Caribbean Rum and Beer Festival 2
October 28th & 29th 2011
The Rumelier was honoured to be invited back to the second annual Caribbean Rum and Beer Festival at Llaro Court, Barbados. Along with several other well known rum experts he was invited to be a rum judge at the Caribbean Alcohol Beverage Awards to be held at the Divi Southwinds Resort which also doubled as the host hotel for all the judges during the Festival.
The resort is situated in the popular St. Lawrence Gap area of Barbados (pictured below), a busy hot spot for tourist and locals alike. There are bountiful restaurants, bars, shops and hotels to keep everybody happy.  
The resort is set back across a narrow road from the beach, a short walk through the hotel grounds. There is a beach bar and restaurant sitting alongside the uncrowded, shady beach, set back amongst the large Australian Pine Trees. 

The Divi Southwinds Hotel

St. Lawrence Gap.
LLaro Court, the Residence of the Prime Minister of Barbados.

The Location - Llaro Court, St. Michael, Barbados
The location for the Caribbean Rum and Beer Festival for 2011 changed venues from the previous year, where it had been held at the Portvale Sugar Factory. This year the Festival was held in the parking lot of Llaro Court, which is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Barbados.
Llaro Court was designed and built in the early 1920's by Lady Gilbert Carter whose husband Sir Gilbert Thomas Carter was Governor of Barbados from 1904 until 1911. The name Llaro was derived from a town in Nigeria where the Governor was stationed when he was an officer.
The mansion is built from local coral-limestone and boasted the first swimming pool in Barbados. 
In 1976 the property was purchased by the then Barbados Labour Party government when the house was extensively refurbished and in 1974 the current Prime Minister Tom Adams and his family moved in to make it their official residence. Since then it has become the official residence of subsequent Prime Ministers.

The Samples to be Tasted for the Competition.

2011 Caribbean Alcohol Beverage (CAB) Awards

The first official function of the judges was to judge over forty different rums in six different categories. The judging took place in the conference room of the Divi Southwinds hotel.

There were seven rum judges in total and they judged the rums on four criterions, appearance, aroma, taste and overall impression. The six categories of rum were white rum, overproof rum, flavoured rum, brown/gold rum, aged rum 5 to 9, aged rum 10 to 14.

All the judges took their time judging the rums in all the categories, giving each rum its chance to shine in the competition. The judges did take a short break around halfway through the rum tasting so as to give their pallets and noses a rest from all the alcohol. Plenty of water and crakers also aided the judges in making through the rigors of a long tasting session. 

After the judges had judged each category they handed in their score sheets and slowly worked their way through forty two different rums.

After they had all finished all the rums they all thanked the organizers for such a well managed event and even had time to pose for some group photographs.

The work part of this trip to Barbados was now over and it was time for the judges to relax and enjoy all the rums Barbados had to offer. This would begin with an official Festival cocktail party arranged later in the day at the resort bar.

All the Rum Judges Together After the Tasting was Finished.
Festival Organizers Cheryl and Glyn at the Welcome Cocktail Party.

Welcome Cocktail Party

The next official function for the rum judges was to attend the welcoming cocktail party for all the organizers, judges, sponsors, participants and local dignitaries of the festival. This social event was held at the poolside bar of the Divi Southwinds Resort, an expansive area which also doubled as the hotel dining room during the day.

The judges were very happy to see all the rums that were tasted during the rum judging session were available to be sampled again. Everyone had their favourites and it was interesting which rums each judge had rated highly. This was a very unique idea that would be well adopted by other rum festivals around the world.

Another advantage of this event was meeting the local distributors of the rums that were participating in the actual Rum Festival at Llaro Court the following day. Old and new friends were met and much rum and amazing food was consumed.



Cheryl and the Drummers Opening the Festival.

The Second Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival
The first day of the actual festival began late on a Friday afternoon which gave the visiting judges some more time to visit another of the rum attractions on Barbados. This time they paid a brief visit to the Foursquare Distilley (more on this trip on another page). After their interesting tour of the distillery and bottling plant they were lucky enough to catch a ride to the festival at Llaro Court with Gayle Seale, wife of the legendary Richard Seale of the Foursquare Distllery.
The small group of judges arrived just in time to hear the opening remarks being made at the festival by Adrian Elcock, Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority, who emphasized the importance of the rum business to the economy and history of Barbados, often called "the home of rum". This was followed by a decleration from a local town crier dressed up in a centuries old costume.  He was then followed by an old African tradition of beating drums and smashing a calabash or two filled with rum on the ground.
The second Caribbean Rum and Beer Festival was officially open and the sampling of great rums, beers and food could begin.

As expected the rum judges made a quick circuit of all the booths to see which rums were available and what beers were being represented. This was a much bigger festival than the previous year, with a large variety of Bajan goods on display, not just rum and beer. The music was pumping and the rum and beer began to flow. Introductions were made and new friendships began. The rum judges spent many minutes/hours at the Banks Beer and Rum booth with its pretty girls aswell as sampling great rums at the Appleton and El Dorado booths.

Another great idea the organizers had this year was a tent where all the rums tasted in the competition could once again be sampled by the judges and the general public, a great ooportunity to revisit some new favourites.

The Presidente Girls.
Banks XM Rum in Good Hands.
What I have got to do to get a Rum.
Rum Judges Having Fun.

2011 Caribbean Alcohol Beverage (CAB) Awards – RUM Results

The 2011 Caribbean Alcohol Beverage results for beer have been announced. They are as follows;

Category: White Rum

GOLD  El Dorado White (Demerara Distillers, Guyana)
SILVER Mount Gay Silver (Mount Gay Distillers, Barbados)
BRONZE Clarkes Court White (Grenada Distillers, Grenada)

Category: Overproof Rum

GOLD  Mount Gay Eclipse Black (Mount Gay Distillers, Barbados)
SILVER Wray & Nephew Overproof (Wray & Nephew Distillery, Jamaica)
BRONZE Rum Bar Overproof (Worthy Park Estate, Jamaica)

Category: Flavoured Rum

GOLD  Bois Bande Rum (Belfast Distillery, Dominica)
SILVER Four Square Spiced Rum (R L Seale, Barbados)
BRONZE  Kweyol Spiced Rum (St Lucia Distillers, St Lucia)

Category: Brown / Gold Rum

GOLD  Old Brigand Rum (R L Seale, Barbados)
SILVER Mount Gay Eclipse (Mount Gay Distillers, Barbados)
BRONZE Special Barbados Rum (R L Seale, Barbados)

Category: Aged Rum (5 – 9 years)

GOLD  Banks DIH VXO 7 Year Old (Banks DIH, Guyana)
SILVER Rum Sixty Six (R L Seale, Barbados)
BRONZE Doorlys 5 Year Old (R L Seale, Barbados)

Category: Aged Rum (10 – 14 years)

GOLD  Appleton 12 Year Old (Appleton, Jamaica)
SILVER XM Royal 10 Year Old (Banks DIH, Guyana)
BRONZE Mount Gilboa Pot Still Rum (Mount Gilboa, Barbados)

The blind tasting competition took place during the just concluded 2011 Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival held in Barbados, hosted at the Divi Southwinds Beach Resort Hotel.

In a closed room session the judging panel sampled over 40 rums and made their decisions based upon four criterions; Appearance, Aroma, Taste and Overall Impression. This year the judging panel included the editors of ‘Got Rum’ Magazine Luis & Margaret Ayala in conjunction with members of the XP Panel including Bob Davies, Nick Feris, Dave Russell and Steve Bennett.

The Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival is set to become the Caribbean’s premier promotion and retailing event for rum and beer beverages. The 3rd Festival will be held in October 2012.

Pisces Restaurant, St. Lawrence Gap.