Manchester Rum Festival

*Press Release*

RUM AT THE READY FOR MANCHESTER’S FIRST

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Manchester’s first ever rum festival is coming to town this year, thanks to freelance drinks curator Dave Marsland, aka the Drinks Enthusiast.

Located at Revolución De Cuba, the festival will be held on Saturday 3rd June, and will boast over 40 types of rum including Bacardi, Chairman’s Reserve, Diplomático, Sailor Jerry and Mezan. Brunches, afterparties and shenanigans galore will mean it’ll be a Caribbean affair from dusk ’til dawn.

Tickets cost £15 for the festival (brunches and afterparties not included) which runs from 12pm-5pm, and include a welcome drink by sponsor Coco Re’al, along with a taster from each of the 15 stalls as you work your way round exploring the top brands.

And if that’s not enough booze for you, a team of mixologists and brand ambassadors will be on hand at the cocktail bar serving up a selection of rum cocktail favourites.*

Dave Marsland said “Rum is a staple within the Manchester bar scene, especially with the popularity of venues such as Revolución De Cuba, so I wanted to celebrate it! There’s so many incredible rum brands I felt the best way to celebrate them would be with a festival.

The festival will host entertainment, themed food and drinks offers and gifts, so we really are going all out, plus there’ll be events running throughout the day to get everyone in Manchester involved. I’m just looking forward to meeting guests on the day and seeing how popular the already much-loved brands become.”

Details for brunches and after parties and further rum promotions will be announced soon, but here’s how to purchase your ticket to the main festival – http://www.manchesterrumfestival.com/whats-on

I’ve also been able to get a few images of the cocktails on offer at the festival….these include a Bacardi Mojito, Banks Swedish Rum Punch, Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai and Pusser’s & Re’al Painkiller.

Mojito using Bacardi

Mojito using Bacardi

Swedish Rum Punch using Banks 5 Island

Swedish Rum Punch using Banks 5 Island

Mai Tai using Chairmans Reserve

Mai Tai using Chairmans Reserve

Painkiller using Pussers

Painkiller using Pussers

*End*

So there we are…the venue has been announced. The list of exhibitors is growing and there is something in the line up for those new to the category and for those growing tired of the additive laden side of the market seeking something pure and refined. This coupled with cocktails and a host of other events in the city, it looks set to be pretty amazing. Being so close to us, we’d be foolish not to attend. See you there?

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2017. 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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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.

IMAG1065

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Rum Nation Caroni 1998 – 2nd Batch

Rum Nation LogoA few weeks off from writing but now we’re back with a rather nice proposition. Rum Nation Caroni 1998 – 2nd Batch. This is the first Rum that I have written about from the much fabled Caroni Distillery in Trinidad….I have a few Caroni bottles on the shelf so it may be worthwhile to start with a brief introduction and background to the history of Rum production at Caroni Distillery.

Caroni Rum Production

There were originally in excess of 50 distilleries in Trinidad but by the 1950’s that had fallen to just 8. Now there is only one….and that is Angostura. In 1918, the Caroni sugar factory begun distilling Rum (1923 is also mentioned. Clarity would be welcomed). It did so in a Cast Iron Still. During this period, there were several other sugar factories also distilling differing types of Rum in differing stills. As you can imagine, the process could be a little ‘changeable’ which when accompanied with blending that is perhaps done on a random basis, saw never to be seen again ‘one-off’ creations being commonplace. During its years of Rum production, Caroni improved their processes and also began to purchase and utilise new stills, moving from their original Cast Iron Still to a Wooden Coffey Still in 1943. The Cast Iron and Wooden Coffey Stills remained in operation until 1945 when a new all Copper Still was installed. Due to the Caroni takeover of the Esperanza Estate and therefore taking ownership of their Still, the Esperanza Single Column Still arrived in 1957. A Four Column Gerb Herman still was installed in 1979 and commissioned in 1980. This assisted in two ways. It helped increase the capacity of the distillery and led to a diversification in the number of differing products that the distillery could offer. The Cast Iron Still and Wooden Coffey still were replaced in 1984 by a Twin Column Still from Blair, Campbell and McLean of Glasgow and also a Pot Still.

In 2001, despite union protests, the Government of Trinidad sold its 49% stake in Rum Distillers Limited which was Caroni’s Rum arm, for $35 million to Angostura. The unions had actually offered to buy that same 49% stake for a higher price than that seen in the Angostura bid ($40 million) but due to negotiations with Angostura being at ‘an advanced stage’, the bid was refused. From 2002 the Caroni Distillery carried on its operations at a vastly reduced output but the sugar operation was closed in 2003 and that was followed by the closure of Caroni (1975) Ltd in 2004. No more Rum production. This coupled with the death of the sugar industry there, devastated Trinidad with the loss of upwards of 10,000 jobs and a knock on effect to other industries and countless thousands of employees family members.

Caroni Rum Styles

Caroni was famed for producing both ‘Heavy’ and ‘Light’ Rums. With my basic understanding (plus a lot of help from a learned friend) this is a reference to congeners (both desirable and undesirable) which create the flavours within a Rum. ‘Heavy’ Rums from a column still have a higher percentage of undesirable congeners due to low rectification. ‘Light’ Rums have a lower percentage of undesirable congeners due to higher overall rectification. The ‘Light’ Rums produced by Caroni were close to neutral spirit territory at 96% abv…..though not all spirit at a higher proof is neutral. The ‘Heavy’ Rums produced by Caroni would probably be closer to 65 – 70% abv. Due to the high abv, the light Rum was reduced to around 80% abv prior to maturation to avoid excessive evaporation during that process.

There is a common aroma and flavour profile that seems to run through every Caroni Rum that I have tasted, regardless of the abv. It is in part as a result of the attempt to make a heavy, pot still style Rum via low rectification methods in a column still. This actually ends up producing a distillate heavier than that produced via a true low rectification still and a distillate containing a higher percentage of undesirable components, such as fusel oils, that a pot distiller would usually exclude when making their cuts. This alongside a higher sulphur content certainly makes them not to everyone’s liking. There is no doubting though the ‘Unicorn’ status that certain bottles of Caroni Rum have among the Rum Community…..I’m not certain whether this is as a result of their growing rarity or the flavour and aroma profile of the varying expressions.

With all that said, I suppose that its time to talk about the Rum in question.

Rum Nation Caroni 1998 – 2nd Batch – 55% abv

Caroni 98 WideAs per usual, you can refresh your knowledge of other Rum Nation releases and Rum Nation as a company here, here and here.

This Rum was distilled in 1998 and bottled in 2014, and is the 2nd batch of this expression. This release, Batch number L 14/349, comprises 4580 bottles. This Rum was initially matured in Trinidad for 9 years in American oak before being shipped to Piedmont, Italy for a second maturation period of 6 years in casks that had previously held Rum Nation Peruano 8. The familiar postage stamp is present along with the squat bottle and wooden topped cork. Time to dig in……

Tasting Notes 

In the glass: the Rum is a dark mahogany in the glass with bright orange flashes (darker than it appears in the photograph) and a swirl of the glass releases long thick droplets. Immediately and rather surprisingly given my earlier Caroni experiences, the first aroma that hits me is an oily, almost perfumed orange peel….then this is backed up with that familiar petrol aroma that I have come to expect from Caroni….but it is dialled down…a lot. Oak is quite apparent as is a varnish like aroma. Caramel, burnt sugar and something resembling freshly ground cumin round things off alongside something hinting at a raisin influence.

Given the 55% abv I added a few drops of water and waited for a while. The petrol takes a back seat now and fruitier aromas come to the fore. Tropical fruits, a heightened oak and a tingling spicy character are revealed.

In the mouth: This is a bruiser up front. There is a huge hit of that familiar petrol and tar like flavour and the initial experience is very astringent and tannic. Following sips reveal a fresh, almost menthol like pine note. There is definitely a clove influence and that oak detected on the nose is very influential. There is also an underlying savoury edge to this Rum with that cumin and also the floral, almost perfumed taste of biting into a coriander seed. This Rum is almost in the realms of slightly bitter or tart and it is all the more interesting for it. The finish is of a medium to long length and contains highlights of aniseed, petrol and that perfumed coriander seed…..it is still very tannic until the end.

With a little water, liquorice is really standing out for me as is a peach like fruitiness. This is far easier to drink as the astringency has been muted. The florals are far more dominant with that orange oil, pine and something medicinal on the finish.

Caroni 98 LabelFor me personally, this is one of the more approachable and enjoyable Caroni experiences that I have had. I can only assume that this is down to the casks used for the second maturation period. The flavours and aromas familiar to all are there, but they’re dialed down allowing more to shine through and maybe allowing a fuller impression of the spirit to be gained. Water makes it infinitely more sippable, or should I say it increases the palatability of the Rum over a longer period of time. If you enjoy Caroni releases, I see nothing to stop you getting enjoyment here. It is different enough to offer something new, whilst also being familiar. I’m really still not sure of my own feelings for Caroni bottlings. One day I can’t get enough of the flavour, another day I can think of nothing I’d like to taste less. It is certainly a mood thing with me but this release has seen more action in a shorter timeframe than any of my other Caroni expressions so that speaks volumes. Its different, so I’d say give it a try. It is almost, and I do mean almost, ‘Caroni-lite’. One thing that I will add is that I think the abv is about right for this release. The lower abv expressions that I have encountered (40%) have been almost over diluted and contain more of what I don’t enjoy in a Caroni. Having control to take the abv down slightly really helps me personally with Caroni Rums. As per usual, feel free to pop by for a drop.

3-5-star

© 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.

Compagnie Des Indes Caraibes Blend

CDI LogoThis brand is a new discovery to me and it is in fact not yet on general sale in the UK. It is coming though. At the recent Boutique Bar Show in Manchester I managed to speak to a chap called Will from Imported Brands and they are apparently bringing the Guadeloupe 16 and Caraibes Blend to the UK. My knowledge of the brand came from social media having seen snippets of information but resigning myself to never being able to try the Rums due to location. However, on a recent trip to Paris we visited the quite spectacular Christian de Montaguère store and were blown away by the volume of amazing Rums on display. Browsing the shelves I happened upon an amazing sight…..the current range of Compagnie Des Indes Rums!

Compagnie Des Indes CDM

I knew that I needed to leave with at least one expression….the Caraibes Blend seemed like a good choice…..but then I spotted a Barbados 16 from Foursquare Distillery bottled at 45%. I left with both. In hindsight, I should’ve picked up one of each as there were so many expressions that interested me…but both money and luggage space conspired against me…

Compagnie Des Indes

Compagnie Des Indes is a French company, and one that is the brainchild of Florent Beuchet. Florent has both a Rum and a Spirits background. His father owns a winery and also the Emile Pernot Absinthe Distillery, and Florent was the Banks Rum Brand Ambassador in New York for a 2 year period. The idea behind Compagnie Des Indes as a company is an attempt to pay homage to eighteenth century companies such as the English, Dutch and French East India Companies that would travel to distant lands to import rare commodities into their respective home countries. Rums are selected by Compagnie Des Indes and imported into France for bottling and release. More often than not these are single cask releases that are chosen as they are believed to best display the character of their country of origin. These releases are for the most part bottled without the addition of caramel colour or sugars and they are for the most part bottled above the standard 40% abv (there are exceptions). Compagnie Des Indes want to take you on a journey through these far-flung places by presenting authentic representations that are the embodiment of  their origin. As a breakaway from the single casks (and the principles of the single casks), they have two blends. The Latino Blend which has a 5yr age statement and the Caraibes Blend which has no age statement. The focus of this article will be the Caraibes Blend….if you’ve tuned into any of the social media channels that we here at Rum Diaries Blog frequent, you’ll be more than aware of our love for the easy-going nature of this Rum….but lets look at the ins and outs….

Compagnie Des Indes Caraibes Blend – 40% abv

Caraibes BottleThere are three countries contributing to the Rums within this blend. Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana. The blend is 50% Trinidad, 25% Barbados and 25% Guyana. Age wise, the components range between 3 and 5 years old, and they are all column distilled Rums. Florent has been very open with me which is great, and I can tell you that there has been 15g/L of organic sugarcane syrup added along with E150A Caramel Colouring. Given the ‘single cask’ nature of the planned releases, the Caraibes, alongside the Latino, Jamaica 5 and Jamaica 5 Navy Strength will be constants in the range. It bodes well as I would be keen to replace the bottle…

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The Rum displays itself as a dull gold in the glass and a little swirl releases plentiful but slow droplets. The aromas appear to be very light and intertwined and include chocolate, raisins, vanilla and a nutty quality. There is also something like light banana but apart from the chocolate, none of the aromas are robust. It appears to be a crowd pleaser rather than an intense aroma bomb with nothing too challenging. Maybe the broad brush approach has been adopted…nothing dazzling but absolutely nothing not to like…all nice and easy-going stuff.

In the mouth: Straight  away the Rum is very warming and carrying with it a kick of peppery spice which is quickly tamed by a growing, but not intense sweetness. The mouthfeel is an all-encompassing one which is surprising given the weightless qualities of the aromas. Its relative youthfulness is obvious and there is little to no oak showing in the mouth. Chocolate, raisins and vanilla are all present and accounted for alongside that light banana and something reminiscent of hazelnut yoghurt!?! That’s about it really. The finish is quite a short one and is perhaps the Rums weakness. Peaches are present as are chocolate and raisins but it is too short-lived to really savour. I suppose that means that you need to sip again….but it would’ve been nice to get more length on the finish.

You’re going to maybe think my summation of this Rum is a little strange….There is nothing about this Rum that would stop me recommending it to you…in fact, I 100% urge you to go out and buy a bottle if you can find an outlet. I have enjoyed numerous visits to my bottle as it is very easy to drink and is a really tasty prospect. There is a heck of a lot to like, just not a great deal to experience. Its characteristics remind me of something like Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva….thats a crowd pleaser with mass appeal too, but the Caraibes is nowhere near as sweet and cloying as the Diplomatico, which plays out in its favour. The Caraibes blend doesn’t truly dazzle on either the entry or the finish but it is competent enough and interesting enough to be just a huge pleasure to drink…no matter what mood you are in. It is priced to sell ( I paid 29 Euros ) and there is a certain honesty to the Rum and the brand. Providing it does actually make it to the UK, I will absolutely be picking up another bottle. This may be my new ‘Introduce a non-Rum drinker to Rum’ bottle such is its nature. Considering this is classed as one of the entry-level bottlings in the range, I am so excited to see what other delights Florent has chosen within the Compagnie Des Indes range.

As a side note, it makes a beautiful Rum Old Fashioned!

3-0-star

© 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.

Angostura Butterfly House

*Press Release*

FLUTTERING DRINKERS WITH THE HEART OF ANGOSTURA

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

Masterclasses/Events:

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: http://www.londoncocktailweek.com/events

*End*

© 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.

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.

Cocktails

Ingredients:

37.5ml Rumburra Orach

50ml Cloudy Apple Juice

20ml Cabernet Sauvignon

20ml Ginger & Lemongrass Cordial

2 dashes of Chocolate Bitters

Method:

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.

Ingredients:

50ml Rumburra Orach

25ml Lime Juice

50ml Clear Apple Juice

Half a Granny Smith Apple

Small bunch of Coriander

A pinch of Black Pepper

Method:

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.

Worlds Largest Rum Tasting

*Press Release*

GLOBAL RUM AMBASSADOR TO STAGE THE WORLD’S LARGEST RUM TASTING AS PRECURSOR TO EIGHTH ANNUAL RUMFEST

rum experience no date

Very limited spaces available to the Guiness World Record attempt and tickets available now on a first come first serve basis

Thursday 9th October 2014,
London’s ILEC, Earl’s Court

Tickets at £10, now on sale from rumfest.co.uk

JET_3588CGlobal Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell is inviting rum fans to become official record breakers as he bids to take the title of ‘World’s Largest Rum Tasting’ at what is set to be the biggest rum tasting experience ever to be staged. Taking place on Thursday 9th October as a precursor to the eighth annual The RumFest, rum enthusiasts will be treated to a tasting experience at London’s ILEC Conference Centre, Earl’s Court where they will be able to sample and discover rums from six prestigious rum brands. These brands have been hand-picked by Burrell especially for the event and reflect the diversity of blends, taste and style on offer across the rum category and will be presented by some of the industry’s leading names. From Appleton’s Jamaican-style Rum presented by esteemed Master Blender Joy Spence, to a Rum which bring a bit of history to the evening with Pusser’s Navy Rum presented by Peter Thornton and George Freegard, to Trinidadian-style Angostura presented by Master Distiller John  Georges, this will be a unique and one-off evening for rum lovers. Officially adjudicated by a Guinness World Records representative and hosted by Ian Burrell, tickets are available to buy now for only £10 and tables of 10 can be pre-booked for groups, all available with more information on all four days of events from The RumFest website.

JET_2654CFor the first time in history, RumFest invites guests to become part of a record-breaking attempt to host the world’s largest rum tasting, with hundreds of rum enthusiasts coming together to sample six esteemed rums from across the globe.

Representing Jamaica, Appleton’s Rum will be sipped and savoured with commentary from revered Master Blender, Joy Spence, whilst the Spanish style of rum, Don Q will be sipped and savoured with a yet to be announced speaker. For a historical twist Pusser’s Navy Rum will be presented by George Freegard and Peter Thornton. Angostura will bring a taste of Trinidad to the evening hosted by Master Distiller John Georges and the delights of Cuban’s classic Havana Club will be a part of the World Record Attempt with one final rum to be announced in the coming weeks.

Doors will open at 5pm where guests will be greeted with a welcome speech from Global Rum Ambassador and RumFest founder Ian Burrell, followed by an introduction to the rules and regulations of the Guinness World Records. From 6.30pm the world record attempt will begin as guests taste the six rums from some of the world’s most revered rum distilleries followed by an audience Q&A and the presentation of the Guinness World Records certificate.

Global Rum Ambassador and RumFest Founder Ian Burrell comments, “The possibility of hosting the World’s Largest Rum Tasting is incredibly exciting and we cannot wait to share the experience with so many rum lovers and it will be the perfect way to kick off what will be four days of superb rum celebrations. Rum is a spirit loved by many and to have the chance to taste six esteemed rums hosted by their top master blenders, ambassadors and distillers is an honour and a privilege. I cannot wait to share it with you all!”

The RumFest takes place in London at the ILEC on Friday 10th for press and trade and Saturday 11th to Sunday 12th October 2014 for trade and consumers. Standard tickets are now on sale at £49.95 for Saturday and Sunday, which include access to all areas of the the event and single measure tastings from the majority of exhibitors. The brand new 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 please visit the RumFest website.

*End*

© 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.