..but that is for another article. The following is my assessment of Wei Ron…..their Caribbean Rum blend….one of many out there at the moment….but one that just could be blazing a trail and showing the others how it should be done.

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Wei Ron – 50% abv

Presentation wise the overall appearance is pretty stark and devoid of any information apart from the name, producer, volume and abv. The bottle is what I have come to know as the ‘Velier’ bottle……..opaque black and unbelievably cool whilst giving no hint of the liquid within…..no box means that this bottle on your shelf shouldn’t see any problems with light affecting the contents. A cork closure completes the look. I was given early sight of this bottling a while back when a package arrived for me. Inside was a branded t-shirt, press release, an empty full-sized labelled bottle and a small 20 ml sample……that sample bottle has seen me pick up three full size bottles so far.

So, the whole premise behind this Rum was to create a Rum that ‘whisky geeks’ would like to drink…..and for Svenska Eldvatten to able to sell it at an affordable price. The key points on the notepad were as follows:

  • It should be naturally coloured with no added caramel
  • It should be released at a powerful yet approachable abv
  • It should be non-chill filtered

Lastly and perhaps most admirable and important

  • It should be free of ANY additions

Both Tommy and Peter sourced the suppliers of the Rums, performed admirably as Master Blenders for the Rum and sourced the bottles and corks etc. After numerous trial blends and trials at whisky fairs the final blend was agreed upon. I sent a quick message to Tommy Andersen to ascertain the composition of the blend and I have uncovered that the main constituent parts are a blend of heavy pot still and light column still Rums from Barbados and Jamaica although there is more in the blend that Tommy is not willing to share…..he was also reluctant to share specific distilleries too. What I do know is that all Rums in the blend were aged solely at the distilleries that produced them and have seen only Caribbean age. Bottle priced is around £45 and Master of Malt is the only place that you’ll find it in the UK. But does it live up to its bold claim I hear you cry…..

WeiRon Bottle and GlassTasting Notes

In the glass: It is a vibrant gold in the glass with lighter bright flashes and a swirl of the glass shows thick and reluctant legs….it looks like a very oily prospect. The Rum has a very obvious Jamaican nose, but not in an overbearing way. A lot of ripe banana is in there along with the light rubbery aromas that come with the Jamaican component. There is something resembling lightly spiced Portuguese custard tarts and warming syrupy porridge. There is also quite a grainy spirit attack from the Rum too. The pot still component is certainly doing all of the heavy lifting with the column spirit providing the little accents. Swirling the glass quite aggressively reveals a light oily citrus facet to the Rum along with light smoke like aromas.

In the mouth: Initially the sweetness is very apparent (no added sugar remember), and this carries with it salted caramel and oily savoury lemon rind…similar to preserved lemons (not sweet sugary rinds). This then dries very quickly and leaves you with a menthol or mint like chilly feeling in your mouth…kind of like the vapours have been sucked out of your mouth via other worldly means. Subsequent sips (and there have been many, my notes are 1.5 bottles old) reveal obvious banana and a real spine of pot still Rum. There is a real depth to the Rum that screams of the liquorice component that I’ve found in decent Demerara Rums. The mouthfeel is all-encompassing and big but not overly oily. No corner of your mouth remains unaffected by the Rum. The long (ish) finish starts with a peppery tingle as the Rum lingers and this develops drying oaken notes with a welcome return of those bananas and spiced custard tarts. As the Rum fades the liquorice starts to develop and brings with it the return of that salted caramel and a touch of musty oak.

If you’ve not deduced so from my gushing complimentary ramblings above, in plain English, you absolutely need to grab yourself a bottle of this Rum…..maybe several. It is as honest as the day is long, it is well thought out, it is well constructed, it is brimming with flavours and aromas, it is devoid of caramel, it is non-chill filtered, it is punchy, it is not flavoured by any other means and it makes an absolute killer Old Fashioned! It could probably make you attractive to others if you dab a bit behind your ears. The price point is right on the button (around £45) and this Rum genuinely is a new benchmark for a multi island blended Rum. Rum has once again been treated sensitively and with the greatest of respect by Svenska Eldvatten and long may it continue.

I wholeheartedly endorse this product.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2016. 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.

Rum Nation Caroni 1999

Rum Nation Logo

Back in July of 2015 I posted an article all about a previous Rum Nation Caroni 1998 – 2nd Batch which included a little information on Rum production at the Caroni Distillery in Trinidad. To refresh your memory that article can be found here. Right, now that you’re back we can get straight into it.

Rum Nation Caroni 1999 – 55% abv

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This particular iteration of Rum Nation Caroni was distilled in 1999 and bottled in 2015 and is noted as being a classic heavy Caroni….of course from a column still. This release, Batch number L 15/217, comprises 4480 bottles. This Rum was initially matured in Trinidad for 11 years in Refill American oak and 4 years is the UK. It was then shipped to Piedmont, Italy for a finishing period of 12 months in casks that had previously held Spanish Brandy and Sherry. The data that I requested shows additions of 9.42 g/L. The signature postage stamp is present and correct along with the same bottle style as the other release bottle and the same wooden topped cork…..Here we go

RN Caroni 99

In the glass: The Rum is a dullish dark mahogany and as soon as the Rum is poured you get that overwhelming and ever-present heavy Caroni signature petrol aroma…this is quickly backed up by an astringent varnish. A spike from the alcohol stings your nose and there is a freshly cracked black pepper to it. Burnt, almost bitter sugar is there along with something resembling pear drops. Adding a little water calms the savage beast slightly and the astringency gives way to tangerines and the petrol is subdued enough to make it more approachable but it still has a very oily feel.

In the mouth: Straight away the Rum is a very oily and full-bodied experience. It opens up with punchy creosote that really dominates and is all-encompassing for the first ten seconds or so. It is very astringent and carries an almost menthol vapour taste too. The sweetness from the additions fights through and there is a definite medicinal quality to the Rum. It’s a very warming mouthful and it carries black pepper and a hint of liquorice. The finish is of a medium length and is initially all about the petrol before a hint of that menthol leads into a drying oak laden ending. A little water still allows the Rum to retain its punchy, oily character but the petrol is subdued. There is a little more fruit present and the oaken finish is a little more like pencil shavings. The finish is shortened and pear drops make a return but the petrol is still present.

On the whole, again, yet another very approachable Caroni release from Rum Nation. 55% definitely seems to work well for heavy Caroni’s (in my eyes) and there is much enjoyment to be found in this bottle. For me, it doesn’t quite hit the heights of the 1998 2nd Batch which I thought was the most enjoyable (non Velier) Caroni that I have tried….and I still do.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2016. 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.