After many requests from visitors, this page will now be dedicated to rum reviews. The Rumelier
will attempt to review random rums in an unbiased interesting way. All aspects of the rum will be evaluated, from the bottle,
to the rum itself. Also included in the review will be a few details, when available, about the people or company, producing
the actual rum. The Rumelier hopes you find this page interesting and helpful when deciding what rums to purchase.
The rums being reviewed on this page and
rated for the Rum Diary Page will now be rated on a scale from one to ten.
will be the perfect score, while one will be rum that should be used for lighting the bar-b-que or for stripping the paint
of some old wood shelves!! Hopefully there will not be too many of these.
1) Below the Kitchen Sink.
7) Pretty Good.
9) Highly Recommended.
10) Very Highly Recommended.
Ron Abuelo Centuria from Panama
The Rumelier was fortunate enough to get invited to visit the distillery of Varela Hermanos, Panama
in February 2011 along with a small group of other rum experts from the Rum XP Panel.
group of rum experts were treated like rum royalty from the moment they arrived in Panama. While many of the group would probably
admit thet being flown to the distillery from Panama City by helicopter was the highlight of the trip, some of them would
also agree that tasting Ron Abuelo Centuria for the first time was a very special treat aswell.
|System Solera employed for aging Ron Abuelo.
Ron Abuelo Centuria was first released in December, 2010. The name Centuria comes from the latin word "centum"
which means one hundred. and this name was given to the rum to celebrate a century of rum making tradition by Varela Hermanos.
This rum comes from the oldest reserves of rum, aged in white oak barrels for up to 30 years. These select rums then
become part of the company's "Reserva de la Familia". A solera sysytem is employed to preserve the character of
these special reserves of rum. Only one aging warehouse is dedicated to the solera sysytem, all the remaining aging warehouses
use the more standard vertivally stacked barrel method.
|Filling barrels with Ron Abuelo.
Cruzan Single Barrel Rum from St. Croix, US Virgin Islands.
Cruzan Single Barrel Rum from US Virgin Islands is produced in Frederiksted, St.Croix by
eight generations of the Nelthrop family that have been producing rum since 1760. Currently Cruzan Rum is owned by Beam Global
Spirits & Wines, INC., a subsidiary of Fortune Brands. There have been several changes in ownership of the company in
recent years, but the Nelthrop have remained as managers throughout all the changes.
Single Barrel Rum was first introduced in 1998 and is the premium offering from the company. It is aged in American white
oak barrels from 5 to 12 years, then the rum is blended and aged again from 6 months to a year in single barrels before
Originally sugar cane was grown all over the Virgin Islands, but in these modern
times sugar cane estates have long disappeared from the landscape of St.Croix. Cruzan rum must now import all its molasses
from South and Central America to fulfil its rum production needs. The imported molasses is diluted with tropical rain water
that is pumped from the aquifers of St.Croix.
This diluted molasses then has the proprietary
yeasts added for the fermentation stage to begin. The fermentation process is controlled by the Master Distiller who controls
the fermentation temperature to ensure the best quality flavours are gained and that all the sugar in the molasses is converted
The wash is then transferred to the modern stainless steel and copper five column
still for distillation. The crystal clear distillate is then aged in hand crafted American oak barrels for a minimum of two
years and a maximum of twelve years. As much as half the rum can be lost to evaporation , or what is commonly known as the
After barrel aging the rum is charcoal filtered and diluted to
80 proof alcohol using more of the local rainwater. The rum is then bottled at the company's modern, stainless steel bottling
The distillery is also the largest supplier of American private and distributor label
rum. Cruzan Rum also makes a pure distillate alcohol, which can be found for sale in the medicine sections of many grocery
As you can see from the two bottles shown (new on the left) there has been a recent
change in the packaging of this rum and their whole range of rums. As a result The Rumelier was keen to taste the rum in the
new package to see if the rum blend had changed as well.
|Cruzan Rum Aging Warehouse.
Cruzan Single Barrel
Rum Tasting Notes
The new bottle that has been recently introduced for Cruzan
Single Barrel Rum can only really be described as disappointing when compared to the previous bottle (shown above right) which
was very distinctive. While it still uses the same cork and wood stopper it is basically a generic bottle used for all the
The bottle contains a fairly dark brown rum that reflects the up to 12 years
of aging in American barrels and a further aging in new oak barrels for up to a year. The nose is very delicate, not overpowering
in any way, with notes of vanilla, butterscotch, oak, and maple, with a little molasses as a background. This is not a powerful
rum despite its old age, in rum aging terms. It could best be described as a medium bodied rum, typical of the Cruzan family
of rums, pretty similar to Cuban style light bodied rums.
The taste confirms the notes detected
on the nose, smokey oak, vanilla, honey and a little spice. Very little burn as the rum goes down, almost a few traits of
some cognac here. Overall a fairly pleasant rum, but tasted alongside its predecessor it has taken a step back from the top
quality rum it used to be before. Unless of course, as this rum is a single barrel rum the next bottle will be different and
more like the original blend. Maybe some more research is required and another bottle purchased, or maybe it is time to hide
the older bottlings of this rum in a dark cupboard somewhere for a rainy day.
|First Shipment of Cruzan Rum after Prohibition.
|Don Q Gran Aņejo from Puerto Rico.
Don Q Gran Anejo from Puerto Rico
The Rumelier recently had many opportunities to re-acquaint
himself with Don Q Gran Añejo while attending the "Taste of Rum" rum festival in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Along with Rob V. Burr and Jim Ducharme, The Rumelier was lucky enough to receive a guided tour of the Destileria Serralles
in Ponce, on the south coast of the island.
This fine, light style, Puerto Rican rum has now been re-packaged in a new square shaped bottle with a glass stopper
that doubles up as a measure pourer. The bottle just has to be tilted and the top fills with rum, which is then removed from
the bottle and the measure of rum poured into the waiting glass.
Don Q Gran Añejo from Puerto Rico is a fine rum that is aged from between 3
to 12 years in the solera system of aging. Don Q (short for Don Quixote) Rums have been produced by the Destileria Serralles
in Ponce, since 1932. The distillery also currently produces Captain Morgan and Ron Rico rums amongst others, which along
with Don Q rums account for 60% of the rum sold on the island. Don Q Gran Añejo rum goes through "a careful aging
in oak casks and in it's due time optimally combined in solera."
For more information about The Rumelier's tour of the Destileria Serralles and his latest adventures in Puerto Rico click
|Don Q Gran Anejo Glass Stopper Measurer.
Don Q Gran Anejo was originally launched to
commemorate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Puerto Rico by the first Europeans and Christopher Columbus in 1493.
Columbus was actually responsible for bringing sugar cane to the "West Indies" on his second voyage across the Atlantic
Ocean. The story goes that Columbus stopped at the Canary Islands on the way over and had an affair with the Governor
of the islands, who persuaded him to take some sugar cane seedlings with him on his voyage. The rest, as they say, is history.
Sugar cane proved to be a huge success for many European plantation owners who grew wealthy off the proceeds of sugar production
all over the Caribbean. Rum distillation was just a natural progression from sugar production.
Puerto Rico has a rich tradition of rum distillation and their brands of rum can be
found all over the world. The vast majority of all rum sold in the mainland USA originates from this Caribbean island.
|Serralles Distillery, Ponce, Puerto Rico.
|Home of Don Q Rums.
Don Q Gran Anejo Tasting Notes
The bottle of Gran Anejo pictured above was presented to
the The Rumelier by Sylvia Santiago of Destileria Serralles on his conclusion of the guided tour of the distillery in Ponce.
The striking new square bottle with the measuring stopper
comes packaged in a very solid, attractive gift box. Once the rum is removed from the box the anticipation of tasting this
rum becomes very high. The rum is light brown/amber in colour and has a beautiful nose of oak, molasses, caramel and brown
sugar. On the palate the rum does not disappoint the anticipation. This a fairly light bodied rum in the true Puerto Rican
tradition, with notes of spices, cinnamon, caramel, vanilla, toffee and cocoa. This fairly dry rum finishes with very little
burn, but some great depth. A good example of a good sipping rum, best enjoyed on it's own or with a cube or two of ice and
maybe a wedge of fresh lime.
rum is first aged in used American white oak barrels from the Jim Beam Distillery. It is then carefully aged in Spanish sherry
casks using the Solera Aging System. This finishing in sherry barrels really shows through in the finish of this rum. A timely
and expensive process for rum producers, but well worth the trouble for rum lovers.
Very Highly Recommended
|Former Jim Beam Bourbon Barrels at Serralles.
|Bourbon barrels are plugged on the side.
Montanya Rum from Colorado, U.S.A.
The Rumelier recently received two bottles of Montanya Rum from the small town of Silverton, Colorado,
U.S.A. Not knowing anything about these rums he decided to do some investigating. The following information is what he found
out about this boutique rum.
Montanya Rums are produced 9,300 feet up in the Colorado Rockies, far from the sunny Caribbean where most people
consider the home of rum production to be. The small company is run by Karen and Brice Hoskin who were on vacation in Belize
when the decided to start their own distillery.
Their rum is produced using pure cane sugar from Hawaii and champagne yeast. Fermentation takes between
seven or eight days in large plastic barrels. After the fermentation of the sugar and yeast the wash is distilled in a small
400 litre Portuguese alambic copper still called Bella. The still is heated with propane gas and the condenser is cooled with
mountain spring water. The heart of the distillate is what is aged in the used Bourbon barrels, the heads and tails are discarded.
The alcohol is about 140 to 150 proof when it escapes from the still. It is then watered down using the pure filtered Colorado
water to 80 proof for aging and bottling.
After distillation the rum is aged briefly in used Stranahan Whiskey or Woodford Reserve Bourbon Barrels.
The Oro Rum is aged for only six weeks, which is considered a very short time in rum aging, and the Platino Rum is aged
for four short weeks only. It is said that rum ages quicker at higher altitudes, where the air pressure forces the alcohol
into the pores of the American Oak barrels and extracts more flavour from the wood. The greater temperature changes at altitude
also affect the rate the rums age in the barrel. The Platino Rum is charcoal filtered after aging to remove
any colour gained from its brief contact with the oak. The rums are bottled at 80% alcohol by volume.
For a video of where and how this rum is made click here.
Montanya rums are package in a wine bottle style, giving
them a fairly unique, pleasant presentation for a rum bottle.
The Oro was the sample of choice due to its extra weeks of aging high in the Colorado Rockies. This
pale amber rum has a nose of caramel, honey and molasses. The taste is fairly fruity with traces of the molasses and honey
along with hints of vanilla. The finish is short and lacking any depth of the oak barrels. This rum would be interesting if
it had some more time in the barrel, but does give off quite an array of flavours for such a young rum.
Hopefully in years to come there will be an older version
of this rum.
|Hand numbered Westerhall label.
Westerhall Plantation Rum
When driving around the beautiful southern Caribbean Island of Grenada you will view numerous ruins of old sugar
mills and rum distilleries. They date back some 200 years or more to a time when labour was cheap and plentiful and demand
for sugar was high.
Currently there are three remaining distilleries in Grenada .
Most of the rum produced is drank locally and not exported and a large percentage of the rum consumed is of
the overproof variety.
One of the better rums produced is Westerhall Plantation Rum, this is
a surprisingly good rum from one of the lesser known Caribbean rum producing countries. This light, straw coloured
rum is packed with flavour.
Details of whether the rum is produced by the distillery or imported
from Trinidad and Tobago are hard to decipher. The rum certainly does have many qualities typical of a rum from
The Westerhall Distillery is the third oldest distillery in Grenada. The 70 acre
estate and distillery is owned by the Williams family and dates back to the late 1700's. This is a fairly small operation,
that apparently only produces three barrels of rum a day. Each bottle is hand numbered by the master of the bottling house
to indicate each batch. As the rum is hand crafted there are slight variations between each batch. The owners of the company
keep a small reserve from each batch, so that if one of their customers contacts them, it is possible to find a replacement
from a previous batch they preferred.
|New bottle shown right, old left.
Unfortunately the producers of Westerhall
Plantation Rum have moved away from covering the top of the bottle in wax (shown left) which gave it some distinction. Apparently
there was a legal issue with supposedly copying Maker's Mark Whisky, so the wax had to be replaced for export bottling. Even
so, the new bottle still gives you the feel that a good quality rum should be hiding inside.
rum itself does not disappoint. Despite its light colour there are strong flavours of vanilla and a parade of fruits
on the nose with little alcohol detected. Earlier versions of this rum were aged for 6 years in oak barrels, so we can
presume this rum is aged about the same length or less. The taste is surprisingly smooth, with a long finish of oak,
vanilla and spices, which one would expect from the Spice Island. This rum can be drank straight or over a few cubes
of ice and makes a very good cocktail where the taste of rum is not intended to overpower the mixer.
The only problem with this rum would be where to classify it. It essentially is not a gold or dark rum, neither
is it a white rum.
Thomas & Leopold Single Barrel Dark Rum
and Leoplold Single Barrel Rum is produced in small batches using a relatively small 40 gallon hand-hammered copper pot still.
Each batch of rum produced from the copper still will fill between 30 and 50 6-pack cases. Every bottle of rum is numbered
by hand from which batch it came from.
This rum is unique in many ways. It is a blend of two different
distillates. One is distilled from fermented molasses and the other is fermented from cane sugar. These separate distillates
each give the rum different characteristics to the final blend.
The molasses gives the rum, raisin, bourbon and molasses flavours, while the cane sugar gives a fruitier,
fermenting and distilling the rums are blended together and aged for about six months in used bourbon oak barrels. While resting
in the barrel the rum takes on the colour of the oak which are derived from the wood sugars of the oak. No artificial colours
are added to the rum, unlike many massed produced rums.
The distilled rum is aged at 43% ABV, a fairly
low strength compared to most other rum producers. When ready for bottling the rum is bottled at the same strength it was
aged at. Each batch is bottled separately and becomes a unique single barrel rum. Each barrel will be different from the barrel
Leopold Bros. is a family owned and operated small batch distillery located in Denver,
Colorado that produces liqueurs, flavoured whiskeys, vodka, rum, gin and absinthe. All of their products are handcrafted,
hand-numbered, small batch spirits.
Scott and Todd Leopold opened a brewpub in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1999. Later, operations expanded to include a micro-distillery.
Todd Leopold was the brew and still master for the brewery, while brother Scott was the designer and engineer. The microbrewery
operated as an "eco-brewery" using organic hops and barley and equipment that reduced the amounts of waste from
Leopold Bros. closed
its Ann Arbor location in the summer of 2008 and relocated to Denver, where they discontinued brewing and began operating
as a micro-distillery only. The company produces 17 hand-numbered, batch made products, all made from scratch and with natural
The Thomas and Leopold Single Barrel Dark Rum is unique in
many ways. The Rocky Mountains of Colorado are a far off destination from where most people consider the home of rum,
the Caribbean. Couple this with its unique method of blending a molasses fermented distillate along with a cane sugar one
before ageing, and you come up with a very individual style of rum in terms of taste and aroma. Put this in a pretty
bottle with an understated old fashioned label and you have created something pretty different from the main stream of rum
The colour of the rum
is fairly dark for only a rum of approximately six months old, a rum with just this much colour has usually spent more time
in direct contact with oak. There are notes of raisins, fruits and molasses on the strong nose. In the mouth there is little
burn, even less after a cube or two of ice is added. This rum does taste like a cross between a molasses rum and an agricole
rhum, a little sweet and a little fruity at the same time. One must remember that this is a single barrel rum and that the
next batch maybe a little different. This rum would probably shine when being used as a mixer.
Smith and Cross Jamaica Navy Strength Rum
The Rumelier was the lucky recent recipitent of what can only be described as a full bodied Jamaican
pot still rum. This rum has been produced to take consumers back to the old days when rum was produced only in pot stills,
with lots of heavy flavours. In recent years there has been a distinctive trend by rum distillers to produce lighter bodied
and flavoured rums, coming mainly from continuous column stills or a blend of both column and pot stills. The main reason
for this trend is economics. It is easier and cheaper to operate a column still than it is a single batch copper pot
still. But the heavier flavours that are produced by a pot still make these heavier rums popular with rum lovers.
This Smith and Cross rum is a blend of approximately equal parts of Wedderburn and Plummer Stills. The
Wedderburn is aged for less than a year and the Plummer is split between 18 months and 3 years in white oak barrels.
It was blended at a young age to avoid the oak dominating the fruit and spices notes evident in this fine rum.
It has been bottled at 57% ABV which was the traditional strength required by the British Royal Navy.
At this strength the alcohol would not prevent gunpowder from igniting if the rum was spilt on the decks of the old sailing
Smith and Cross
The trans-Atlantic trading
of sugar was a very important part of British commerce during the nineteenth century, with most of this sugar being processed
at the West India Docks in London. Rum was a natural progression in terms of trade for many of these companies. For many generations
Britain was Jamaica's best market for rum and for this reason the world went to London to source the finest rums.
The company of Smith and Cross can trace its history back to 1788 as it was one on England's oldest producers of
sugar and rum. Over the years the company became one of the largest handlers of Jamaican rum, where it was aged in caverns along
the River Thames by the London Docks.
The unassuming simple blue label on the bottle does not give too many hints of what secret lies ahead inside
the bottle. The first thing that strikes you about this rum is the instant impact it has upon your nose when you first open
the bottle. This is a heavy full flavoured Jamaican rum, just oozing with aromas of caramel, spice and fruit.
On the palate the spice and fruits shine through as do the oak and hints of honey. A long spice finish leaving you
wanting another sip to confirm your initial taste. The rum benefits from a few minutes rest in a snifter before a second sip.
The heavier Wedderburn rum shines through in the blend and makes this rum a true connoisseurs rum of exceptional flavour.
Very Highly Recommended
Mount Gay 1703 Old Cask Selection from Barbados
known rum company in the world, Mount Gay, has recently released a premium rum of the highest quality called 1703
Old Cask Selection. Many rum lovers know that 1703 marks the date of the earliest recorded deeds to the Mount
Gay Distillery. Over three centuries of distilling, aging and blending knowledge have been combined to produce a rum
of exceptional smoothness and quality that compare favourably or better than the finest cognacs in the world. Many rum produces
are now realizing that there is a growing market for premium sipping rums and collectors of fine rums now have a much
wider choice. This rum is most definetly a step-up from one of The Rumelier's favourite rums, Mount Gay Extra Old, both
in terms of quality and price.
The Rumelier first sampled this rum at the Rum Renaissance
in Miami, Florida in May 2009. Mount Gay Rum's Rum Ambassador, Chester Brown was manning the Mount Gay stand and
was only too pleased to be handing out samples to The Rumelier and the other judges of the rum tasting competition. Many of
the judges made the Mount Gay stand their first stop of Rum Renaissance in anticipation of receiving their first taste of
this much anticipated rum.
|Chester Brown, Mount Gay's Rum Ambassador.
The anticipation was well rewarded. Not only is the bottle an elegant oval shape, with an understated
small square label, the contents of the bottle match the top shelf deserving shape. Topping the bottle off is a
gold solid enclosure with a cork stopper, suggesting a quality product.
This rum has been
created by Mount Gay's master blender, Allen Smith, who has twenty years of experience blending some of the world's best rums.
He has selected only the company's finest stocks of 10 to 30 year old rums for this blend. This combined with the finest
Bajan sugar cane, coral filtered spring water and select, used Kentucky bourbon oak casks, make for a cognac style rum
of the highest quality and appeal.
The beautiful bottle the rum comes in is complemented by the rich copper colour of the rum waiting
to be tasted inside. The legs already appear to be forming inside the bottle even before a sample has been poured into the
small sampling snifter. When the rum is finally released from the bottle these thin delicate straight legs also appear on
Upon first inspection, the rum gives off fairly high alcohol on the nose, with
a slight vanilla note in the background. When first sipped immediate thoughts want to compare it to the Mount Gay Extra Old,
but this rum is way passed it's sister. The taste is a wonderful combination of oak, brown sugar, mango, banana, spices, and
vanilla that immediately leave you wanting more, then reality sinks in, and you remember that this bottle of rum retails at
The finish is amazingly long and smooth, just begging you to pour more. This is the
apex of rum distilling and blending, a true masterpiece of the blenders art, where all three hundred years of knowledge are
utilized to the utmost. A must have for any serious rum enthusiast or collector.
Very Highly Recommended.
|Angostura Single Barrel Reserve from T & T.
Angostura Single Barrel Reserve from Trinidad and Tobago
One of The Rumelier's favourite rums is Angostura's Single Barrel Reserve Rum from Trinidad and Tobago. The Rumelier
first discovered this wonderful rum while on a visit to the Angostura Distillery in Laventille, Trinidad and Tobago, early in
2008. He had initially missed this rum while tasting all the other fine rums Angostura produce. It wasn't until he met with
the sales team on his last day that he got his first taste of the Single Barrel.
It was sampled
with a piece of chocolate for breakfast!! It made an instant impression on him and has since become an important part of his
rum collection, one of his regular go to rums.
Unfortunately for most rum lovers this rum does
not seem to be widely available outside of Trinidad and Tobago, but thankfully, is available in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
After much research The Rumelier managed to find some tasting notes on the Single Barrel:-
rich hue of deep mahogany. Offers an enticing bouquet of creamy aromas of vanilla, chocolate, molasses, espresso, spice and
oak. Rich medium body. Packed with toasty bakery like flavours of chocolate, honey, toffee, caramel, coffee, and roasted nuts.
The flavours persist on the palate for an extended period of time, eventually tapering to a fade of molasses, rich cinnamon,
Isn't that description just enough to make you jump on the next
flight to Trinidad or Tobago to purchase a case of this fine rum?
Brief Angostura History
House of Angostura (also known as Angostura Limited) is a company based in Trinidad and Tobago that is famous for producing
Angostura Bitters. The bitters were invented by the company's founder Dr. Johann G.B. Siegert. The company is also known for
distilling fine column distilled rums, either for sale as their own brands, but also for selling rum in bulk to customers
all over the world. Some of this rum is sold by the ship load from their specially built loading pier from huge storage tanks.
The company was founded around 1830 by by a German doctor, Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, who was surgeon general
in Simon Bolivar's army in Venezuela. While he was stationed in Venezuela he tried to find a medicine to improve appetite
and digestion of the soldiers in Bolivar's army. It took him approximately four years of trial and error to come up with his
final blend in 1824 of tropical herbs and plants which he called "Amargo Aromatico". Dr. Siegert hoped to use his
bitters to bring relief to his patients and friends.
In 1830 Dr. Siegert started to export
his bitters to England and Trinidad. By 1850 he had resigned from the Venezuelan army to concentrate on the manufacture of
his bitters, as demand had outstripped supply. After Dr. Siegert died, he left the care of his company to his younger brother
The word "Angostura" came from the name of the city that is now called
Ciudad Bolivar, where Dr. Siegert was stationed. The city was an important trading town with access to the sea via the Orinoco
River. Unfortunately Venezuela had become an unstable country and the Siegert family decided to leave and set up business
somewhere else. They decided on the Caribbean Island of Trinidad and Tobago as their new home. This new home and Angostura
Bitters made the family very prosperous.
By the turn of the century the company decided to
venture into the rum market, at first bottling bulk rum from other distillers. In more recent years the company has decided
to promote and bottle its own label rums, under many names and in many countries. The company has also invested in many other
rum distillers around the region, most recently in Jamaica with Wray and Nephew.
Angostura Single Barrel Reserve Tasting Notes
The old fashioned
squat bottle holding Angostura Single Barrel Reserve Rum really hides one of the Caribbean's best kept secrets. This limited
edition rum is the perfect introduction to the world of sipping rums and comes at a very reasonable price of around US$23. This
rum needs no mixer whatsoever, maybe just a cube or two of ice.
The colour is dark, deep mahogany.
The nose is very powerful with strong notes of molasses, caramel, oak, spices and vanilla. In the mouth honey, chocolate,
molasses and caramel shine through. The finish is very smooth with sweet notes of all things sugar. The only problem with
this rum is that it is just too easy to drink and before you know you will be back at the liquor store buying another
Very Highly Recommended.
Diplomatico Rum Blanco from Venezuela
have been pretty much unappreciated by many rum lovers for years and often do not get the recognition they
deserve. When people talk about South American rums, many just talk about the fine Demerara rums from Guyana, or Cachaca
from Brazil. However, The Rumelier has always loved many of the rums produced in Venezuela for their smoothness
and ease of drinking and Diplomatico Blanco will be added to this growing list of fine rums.
Rum Blanco is an extraordinary white rum which has been crafted more like a premium aged gold/dark rum, with up to six years
of oak barrel aging before it is then charcoal filtered to remove all traces of the oak colouring, leaving behind an exceptionally
smooth, transparent rum. By law all rum in Venezuela must be aged for at least two years in white oak barrels. Diplomatico
Blanco is a blend of light and heavy rums distilled in copper potstills.
Not many white rums in
the world receive this lengthy treatment and dedication to producing a truly quality product.
course, if you have put so much effort into producing such a quality product you need to have a beautiful bottle to put it
in. This is certain the case with Diplomatico Blanco. (pictured left)
was first introduced to this rum when visiting Robert Burr of the Gifted Rum's Guide in South Florida last year
and was then lucky enough to try it again at the Rum Fest in London later in the year, while visiting the Diplomatico booth. While
there he met Jose Ballesteros, Presidente of Ron Diplomatico,(pictured below) who presented The
Rumelier with a sample of Diplomatico Blanco, along with some delicious Venezuelan chocolate. This rum made an instant
impression, certainly not what you expect from a regular white rum.
Destilerias Unidas are the company that produce the Diplomatic range of fine rums, along with many
other products, such as vodka, gin and whiskey, making them one of the most diverse distilleries in the Caribbean Basin.
The rums are produced in a combination of seven stills, three pot stills and four column stills, in a distillery
established by the former liquor giant Seagrams fifty years ago. Along with making Diplomatico Rums they also produce
the successful Cacique Rums and provide most of the rum used in the famous Pampero Aniversario Rum.
|The Rumelier samples Diplomatico in London.
|Jose Ballesteros, Presidente, Ron Diplomatico on the right.
Diplomatico Rum Blanco is a luxury experience that any serious rum lover should indulge in at least once
in a lifetime. Some peolpe may be put off by the price of a bottle, approximately US$30, but it is an experience not to be
missed. It may seem strange to some people to drink white rum straight, but this rum can be drank anyway you like
it. It is so smooth and easy to drink, just a couple of ice cubes would make the perfect mixer. Let your imagination
do the rest of the work for you.
Diplomatico Rum Blanco Tasting Notes
on the nose, no quick retraction of the glass like most white rums. This rum has obviously had many years of contact
with oak to make it so rounded and light.
A full flavour on the palate, very creamy and surprisingly
smooth and sweet at the same time. (a double take here to check if this is really a white rum in the glass) A long finish
leaves traces of coconut and a little pepper on the tongue.
This is a classic rum that will
make people think differently about how they drink white rums. This would be a great addition to the top shelf of any rum
collection. A new era in rum production may have arrived.
Very Highly Recommended.
R.L.Seales's 10 Year Old Rum from Barbados
most recent addition to his collection was such a pleasant surprise that he just had to post a review of this fine rum as
soon as he could.
This bottle of rum was picked up in Barbados by The Rumelier's sister-in-law
while she was there on a business trip. This bottle had long been a must have for The Rumelier's rum collection, but he
had never managed to secure a bottle. So when it arrived he was very keen to sample this much talked about bottle of rum.
The Rumelier was fortunate to briefly meet Richard Seale at the Rumfest in London, England and got to taste a small
sample of this rum named after him.
The first thing that strikes you about the bottle is
its abnormal shape. It has been designed to look like the old fashioned rum bottles that were used by sailors and covered
in leather to protect them from breaking during rough seas. The neck of the bottle leans over to one side, almost making it
look like it is drunk from too much rum.
|Mrs.Rumelier Posing at the Foursquare Distillery.
R.L. Seale rum is produced at the Foursquare Distillery in St.Phillip, South East Barbados. The distillery
is located in the Heritage Park, which is a popular destination with visiting cruise ship passengers. The park has several
examples of old machinery used in the sugar and rum industries lying around for visitors to explore. There is also a
self-guided tour of the distillery, which can be quite interesting for any rum lover, along with a restaurant and
shop where the rums produced at the distillery can be tasted and purchased, along with souvenirs from Barbados.
The Forsquare Distillery is the first all new rum distillery to be opened in over a hundred years on the island of
This rum was such
a pleasant surprise for The Rumelier, right from the start to the finish. The whole experience of the funny shaped bottle,
to the wonderful tasting rum.
When the bottle had finished having its close inspection and the
rum was poured into the tasting glass, it was soon realised that this was not your average rum.
golden brown rum pours nicely into the glass, displaying some "solid" Caribbean legs on the inside of the snifter.
The rich creamy, vanilla and oak are notciable right away on the nose. This is confirmed on the palate, with hints
of fruit, and leaves you feeling like you have been missing out on something all your life. Where has this rum been?
The finish is long and smooth, a true Bajan rum of quality. This is a fantastic rum, a must for all serious rum lovers and
Very Highly Recommended
|Ron Vigia Gran Reserva 18 Aņos from Cuba.
Ron Vigia Gran Reserva 18 Años from Cuba
came across this premium Cuban rum while attending the Rumfest in London, October 2008. He had the pleasure of meeting the
Cuban sales-team and sampling some of this new rum. Accompanying him during this sampling was the Minister of Rum, Ed Hamilton.
During brief discussions with the sales-team, it was found difficult to find out much useful information about this
interesting looking rum. Also little information appears to be found anywhere on the net.
taking a brief vacation to the Bahamas The Rumelier managed to find a liquor store at Freeport International Airport where
they had a large selection of Cuban rums. Amongst some of the Cuban rums they stocked were the Ron Mulata and Ron Vigia ranges.
These rums were not cheap, like most other Cuban rums. The Ron Vigia Gran Reserva 18 Años was being sold for US$120.
|Ernest Hemingway Fishing in Havana 1960.
Ron Vigia is a fairly recent rum to the market, and appears to being produced by the same people
who make the Ron Mulata range of Cuban rums.
Ron Vigia is apparently named after one of Cuba's
most famous rum drinkers, Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway resided at a farm southeast of Havana in San Francisco de Paula
that was called "La Finca Vigia" or "Lookout". His family coat of arms is also displayed on the bottle,
that has some similarity to a fish. Beside drinking Cuban rum cocktails, one of Hemingway's other favourite hobbies was
fishing for big saltwater fish.
The rum is made from the finest Cuban molasses and aged in
white oak barrels and is a limited production rum.
Ron Vigia is bottled in a short squat clear bottle, which suggests premium rum when you hold it in
your hand. Other rums bottled in the same bottle in this range are, Ron Vigia Gran Añejo and Ron Mulata Reserva
12 Year Old. All three are packaged in a gift-box.
After pouring the aged rum in the
snifter and giving it some time to breathe, a quick swirl reveals long slow legs and a dark golden brown colour. A deep breath
reveals a nose that is beautiful, oak, molasses, vanilla and some citrus orange. The initial taste confirms the nose,
this is not a heavy rum by any means. One would have expected a slightly heavier body for a rum of this age, but it confirms
its roots of the typical light style associated with Cuban rums. There is some burn in the aftertaste, once again a surprise
for a rum that has spent this much time in contact with white American oak. This rum although pleasant to drink did not really
match the price at US$120, but is still a nice addition to any rum collection, but will have to be sipped sparingly at this
|Mount Gilboa Rum from Barbados.
Mount Gilboa Triple Distilled Pot Still Rum from Barbados
week's rum review is Mount Gilboa Triple Distilled Pot Still Rum from Barbados. The Rumelier discovered this
rum while attending the Rumfest in London, England. This is not commercially available in the UK, but the Rumelier
did manage to acquire a bottle of this fine tasting rum from the person directly responsible for it's distillation.
Mount Gilboa is situated in the northern point of Barbados, in St.Lucy Parish, where they have been making fine rums
for over 300 years. This tradition continues today with this pot still rum, being made by direct family descendants of the
distillery founder Aubrey Ward (you will see his signature on every bottle of Mount Gay rum).
rum was Aubrey Ward's relentless passion. This passion has continued into his fourth generation descendant, Frank Ward
Jr. creator of this unique rum.
The rum is triple distilled using only pot still rum. No continuous
still rum is involved in the blend and no caramel or colourings are used in the final blend, so colour may vary from batch
The rum will only be available at duty free stores in Barbados and will not compete
against Mount Gay rum in the local market. It will retail for approximately $50 when available. The rum is being produced
by The Rum Refinery of Mount Gay Limited which is a separate entity from Mount Gay Rum, the most famous rum to be produced
in Barbados. They make the rum for Mount Gay and later sell it to them. There is a law in Barbados that goes back centuries
stating that rum distillers were not allowed to produce, age and bottle their rums in the same location. Mount Gay rum actually
puts in many miles up and down the island before it is actually bottled.
This rum continues
the long tradition of producing fine rums from the birthplace of rum Barbados.
Watch a video of Frank Ward Jr. talk about Mount Gilboa Rum and rum in Barbados.
|A model of a Barbados Pot Still.
Mount Gilboa Triple Distilled Rum from Barbados
Mount Gilboa comes in a sleek slim bottle that is easy to hold, probably designed
with bartenders in mind. The label is simple but effective and its colour tones are a perfect match for the colour of the
rum, golden amber/brown. The label also displays the Authentic Caribbean Rum Marque at the bottom. This marque assures us
it is a genuine Caribbean rum.
Due to the fact that this rum has been triple distilled, the art
of aging and blending the rum becomes very important. To triple distill a product means much of the flavour will be stripped,
and almost neutral alcohol will be all that remains. Also no caramel or other additives are added to this rum. This means
the colour of the final blend may vary from time to time, but hopefully the taste will remain consistent.
The overall taste of this rum reminded The Rumelier very much of whisky, this would be a great rum for any whisky
lover who wanted to try drinking a rum or two. There were also a lot of flavours similar to an agricole rhum, almond, spices
and floral notes. When drank neat the alcohol on the nose was quite strong, however this lessened after the addition of a
splash of water. There was also underlying notes of caramel and butterscotch.
The finish was fairly
smooth and lasting. The Rumelier is not sure if this rum would be a good sipping rum, it would probably be better utilised
as a mixing rum. When tried with some ice and ginger ale this rum really opened up and was a real treasure, it is a shame
that this rum is not yet available in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Ron del Barrilito 3 Stars (Tres Estrellas) from Puerto Rico
Ron Barrilito 3 Stars from Puerto
Rico is a true Puerto Rican rum that has been around for over 100 years. This rum is aged in large charred sherry oak barrels
from 6 to 10 years. The rum is not distilled by the company, but purchased from the nearby Bacardi distillery. The rum has
several ingredients added to it before it is aged in the barrels, that are a well kept family secret. These secret ingredients
are not even written down anywhere. This is a unique rum from one of the greatest rum producing countries in the Caribbean.Nestled in a hidden paradise amongst the hustle and bustle of the city of Bayamon, lies the house of one of Puerto
Rico’s best rums, Ron del Barrilito. Authentic to its core, the family-owned business has been operating in the beautiful
and lush Santa Ana Plantation since 1880. Fernandez siblings Edmundo, Manuel and Maria Patricia are third generation rum producers
running the factory nowadays, making sure the integrity of the product remains intact, the value of a spirit that still holds
true to the essence of that smooth, musky taste from the original distilled product which encouraged Puerto Rican society
to switch from foreign cognacs and brandies to local rum during the 1900’s. “Rum of the barrel”, as the
name translates, began its journey into the Caribbean’s spirit culture by means of Fernando Fernandez, great grandfather
of its current proprietors. In the late 1800’s the Spanish Crown granted Fernando the 2,000 acres of land for his efforts
in defending the colony’s coastline from pirates and buccaneers. He successfully converted the land into cattle grounds
and a sugarcane plantation. It was from a mixture of his own sugar and honey that Fernando began distilling and storing rum
in oak barrels strictly for personal consumption.
It wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century
that the commercial product made its way into the island’s market. Originally, the rum was produced with local grown
sugar, and it was distilled in the plantation. After the years of prohibition, Fernandez stopped distilling, and sent the
raw materials to other great distilleries to be processed. To this day, the rum is distilled by Bacardi, then sent to Barrilito’s
factory to macerate with their secret organic blends and later aged to perfection in the same oak sherry barrels (pictured
below) that have given the product its distinctive taste.
Although visits to the factory are limited, outings
can be arranged with the family on a special basis. The place remains intact, the main offices kept inside the windmill tower
where the sugar was originally processed, and the plantation building, home to the first distillery, still standing in the
background. A big name, a big product, yet a small business with much heart and soul, Barrilito, with only 11 employees, is
considered one of the best rums on the island. Although its market extends as far as Italy and Japan, the family has
no interest in becoming an international powerhouse like other local brands of rum, their commitment remains in sending out
the spirit their ancestors so passionately built a century before. Visiting the island of Puerto Rico without enjoying a sip
of tradition from this authentic product would mean missing out on what characterises the essence of the rum capital of the
world, Puerto Rico.
For a video tour of the Barrilito blending facility click here:-
|The Barrilito Cooperage in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
Ron del Barrilito 3 Stars Tasting Notes
picked up his latest bottle of 3 Stars while travelling through Luis Munoz Marin Airport in San Juan on his way back from
a vacation in St.Kitts and Nevis. This bottle was replacing several that got broken in the "Great Rum Disaster of
2006". It was a pleasure to be tasting this rum again and The Rumelier hopes to add some more bottles to his collection
when he visits Puerto Rico again in late January. He also hopes to pay a visit to the Barrilito facility during his brief
This rum is very different from all the other well
known Puerto Rican rums that are available in the country. It has a beautiful golden colour. The taste is of berries,
honey and other fruits and citrus, especially orange. The rum has a fairly light body, like most Puerto Rican rums. It
tastes like it is almost a blend of Barbancourt and Pyrat XO rums. It is similar to French agricole rums, even though
it is made from molasses. The finish is fairly smooth and dry. This is an exceptional rum that is produced with love and care
in a family time honoured way, a hidden jewel of Puerto Rico.
|Barrilito 3 Stars Bottle and Barrel.
Freedom Barrel, La Doña or The Lady
One of the many
barrels ageing majestically in the warehouse was one that was corked on November 23rd 1942. It was decreed that this barrel
named La Doña or the Lady would not be opened until Puerto Rico became a free or independent nation. If this did
ever happen the barrel would be taken into Bayamon's town center and its contents would be offered free to all who wish
to drink from it. This unique barrel contiues to age slowly to this day.
|Large Casks Used to Age Barrilito Rum.
Ron Atlantico Private Cask
|Atlantico Private Cask from the Dominican Republic
Ron Atlantico Private Cask from the Domincan Republic.
When something is worth doing it is worth doing right. This is something The Rumelier has always believed in
and it obviously what the people at Atlantico have decided to do when producing their Private Cask Rum. Right from
the beginning of the Ron Atlantico experience, everything appears to have been done with pride and thought.
You begin the experience by seeing that the embossed bottle has a fairly unique square shape that comes with a real
cork and wood stopper, similar to the one used in Cruzan Single Barrel Rum, which alone suggests a quality product. The bottle
does have similarities to the world famous tequila bottle from Jose Cuervo, when comparing the shape, label and colour. The
label is simple and uncomplicated, leaving you wanting to learn more about this Private Cask rum. The back label comes with
its hand written batch and bottle number along with the initials of the rums creators, Aleco Azqueta and Brandon Lieb.
When opening the bottle you can't wait to assess the aromas, even before it reaches the glass. When poured in the
glass you see a golden brown/amber colour suggesting long years in contact with oak. After a quick swirl in the glass you
will observe long slow legs that make their slide down the glass majestically, with many stopping for a break on their way
The aroma gives little burn on the nose and the waves of vanilla, oak, citrus and sweet
caramel and toffee rise strongly upward.
The taste confirms the aromas, going down very smoothly
with little burn, displaying its Domincan light style heritage. The finish is short and sweet. This rum could easily
be a member of the Ron Barcelo family, maybe even the first cousin to Barcelo Imperial.
rum is best drank neat in a brandy snifter, or on the rocks with a splash of mineral water. The water opens up the rum's aromas
a little more.
Very Highly Recommended.
|The Attractive Stopper for Ron Atlantico.
|The Individually Numbered Back Label.
|The Front Label of Ron Atlantico.
Ron Atlantico Private Cask History
The Rumelier just
aquired his first bottle of Ron Atlantico Private Cask when Gifted Rums Guide publisher Robert Burr's wife Robin visited
the Turks and Caicos on one her regular visits to the Islands. The bottle appears to be from the first batch.
The Atlantico Importing Company has been set up by two former employees of Bacardi, Aleco Azqueta and Brandon Lieb,
and is based in South Florida.
Below is how the Antlantico website describes the rums history:-
3rd generation master blender has developed a unique process for the creation of Atlantico. It begins with the selection of
the finest small batch aged
Rums from the Dominican Republic.
Once we have selected the individual Rums, we blend them together
to create something truly unique.
We then take an additional step and age the blend
(private cask), which results in a
mellower, more complex Rum.
From the private casks, we place the Rums in another set of barrels for 15
to 25 years. This third aging uses the solera method most commonly used with
Sherry production which guarantees a consistently
balanced Rum. Only when we feel the Rum has reached its perfect state do we remove it from
and bottle it by hand."
The Atlantico Private Cask Rum is sure to become a staple sipping rum for many rum connoisseurs around
the world. This solera rum exudes quality and hopefully in the near future it will be available for worldwide distribution.
Pusser's Rum Yachting Decanter from the British
Virgin Islands.(sort of!!)
While in England recently attending the Rumfest, the Rumlier paid a visit to the historic Naval Dockyards in Portsmouth. After
visiting most of the attractions in the dockyard, including Admiral Nelson's flagship H.M.S. Victory, it was
time to visit the shops to see if they had any bottles of rum. One bottle stood out more than any other, it was the beautiful
bottle pictured above, from Pusser's Rum.
This decanter pays tribute to the history of
yacht racing. Many consider that the first recorded yacht race took place under King Charles II on September 6th
1662 out of Greenwich, England.
The feature scene around the base was painted by world-renowned
marine artist, A.D. Blake of New Zealand, and depicts most of the modern rigs that are sailing today, and all of the Olympic
classes. The shoulder of the decanter has names of the current world's most prestigious yacht races: The America's
Cup, the Transpac, the Volvo Ocean Race, Fastnet, Vendee Globe, Chicago-Mackinac, the Bermuda Race, the Admiral's Cup
and the Sydney to Hobart.
Three smaller cameos are also adorn the shoulder: Captain Joshua
Slocum's "Spray". Captain Slocum was the first man to sail alone around the world, which he did from 1895-1898.
The Schooner "America" was the winner of the first America's Cup Racein 1851. The "Jolie Brise" the
winner of the first Fastnet Race in 1925.
Pusser's is a rum that was produced originally on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. However the
company was recently sold and The Rumelier saw the rum being bottled in Trinidad.
The purser on
a naval ship was the person who issued the daily rum ration to the sailors. The word pusser was slang for purser, who is called
a Logistics Officer in todays navy. The rum ration was discontinued in 1970 and the remaining rum was sold off and moved
to Gibraltar, where it was purchased by Brian Cornford.
In 1979, nearly a decade after the Royal
Navy abandoned the custom of the daily rum ration, Charles Tobias obtained the rights to the blending information associated
with the naval rum ration and formed a company to produce the spirit according to the original Admiralty recipe. This was
a blend of five West Indian rums without colouring agents. The Royal Navy Sailor's Fund receives royalties from the proceeds
of each bottle of rum sold, and is now the charity's largest source of income.
say the reason why Pusser's Rum has been so successful is because it has several characteristics in common with a scotch
whisky, even though it is distilled from molasses. This may have been a result of the British Navy developing a scotchlike
rum due to tastes of enlisted men at the time.
It is also said that Pusser's owes its rich
and unique flavour to its distillation in old wooden pot stills. It is hand-drafted in the inefficient and costly old way
in wooden pot stills. Pusser's only distills its rum to about 57% as opposed to the usual 89% in modern column stills.
How much of these facts is true will probably remain a mystery to most of us.
Pusser's Rum Yachting Decanter
from the British Virgin Islands.
This is a fine rum, make no mistake. The last sample
The Rumelier had was so memorable, it was hard to put the glass down. Even though it is hard to find out actually where
the rum originates from in each blend, it reminded The Rumelier very much of Jamaican rum, even though its roots are supposed
to be from Guyana and Trinidad. The advertised whisky notes were definitely present. This is also present in some of the Appleton
rums, and Appleton Special Gold was specifically designed to fill a gap in the whisky market after World War Two, when it
was called Appleton Estate Special.
The presence of oak in the glass is very obvious, definitely an
influence from the oak pot still it is distilled in and the extensive aging in oak barrels. The rum is fairly sweet to taste.
This a very smooth sipping rum that would be wasted in a cocktail. It would warm you up on a cold winter night with a
touch of spice in the finish.
The best thing about this bottle of rum is that is meant to be re-filled
over and over again, which it certainly will be.
A note on Ships Decanters...Ships decanters had their beginnings
in the early naval sailing ships of the Royal Navy, and it would have been an exception to have found a captain's cabin
without one, from the smallest to the largest vessel. The general shape began to develop sometime in the second half of the
18th Century, and nothing much is heard of them until a well known British Admiral by the name of Rodney introduced one at
a victory celebration on board his flagship following the famous Moonlight Battle and the Battle of the Saints in 1780 and
1782. His decanters had an especially broad base, some of them up to 12 inches in diameter, to ensure stability when used
at sea in wardrooms or officer's cabins. It's said that the true test of a ship's decanter is when the shortest
distance from the outer edge of the pouring lip to the edge of the base be equal to or greater than the outer circumference
of the pouring lip. This was the "Rodney" test.
Ron Mulata Palma Superior from
Cuba. A great example of the lighter style of Cuban rum.
A fine, smooth rum for mixing in your favourite cocktail.
Not many Cuban rums are available in the Turks & Caicos, so it was a pleasant surprise to find this rum. Also found
were Anejo Reserva, Silver and Lime versions of this brand. Now The Rumelier can make a real Mojito and Cuba Libre.
Ron Barcelo Añejo from the Dominican Republic. Not the biggest
selling rum from the DR but surely one of the best. This is the perfect mixing rum when you need to taste some rum flavour.
Smooth as an añejo rum can get. This rum has been a staple of The Rumelier's collection for years. Now comes in
an attractive new bottle.
Very Highly Recommended.
|Ron Barcelo Anejo from the Dominican Republic.
Mount Gay Extra Old from Barbados. Hundreds
of years of distilling experience have gone into producing this amazing rum.
This is the standard that all rum producers
should be aiming for. One of the best premium sipping rums available anywhere in the world. This should be in every rum lovers
Very Highly Recommended.
|Mount Gay Extra Old From Barbados.
|An example of premium aged rum at its best.
Ron Zacapa 15 Year Old from Guatemala. A premium sipping rum, perfect
after dinner drink. Not as sweet as it's more famous sister, Zacapa 23 Year Old. This rum obviously benefits from
its extensive ageing at altitude, high up in the Guatemalan Mountains. Aged in the Solera System of ageing so the age
statement is a little misleading.
Very Highly Recommended.
Brugal Extra Viejo
from the Dominican Republic. A great mixing rum, from a country that is becoming one of the leaders in rum production.
The Brugal range of rums have a very distinct flavour to them, that you will not find in other Domincan rums. They come
in a handy 375ml bottle, the preferred way to drink rum in the D.R.
|Brugal Extra Viejo is a Fine Rum from the D.R.
|Extra Viejo comes in the familiar gold net and various sizes.
|Ron Zacapa 15 Year Old from Guatemala.
|Pictured together with the 23 and 25 Year Old Rums.
Angostura's 1824 from Trinidad. This is the premium rum from
Angostura, meant to be sipped and not mixed. This comes from a column still, but still has lots of flavour with hints of vanilla.
Comes in a very attractive wax sealed bottle and gift box.
Very Highly recommended
|Angostura's 1824 from Trinidad.