Neptune ‘Gold’ Barbados Rum

We have another new Rum that has recently come to market and as with all such releases, it was viewed with an element of suspicion. That is until we found out that it has its origins in Barbados…..and more importantly that it is produced by Foursquare. It has been winning awards in both New York and China and one more that is under wraps for the moment….But as we all know these awards mean more to brands than to a seasoned drinker (functioning alcoholic)……Though it is fair to say that the casual drinker uncertain of what to buy may be swayed by a fancy sticker on a label.

Neptune Gold Barbados Rum – 40% abv

So, what is there to be added about this Rum. It’s from Foursquare….which is good enough for me….Well, it’s from Foursquare via E&A Scheer in Amsterdam. It has seen a full 3 years age in the Caribbean and is (as most Foursquare releases are) a blend of Pot and Column distillates aged together in the barrel…which is ex-bourbon. The Rum sits at a cask strength of 68% abv when it arrives. This is then diluted down to its bottling strength of 40% with the addition of a little spirit caramel to take it back to cask colour. No nasties have been added. The Rum is bottled in the UK. It would’ve been an ‘easy out’ to not put the age of the Rum on the bottle as it can be a big decision maker for a certain sector of buyers with a lot being put off by low numbers….but they were confident in their sourcing, tropical age and product to add it to the label. Presentation wise its a bottle shape and size that sits nicely on the shelf and there is a wooden topped cork closure. Embossed label text and a little information on the rear label. What I can also tell you is that there are plans to release a limited cask strength run of this Rum with the overall plan being to have 3 products in the Neptune Rum range. The cask strength alone is a welcome addition.

Tasting Notes

Glass: Light straw gold. A little peppery spike initially but it soon settles. Classic Bajan aromas (for me) of vanilla, pepper and light oak. Oily citrus is definitely present as is aroma of fresh peaches. Time gives a little marshmallow which I also find to be a classic Bajan aroma. Whilst not overly complex its solid and doesn’t give away its youth.

Mouth: Initial entry has you believe that this is way more refined than its 3 years. A light, peppery bite from the off, this rum genuinely has a little more grip than I’d expect from such a young Rum. It feels more viscous and all-encompassing than expected. Vanilla, very mild oak and a restrained crisp apple follow. Desiccated coconut is certainly there. That familiar peach note in the vapours that I associate specifically with Foursquare Rum is present too…The finish is short to medium length and starts with a beautiful sweetness developing those peach vapours. Powdery cocoa morphs into a drying light oak finish that sits for a while before fading into coconut.

I find this Rum very reminiscent of Old Brigand or Alleyne Arthur’s Special Barbados Rum…..whilst out and about in Barbados I managed to put away a lot of the One Eyed Pirate….

For new brands to market things seem to go one of a few ways. You can spend up front to start your own distillery and release an overly expensive unaged Rum to tide you over while your Rum matures. People will buy it because of words like Artisan and Small Batch on the label irrespective of quality and (as has recently been the case) whether it can even be classed as a Rum due to its origins not being from sugarCANE. Though doing it right is to be applauded. You can source average distillates (sometimes distilled to a neutral alcohol level) and fill them full of rubbish to appeal to the masses. People will buy it because its sweet, cheap and has a gimmick. Or, you can do as Neptune Rum have done. Source credible Rum (they don’t come much more credible than Foursquare), refuse to mess with it in the a hope that the honesty of the product and the flavour and credibility of the Rum will shine through. What you do have to do though is pay for that credibility which passes onto your retail price.

The latter one is perhaps the more risky way to go as you wind up asking, as is the case with Neptune Rum, upwards of £35 for a relatively young product. But as sales increase, business models change and economies of scale mean that prices can reduce. Buy this Rum with confidence….its currently on the high side price wise, but it possesses maturity beyond its 3 years and shows a few other Rums with bigger numbers how it should be done.

 

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Habitation Velier Foursquare 2015 Pure Single Rum

Yes you read that correctly….2015. This is unlike the 2013 that saw 2 years age in ex-cognac barrels. This Rum was produced using 100% Barbadian molasses and distilled at Foursquare on their twin retort pot still. This is your only chance to get to try such a lightly aged (4 months in ex-cognac barrels) 100% pot distillate from Foursquare. In fact it is the only one that has been bottled and released commercially…..I’m also quite hesitant to say that it is commercially available as I’ve not seen this bottle for sale…..anywhere. It was obtained as an open bottle from Luca Gargano (who also signed the bottle label for me) in the final Velier seminar at the 2016 UK RumFest….and I feel immensely lucky to have it. Now I have written previously about Foursquare releases and you can read more into their other releases here, here, here and here. The bottle was open with a small amount gone when I was gifted it and my subsequent tastings have taken it past the shoulders and I’ve put some time in with this Rum…..so I suppose it’s on with the tasting notes…

Habitation Velier Foursquare 2015 Pure Single Rum – 59% abv

foursquare-2015-bottle

 

Tasting Notes

Glass: The Rum as stated has been aged for 4 months in ex-cognac barrels. It presents itself as a light straw gold in the glass. Initial aromas are fresh, clean and acetone in nature. It is salty and ever so lightly floral. Brine and salty black olives are present and accounted for. It is everything I expect from a pot distillate. It is very pungent but extremely approachable. As the glass warms it brings a warming, creamy biscuity aroma. There is also a light smoke….almost burnt splints that we used to use to light Bunsen burners back in school. With water the acetone attack is dialed down a notch and the florals come to the fore, along with more of the creamy biscuity aromas.

Mouth: The entry is hot and peppery. Black olives and salty brine are very apparent. As the heat subsides a sweetness grows that is almost salty / sweet liquorice. It is a very oily proposition and is all-encompassing in the mouth with, for me, clearly defined effects on my palate. Oily citrus zips your cheeks whilst the peppery bite nips at your lips. All the while your tongue is bathed in salty liquorice with the slightest bitterness of treacle. With water the citrus is dulled but the black olives and liquorice remain on the growingly creamy and textured mouthfeel. The finish is of a short to medium length and is resplendent with liquorice, brine and the lightest bitter note.

This was another Rum that I had expected to be a ‘reference rum’ much like the Habitation Velier Port Mourant. However, I found the Rum to be such a flavourful proposition that I decided to put it to work in a few drinks. It excels in a Daiquiri and I also built an Old Fashioned. Tasting the drink as it diluted I felt that it needed a little help so added a drop of Doorlys 12 which added balance to the drink. A drop of Peychauds and Angostura Bitters also worked well.

foursquare-2015-old-fashioned

I think that Josh over at Inu A Kena summed it up earlier this week when he observed that ‘Being a Rum Nerd means that you reach a point where white Rums really excite you’. This was further commented on by Peter Holland from TFRS who said that ‘If a new make Rum has no taste interest, its highly unlikely that time in a barrel is going to significantly improve things’.

Both good observations. This Pure Single Rum is a massively exciting proposition. It contains insane levels of both flavour and aroma, the likes of which some longer aged products could only dream of containing. Can you just imagine how much complexity could be added to this Rum with time in the barrel? Well I have the 2 year old Foursquare 2013 still to come to these pages so I guess we’ll find out!

4-0-star

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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A Rum Roaring Success

*Press Release*

Rum Experience Week

Tastings, parties, masterclasses, dinners, pairings and more brought rum lovers to the capital for the first ever Rum Experience Week culminating in the UK’s biggest annual celebration of the spirit at RumFest 2015

#rumweek

Monday 12th – Sunday 18th October 2015 
London

rumexperienceweek.com
rumfest.co.uk

Rumfest 2015

Last week rum took over London with a week of curated events in the first ever Rum Experience Week, culminating in the ninth annual RumFest. Rum Experience Week raised awareness of the spirit like never before teaming up with leading bars, chefs, distillers, brands and rum lovers to showcase new ways to enjoy one of the country’s favourite tipples. Highlights of the week included a first-taste of Lamb’s Single Cask at Voltaire, an exclusive Rum Masters Dinner, an interactive live tasting in the Shard with Appleton Rum which trended on Twitter in the UK, a Thames Tiki rum cruise, rum pairings with cigars and chocolate, the return of Boutique RumFest and the Rum Experience University and much more. At the weekend thousands flocked to London’s ILEC for RumFest and a sell out Saturday, where rum makers from all over the world showcased their blends in tastings, masterclasses, seminars, cocktails and more. Full details of all events and next year’s dates to be announced soon and can be found via The RumFest and Rum Experience Week websites.

Rum Experience Week and RumFest offered the most comprehensive rum programme the UK has ever seen. Headed up by Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell, the seven-day series welcomed both rum newcomers and the discerning drinker to embrace the vibrant culture of rum and change perceptions by exploring new ways to enjoy the spirit.

The week began at one of Alfred Lamb’s old rum stores under the Thames at Voltaire, where Lamb’s Navy Rum hosted an exclusive tasting of the first limited edition batch of Lamb’s Single Cask, followed by the official launch party for Rum Experience Week.  Some of the world’s most renowned ambassadors including Richard Seale from Foursquare and Luca Gargano from Velier Rums presented a special tasting at Bourne & Hollingsworth as well as raising a number of pressing issues affecting the rum industry including the categorisation of the spirit. Appleton Estate Rum welcomed over 400 lucky rum enthusiasts the chance to take part in the ultimate ‘alternative night in’, as they presented #AppletonLive the ‘Taste of Jamaica’ welcoming both fans at home and at a very special event at The Shard the ultimate live interactive Twitter tasting resulting in it trending on Twitter in the UK. Rum lovers set sail aboard the Tiki Boat on Thursday for Tiki On The Thames with plenty of Tiki vibes, Tiki tunes and Tiki cocktails before a special after party at the famous Mahiki Club in Mayfair.

Those looking for more of an official education in rum took part in the Rum Experience University on Friday, with an in-depth course that offered a recognised diploma. Industry figures also congregated for RumFest’s sister trade show Boutique RumFest that allows buyers, distributors, distillers, press and industry figures from all over the globe to network and sample new rums before anyone else.

Rum Experience Week ended with a bang as RumFest took over London’s ILEC for the country’s biggest celebration of rum. Over 400 of the rarest and most diverse rums from across the globe were on offer for ticket holders to sip, savour and buy along with some more premium rums available to try as part of the Golden Tot offering. Leading and emerging rum brands took part in intimate seminars, masterclasses and more while the main stage presented cooking demonstrations and the return of the Rum Auction, which raised over £5000 for charity. (Note: We won the Foursquare Mahiki bottle in the auction)

Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador and Rum Experience Week Founder comments, “The turnout and reaction for Rum Experience Week and RumFest has been phenomenal. It’s such a joy to see so many people as interested and excited by rum and it’s a testament to the versatility and variety of the spirit. A big thanks goes out to all of the brands, ambassadors, blenders, mixologists and rum lovers who travelled from all over the world to be a part of the many rum events in the capital and we hope to see you all again next year!”

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.

Exhibitor Quotes

“The best of the 6 RumFests we have attended. Saturday was a great day, the visitors to our stand were really interested to learn more about rum and The Diplomatico range, they seemed to really like the venue and it’s location.” Diplomatico

“The best thing we’ve done for 2015.” Rum Bar

“Delighted to be a part of RumFest again this year. Great turnout, lots of fun and we are already discussing how we can embrace this event further next year.” Marussia

“It was a great experience to show the quality of the rums under the D.O.C. Ron de Venezuela in this prestigious event. A unique opportunity to meet UK professionals and rum lovers. Congratulations to all RumFest’s team!” D.O.C. Ron de Venezuela

“Showcasing Matugga Rum – a new entrant to the U.K. drinks market, at the Boutique RumFest and at The UK RumFest yielded an abundance of positive results. Our participation in the show boosted awareness of our brand amongst rum enthusiasts, and facilitated networking with the international drinks trade. Impressive exposure, great experience, highly recommended – we’re looking forward to RumFest 2016.” Paul and Jacine Rutasikwa, Matugga Beverages

“Once again, the Duppies enjoyed spreading the mischief at this year’s RumFest. A year on from our launch, it was great to be back amongst the rum family, saying hello to people we met last year and introducing The Duppy Share to newcomers. It’s exciting to see the interest in rum growing and growing, and to be a part of the rum revolution.” Duppy Share

“For Botran the show was fantastic exposure. RumFest has played a huge part in the re-introduction of Botran to the UK and the reception we had was incredibly positive. It was a great opportunity to educate people on Botran and our plans for the UK market.” Botran

“Being distributed by VDS UK for 3 months mostly in London’s bars, the rum fest was an excellent opportunity to meet rum connoisseurs and get their feedbacks. See you next year!” HeeJoy

“We enjoyed RumFest 2015. A relaxing and entertaining venue to interact with the friends, the trade, customers, and receive their feedback.” Nicholas Abbey Rum

“It was an amazing experience thanks to everyone involved. I was able to listen to the valuable feedback from a lot of customers who came by our stand. We were also able to secure a distributor in the UK so we hope more and more people will be able to enjoy NINE LEAVES rum!  A huge thank you to the festival organizers, and everyone who attended the event. I will continue to keep ‘sincerely making rum’. That’s a promise.” Nine Leaves

“RumFest was fantastic for us this year due to our rebrand of Britain’s favourite spiced rum, Old J. We also showcased our new flavours Cherry and Gold which went down a storm with the public. Whisky Exchange told us it was the most popular this year which was also huge for us as a brand. Can’t wait for next year!!” Old J Spiced Rum

“RumFest is definitely our favourite event to do. We look forward to it every year, it’s such a fun atmosphere and everyone involved is so helpful!! Roti Company

“What an excellent show with truly great feedback from the audience regarding Ron Centenario. We hope to finally have our rum available in the UK market in the near future.” Ron Centenario

“As newcomers to the British market the RumFest experience was a delightful moment to meet with customers and get some valuable insights. We enjoyed the fair very much and hope that also brought some good vibes and the most excellent rum.” Ron Barcelo

“Being part of Rum Experience Week has been a reminder of just how much the spirit is increasing in popularity. There’s a real thirst for premium liquid, as proven by the positive response to Lamb’s new Single Cask rum. We had some fantastic feedback on the full Lamb’s range at RumFest and thanks to Ian Burrell, The Global Rum Ambassador, people were again entertained and educated about Lamb’s Rum, a brand of true British Character.” Lamb’s Navy Rum

“This year was the 5th consecutive year Don Q has participated in the UK Rum Experience. Every year we find that the event helps elevate the category within the London market by educating and exposing the consumer and rum enthusiasts alike to the production process, upcoming trends, and of course great rums!” Don Q

“Westerhall Rums loved being part of this years RumFest it was fantastic to meet so many rum enthusiasts! Everyone seemed thoroughly interested in learning more about rum, and it was great to speak with so many over a Westerhall Jack Iron Cocktail. We are very much looking forward to next year. Cheers!”  Westerhall Rum

“RumFest 2016 has been one of the best shows for Pusser’s Rum. There was a great turnout and people really wanted to learn about our brand. We met some amazing individuals over the course of the weekend, and all because of rum!” Pussers Rum

Amathus has a long history with RumFest, and this year we fully supported the focus on Rhum Agricole. with fantastic activity from our AOC Martinique brands, Rhum Clement and Rhum JM.” Amathus Drinks

*End*

We attended a few events along with both days of Rumfest itself and our summation will appear on these pages in the very near future accompanied by a huge quantity of images. Given the quality on display this year alongside the chosen guest speakers / masterclasses, there was a real credibility to the event and it was on the whole a really positive weekend. We’re still recovering so it must have been good! We had our own stand out moments and will reveal all when the article is published!

 © 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.

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.