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.

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Rumfest Returns

*Press Release*

rum experience no date

“RUM IS MORE THAN A SPIRIT, IT’S A LIFESTYLE”

Expect rum connoisseurs from all corners of the globe at the UK’s largest rum celebration taking place next month – The RumFest

The RumFest
Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th October 2015
London’s ILEC, Earl’s Court

rumfest.co.uk

Rumfest Image

As RumFest fast approaches the rum tickled talent on display at the ILEC, London will host industry heavyweights with barrels of experience set to inform, entertain and captivate. The two-day rum extravaganza on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th October features over 400 of the most diverse rums from across the globe including established favourites Diplomatico, Bacardi, Havana Club, Lamb’s Navy Rum, The Duppy Share, Don Q, Botron and newcomers Gold Of Mauritius, Matugga Rum and Nine Leaves as well as the return of the Golden Tot initiative allowing visitors to taste the rarest and most exquisite blends on the market. Leading master blenders, ambassadors, mixologists and industry aficionados will be on hand to take visitors on a voyage of rum discovery. Golden highlights include Diplomatico master blender Chris Tito, foodie hedonist Vanessa Bolosier of Creole Kitchen delivering vibrant food with a slice of spice, contemporary Caribbean cuisine from Shivi Ramoutar, rum and chocolate pairings, talks and tastings. Tickets are selling fast from £49.95, including a new VIP package priced at £75 that allows for exclusive early entry, a three course Caribbean lunch and goody bag. Tickets and more information are available now from the RumFest website.

“Rum is more than a spirit, it’s a lifestyle”. Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell

The countdown begins for the ninth edition of the world’s premier rum festival taking place at ILEC Conference Centre, Earl’s Court on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th October 2015. Thousands of rum lovers will be treated to blends from all corners of the globe. Whether a Ron Tiburon from Belize, a Le Dom Tom from France or a Nine Leaves blend from Japan, there are over 400 rare and exquisite rums to sip, savour and buy across the two days. Following the success of last year, the Golden Tot tokens return where visitors can pick up a token for just £5 opening the doors to rum’s elite allowing the more serious rum enthusiast to try rums that usually retail for over £200 a bottle.

Away from the tasting shacks and immersive pop-ups will be a series of enriching and tantalising seminars, masterclasses and workshops including the not-to-be missed Cachaca Tasting mapping out its rich history in Brazil and flavours; an introductory level aroma masterclasses; chocolate and rum pairing; a fascinating look at the history of rum; and a series of one-to-one tastings. Top blenders, mixologists and distillers will also be on hand to teach ticket holders the art of cocktail making as well as more ways to enjoy their favourite rums. Whilst one of the most influential and awarded personalities in the rum world, the legendary Tito Cordero, Diplomatico’s Master Blender, will take visitors on a journey through the foothills of the Andes.

The RumFest’s famous food offering will deliver mouth-watering cuisine from exotic rum making locations and temperatures are set to rise with live stage demos showcasing rum pairings, cooking demos, live cocktail competitions and more. Vanessa Bolosier creator Creole Kitchen is model turned award-winning chef and will be bringing years of inherited stories and recipes to RumFest’s Main Stage. Expect big flavours and plenty of spice from a lady with innate Caribbean cuisine knowledge. Contemporary Caribbean cook Shivi Ramoutar will take over Sunday’s Main Stage presenting her culinary mission to twist these classic Caribbean dishes and ingredients from her childhood into her own vibrant, fresh and easy-to-make delights.

Other highlights for 2015 include the return of RumFest’s Auction in partnership with Christie’s auction house. A must see for this year, RumFest is hoping to smash last year’s grand total where over 20 precious and rare rum were sold off for charity. Carnival Hour rounds off the RumFest experience each day in the ultimate party finale, featuring live bands and dancers that embrace the fun and social spirit of rum.

This year for the first time in history The Rum Experience is teaming up with leading bars, chefs, distillers, brands and rum lovers to curate a week-long series of events that will take over the capital for the inaugural The Rum Experience Week. Each event will be hosted by a different brand or partner and will show attendees new ways to experience rum, including rum pairings with cigars and chocolate, rum infused cooking classes and exclusive menus, a Thames Tiki rum cruise and interactive tastings. The fitting finale to the week long-long events is of course The RumFest. Tickets to select events are available now and more events will be announced soon with full information on the website – rumexperienceweek.com or from rumfest.co.uk.

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 return of RumFest, Burrell says, “We’ve refined RumFest this year into something very special. We’ll be taking rum lovers on the UK’s biggest celebration of rum yet, showing them the fun side of the culture, while at the same time giving an insight into the spirit so they can take home what they’ve learnt, armed with a better understanding of the spirit. And with this we introduce the first ever Rum Experience Week which allows rum and spirit lovers to rejoice in the marvels of the category in an entire week-long celebration. We look forward to seeing you there.”

The RumFest takes place in London at the ILEC, 17th to 18th October 2015. Standard day tickets are now on sale at £49.95, which includes access to all areas of the event and tastings from all exhibitors. VIP tickets are on sale from £75 and allow for early access of one hour ahead of standard ticket buyers along with a two course Caribbean lunch and RumFest goodie bag. 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. Tickets to the new private rum tastings will be announced soon. For full information on RumFest and to buy tickets head to rumfest.co.uk.

*End*

This really is lining up to be an absolute monster of an event with some amazing new brands to look out for along with some mainstays of the category. In particular for us, we are really looking forward to experiencing Nine Leaves Rum from Japan, Gold of Mauritius (and hopefully with their Mauritius Club Rum) and the new kid on the block Matugga Rum. We also hope for another amazing line up of seminars with particular emphasis on hearing what Richard Seale of Foursquare Distillery has to say. High on the priority list too is a meet up with our Rum friends from both the UK and abroad….such a great gathering of fanatics (the peaceful kind)  in one place to celebrate Rum can only be a good thing. Pick up your tickets now and we’ll see you there!

© 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.

Gold of Mauritius

Gold Of MauritiusReaders and Subscribers will be more than aware that I have covered a few Rums from Mauritius previously, but this one is a little ‘different’ to say the least.

A chance meeting with Darius Burrows of Trilogy Beverage Brands gave me my first opportunity to taste Gold of Mauritius. Then whilst visiting the Boutique RumFest, we again got the opportunity to try the Rum and also to meet and talk to its creator, Frederic Bestel. It really is unlike anything that I have tasted previously, but first a little information on its creation.

Frederic buys in specific unaged Rums from local distillers on Mauritius and sets about his unique maturation process. He buys in used Port barrels from South Africa. These barrels arrive in Mauritius with Port residues still inside them and it is within these barrels that he ages the as yet unaged Rums. As a general rule the process takes approximately 12 months although this is barrel dependent. Some barrels have far less Port residue and therefore require the Rum to be in there for around 15 to 16 months, others far less.

Prior to bottling, around 10 to 14 barrels are selected, dependent upon how Frederic rates them in terms of maturation and flavour gained. Bear in mind that the wood used in South Africa for these barrels is not that great and if left in there too long, the Rum can develop an unwanted bitter taste. So Frederic takes these 10 to 14 barrels of Rum and blends them by hand to create the consistent flavour profile that he is looking for.

Given the high temperatures in Mauritius, cold filtration was initially employed by Frederic but now he has amended his methods to use normal paper filtration at 5 Microns. The colour and flavour come from the time spent in the barrels and the Port influence, although caramel colour is sometimes used to ensure consistency between batches as the specific barrels used can often give the Rum an Orange, Red or Brown appearance. The profile is one that Frederic believes gives him his own identity, and I’d have to agree. The wood influence is dialled down due to its bitterness and Frederic estimates that around 80% of the flavour profile is as a result of the Port influence with the other 20% as a result of the original unaged locally produced Rum.

Quite an insight into the methods used and all obtained directly from Frederic who has been very helpful since we first met. In this Rum, Frederic feels that he has a product that epitomises the essence of Mauritius. But how does it actually taste……

Gold of Mauritius – 40% abv

Gold of MauritiusIn the glass: The Rum is a dark mahogany brown / red and the initial aromas fight to jump out of the glass. Salted peanuts hit you in a big way along with chocolate and something that smells like sawdust! I would say that initially there is a bourbon like aroma to this Rum. Fresh figs, malt, cocoa beans and more of the salted peanuts round out the aromas. It has a really unique aroma, very inviting stuff, although it is not instantly Rum like.

In the mouth: There is an initial sweetness to the Rum alongside a peppery spice. Instant nutty flavours are present, like a good quality chocolate bar with salted peanuts. There is also a heavy hit of coffee. Subsequent visits to the glass reveal chocolate pudding minus the chewiness, malted chocolate milkshake and freshly cracked black pepper. The chocolate and salted nuts play a big part in this Rum for me and alongside the salted peanuts there is something like freshly shelled hazelnuts. Strangely there is also a little bit of an Anejo Tequila taste to the Rum, maybe from the base Rums used. The finish is medium length and full of coffee, dark chocolate, those coffee beans coated in chocolate, and salted peanut butter. A very flavourful Rum.

For want of a better phrase, this stuff is a little bit bonkers. It tastes like no Rum that I have ever tried before. It is almost not instantly recognisable as a Rum given its aromas. The chocolate I can only assume is as a result of the port residues in the barrels. Definitely a desert Rum as this will dominate your palate for a while in it’s silken salty chocolate goodness. I often first try Rums in a daiquiri, but this one? Not a chance. I used this Rum in a Rum Old Fashioned with a dash of Black Walnut Bitters and it did the trick. It is massively easy to drink and so far out of my usual range of flavours that I have become rather fond of it. You can buy it in the UK from Cellar Door Drinks for just shy of £40. I would say that it has the ability to (when used by someone who knows what they’re doing) be the basis of some pretty unique cocktails, maybe a boozy milkshake alongside a coffee liqueur, though I enjoy it neat. If you have any experience of the Rum, I’d love to get your thoughts.

© 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.

Boutique RumFest

rum experience no date

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

So, on to the Boutique RumFest.

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

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

20141010_160402Two Indies

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

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Paradise Beverages

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

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Sippin

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

20141010_181441Dos Maderas

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

20141010_184308St Nicholas Abbey

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

20141010_160514The Real McCoy

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

2014-10-02 15.07.18Gold Of Mauritius

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

20141010_193538Ron Cubay

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

20141010_200454English Harbour

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

 

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

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