Don Q Rum

don-qDon Q as a brand was one that I’d heard about and read about but one that never actually seemed to be available to buy here in the UK despite their regular (and very enjoyable) presence at the UK RumFest….well last year saw them get distribution with Spirit Cartel which of course meant that I could grab them. I maybe started at the wrong end with my first purchase as I opted to go straight for the Gran Anejo but that was soon rectified and I now have the Cristal, Gold, Anejo and Single Barrel (we’ll come to that later) 2005 to enjoy.

destileria_serrallesWhat struck me looking into Don Q as a brand was the amount of history associated with the family. The place of Don Q as a Rum brand was cemented in the history books in 1954 with the creation of one of the most iconic and well-known Rum based drinks available, the Pina Colada. But their story began in around 1820 when Juan Sebastian Serrallés arrived in Ponce, Puerto Rico from Spain. He founded the Hacienda Teresa sugar plantation soon after. In 1865, Don Juan Serrallés, the son of Juan Sebastian Serrallés uses an imported French copper pot still to produce his first barrels of rum. Fast forward to 1934 and Don Q as a brand is launched taking its cues from the literary character Don Quixote. In 1954, Ramon “Monchito” Marrero creates the Pina Colada whilst at the Beachcomber Bar in San Juan. 1981 sees Felix J. Serrallés take leadership of the Destileria Serrallés which kickstarts the family’s desire for growth and innovation and in 1985 Serrallés Inc. acquires Puerto Rican Distillers Inc. which allows it to massively expand its range of products. On to modern-day and in 2004, Roberto Serrallés joins the family business and applies his skills in environmental sciences to implement a waste reclamation process that cements Don Q as one of the more environmentally friendly producers. Felix J. Serrallés remains the President and CEO of Destilería Serrallés.

There is a huge section on the measures taken by Don Q to become more environmentally aware and also a little more fleshed out version of the brand history that can be found on their website here for you to peruse at your leisure.

Anyhow, on with the more interesting stuff…..the Rum. The Rums that Don Q produce are from a multi-column set up……mostly. They also have a Single Column at Destilería Serrallés. I’d say that Don Q Rums definitely find their place with the lighter styles of Rum….don’t let that put you off though. Don Q produce some very flavourful Rums that under the new classification proposed by Luca Gargano and backed up by Richard Seale would fall under the “Rum” heading due to their multi-column production method.

One thing to note is that the Don Q Rums being written about here buck the trend of a lot of light Spanish style Rums in the fact that they do not appear to have been doctored with unnecessary additions such as sugar etc which sees them come up clean in the hydrometer tests carried out by others. In fact they have been quite vocal about their ‘clean’ rums which is a great thing as I personally have fallen out of love with ‘Rons’ given that they are usually highly marketing led and contain for the most part a fist full of sugar or other additions. They also seem to lack a lot of complexity. Even some independent bottlers have been duped by the practices of certain producers having thought that they’d obtained ‘clean’ barrels of Rum.  But onto the range…I could (and probably should) split over multiple articles but I thought that I’d pool the ‘resource’ (if you can even call it that) in the one location.

Don Q Cristal – 40% abv

Don Q Cristal is a multi-column distilled blend producing a very light style of Rum. I have it on good authority that the Rum is taken off the still at 90.5% for this blend. The distillates are aged for between 1 and 5 years in re-charred American White Oak Barrels prior to being blended and filtered to remove colour. The Rum is then bottled at 40%.

Don Q Cristal

Tasting Notes

Nose: This is very light stuff. It’s close to neutral but it does possess all the characteristics of a Rum….you’d pick it out of a line up of mixed unaged spirits. It’s all very clean with a light sweetness, something slightly prickly and a watery fresh ginger quality. Maybe a hint of nutmeg.

Mouth: Light sweetness on entry initially which develops an oily citrus quality and a light floral note that dries a little. It has an extremely light body. Creamy, mild white pepper on the mid-palate with a very short lightly sweet and nutty finish.

I would struggle to pick this out of a line up of other Rums of its style given its light nature but it does what it sets out to do. It’s a no-nonsense affordable light Rum that gets used predominantly in cocktails. Not much else I can say about it to be honest.

2-0-star

Don Q Gold – 40% abv

Don Q Gold is again a multi-column distilled blend. Again, for this blend the Rum is taken off the still at 90.5% as it has the same make up as the Cristal. The distillates are aged for between 1 and 5 years in re-charred American White Oak Barrels prior to being blended. Again the Rum is bottled at 40%. The rear bottle label states that spirit caramel has been added for colour.

Don Q Gold

Tasting Notes

Nose: Mild vanilla and a grassy, oily quality. Cinnamon, sweet, young alcohol notes and the mildest oaken note. Maybe a little Kola Cube.

Mouth: Initial sweetness and a hefty bite from the young aggressive alcohol. It also dries like the Cristal but brings with it a hint of bitterness. Light floral notes are present along with vanilla custard. The finish s short to medium length and starts with creamy vanilla which soon changes into a spiky white pepper accompanied by the heat of young alcohol.

It has a few characteristics that lift it above the Cristal for use in drinks where you want the Rum component to work in your favour but again its a good example, perhaps one of the clearer examples of a very light Spanish style Rum. I use it in Zombies and Pina Coladas at home.

Don Q Anejo – 40% abv

This is where things start to take a turn for the interesting. This Rum is again a multi-column blend but this time it is a blend of aged Rums between 3 and 10 years old….and it shows. Bottled again at 40% with label declared spirit caramel addition.

Don Q Anejo

Tasting Notes

Nose: The nose is immediately more fun and definitely more rummy. It is less crisp than the younger offerings but it does possess the same alcohol spike but this time it is accompanied by light oaken notes. Vanilla, light powdery cocoa and faint apricot fruitiness. There is a more apparent floral element and it possesses way more balance. It is a little more self-assured then the younger offerings and also has hints of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Mouth: A light, almost fruity sweetness on entry which is soon overcome by a drying oak. The mid-palate has pepper and nutmeg along with light oily citrus. Apricot lingers in the vapours. The finish is of a medium length with more flavour than expected. A drying sweetness accompanied by warming vanilla and a pepper driven oaken fade.

I’d perhaps suggest a bottle style change for this expression as flavour and aroma wise it really does stand head and shoulders above the Gold. I made a Pina Colada with this……it was hellishly tasty.

3-0-star

Don Q Gran Anejo – 40%

This is the first Don Q expression that I picked up and it represents the top of the line in the permanent line up of expressions (there are the 2005 “Single Barrel” and the Reserva de la Familia Serrallés as limited editions). Again from the same multi-column set up the Gran Anejo does have another component in its make-up. As is alluded to above, Destilería Serrallés has a Single Column Still made by the Vendome Copper and Brass Company. They take a Rum off that single column at 75% and it is a key component in this blend. The Gran Anejo is a blend of Rums aged between 6 and 12 years plus (here’s that dreaded word again) ‘Solera’ Rums aged up to 50 years. Again the disclosure of spirit caramel is there as is the staple 40% abv bottling strength.

Don Q Gran Anejo

Tasting Notes

Nose: Up front astringent alcohol which swiftly dissipates to reveal orange oils and a bitterness. Warming oaken notes drag vanilla and milk chocolate along for the ride. With the alcohol notes gone, this really is a pleasant Rum to nose. It could almost be from Barbados such is the interplay between sweet, floral and oaken notes. It really is that well-balanced. As the Rum warms the oak brings a light bitter, metallic note.

Mouth: Initially entry is up front black pepper and a sweetness that is present for a fleeting moment before the drying oak begins to dominate. The mouthfeel is quite light but further sips improve this as the flavours linger. The mid-palate is heavily dominated by milk chocolate, pepper and a creamy vanilla custard. The finish is surprisingly long given the mouthfeel and it lingers laden with nutmeg topped egg custard, prominent black pepper and celery which then morphs into a drying oaken wave bringing with it a metallic bitterness.

Considering that this is partially the product of a multi-column set up, the aroma and flavour contained within this expression is great. I can’t see that much flavour is carried over from distillation in the multi column element so the single column must carry a lot of influence along with a barrel management that must be exemplary. To find this depth in a light style of Rum is a wonderful thing. I usually use the Gran Anejo in an Old Fashioned with a dash of chocolate bitters and it works a treat for me.

4-0-star

Don Q Signature Release Single Barrel 2005 – 40%

Single Barrel as an expression in its actual reflective form for this release would lead to (at a 6000 bottle run such as this) an ocean sized barrel. The explanation though is that all of the Rum in this limited release was from the same 2005 distillation which was then split between the pre-requisite number of ‘similar’ barrels to carry the volume. Each barrel is then bottled individually so rather than each bottle containing the vatted blend of all barrels from the 2005 distillation, technically each barrel has its own series of bottles. There is however no way to know which barrel the bottle that you have is from. What would’ve been nice is an indication of barrel number on the bottle to accompany the other information. Anyhow, bottled in 2015 makes this (if the dates align) a 10-year-old Rum….9 years at the very least. The same distillation process is employed as the majority of the range (no single column) and it is again bottled at 40%. No mention is made of spirit caramel…but as we know, colour is not our guide…..neither is marketing.

Don Q Single Barrel 2005

Tasting Notes

Nose: The nose has a sharpness to it and a fair bit of sour. Quite prominent oak gives way to something way more pungent than anticipated. Light chocolate, hazelnuts, vanilla, raisins and an astringency of pear drops. This is followed by egg custard wrapped in buttery pastry with a sprinkling of powdery nutmeg.

Mouth: Lighter entry than the nose hints at and definitely lighter than the Gran Anejo but the oak punch is right at the fore and dominates the opening few seconds along with pencil shavings. Once accustomed to the oak the pear drops appear along with light florals. There is a raisin like quality to the mid-palate that soon becomes awash with oak and a growing spice. The finish is of a medium length and is all oak, black pepper and light caramel.

It doesn’t, for me have the consistency and balance of the Gran Anejo but it is still impressive given that it is 100% multi-column. Its inconsistencies may actually be what makes it interesting and gives it more appeal over repeated visits than the consistent Gran Anejo. This is where I think that descriptions trump scoring systems.

4-0-star

I have been very surprised by the Don Q range. From what are pretty average (to me) entry Rums the jump in quality is massive. Maybe I have been spoilt by the fact that I started with the Gran Anejo in my journey but I’d say that if you are a fan of lighter Rums, you owe it to yourself to pick a few of the Don Q offerings up. Competent in cocktails and more than capable in spirit led mixed drinks, if like me, Rum in this light style isn’t your thing….try it as you may be surprised. Alexx at Don Q has been a huge help in providing me with information and reading what is upcoming in the range over the near future with a Spiced Rum, Single Barrel 2007 and something that I can’t mention….keep your eyes on them.

Also, if anyone has the Reserva de la Familia Serrallés and feels generous…..you know where to find me!

© 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.

Rumfests 10th Anniversary is a Sell Out Success

*Press Release*

RumFest 2016

SELL OUT SUCCESS FOR RUMFEST 10

THOUSANDS OF RUM LOVERS JOIN THE UK’S LEADING RUM FESTIVAL FOR TASTINGS, MASTERCLASSES & 10TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS

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

rumfest.co.uk

rumfest-2016-photo

Levi Roots with RumFest founder Ian Burrell at RumFest 2016

Thousands descended on London’s ILEC over the weekend for a very special edition of RumFest. Celebrating a decade of championing rum culture in the UK, organisers pulled out all the stops to mark the milestone with hundreds of rums from around the world and special guests including Levi Roots and Beach Bum Berry. Tastings, masterclasses and seminars gave an incredible insight into the world of rum for both newcomers and aficionados across the weekend, with the spirit of the culture brought to life with live music and RumFest’s renowned Carnival Hour. 2016 also saw the return of The Rum Auction raising over £4,000 for charity. Full details of the event can be found via The RumFest website.

Over 400 rums were on offer at this year’s RumFest, presented by distillers and blenders from all corners of the globe and all available to sip, savour, buy and take home. Well-known brands like Bacardi, St Nicholas Abbey, Diplomatico and Mount Gay showcased some of their lesser known gems while ticket-holders were given the chance to discover and sample newcomers like Cornwall’s own Dead Man’s Fingers and India’s Wild Tiger. Golden Tot tokens made a welcome return to give the more discerning drinker access to ultra-premium and rare rums, some of which retail for over £200 a bottle.

Those looking to heighten their knowledge of one of the most exciting spirits in the world, took part in intimate seminars and masterclasses over the weekend. Diplamatico presented some its newest releases and Mount Gay‘s master blender Allen Smith gave an exclusive UK first tasting of its limited edition pure pot still and column distillate rums. Sam Smallman of Rococo chocolates delved into Rum and Chocolate pairings in his third year at the festival, while newcomers were taught about rum tasting notes and vocabulary by Kim Lahiri to discover the key aromas in their favourite tipple.

On the main stage Saturday, RumFest founder Ian Burrell was on hand to take guests and bidders through rums on offer a the Rum Auction and a grand total of £4,000 was raised and all to donate to Max’s Foundation, a charity dedicated to helping detection of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and other heart conditions in pre-adolescent children. Celebrity chef Hasan De Four made a RumFest return and cooked up a storm to demonstrate how to get rum in the kitchen, while Jeff ‘Beachbum’ Berry told the story of the founding father of Tiki, Don the beachcomber. Sunday’s main stage hosted a takeover of the famous Levi Roots as he showcased a tasting of his new restaurant Levi’s Caribbean Smokehouse. The revered master blender Joy Spence was interviewed by Ian Burrell with a tasting of Appleton Estate rums and bartenders competed for a trip to Barbados in the fierce Doorly’s Rum Competition.

Kicking off the rum-fuelled weekend on the Friday, the trade-only Boutique RumFest returned for a seventh year providing a platform for the industry’s newcomers and independent brands. Rum wholesalers, distributors, buyers, bar professionals and importers congregated from as far afield as Panama and Japan, presenting the perfect opportunity to sample the next big thing.

Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador and RumFest founder says, “We could never have predicted how successful RumFest would become when we started out all those years ago and what a ride its been. It’s great to see so many old faces back to join us in celebrating rum culture but also the new comers who are getting to know the spirit properly for the very first time. A huge thanks to the brands, blenders, ambassadors, speakers and rum lovers who came over the weekend, here’s to the next 10 years!”

*End*

We were fortunate enough to attend and personally think that it was one of the best years in terms of seminars and sheer variety of rums available. Something to suit everyone and with the addition this year of a Velier stand……it was pretty much heaven spread over a weekend. Our own write-up of the events from Friday morning until Sunday evening will follow once we’ve come down from the high of the weekend.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

RumFest Announces 10th Anniversary Event

*Press Release*RumFest 2016

RUMFEST CELEBRATES NATIONAL RUM DAY & ANNOUNCES 10TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT

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

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

rumfest.co.uk

RumFest Carnival Hour 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RumFest takes place in London at the ILEC, 22nd to 23rd October 2016. Standard day tickets are now on sale from £39.50, which includes access to all areas of the event and tastings from all exhibitors. VIP tickets are on sale from £69.50 and allow for early access of one hour ahead of standard ticket buyers along with a three course Caribbean lunch. Golden Tot Tokens are £5 each and allow for additional access to the more premium rums on offer. One token can be exchanged for rum retailing £80 – £100 and more expensive rums will be available for additional tokens. For full information on RumFest and to buy tickets head to rumfest.co.uk.

*End*

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

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

cropped-business-card-2016-front.jpg

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.

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.