Marigot Bay Bar & Cafe

*Press Release*

New Caribbean Inspired Bar and Café to Open in South Manchester

#BeInspired
A new Caribbean inspired venue is to open within King’s Court of Altrincham, South Manchester on July 20th, 2018. Dave Marsland of Drinks Enthusiast Ltd has chosen the attractive leisure and office complex of King’s Court and its secluded courtyard off one of the main streets of the Cheshire town as the home of his first bar and café. Marigot Bay Bar & Café, named after Marigot Bay of St Lucia in the Caribbean, is the creation of several years of inspiration and experiences, finally coming together to offer South Manchester a bar and café that takes you through the many tropical islands via chilled island beers, tropical cocktails and some of the finest Caribbean coffee and cocoa available.
With the walls adorned with memorabilia picked up from Dave’s travels to the Caribbean, including Marigot Bay itself, Marigot Bay Bar & Café re-creates the tranquil, relaxing experience of the bay, located on the western coast of Saint Lucia and surrounded on three sides by steep, forested hills with the inland portion of the bay forming a hurricane hole used to shelter boats from hurricanes. It’s here that it’s famous for its calming waters and palm tree-lined beaches that offer a quiet escape from the hustle of city life. It’s this that Dave has re-created, meaning low ambient and traditional Caribbean radio, a focus on traditional drink serves and attentive table service.
Marigot Bay Bar & Café has a capacity of 30 seating, with a first-come-first-serve policy during its hours of operation. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, Marigot Bay Bar & Café focuses on Caribbean origins, including a selection of beers such as Banks of Barbados and Carib of Trinidad and Tobago, coffee sourced from the famous Blue Mountain region of Jamaica and a selection of rum and rhums from across the Caribbean islands, including Chairman’s Reserve of St Lucia, Foursquare of Barbados, Appleton Estate of Jamaica, Havana Club of Cuba and Rhum Clément of Martinique.
There’s also a focus on the traditional rum serves found on the islands themselves, including the Pusser’s Painkiller, known as the “Official Cocktail of the British Virgin Islands”, Havana Club’s original Cuban Mojito and Gosling’s Black Seal, the tempest in Bermuda’s favourite cocktail the Dark ‘n Stormy. The menu is coupled with a selection of non-rum favourites that can be found on the bars across the Caribbean too, as well as mixers such as fresh coconut water and Ting, the sparkling Jamaican grapefruit juice.
Marigot Bay itself is a historic landmark, having been the site of several battles between the French and British navies, meaning a great opportunity to focus on some of the islands favourite rums that honour the naval history of St Lucia. Expressions from the recent released Admiral Rodney range will be available to experience in special guided tutorials that focus on the aromas and flavour perception of each.
With tribute to Meimi Sanchez, Global Brand Ambassador for Havana Club and her sensory masterclass technique, Marigot Bay Bar & Café has ruled out the usual live music element seen in most venues, instead opting for low-level background music from traditional Caribbean radio stations, producing a calmer experience for all customers and releasing optimum emotions when enjoying a tipple of choice.
Opening Hours;
Wednesday-Friday from 5pm to late and from 12noon to late on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.
Address; Marigot Bay Bar & Café, 6 King’s Court, Railway Street, Altrincham, WA142RD
Dave himself has over a decade of experience within the drinks industry, creating brand agency Drinks Enthusiast in 2011, Manchester Rum Festival in 2017, Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress in 2017, co-owner of spirits retail business Riddles Emporium in Altrincham and a national social media and publication presence as a drinks journalist.
*End*
Even better for me is the fact that its actually opening somewhere not too far away from me so I for one will be sure to visit!
© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2018. 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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An Interview with Nikos Arvanitis – Rum Traveller

Copyright Nikos Arvanitis

Nikos Arvanitis will be familiar to most of my Facebook Rum forum frequenting audience. He’ll also be more than familiar to Rum Festival attendees throughout Europe. In fact his biography reads very well:

Nikos Arvanitis has been working as a bartender since 2006. Rum is his passion and his desire to understand it led him to the Caribbean. Living in Barbados and using this island as his base, he has visited 30 islands of the tropical zone of the “West Indies” and over 45 distilleries and sugarcane fields, both active and inactive. His journey is still on, it will soon be reflected on paper and he has named it “From the West Indies to the World”.

Nikos Arvanitis through his travels and speeches is trying to spread the traditional production process of Rum and the culture of the Caribbean people.

He is a member in the jury panel and an instructor in rum presentation, in several European Rum Festivals (Berlin, Paris, Poland, Greece, Spain etc.) and bar shows.

Instructor of Rum in Bar Academy Hellas

Copyright Rum Diaries Blog

On a personal level, I have known Nikos for around three years and during that time we have conversed a lot about life, Rum and everything in between. During our period of friendship I have seen Nikos grow into a very well-respected spokesman for Rum and an evangelist for the history and tradition that exists within the Caribbean. More recently he has become a very active independent spokesperson for the Gargano / Seale Classification and a campaigner and activist for Pure Rum and raising the category in general.

I was fortunate enough to meet Nikos earlier this year in his natural habitat….a Rum distillery. The distillery in question was Foursquare Rum Distillery in Barbados and it was also my first Rum Distillery visit. We chatted for a while, walked through the distillery with Richard and sampled untold delights in the Foursquare Tasting Room. We also shared a pretty eventful taxi ride with him.

Open and honest is all that I have known from Nikos and I’m giving his full, unedited responses to my questions. No cutting, snipping or leaving out of any detail. Hopefully you’ll see that his responses relay the passion that he has and the high regard in which he holds Rum as the true essence of the Caribbean and its people.

1 – For those that may not already be familiar with you and your work, explain to them what your project “From the West Indies to the World” is about.

From the West Indies to the World

It’s a personal project including photos, thoughts and notes for the real side of Caribbean islands and the connection between the locals and the Rum, through the eyes of the unknown reality.

Sugar cane fields, unknown dead estates, Rum Distilleries and traditional Rums.

In short, it’s my lonely trip-wandering in the tropic zone of the West Indies. Personal experiences, emotionally charged stories, culture, people. I don’t travel the easy way. I’m visiting places that they are really inaccessible to many white people and also I organized the 95% from all these trips myself, without sponsors, companies etc. The final collection of these experiences is the reason that this project is born, and due to that, I don’t focus only the to rum and the production process..

I’m not an author / writer and I do not even want to be. I just have the feeling and the belief that the experiences created to share. This project is an extension of me and the opposite.

The ultimate goal of my project is to make as many people as possible respect and fall in love with the Caribbean, the local culture, the people and finally the distilleries that are keeping alive and  unchanged the traditional production process of the spirit we love the most.

2 – Your travels are followed by and envied by many people….including me. One thing that often gets said to people like me is that to truly understand Rum and all that it is, you have to visit distilleries. Just how many countries and distilleries have you visited?

I would like to speak on a personal level without meaning that it’s either wrong or right. Yes, I clearly believe that if you don’t visit the Caribbean by yourself and the distilleries as well, it’s really difficult to understand rum. There’s a huge difference between the word ‘knowledge‘ and the word ‘understanding‘. Countless sites on the Internet with completely different opinions and misleading information, distributors, companies and ambassadors talk about rum and they’ve never touched sugarcane in their life. So there is misinformation and false information about rum. When I visited the distilleries I acquired a complete image, totally different to the one I had before. And yes, I was reading and attending seminars. But I figured that it wasn’t enough. It was like I was going inside the glass and becoming one with rum. Of course, it is important that the people of the distilleries are also honest with you. I was lucky (and a pain in the ass for them)

I have visited in total 30 islands of the Caribbean tropic zone. The number of distilleries is 45 out of 50. My last trip was in Haiti and trust me, Haiti is a unique situation. It’s a category by itself.

Copyright Nikos Arvanitis

3 – I personally see you as a direct link to Rum producers that are not active on social media and have little to no online presence. Do you think that your relationship with these Rum producers is vital in bringing the plight of forgotten and overlooked distilleries such as the Callwood Distillery in the BVI and River Antoine in Grenada into the spotlight?

The first time I saw distilleries like the ones you mentioned, I said to myself, “I will spread all over the world about these distilleries-Caribbean’s heritage”.
I saw this subject in a very romantic tone. It is truly a shame that 90% of the whole world does not even know the existence of wonderful rums like these. But the most important thing is that they do not know the passion, the love and respect that the people who surround distilleries have for their rums. Their existence is the link between the past and the present. And if you do forget the past, the heritage and the history, the future is cloudy and uncertain…

Copyright Nikos Arvanitis

4 – Apart from your project and the Rum, what continues to drive you to travel to these places?

People. Certainly people. The human relationships that I created there are by far the most important school of my life. They changed my worldview. I’m not the same person as I used to be before. At least I do not act and think the same way.

I adore the warm climate. I don’ really like the cold and I am freezing really quick and easy. I am not really sure if I will survive this winter in Paris. Hahahaha. Yeah, Paris is going to be my base for the following year(s)…

Finally, the word “vibe“. I can’t explain this feeling in a few words. It’s something much deeper. The vibe in the tropic zone makes me happy and above all, I’m 100% myself. Something I have never experienced before in the big European countries even in my own country, where the friendship and human relationships are in the second or even third fate. Unfortunately…

Copyright Nikos Arvanitis

5 – You’re a firm advocate of the proposed Gargano / Seale Classification. Explain the classification for those that may not be aware of it. Why you feel that it is so important?

Usually, my presentations for this matter last like 4 hours…..So I believe it’s a little bit difficult to explain in a few words.

Yes, I am a 100% supporter of this wonderful classification. It was the middle of 2014 I think when Richard (Seale) firstly introduced me to this classification in one of my weekly visits to Foursquare distillery. When I saw the classification I told to myself: “Yes, this is the only way to have a better and promised future for the category of Rum, to put things in a row and first of all to give Rum the respect it deserves”. Two years later I found Luca (Gargano) in one of his trips in Barbados. He also helped me understand the classification. So, my communication with the two most influential persons of the Rum world plus my personal research was the common link for the final result…..to spread this classification all over the world.

This Classification focuses to the type of the producer, the type of the still and of course at the distillery statement. I believe that this last thing is the biggest problem in Rum. The 70% of rums of the global market haven’t got a distillery statement. This is really bad.

This classification it’s not about what’s good and what’s bad. Tasty or not. Originally, it’s a chronological order of the history of distillation and is based on facts. There is a separation between the traditional production process and the modern.  This doesn’t mean that tradition overtakes modern methods, but we surely have to have a different approach to an original artisanal Rum from an industrial one.

Finally, some people say that this classification is a copy of the Whisky’s classification. This is not true, not at all and please if you don’t understand the role of the classification, don’t judge. Open your mind and be more Caribbean…I am always open for conversations about this subject, contact me and it would be my pleasure to help you have better understanding about the classification.

Copyright Nikos Arvanitis

6 – Your time spent with Rum producers has seen you spearheading the important job of communicating the classification through your interactions on social media and your presentations to industry and consumers. Do you see knowledge of the classification spreading throughout the community to the point that there is a basic understanding already when you talk to the industry and consumers?

First of all I really need to share with you that NONE of the producers ever told me what to say in my presentations or to promote specific Rums (I am not a f****n promoter or brand ambassador and I will never be). I was In Berlin some weeks ago and someone came to me and said that: “You promote the rums of your friends distilleries”. This is not true. I love to promote the Rums I love and the distilleries who still respect the Caribbean’s heritage and tradition. It’s true that I have a personal connection with many distilleries like Worthy Park, Foursquare and others but this connection is more a friendship and match to our beliefs than a business. The people out there who know me personally, know this much better than anyone. The situation with the association is something new but all of us used to fight about the traditional production process of the Rum many years ago, but our voice is heard by a lot of people only in the last 2-3 years. The customers really want to know more about the Rum and this is wonderful. The promise I am giving is that I will always act 100% as Nick and I will do the best to raise the category of the Rum.

7 – A large proportion of the Rum producers appear to fear the classification. Why do you think that is?

From my point of view, the main reason is that they initially believe that if they accept this sort of classification, it is like neglecting what they say so many years about their products on the market. I think that they are only interested in the rise of their own label and not rum as a spirit. We all have to understand that sales cannot go up in a particular bottle if the category is not developed in general. You cannot deny that tradition, not least the complicated production process of rum, should not go into the same sink as modern industrial products. They cannot have the same prices and above all the word “artisanal” on their bottle. So yes, I think they initially think of their sales which is not true because if the rum is classified and developed in general, this will be a good thing for everyone. Speaking so much time for the world market, I will give a personal example from my own country that reflects what I have said. See it as a miniature of the market.

Ambassadors who have never touched a still, have not bitten sugar cane, have never walked in the Caribbean, have not spoken to locals and have not understood the rum, continue to promote products that are in the company’s portfolio, for which you do not know the existence of the distillery (which of course does not exist), so-called spiced easy rums and pure alcohol full of flavors and sweeteners, industrial products that have nothing to do with the history of the island are being produced. How do you orient yourself in the market by telling lies and having the main goal of selling your own only products and at the same time looking for the good for the future of rum? It can not be done. Quite simply because there is no love for rum and the Caribbean but love for your dominance in the market and the word “monopoly“.

The shawls have no pockets. What is the essence if you are not faithful to your values ​​and your beliefs as a person and you adapt to what the system imposes on you…?

8 – Do you think that the Classification will ever become industry standard?

I am very optimistic and positive as a human and yeah man, I believe that it will. Already you can see a great rise of the artisanal Rum in the global market and this is wonderful and makes me very happy. But I don’t like to use the world “industry” next to the word “Rum“. Let’s use another term: “The World of Rum” is much better I think.

From me and my team, there is a promise that we will do all we can to build strong foundations in this classification and we will fight for it through presentations, seminars, articles etc. What is the essence of human being as if you haven’t got something to fight for??

Copyright Nikos Arvanitis

9 – Do you think that having a Geographical Indication for Rum production will become the natural progression?

Yes, I believe that this is the path. Jamaica for example, is fighting about this. But I would like to make a general statement on this really important subject.

In Jamaica we have distilleries that make completely different rum in a totally different way. In particular, it’s not possible to consider a pure single rum from Worthy Park or Hampden with that of Clarendon. Yes, these three distilleries take place in the same island, they are all Jamaican, but the Rums are completely different. The production process as well. In Clarendon they use a small amount of Rum from Batch distillation. The majority of the final blend is coming from distillation in Multi column ethyl alcohol plant. This does not happen in the first two distilleries I mentioned earlier. So, I say that simply saying Jamaican Rum is not enough because there is diversity within Jamaican Rum.

They all rely on some common elements in the production process, but at the end of the day the final products are completely different. So, just the world Jamaican Rum I don’t feel that it’s enough.

There must be also control to the independent bottlers with no distillery statement. I’m tasting very often rums like these, let’s say a Barbadian Rum, and this rum has nothing to do with the traditional rums of the island. The same happens also with other bottlings. Personally, I find it unacceptable to add sweeteners, aromas and other extras that literally do not respect the distillery, the history and the heritage of the island, and also the tradition, except some special situations. Of course, the majority of these independent bottles haven’t got distillery statement on the labels and at the same time they say that they choose personally the best barrels from the distilleries. They didn’t .They just bought these rums from other companies. Be careful with the false marketing terms. I really would like to see better control and balance between the distilleries and the independent bottlers in future. If the rum is not even close to the character of the distillery and the distillery bottlings, don’t give the permission to the independent companies to make the bottling. The master distiller has to taste the rum and if he agrees, enter the name of the distillery and his signature. So everyone cannot bottle whatever they want. Quite honestly, I believe this.

Copyright Nikos Arvanitis

So there we have it…..an amazing amount of passion and a completely open forum for Nikos to give his true, unedited opinions.

I’d like to personally take this opportunity to thank Nikos again for his agreement to undertake this interview and I hope that I have given him the platform which he deserves.

© 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

Silver Seal Dennery Superior St Lucian Rum

This is a bottling that I have little to no information on. I have tried to source information online but aside from a few pointers leading to a 1988 distillation, there is nothing….no reviews, no literature and the only mention appears to be on auction websites. I’ve also tried emailing Silver Seal to obtain information but again have drawn a blank. So we’re flying blind on this one which makes it interesting. To start with, this Rum is not from the closed Dennery Distillery on the East Coast…this entity closed in the early 1970’s so the Dennery aspect is pure marketing. It will be from the site that is now St Lucia Distillers. It is also highly likely being a Silver Seal product…Silver Seal being an Italian Independent bottler that ages and bottles in Scotland…that this Rum has seen little to no Tropical age. It is also a Rum that I have struggled with since first opening it…..but I shall cover this below…

Silver Seal Dennery Superior St Lucian – 43%

Upon first opening the striking dark green / black bottle, I have to say that the aromas emanating from this Rum were very, very bitter. It’s colour, mixed with the bitterness initially made me think that it had seen an overdose of caramel colouring….an opinion that has not changed much. I have experienced bitterness previously in long continental aged demerara’s and in that instance, it was close to killing any enjoyment. I’m happy to report that the Rum opened up a little….and even more so once the fill level traveled past the shoulders of the bottle.

Tasting Notes

Glass: The Rum is dark amber in the glass and it is accompanied by the ever-present bitter edge. Initial aromas are quite earthy with an off note of wet corrugated cardboard boxes. Hazelnuts and wet earth follow. Very light antiseptic cream. Wet wood and an underlying caramel. Sour vegetal aromas and a hint of menthol. A little messy. I’d say that its light enough to be mostly column but it does seem to have a little backbone that hints at pot still content. I just can’t help thinking that they’ve dumped a huge measure of spirit caramel into it.

Mouth: Dry and bitter entry with hints of raisins and hazelnuts. Mouthfeel is a little light but still oily. Quite herbal and menthol. Still has wet wood but no real enjoyable oaken notes. Over roasted coffee beans. Mildly medicinal. Light citrus. But its all dominated by that unpleasant bitterness. Stewed celery and fennel seeds right at the end. The lacklustre finish is of medium length and starts dry, soon developing a nutty quality before that off bitter caramel note begins to dominate. Right at the back-end there is a hint of bonfire toffee.

If this was distilled in 1988 and I picked mine up in maybe late 2014, it could realistically be upwards of 22 years old. Maybe it would’ve been more vibrant and enjoyable as a younger Rum? Either way, age has not helped it. I have tried and tried to enjoy this Rum. I just can’t. It has too many off notes and is a little too messy to be enjoyable. These tasting notes are 12 months old and I have recently visited the bottle again to add to them and to be honest, nothing has changed. It’s still disappointing. It is so far detached from anything that St Lucia Distillers are producing currently that I would avoid this completely and start exploring their 1931 series which offers a lot of enjoyment. This bottle wasn’t too expensive when I picked it up but rarity has seen its price jump up. Glad that I tried it, just to add it to my body of experience, but it’s just not worth a purchase…..anything but Superior…

© 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

Rum Experience Week is One Week Away!

*Press Release*

Rum Experience Week

FIRST EVER RUM EXPERIENCE WEEK
IS LESS THAN ONE WEEK AWAY

Rum lovers are invited to explore new ways to enjoy rum in a week-long series of tastings, masterclasses, parties, music & fine dining

#rumweek

Monday 12th – Sunday 18th October 2015 
London

rumexperienceweek.com

JET_3588C

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 next week. The week will introduce some of the world’s most renowned ambassadors including David Morrison from Appleton Rum, Richard Seale from Foursquare, Luca Gargano from Velier Rums and Luis Figueroa from Pampero Rum. Events 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 week culminates in the biggest annual rum event on the calendar as RumFest returns to the ILEC, 17th – 18th October. Tickets and more information can be found on the website – rumexperienceweek.com. #rumweek

The first ever Rum Experience Week lands in London from 12th – 18th October 2015. Headed up by Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell, the seven-day series aims to raise awareness of the spirit like never before and welcomes both rum newcomers and the discerning drinker to embrace the vibrant culture of rum and explore new ways to enjoy a tipple.

The rum-fuelled action kicks off on the Monday with Lamb’s Navy Rum, where those lucky enough to get a ticket can sample the first limited edition batch of Lamb’s Single Cask in one of Alfred Lamb’s old stores under the Thames at Voltaire followed by the official launch party for Rum Experience Week.  Joined by the biggest experts from the world of Rum, Bourne & Hollingsworth are delighted to invite guests to The Rum Masters Tasting & Dinner on Tuesday evening, sampling four unique and bespoke rums, specially created by master distillers for the first ever Rum Experience Week. The evening’s engaging hosts consist of some of the world’s most renowned ambassadors including David Morrison from Appleton Rum, Richard Seale from Foursquare, Luca Gargano from Velier Rums and Luis Figueroa from Pampero Rum.

Rum tasting will be taken to new heights on the Tuesday as Appleton Estate Rum is offering over 400 lucky rum enthusiasts the chance to yet again take part in the ultimate ‘alternative night in’, as they present #AppletonLive the ‘Taste of Jamaica’ Appleton Estate Rum’s Twitter Tasting. Global Rum Ambassador, Ian Burrell and Appleton Estate’s senior blender, David Morrison will host the live Twitter tasting, in which rum fans can follow online, from their very own homes, to unlock the true tastes and smells of Jamaican rum, with each tweet. Thursday welcomes rum lovers to jump aboard the Tiki Boat for Tiki On The Thames. Expect an afternoon of Tiki vibes, Tiki tunes, complementary Tiki cocktails and all things Tiki before voyagers disembark for a special after party at the famous Mahiki Club in Mayfair.

Friday sees the return of the Rum Experience University to offer rum lovers with even more of an education in rum and a recognised diploma, while industry figures gather for the annual rum trade event Boutique RumFest to sample and meet new and emerging rum brands to the UK market. Rounding off the week is the ninth annual RumFest. The huge two-day rum celebration is on course for its best year yet featuring tastings of over 400 rums, cocktail making competitions, seminars, workshops, a Christie’s rum auction, incredible food and the party atmosphere of Carnival Hour.

Gerry’s Wine & Spirits will be the official Rum Shop for the Rum Experience Week featuring a RumFest Takeover from Monday 12th – Wednesday 14th October where customers will be able to sample a selection of the exclusive rums that will be hitting RumFest and Boutique RumFest later that week, as well as speak to representatives from the various brands. With daily themes visitors will also be honoured with 10% off all rum purchases during Rum Experience Week to anyone who produces a valid RumFest ticket.

The Rum Experience Week will also celebrate the classic cocktails by giving it a Rum twist, each day bars will celebrate a different Cocktail of the Day. Monday is all about the Mojito, Tuesday the sweet Daiquiri, Wednesday plays with Mai Tai, Thursday is the exotic Pina Colada and finally Friday is Planter’s Punch day. Rum fans visiting the Rum Week bars, which includes Artesian Mahiki, Trailer Happiness, Merchant House, Rum & Sugar, Portside Parlour and London Cocktail Club will also be in with a chance of winning bottles of rum by posting a photo of themselves drinking the cocktail of the day across social media tagging #rumweek. Merchant House are also offering 50% of ALL rums across the week as hosting their weekly rum masterclass for only £20 rather than £65!

Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador and Rum Experience Week Founder comments, “We are less that a week away till the first ever Rum Experience Week hits London and the excitement is building. We’ve paired up with some of the most pioneering and exciting partners and will be seeing events pop up all over the capital for the very special week of tastings, seminars, dinners, master classes, live twitter tasting and parties. Rum is an incredibly versatile spirit and there will be no better way to celebrate this than at the first ever Rum Experience Week. See you there!”

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.

RUM EXPERIENCE WEEK PROGRAMME

Monday 13th October
Caribbean Hands on Cookery Class
Tickets available September | Website www.divertimenti.co.uk/cookery-school | Divertimenti Cookery School, South Kensington / Knightsbridge, 227-229 Brompton Road,  London, SW3 2EP

RumFest Takeover @ Gerry’s Wine & Spirits
1PM – 6PM | 74 Old Compton St, London W1D 4UW

Cigar & Rum Pairing
Sautters Knightsbridge: 106 Mount St, London, Mayfair W1K 2TW

Alfred Lamb’s Secret Store
VIP sampling session & Rum Experience Week Launch Party | Voltaire | From 7PM RSVPs iga@wearefullfat.com

Rum Appreciation Masterclass with Peter Holland and Matugga Rum
Lounge at Library Private Members Club.

Tuesday 14th October 
Cigar & Rum Pairing
1A St James’s: London SW1A 1EF

The Rum Masters Tasting & Dinner
Bourne & Hollingsworth | Rathbone Pl, London W1T 1JF | For tickets click here

Wednesday 14th October
RumFest Takeover @ Gerry’s Wine & Spirits
1PM – 6PM | 74 Old Compton St, London W1D 4UW

Cigar & Rum Pairing
La Casa Del Habano: 76 High St, Teddington TW11 8JD

Rum & Sugar Rum – Rum Cocktail Masterclass
Suitable for beginners | 6.30PM – 8PM | Rum & Sugar, Docklands

Thursday 15th October
Cigar & Rum Pairings
James J Fox: 19 St James’s St, London SW1A 1ES

Tiki on the Thames
Festival Pier departure 1.45PM – 6PM (stop off at 4PM) | £22 via Eventbrite

Rum & Sugar Live Music Gig
8PM – 11.30PM

Friday 16th October
The Rum Experience University
ILEC Conference Centre | Tickets announced soon

Boutique RumFest
ILEC Conference Centre | Trade only | Registration essential here

Rum & Rococo Chocolate Pairing
Two sittings: 5pm & 7:30pm | 3 Moxon Street, W1U 4EW | Tickets £25 & booked by contacting Sam 07469 853 957 / events@rococochocolates.com

Rum & Sugar Live Music Gig
8PM – 11.30PM

Saturday 17th October
RumFest 2015: the world’s premier rum festival
Tickets £49.95 / £75 (VIP) | rumfest.co.uk/purchase-tickets

Sunday 19th October
RumFest 2015: the world’s premier rum festival
Tickets £49.95 / £75 (VIP) | rumfest.co.uk/purchase-tickets

*End*

This is all lining up to be an epic week. So many things going on, if you have even an outside chance of making it along to any of them then you look to be heading towards a great time with hopefully a little bit of rum education thrown in!

We’ll be down from mid-afternoon Thursday to join in the fun!

© 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 Lovers Assemble!

*Press Release*

rum experience no date

CALLING ALL RUM LOVERS!

TICKETS NOW ON SALE FOR RUMFEST
THE UK’S BIGGEST CELEBRATION OF RUM

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

rumfest.co.uk

Ian BurrellRumFest is set to return to the capital this year, with its most comprehensive offering to date. Rum aficionados and newcomers are invited to immerse themselves in one of the world’s best-loved spirits with masterclasses, seminars, cocktail making and quality tastings. Over 400 of the rarest and most diverse rums in the market will be showcased at the event, which has become the one-stop resource for rum lovers up and down the country for the past nine years. The Golden Tot returns in 2015 providing access to the ultra-premium rum offerings and new private and intimate tastings will give discerning drinkers the chance to discover the rarest rums from around the world. The jam-packed programme will also feature cocktail making competitions, a Christie’s rum auction, incredible food and the party atmosphere of Carnival Hour. Tickets are now on sale from £49.95, including a new VIP package priced at £75 that allows for exclusive early entry, a two course Caribbean lunch and goody bag. Tickets and more information are available now from the RumFest website.

JET_2654CThe ninth annual RumFest is already on course for its best year yet, taking rum lovers on a voyage of discovery through the glorious world of rum. Launched by Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell, the The Rum Experience’s RumFest has become one of the biggest events on the rum calendar and caters for everyone who enjoys a tipple, from novices to fully fledged rum connoisseurs. 2015 will see RumFest soar to new heights thanks to a refined, rum-fuelled programme set to both educate and entertain. Whether a keen rum enthusiast, all-round spirit lover or new to the category, RumFest is the one-stop shop for all to embrace rum as a lifestyle choice.

A day ticket to RumFest gives attendees unrivaled access to try and buy over 400 different blends from around the world. Following the success of last year the Golden Tot tokens return. Available on the day for just £5, the Golden Tots open the doors to rum’s elite and allows the more serious rum enthusiast to try rums that usually retail for over £200 a bottle.

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 pairing and the making of rums. 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. In a new move for 2015 RumFest’s trade sister show Boutique RumFest will make an appearance across the two days, giving the rum super fan unprecedented access to selected rums with private tastings that have previously been reserved only for those who work in the industry.

JET_2281COther 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. 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, cocktail competitions and more. 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.

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, 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.”

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.

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This years RumFest already sounds like its set to be quite a spectacle……we can’t wait! Keep checking these pages for further updates!

© 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.

Wild Geese Golden Rum

IMAG0011_1Relatively new to these shores, though released elsewhere in 2010, Wild Geese Rum is a range of three Rums, Golden, Premium and Caribbean Spiced. They are from the same stable as Wild Geese Irish Whiskey and I happened upon them whilst browsing for Rum online…..a pursuit that I often undertake. The marketing information spins a wonderful story………..

Voyages and Men

Ireland was torn by injustice and natural disaster. In the years leading up to the Treaty of Limerick in 1691, when The Exiles took the name the Wild Geese believing they would return, many had already been forced from their homes and transported to the Caribbean and Americas to work on plantations.

Hold Fast

Sent into darkness and exile they did not flinch when faced with this unimaginable horror. Many rebellions were to follow. Their story and courage has been largely untold until now.

Freedom

Determined to win freedom, those that escaped, blazed a trail across the endless blue as liberators and pirates of the Caribbean. Navigating their way across the featureless seas and against all odds their only option being to survive and succeed.

‘BY THE SWEAT OF OUR BROW AND THE STRENGTH OF OUR BACKS YOU WILL KNOW OUR COURAGE’ 

Peace

Wherever you are in the world, if you are of Irish descent you are part of this story and entitled to call yourself ‘Wild Geese’.

Wild Geese Golden Rum – 37.5% ABV

IMAG0008_1There is little to no information on the blend of Rums within Wild Geese Rum, therefore I decided to ask the question. I’ve been informed that Wild Geese Golden Rum is a blend of five Rums sourced from five distilleries. Again, similar to a recent post, the Rums are from Demerara Distillers Limited in Guyana, Angostura in Trinidad, Hampden in Jamaica, St Lucia Distillers in St Lucia and the excellent Foursquare in Barbados. The Rum from Guyana, St Lucia and Jamaica is pot distilled and the Rum from Barbados and Trinidad is column distilled. The constituent Rums are a mix of ages with the Rum from Barbados being 5 years old and the remaining 80% between 3 and 5 years old. Again they are blended, reduced to the bottling strength of 37.5% ABV, batched with caramel for colour only and then bottled. The Rum has gathered a host of awards over the past few years winning Rum XP Gold in 2013, Silver at the WSWA 2013, Bronze at the ISC 2013, Silver at the IWSC 2013, Gold from the Beverage Tasting Institute in 2013 and was also rated 4.5/5 by Diffordsguide in 2013. Praise indeed but before moving onto my tasting notes, I have a few gripes. Firstly, the bottle label mentions that the Rum is ‘Part of the Internationally Acclaimed, Award Winning, Luxury Collection of Premium Spirits’…the term ‘Premium’ has lost its resonance with me now given it’s overuse of late. Is that where ‘Super Premium’ comes into play??? The ‘top of the range’ product from The Wild Geese Rum is actually called ‘Premium Rum’…..big shoes to fill. Secondly, the bottle label really confuses me. A Crystal Skull (we all know how that film turned out), a Pirate Ship against a moody moonlit backdrop and more text fonts and sizes than you can shake a stick at. I find it a little busy and confusing and quite unattractive. That aside, I’m not a treat for the eyes myself!  I do like the bottle shape though. As I keep telling people, ‘it’s what’s inside that counts’. Wild Geese Golden Rum is priced at around £19 a bottle which is right in line with Bacardi, Havana Club, Mount Gay, Appleton and Cockspur, so these will be the direct competitors if it makes it onto supermarket shelves, online is a different story.

IMAG0010_1Tasting Notes

In the glass: The Rum is a pale golden straw colour in the glass. Caramel, butterscotch and fudge lead the way. Vanilla then creeps up along with a light apricot syrup, the kind left over if you buy canned fruit. This is all rounded out by a little funkiness from the pot still Rums. It’s pretty pleasant stuff and bodes well for the tasting.

In the mouth: What strikes you immediately is how light a body this Rum has. The pot still element is the first thing that greets you alongside a mild spice. Vanilla and butterscotch follow with a little marzipan edge. It is, so far, totally consistent with the nose. The finish is quite short and is full of buttery fudge and that apricot syrup.

Mixed drinks pose another issue as the light body of the Rum requires something not too overpowering. With Coke, the pot still element shows through, but it’s the only thing that does. In a daiquiri, it works quite well as it is not overpowered by the citrus. It did work well in a little punch that I concocted using fresh lime juice, a passion fruit syrup and sugar syrup 50/50 mix, a good 60ml of Wild Geese Golden Rum and all topped up with peach nectar. Tasty stuff. There are several suggested cocktails on the Wild Geese Website here but in some, such as the Mai Tai, the Rum is overwhelmed by the other ingredients. For me, stick to simple and you won’t go far wrong.

This Rum is a good example of something that I think, on the visual front, is trying way too hard to stand out. So much so that what it actually does is mask what is clearly a decent, flavourful blend of Rums. You can hide behind crystal skulls and a marketing fanfare but put simply, this is a tasty, relatively inexpensive Rum, that is interesting due to the blend of Rums and the quality of the ingredients. The beauty of this issue is that if required, the label can be amended, and this is no way affects the product contained within. This is just my opinion though, so if you’ve tried it, if you love the presentation or have any other opinions, it’d be good to hear what you think.

© 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