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Woods Navy Rum Gets a New Bottle

*Press Release*

WGS

 

Wood’s toasts to tradition with new, premium bottle for trusted Rum

Woods

William Grant & Sons UK has just unveiled the new, premium packaging of Wood’s Old Navy Rum.

Inspired by the liquid’s Navy-enriched past, the redesigned bottle is now simpler, sturdier, with thicker glass and a traditional cork now holds the liquid in, just as it originally would. But that’s all, our recipe’s the same. You don’t mess with a sailor’s rum.

The blend is made in Guyana from black strap molasses and includes a rum distilled in the only working single wooden pot still in the world. Made of greenheart, a local hardwood, it imparts unique and complex flavours. To this day, Wood’s is the only Demerara navy rum still bottled at 57%.

Brand manager, Gwilym Cooke says, “After evaluating the rich brand history, consumer trends and the dark rum category, we wanted more premium packaging to match the quality of the liquid inside the bottle, which hasn’t changed since 1887.”

“We hope the new, premium packaging can attract more consumers to this celebrated spirit in the off-trade, and build further brand equity in the process,” says Cooke.

 The new Wood’s bottle will start shipping from early April 2016 and will have an RRP £25.59 and available from Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s, other selected retailers and all major wholesalers.

*End*

I’m fortunate enough to have one of the new bottles and I’m happy to report that although the bottle and label have changed to a sleeker more modern style of presentation (complete with cork stopper not screw cap), the liquid inside is still just as good as it always was and it is still sitting at 57% abv. In a world of lower abv releases, this is one reason why Woods Navy Rum will always be popular. I love using Woods in a Mai Tai as either a float or an integral part of the rums within the drink and I can’t see that changing in the future. Keenly pried and carrying a lot of flavour, Woods Navy Rum is still an easily available staple on the shelves at home.

© 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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Posted by on April 3, 2016 in Press Release, Rum

 

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St Lucia Distillers On Tour

*Press Release*Distillers-Final-Logo

St Lucia Distillers Set to Travel Around the North of England

 

This April, UK distributor Emporia Brands have put together a calendar of events involving its award-winning St Lucia Distillers range.

Brand Ambassador Dave Marsland will be touring four Northern cities as he brings together the Chairman’s Reserve range, which includes Gold, Spiced, White Label and Forgotten Cask, the Admiral Rodney, and the latest edition of 1931, the 4th release.

In 1931, the Barnard family founded a distillery at Dennery. Now based on the other side of the island at Roseau, the distillery has been considerably modernized and new technologies and improvements constantly incorporated. The installation of pot stills in 1998 added considerably to the variety of rums being produced in this highly regarded distillery which received the accolade of Individual Distiller of the Year at the International Spirits Challenge, one of six trophies received in six years – a unique achievement.

With the premise of a flavour experience, the tour sees an approach to the range that offers bartenders and key industry figures invited to not only learn about St Lucia, but ideas on how to embrace the versatility of St Lucia Distillers, from the Spiced variety to the rare 1931.

With Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle on the agenda, Emporia Brands are looking to strengthen their campaign as they look ahead to the next instalment of the ‘Chairman’s XI’ with their ever-expanding sales team seeking out some of the UK’s best and brightest to follow in the footsteps of some of the industries key figures, including Lyndon Higginson of The Liars Club in Manchester, Danny Murphy of Aloha in Liverpool and Adam Binnersley of the MOJO Group.

Places are limited to 30 maximum for each session, due to the rarity of gaining the exclusive 1931 4th Edition for the tasting’s. To secure your place, please contact Dave Marsland at dave@emporiabrands.com, stating the session you wish to attend from the list below.

Wednesday 6th April: Manchester – Almost Famous Great Northern

Wednesday 13th April: Liverpool – 81LTD

Wednesday 20th April: Leeds – Almost Famous

Wednesday 27th April: Newcastle – Tiger Hornsby

(All sessions run from 2-4pm)

A welcome drink will be offered, as well as a half-time serve of a Chairman’s White Label Daiquiri, and a finish of the 1931 4th edition.

Emporia

*End*

If there is even the slightest chance that you can make it and places are still available, this is a must. The quality and number of styles coming out of St Lucia Distillers is phenomenal and if rumors are to be believed, there may be a few special distillates to try too.

© 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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Posted by on April 3, 2016 in Press Release, Rum

 

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Glorious Revolution – Evolution #1

glorious-revolution-graphicThe eagle-eyed among you will have already spotted and read my article on the rather excellent Glorious Revolution Rum….for those that haven’t you can refresh yourselves by looking here

Now that you’re back, I can tell you that I was contacted by the producers of Glorious Revolution Rum, Alan and Amanda Collins from Spirit Masters about whether I’d like the opportunity to try a little sneak peek at their work in progress. A 1 year barrel aged version of their Rum. Of course I jumped at the chance! So on a rainy day just before Christmas I made the journey to the office to collect a package that had been delivered for me.

Glorious Revolution Evolution #1 – 45% abv (estimated)

Evolution

Now as you will have already read, I was a big fan of the original unaged version of Glorious Revolution so this had me more than a little excited. It must also be noted that this is only a ‘test version’ and will not be on general sale. A 50 litre virgin American Oak barrel was the vessel that received the base Rum and it was maintained at a constant temperature for the 12 month period. No caramel or additives have been used. This is purely the base Rum and the effects of the barrel. Massively interesting stuff. I’ve read that using virgin oak can be extremely powerful and make huge changes to a Rums profile in a very short space of time. Previously I had only ever tried the Nine Leaves Angels Half Virgin American Oak, which whilst very tasty, was really affected by the barrel and was quite spicy, so I was unsure what to expect here….especially as the barrel used is so small.

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The Rum displays itself as a vibrant golden straw colour. Immediately that familiar herbaceous and vegetal aroma billowed out of the glass. Happy to report that the pot distilled funk is still present and accounted for. Not as up front but still right there providing the backbone of the Rum. Very slight vanilla is there along with the really apparent hint of a warm buttery digestive biscuit base for a homemade cheesecake. Sticky brown sugar and overripe banana are starting to appear…I knew that I was smelling something familiar but it couldn’t be….could it? I went to the shelves and picked up a few reference bottles. Hampden Gold and Mezan XO. Taking the screw caps off it was immediately confirmed. In a blind tasting I would’ve pegged this as a young Jamaican Rum….very much along the lines of Hampden Gold…but with the influence of a very apparent lightly charred wood aroma reminiscent of the splints used for lighting Bunsen burners back at school…..5….10….15….20….alright…22 years ago….

In the mouth: That familiar sweet entry is still there happily, more so than the unaged version. The lightest custardy vanilla carries the sweetness before that vegetal, grassy note muscles in…..but it is controlled and less dominant this time around…..but don’t read that as dulled…it is still really vibrant. Further sips reveal that familiar liquorice and black olive taste that seems to accompany all young pot distilled Rums that I’ve tried. Once your mouth becomes accustomed to that savoury aspect of the Rum, the honeyed ripe banana and the merest hint of rubber sweep across your tongue. The finish, whilst not overly long is all sticky brown sugar and a little liquorice.

There is no doubt in my mind that due to the abilities of Alan and Amanda and their desire to do things the right way, this little insight into what is to eventually come is complete proof that a well made base Rum is paramount to a great end product…..when you have no desire to indulge in the manipulation of that end product. I cannot wait to see what next stage of the Glorious Revolutions evolutionary journey is!

© 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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Posted by on February 14, 2016 in Rum

 

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Velier Skeldon 1973 Full Proof

I think that it would only be right and proper to advise you up front that this is probably the best Rum that you’ll almost certainly never be able to buy….That is unless you have the contacts and the disposable income as the bottles that I have seen have sold for upwards of 1200 Euros……A strange way to start an article I know, ‘Here’s something I know that you’ll not get to experience’. But I have been very fortunate in the contacts and friends that I have made purely through sharing a mutual love of a bottled spirit, and I have been very lucky enough to have been granted the opportunity to try this mythical creature courtesy of a very generous friend and writer….take a bow Lance….You are a gentleman and a scholar.

Skeldon 1

Photograph Copyright of Lance Surujbally

There are precious few resources about this particular Rum online and even fewer resources on the background of the distillery. I will of course link to those resources throughout this article. One of the ways that I conduct the tastings that throw out these meandering brain dumps that I’m unsure if anyone cares for, is to always complete my own notes before looking for other articles. It is so easy to almost fool yourself into thinking that you can taste and smell certain things that others with perhaps more trained noses and palates can detect, but there is a certain satisfaction when you then look around and see that you experience similar things but perhaps with differing memory based triggers. The wonderful world of Rum.

The distributors of this Rum are Velier. Velier are an Italian company headed up by the skilled and very charismatic Ruruki Gargano. I’ll save further elaboration for some upcoming articles. Anyhow, back to the important business at hand. From the limited information online, Skeldon it seems is not based ‘on the banks of the Demerara River’….though it is based on a different river. It is a small town in the East Berbice-Corentyne region on the banks of the Corentyne River which forms the border that Guyana shares with Suriname. The Rum itself was not it seems distilled at the Skeldon facility as this Distillery produced Rum only up until 1960. It is likely then that this Rum was produced at the now closed Uitvlugt Distillery on a Coffey Still. As none of the stills were apparently relocated, the still used must have been pre-existing in its Uitvlugt location. This information has been gathered from the quite frankly magnificent research and writing carried out by Marco Freyr and it can be found here. 

Velier Skeldon 1973 – 60.5% abv

Skeldon 73 Close

The Rum in question was distilled in 1973 and bottled in 2005 giving it a massive 32 years of tropical age. In this day and age that it unbelievable. Barrel marks are <SWR> which according to Marco’s research could be either ‘Sir William Russell’ or more likely ‘Skeldon William Ross’, with William Ross being the founder of the Skeldon estate. The outturn of this release was a paltry 544 bottles….I don’t have information on the exact losses to the angels share but it surely must’ve been 80% plus. Here we go…

Tasting Notes

Skeldon 2

Photograph Copyright of Lance Surujbally

In the glass – You immediately get the impression that you are about to be a part of something really special. The Rum itself is so so dark and brooding. It is a mahogany that when held to the light displays a vibrant dark red reminiscent of ripe Victoria plums. There is a very apparent greenish hue to the ring of liquid where it meets the glass further indicating a good deal of time spent in oak. A swirl leaves a ring of liquid that slowly develops small beads. It takes a good 2 or 3 minutes for a few of those beads, not all of them, to slowly make their way back home to the rest of their rummy buddies in the glass. Getting your nose within a foot of the glass overpowers your senses with raisins and prunes. Very inviting. Moving closer to the glass, there is a slight nutty quality that draws you into something that is reminiscent of a really good pint of Porter or a nice Chocolate Stout and all of the chocolate and coffee notes that they carry within them. There is a slight hint of bitterness too that reminds me of a freshly opened tin of treacle….this then develops into a soft liquorice. Time is certainly key with this Rum. You don’t spend 32 years in a barrel, numerous years sitting in a bottle and then reveal all straight away. Coming back to the glass 10 minutes later, there is a sour black cherry note that is lifted upon the brooding heavy stone fruit. One thing that I’m not suffering from is a feeling that there has been too much time spent in the barrel. Wood influence I certainly there but it is not dominant. Maybe it is responsible for the sour black cherry and slight bitterness? The last thing that hits me, some 30 minutes after pouring is the slightest menthol note. To be honest, If I could smell only one Rum until the end of my days it would be a close call between the Velier Diamond 1999 or this Velier Skeldon 1973.

Skeldon 73 GlassIn the mouth – The initial entry is all-encompassing. There is a slight, but only slight, bite from the alcohol. But its good to be reminded that you’re drinking a high-proof spirit. This swiftly gives way to a really pleasant warming heat that envelops your whole mouth in a silky dark chocolate resplendent with intense notes of coffee. The best way to reference this, for me, is to go back to the pint of Porter or Chocolate Stout. Huge bitter notes are in abundance and it is liquorice leading the way now. This dies down and leads into prunes and a homemade blackcurrant jam that are themselves starting to morph into a really oaky, well aged PX Sherry minus the cloying nature. It is a big Rum, but not a chewy Rum. It is such a well-balanced prospect that it manages to release all of the waves of flavour almost in some sort of other worldly cosmic order to take you on a journey through all 32 years of its life. Each facet gets ample time in the spotlight, all being held upright and slowly ushered along by the strong spine of coffee and liquorice. The oak brings with it a cutting Steven Wright or Jack Dee like dryness. Now we are almost at the really saddening part….assessing the finish using the remains of the sample. It should come as no surprise that it is long….very long. Coffee and chocolate lead the way before the prunes elbow their way in. Bitter liquorice follows before, several minutes later, a real sense of black olives surprises you with an almost salty brine. Sensational stuff.

This Rum is everything a Rum should be. It smells amazing. Tastes amazing. Is unbelievably well-balanced. Is relaxed whilst remaining focussed, and it delivers an experience that must be savoured. Sure the 60.5% is there, and it is a bit punchy, but still also massively drinkable up there. It has none of the tongue numbing factors usually associated with high-proof spirits. Never once did my senses feel compromised. Things like this are quickly becoming impossible to find. With Veliers almost exclusive choice of the 100% tropically aged Demerara stocks at DDL now all but ended with the release of El Dorados Rare Collection, this truly is a moment in time.

If I were a man who used expletives within articles, and those that know me know that I rarely swear *cough*, I would find quite a few strong words to extol the virtues of this mythical creature.

So the big question is, if you see it, should you pay upwards of 1200 Euros for it? That decision can only be yours. It is certainly an experience….and a bloody good one at that. There is history attached to this Rum. Stories of closed distilleries and upheaval. A dwindling industry and a concentrating of resources. If that is your bag, you already know your answer to the question. For me, I don’t have the resources to part with such cash. If I did, I would already own a bottle. It’s simply that good. The fact that I have been able to experience it is something that I’m hugely thankful for. I’d offer something of equal value to Lance, but sadly that’d mean handing over a kidney….or an arm…and I kinda like having a full complement.

© 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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Posted by on February 7, 2016 in Rum

 

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Emporia Christmas Cocktails

*Press Release*

Emporia

Emporia Brands HQ asked a number of their award-winning brands to send across their festive recipes, perfect to impress your friends and family with.

Ron Prohibido – ‘the forbidden rum’ – is a unique premium Latino rum from Mexico. Made in a traditional 12 year solera with a unique combination of column still rums, Ron Prohibido was, in the 17th century, shipped in used sweet wine barrels to Spain where the distinctive sweet and bitter taste it acquired during the voyage was much appreciated…so much so that local producers in Spain persuaded King Felipe V to ban it – hence “prohibido”, the forbidden rum. Now, over 300 years later, this delicious rum is available in the UK for the first time.

Try their simple ‘Prohibido’:

Glass: Mug

Ingredients:

60 ml Ron Prohibido

2 tsp caster sugar

½ cup hot fresh coffee

1 cinnamon stick

Orange zest

Method:

Stir the coffee and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Stir in Ron Prohibido and add the cinnamon and the strip of orange zest. Garnish with whipped cream, grated chocolate and grated orange zest.

Prohibido

Osborne is one of the oldest and most prestigious wine and spirit producers in Spain. Founded in 1772 by Thomas Osborne Mann to supply sherry to the UK, it remains 100% family owned, and is now run by the seventh generation.

The brightest vinous jewels in Osborne’s considerable crown are the very old rare sherries (vors). these are exceptional sherries from very special soleras, all of which were established nearly two centuries ago, and the solera for Sibarita is in fact the oldest in Jerez, dating back well over 200 years to 1792. These precious sherries have found worldwide acclaim, and are found on the lists of top restaurants around the world.

Try out their ‘PX Reserve’ recipe:

Glass: Coupette

Ingredients:

40 ml Chairman’s Reserve

10 ml Osborne PX

2 dash Angostura

Method:

Stir all the ingredients within a mixing glass over ice, then strain into a coupette.

PX Reserve

*End*

Both cocktails look pretty tasty! Now we don’t have the Osborne PX here at Rum Diaries HQ but we do another bottle of PX and of course we have Chairman’s Reserve so we are odds on to fire one of those up at some point over the Christmas period!

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2015. 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 December 24, 2015 in Other, Press Release, Rum

 

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Ron de Jeremy XO

RDJ XO AngleWe’ve been quite vocal in the past about our love of Ron de Jeremy. It is a product that was dismissed by some as it was thought to be pushing the boundaries of good taste. But we always felt that the Rum was quite enjoyable and it became a real regular purchase at home. The perfect foil to the cries of ‘gimmick’….something that stood up to scrutiny, which we think that it did. You can refresh your memory and see our article on Ron de Jeremy and also Ron de Jeremy Spiced here.

Ron de Jeremy XO – 40% abv

Right, now your back with us. We can tell you all about Ron de Jeremy XO. This Rum is positioned as the next step, or a step up the Rum ladder. The presentation is quite frankly is stunning. The bottle comes in a black cylinder and when the metal cylinder top is removed you are faced with a jet black smooth coated glass bottle. The text is bright white and furnishes you with a little information, the most important being the location of the source Rum(s). The Reserva was from Panama (though the blend has changed now but the profile of the Rum remains) but in this iteration the Rums have been sourced from Barbados, Trinidad, Guyana and Jamaica and are a blend of pot and column. Some aged for up to 15yrs. Solera is mentioned in the bottle but in this instance (and in the majority of instances), it is merely referring to the fact that there is a blend of Rums of differing ages/locations and no desire to be tied down to an actual minimum age. It is profile based not age based. It is a common practice…see Zacapa, Botran, Matusalem, Dictador, Cubaney and so on. A little further digging (Thanks Olli) has turned up that the distilleries in question providing the Rums are hugely credible locations. The Barbados component is a blend of column and pot distilled Rums sourced from Foursquare Distillery. The Trinidad component is from Trinidad Distillers (the production company of Angostura), obviously column only. The Guyana element is obviously DDL and they provide pot distilled Rum which should give the Rum some real backbone. Jamaica is the really interesting one….Hampden, Worthy Park, Monymusk and New Yarmouth Estate all provide high ester pot still Rums to the blend. All signs point to the fact that this should be some good juice…..

Now this Rum has been doing very well in Europe and is firmly placed to grab a slice of the big selling marketplace that is currently dominated by Zacapa and Diplomatico. It gives a three-tier element to the range with Spiced, Reserva and XO which positions them well in the grand scheme of things.

But what does it taste like…..

Tasting Notes

RDJ XO Bottle and Glass

In the glass: The Rum displays itself as a nice dark gold with mahogany flashes and upon swirling is as reluctant to release any droplets as I am reluctant to get a round in….eventually (as with getting a round in) it succumbs to peer pressure and a few very slow chunky droplets meander back down the glass. When swirling the Rum looks VERY viscous and is almost giving the appearance of moving in slow motion. The initial aroma, which is not as shy as the droplets is one of a very rich fruit cake. Prunes and vanilla are there by the bucket load and there is an almost nutty quality surrounded in burnt caramel. A little one-dimensional and not at all what I was expecting. In fact, it is nothing like I’d expect from the knowledge of the Rums in the blend.

In the mouth: On entry the Rum is incredibly viscous. It immediately gives me a kind of bitter caramel flavour but that is soon kicked into touch by a thick, gooey sweetness…almost cloying. Straight off the bat there is a heap of vanilla, a tiny hint of spice and the hint of an oaky component. It is very smooth…..almost confusingly so. The finish is very short-lived and very disappointing. I expected it to linger but it just slips out of the door without telling you whilst you’re seeing to the other guests. I feel a little of that ‘peach’ like quality that I keep harping on about in the back of my throat that can only be the merest hint of the Barbados component. There is none of the pot still Jamaican magic that I expected and none of the backbone that pot still Demerara usually provides…Trinidad will maybe be the provider of the oaky element but this is the polar opposite of what the blend tells me. It’s all a bit ‘meh’….

I hate to put out bad vibes but after tasting a few glasses of this Rum I felt that something was amiss. It just didn’t sit right with me, so I sent a blind sample off for hydrometer testing by Wes, who runs another Rum based site (it’s not as good as this one, and I’m way more handsome…and taller). He duly carried out the test on this along with two other samples that I had marked up for him to taste…they were almost the controls for the hydrometer test. The resulting data was cause for concern and a bit of a red flag. 92 g/L of additions whether that be sugar, glycerol, vanillin’s or something else. I buy sweetened Rums and I enjoy sweetened Rums, but to say that I was shocked by the figure displayed in the results would be an understatement. More than this though, I felt really let down. I like Olli from One Eyed Spirits, even though I’ve only met him once. This was on the same night that I also met the big man himself, Ron Jeremy and Gaby from Spirit Cartel. Olli has answered my emailed concerns over this Rum and that level of honesty and openness should be applauded. I asked the questions, I got my answers.

The following though, is why I feel so disappointed. The Rum is sourced from credible origins (including some of the most credible) and it has all the potential to be a very interesting blend….world class even. I perhaps expected it to surpass our love of the Reserva! But it has massively under achieved as it has been masked by the additions and the whole experience has been dulled. Imagine that friend, everyone has one. They are a really vibrant and interesting person and for some reason they wind up in the kind of relationship where their partner doesn’t let them be themselves….they control every interaction that you have with your friend and they mask the very essence of what made your friend so great to be around in the first place. Ron de Jeremy XO is that friend and as a result is a huge missed opportunity for me, and it does it’s credible components a large disservice.

That said, it is massively unfair to put this Rum in the same category as all other Rums that have test data out there, for one, this product actually does have Rum as its base….and very credible Rum at that….it just went off the rails and made a few bad decisions whilst it was growing up.

As per usual, feel free to pop in for a drop. It’ll be popular, just not with me. I’ll stick to the Reserva.

In the interests of full disclosure, I was sent the bottle in question by some really lovely people to give my thoughts and feedback.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2015. 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 December 10, 2015 in Rum

 

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London Rum Experience Week and RumFest Shenanigans

rum experience no dateGiven the huge amount of Rum based events going on in the lead up to this years UK RumFest, there is a high likelihood that if this performance is repeated next year we may have to take a short-term rental in South West London! We thought that by making the trip on Thursday morning clutching our Rum University and RumFest tickets that we would be experiencing a lot……but in truth we didn’t even scratch the surface. What we shall attempt to do though is talk you through some of the more standout points of our 2015 RumFest experience!

Friday morning saw us grab a cup of tea take a seat on the comfy sofas in the lobby of the Ibis Hotel. We were soon joined by John Coelho-Charles, Helena Tiare Olsen, Keegan Menezes, Robert Burr and Paul Yellin. Much chatting ensued with topics as varied as Santeria Rum, the weather and the strange fruit on offer at the street market outside of our hotel……As we sat waiting, Ian walked into the lobby, made a b-line for the sofas and greeted us all. Good start. A short while later due to London traffic (among other things) we clocked Tito Cordero enter the building which meant that Rum University could start. We were all ushered into one of the seminar rooms off the main hall with a few of us taking a cheeky glimpse of the exhibition space being set up for the weekends fun.

IMAG1033The Diplomatico Rum seminar kicked things off with a really open insight into the sheer range of distillates that can be produced at DUSA. Now irrespective of your opinion on the Rums produced and sold under the Diplomatico brand, they have a pretty special collection of stills at DUSA….and we got to hear about all of them.

Next up was a pretty special olfactory seminar presented by Kim Lahiri of Aroma Academy. It was all about reconstructing the aroma profiles not deconstructing them which is done via Aroma Recognition and Aroma Vocabulary. Very interesting and enlightening stuff. After a quick break for lunch which consisted of the amazing Fish n Chips from the on site pub….(just ask Helena for a review) we were into the afternoon session.

IMAG1051 (2)The afternoons learning opportunity was provided by Richard Seale of Foursquare Distillery who led with his own rather brutal assessment of the current state of the industry and a real insight into alcohol plants vs spirit production. He also brought proposals for the future classification of the Rum category. A proposal in conjunction with Luca Gargano that would see Rum categorised as follows:

  • 100% Pot Still (Pure Single Rum)
  • Pot / Column (Single Blended)
  • Column (Coffey Still)
  • Multi-Column

 

IMAG1049Off the back of this we got to try the upcoming Habitation Velier Foursquare 100% Pot Still release…..dazzling doesn’t quite cover it.

The seminar ended with a little food for thought….’Not all Rums with added sugar are bad…..but all of the bad ones will have added sugar’. A very interesting day spent and a learning opportunity that we will be looking to undertake again next year! We were then released into the quite amazing Boutique RumFest……

 

 

 

 

 

Boutique RumFest

This year saw some absolutely amazing Rums on display and the experience is probably best dealt with via a series of images….

Bushtea Rum

IMAG1052Bush Tea Rum is more of a botanical Rum….distilled in the UK it was quite a unique proposition and something that tasted quite different in a world of very ‘samey’ spiced Rums…

 

 

Ekte Rums

IMAG1053Coming from Denmark and with Daniel Nunez Bascunan at the helm, the range of Rums available was great with our particular favourites being the Light & Dry (Barbados and Trinidad) and Pungent & Geeky (Jamaica and Barbados). We really hope that these get a UK release as we are mad keen to try them again.

 

Bristol Classic Rum

IMAG1056

We were so so pleased to see the guys from Bristol Classic there. We are big fans of their output and the releases on display didn’t disappoint. Of the bottles on display, we already own the Worthy Park 8, Diamond Distillery 2003 and Foursquare 2004. Standouts were the simply sublime Port Morant 25yr, Haiti 2004 and Mauritius 5yr.We hope tobe able to pick up a few more Bristol bottlings over the coming year.

 

 

 

Hamilton Ministry of Rum Collection

IMAG1059This collection was quite simply stunning. The St Lucian 9 yr 100% Pot Still at 66.7% abv (which we fortunately ended up leaving with the remains of) is an absolute triumph, once again singling out St Lucia Distillers as one of the better current producers. Produced by their John Dore still it is an absolute melting pot of flavours and a real demonstration of a beautiful pot distilled Rum. We also have to say that the Jamaican Gold and Jamaican Black were no slouches either. Both from Worthy Park, the only difference is the addition of extra caramel colouring. We also got to meet Ed Hamilton too which was definitely one to tick of the list! European bottlers were being sought on this visit….though sadly not for the St Lucia 9yr as Ed’s allocation has all already been bottled.

IMAG1060

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matugga Rum

IMAG1063These guys were a real standout for us. 100 % Pot Still Rum distilled here in the UK. There is a real signature profile running through both the Gold and Spiced with a real hit of smoke which keeps things interesting. We predict good things in 2016 for these guys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nine Leaves Rum

IMAG1066The Nine Leaves range of Rums from Japan have been on our list for a while and we finally got to try them. Three interesting cask finished including quite a powerful Cabernet Sauvignon Cask and an American Oak Cask were all very different and all offered something unique. As expected the wine cask was very heavy on tannins and not for everyone but I quite enjoyed it. The real star though was the Clear which displayed once again, a really large amount of character as a result of the fermentation and pot distillation. One to pick up in the future.

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Rum Nation

IMAG1068We are already quite familiar with a lot of the Rum Nation releases but it was great to see their Rums on display there. The new Caroni 1999 was another accessible Caroni from them and now resides on our shelves.

 

 

Hampden Estate

IMAG1071Hampden Estate were also present, or should we say that Christelle was present. We are more than aware of Hampden Gold which has no age at all but a hell of a lot of flavour. What struck us was the amount of flavour carried by Rumfire even given its 63%…..we don’t own it yet but we will be looking to pick it up soon.

 

 

Other exhibitors of real note were the sublime offerings of Worthy Park Rum Bar Rum, the amazing Real McCoy and St Nicholas Abbey with their slightly more mature 5yr and sugar cane syrup. A great evening where we also bumped into our friend Sian…this years Boutique really trumped last years (which was also good) and we came away from the event with a real sense of a proper progression and new direction for the event with an emphasis on a few more independent bottlers really helping shake things up.IMAG1074 (2)

RumFest 2015

Again, a series of images seems way more appropriate than paragraphs attempting to sum up what a photograph can do quite easily.

After the disappointing sweetness of the first Angostura No1 release (red), the second Angostura No1 release (purple) really redeems itself with such a beautiful concentration of flavours and a dryness that is really very appealing

After the disappointing sweetness of the first Angostura No1 release (red), the second Angostura No1 release (purple) really redeems itself with such a beautiful concentration of flavours and a dryness that is really very appealing

Sean Duprey giving us a little lectured tasting of Angostura Rums

Sean Duprey giving us a little lectured tasting of Angostura Rums

The Bacardi shack was again another highlight. So well presented and this year with an emphasis on Ocho (Bacardi 8) and its versatility

The Bacardi shack was again another highlight. So well presented and this year with an emphasis on Ocho (Bacardi 8) and its versatility

A few selected serves to highlight Bacardi 8.....the Old Cuban was particularly good

A few selected serves to highlight Bacardi 8…..the Old Cuban was particularly good

Pussers....just yes. We know the range, we love the range, we got to try the range...you NEED Gunpowder Proof in your life....and the new blue label at 40% is no slouch either

Pussers….just yes. We know the range, we love the range, we got to try the range…you NEED Gunpowder Proof in your life….and the new blue label at 40% is no slouch either

Great to meet George again and to see him getting so passionate about Pussers

Great to meet George again and to see him getting so passionate about Pussers

Matugga Rum proved to be a real head turner and a massive hit and Jacines Rum Cake was phenomenal

Matugga Rum proved to be a real head turner and a massive hit and Jacines Rum Cake was phenomenal

Matugga Golden.....a really pleasant hit of smoke running though it

Matugga Golden…..a really pleasant hit of smoke running though it

Don Q Gran Anejo......a really really great example of a well made and very flavourful lighter column spirit

Don Q Gran Anejo……a really really great example of a well made and very flavourful lighter column spirit

Tiburon Rum brought their own Jack sparrow look-a-like to the event (pictures further down)....whilst we're not huge fans of pirate based japery....it was good fun nonetheless

Tiburon Rum brought their own Jack sparrow look-a-like to the event (pictures further down)….whilst we’re not huge fans of pirate based japery….it was good fun nonetheless

Our Rum of the Year thus far.....the Foursquare Port Cask

Our Rum of the Year thus far…..the Foursquare Port Cask

Steven eavesdropping on a deep discussion between two greats....Richard Seale and Dave Broom...

Steven eavesdropping on a deep discussion between two greats….Richard Seale and Dave Broom…

The next cask finish release from Foursquare....Zinfandel Cask....so unbelievably delicate and candyfloss like

The next cask finish release from Foursquare….Zinfandel Cask….so unbelievably delicate and candyfloss like

Richard magically producing a bottle of their first cask strength release.....it was way more delicate than you'd think and carried with it some amazing aromas and flavours

Richard magically producing a bottle of their first cask strength release…..it was way more delicate than you’d think and carried with it some amazing aromas and flavours

A real divider of opinions.....Mauritius Club...full on Bakewell tart in a glass.....I'm quite a fan

A real divider of opinions…..Mauritius Club…full on Bakewell tart in a glass…..I’m quite a fan

The new Gold Of Mauritius 5yr....Solera in this case merely means multiple barrels. It carries the same salty, nutty, chocolate profile as Gold just with a more balanced finish given a few years in oak...

The new Gold Of Mauritius 5yr….Solera in this case merely means multiple barrels. It carries the same salty, nutty, chocolate profile as Gold just with a more balanced finish given a few years in oak…

The range of Mezan releases presented by Eaux de Vie....the Guyana 2005 just had to come home with us

The range of Mezan releases presented by Eaux de Vie….the Guyana 2005 just had to come home with us

Lambs....their Alfred Lamb Cask Selection was absolutely beautiful

Lambs….their Alfred Lamb Cask Selection was absolutely beautiful

Botran....we are fans of the range here and it was great to reacquaint ourselves

Botran….we are fans of the range here and it was great to reacquaint ourselves

The anniversary release....very limited quantities.....the Rum was great and the experience of using the Spice and Citrus essences was a really good experience

The anniversary release….very limited quantities…..the Rum was great and the experience of using the Spice and Citrus essences was a really good experience

The seminars were also great fun this year too. We got to attend two separate versions of the Velier Seminar with the charismatic Luca Gargano and we also got the opportunity to attend the Rhums of Martinique Room with Jerry Gitany and Benoit Bail which was a great experience……

House of Velier Seminar(s)

Luca Gargano stating to warm up...

Luca Gargano stating to warm up…

Luca in full flow...

Luca in full flow…

Probably the most charismatic man that we have ever met....so much passion for Rum and all that it entails. An absolutely wonderful series of seminars giving great insight to the Rum, the man and his motivation...and of course we got to try some amazing Rums

Probably the most charismatic man that we have ever met….so much passion for Rum and all that it entails. An absolutely wonderful series of seminars giving great insight to the Rum, the man and his motivation…and of course we got to try some amazing Rums

Star of the show....the Habitation Velier releases...Foursquare 100% Pot Still

Star of the show….the Habitation Velier releases…Foursquare 100% Pot Still

Star of the show....the Habitation Velier releases...Forsyths 151 proof

Star of the show….the Habitation Velier releases…Forsyths 151 proof

Star of the show....the Habitation Velier releases...Forsyths Pot Still

Star of the show….the Habitation Velier releases…Forsyths Pot Still

Star of the show....the Habitation Velier releases...Forsyths Pot Still

Star of the show….the Habitation Velier releases…Forsyths Pot Still

A quite phenomenal Caroni.....

A quite phenomenal Caroni…..

Rhum Rhum Liberation 2012....version integrale

Rhum Rhum Liberation 2012….version integrale

Barnali and Luca....the shot that we could use....

Barnali and Luca….the shot that we could use….

Steven and Luca.....how big should we make the canvas print of this one?

Steven and Luca…..how big should we make the canvas print of this one?

 

Rhums of Martinique Room

Jerry and Benoit giving the introduction....

Jerry and Benoit giving the introduction….

These guys must be at the forefront of experimenting with cask finishes....some really interesting HSE expressions to try

These guys must be at the forefront of experimenting with cask finishes….some really interesting HSE expressions to try

These guys must be at the forefront of experimenting with cask finishes....some really interesting HSE expressions to try

These guys must be at the forefront of experimenting with cask finishes….some really interesting HSE expressions to try

Jerry extolling the virtues of Rhum Neisson....we are now believers!

Jerry extolling the virtues of Rhum Neisson….we are now believers!

We were fortunate enough to pick a bottle of this Rhum Neisson expression up....so so good

We were fortunate enough to pick a bottle of this Rhum Neisson expression up….so so good

Every one of these expressions carried something interesting and flavourful....

Every one of these expressions carried something interesting and flavourful….

Onto Benoit and Rhum Saint James.....quite beautiful expression this one....another that we were able to pick up and bring back with us...

Onto Benoit and Rhum Saint James…..quite beautiful expression this one….another that we were able to pick up and bring back with us…

...and this expression was an absolute delight....

…and this expression was an absolute delight….

Onto Trois Rivieres.....

Onto Trois Rivieres…..

We really enjoyed this expression....

We really enjoyed this expression….

...and this was beautiful....very well rounded

…and this was beautiful….very well rounded

Having only ever tried La Mauny Blanc, we were very impressed with what the range had to offer....

Having only ever tried La Mauny Blanc, we were very impressed with what the range had to offer….

This being the particular stand out expression.....

This being the particular stand out expression…..

Emilie finishing off with a 'Ti Punch....or several....we are really going to miss her when she moves....

Emilie finishing off with a ‘Ti Punch….or several….we are really going to miss her when she moves….

Group photo.....Jerry, Benoit, Emilie, Audrey and Paul Yellin getting in on things....

Group photo…..Jerry, Benoit, Emilie, Audrey and Paul Yellin getting in on things….

Steven with Benoit and Jerry.....we finally got to meet these guys and can't wait until our paths cross again...

Steven with Benoit and Jerry…..we finally got to meet these guys and can’t wait until our paths cross again…

That pretty much concludes the photo tour of this years RumFest….as far as previous years go…there was a real focus this year on the hot discussion topic of ‘real rum’ and the seminars and exhibitors really did reflect this. Sure there were a few big hitters missing but our time was fully spent getting to talk to the exhibitors and to be honest if there had been a third day we would have had just as much to do and to see.

In terms of standout Rums from the Boutique RumFest and RumFest, we have several. The Rum Bar offerings from Worthy Park, Gold, Overproof and Rum Cream were all outstanding. Matugga Rum made a big impression on a lot of people including us. The Ed Hamilton Ministry of Rum Collection was a joy to try. The Ekte Rums and Nine Leaves also impressed us a lot. The new Foursquare releases have us VERY excited and the upcoming Habitation Velier releases are going to inspire some Rum Pokémon in us (Gotta Catch Em All). All in all, 2016 is lining up to be very exciting and very expensive!

We couldn’t sign off though without a story and a few pictures of the great friends that we met again and also met for the first time. We met a couple from the US, Timothy and Louann Mace who were very complimentary about this site and in fact used our updates on RumFest to plan their trip over here to the event which was great to hear as its good to know that we are pitching the right content…and that it is useful!

Barnali with Captain Jack

Barnali with Captain Jack

Steven with Darius and James from Trilogy Brands and Fred from Gold of Mauritius

Steven with Darius and James from Trilogy Brands and Fred from Gold of Mauritius

Ian and Helena....

Ian and Helena….

Steven judging his first cocktail competition in great company...

Steven judging his first cocktail competition in great company…

We finally got to meet Johnny...

We finally got to meet Johnny…

Steven with John and Kevin....

Steven with John and Kevin….

We couldn't leave this one out....Steven with the awesome Andy Abrahams...

We couldn’t leave this one out….Steven with the awesome Andy Abrahams…

Rum people truly are great people

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2015. 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 November 30, 2015 in Rhum Agricole, Rum

 

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