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Archive for the Category "Rum Club"

The Rum Club – Mezan Rum (Sneak Peak) Apr 01

Notting Hill Rum ClubAnother month and another great rum brand is heading to the London Rum Club at Trailer Happiness. This time it’s the turn of Eaux de Vie and Mezan Rum. To quote their own fact sheet, “Mezan vintage rums are unblended rums from individual islands or countries in the West Indies and South or Central America, produced from a single vintage year’s distillation, aged in oak Barrique and bottled one cask at a time, when mature, under the supervision of our cellar master.”Mezan Rum

With a current selection of 7 rums, some of which are from distilleries that are no long in production, this unique range of bottlings are considered to be a true expression of the distillery and country in which they originate. Mezan achieves this with their promise that all of their vintage rums are; unblended, unsweetened, uncoloured and filtered through only a light gauze with no chill-filtration.

The range currently consists of:

  • Vintage Barrique Aged Jamaica Rum – Pot-distilled at the Hampden Distillery before being aged for 10 years.
  • Vintage Barrique Aged Grenada Rum – Column-distilled at the Westerhall Distillery before being aged for 12 years.
  • Vintage Barrique Aged Trinidad Rum – Column-distilled at the now closed Caroni Distillery before being aged for 19 years.
  • Vintage Barrique Aged Guyana Rum – Column-distilled at the now closed Uitvlugt Distillery before being aged for 13 years.
  • Vintage Barrique Aged Guyana Rum – Pot-distilled at the now closed Enmore Distillery before being aged for 20 years.
  • Vintage Barrique Aged Panama Rum – Column-distilled at the Don Jose Distillery before being aged for 15 years.
  • Extra Old Barrique Aged Jamaica Rum  – Is a blend of Jamaican rums dating back to 1983, which were re-casked further develop before bottling.

So head down to Portobello Road’s Trailer Happiness on Monday 2nd April 2012 from 7pm onwards and all being well, you’ll get a chance to try the entire range and learn more about this fantastic range of rums. Further details can be found on the Mezan Rum @ The Rum Club Facebook page. For those interested in learning more about the London Rum Club, please either visit the Rum Club website or pop into Trailer Happiness and speak to the bar staff.

The Rum Club – Banks Rum Jan 30

Notting Hill Rum ClubHaving missed out on the last Rum Club of 2011, I was really looking forward to starting the New Year at Trailer Happiness‘ Notting Hill Rum Club. And I can happily say that I wasn’t disappointed.

Having first come across Banks 5 Island Rum at September 2011’s Boutique Bar Show, I thought I knew what to expect of the evening’s rum tasting and that it would be more of an opportunity to catch up socially, with the other rum club members. So it was a pleasant surprise to find out how wrong I was. Not only did I get the chance to reacquaint myself with this distinctive white rum, but we were also introduced to its more complex brother, Banks 7 Golden Age.  Banks Rum Master Blender - Arnaud de Trabuc

Ensuring that good things often come in three’s, James Triffo of Spirit Cartel also brought along the Banks Rum Master Blender, Arnaud de Trabuc, who talked us through our exploration of the evening’s rum and how Banks came to be.

So following a uniquely Banks 5 Island Daiquiri made by the bar team of Alex and Paul McFadyen (covering for Max and Damien), we sat down to listen to James and Arnaud explain the concept of Banks Rum.

Named after the 18th Century explorer and botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, who sailed with Captain James Cook on his first scientific expedition to the South Pacific Ocean aboard HMS Endeavour. As well as introducing the Western world to many plants, such as eucalyptus, acacia, mimosa and Banksia, Sir Joseph Banks was also influential in the propagation of sugar cane in the Caribbean.

In this light, Banks Rum attempts to capture the spirit of this English naturalist by bringing together different rums from both the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean to create a distinctive premium rum.

Conceived in 2009 it took 14 months of blending and sampling, before Banks 5 Island Rum was introduced to America in June 2010 prior to it arriving on the UK shores in March 2011. It is a blend of 21 different rums aged between 1 and 5 years old from 6 different distilleries on 5 different islands: Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and the Indian Ocean island of Java.

The blend is then aged further in used Bourbon barrels in Amsterdam, before it is then charcoal filtered to remove the colour prior to it being slowly cut with Dutch water to a bottling strength of 43% ABV / 86 Proof.

Banks 5 Island Rum & 7 Golden Age RumThe aroma is noticeably of grassy sugar cane, almost reminiscent of Brazilian Cachaça or Rhum Agricole, while the taste starts with smooth, grassy, tropical fruit flavours, that always reminds me of the British Parma Violets sweets. It finishes with a slightly sweet spiciness.

To describe this rum as unique is not an understatement, it really is unlike any other rum that I’ve tried and it’s one that continues to provoke mixed feelings for me. There’s a lot to like about this rum and I can see it being a really interesting premium white rum for a good mixologist to play with the distinctive and complex flavours. However, that same complexity that I see as allowing a creative expression is also the same complexity that I personally think is too much in some simpler cocktails, such as the Cuba Libre or the Daiquiri.  As such I don’t see this as being my go-to white rum but more of a playful premium mixing rum.

Our other rum of the evening was the soon to be introduced Banks 7 Golden Age Rum and what a treat it was. Aged between 1 and 7 years, this is a blend of 23 rums from 7 different islands: Barbados, Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, Panama, Trinidad and the Indian Ocean island of Java. Unfiltered, the addition of the Guatemalan and Panamanian rums give this dark amber rum a sweeter and lighter taste than Banks 5, while still retaining some of the spicy finish. Like Banks 5, it is also bottled at 43% ABV / 86 Proof. For me this was the highlight of the evening and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who likes rum.

It’s worth noting that the complexity of both of these rums is due to the distinctive blend of rums. From the simple, but strong Trinidadian rums to the full-on flavour of the pot-distilled Jamaican rums via the fruity Guyanese rum and the elegant and spicy bite of the rums from Barbados. Lastly and possibly the most distinct element in the blend is the addition of the Batavia Arrack from Java, which adds a touch of spice, along with the fresh sugar cane notes. In addition, the Banks 7 Golden Age Rum adds the sweet Solera rum from Guatemala, as well as the smooth flavours of the rum from Panama.

To round of the evening’s tasting, James teased us with a hint of Bank’s next rum, which will be named in honour of HMS Endeavour. Without a sample available for the evening, there’s not really anything more that can be said about Banks Endeavour Rum at this point, but if it’s as good as their Golden Age rum it will be worth waiting for. Watch this space for future news.

Of course no evening at Trailer Happiness would ever be complete without a bit of Tiki inspired flaming on the copper lined ceiling and what’s better than some 73% ABV / 146 Proof rum to help brighten up the place… Of course it also goes without saying, don’t try this at home as you’ll more than likely catch fire to the house, injure yourself or worse still set the cat alight…

Flaming at Trailer Happiness Bar

As usual, my thanks to Max and the Trailer team for yet another great Rum Club and to James Triffo of Spirit Cartel for a wonderful evening with Banks Rum. Details for the next rum club are still pending, so please keep an eye on the Rum Diary for any update. For those interested in learning more about the London Rum Club, please either visit the website or pop into Trailer Happiness and speak to the bar staff.

New Year – New Rum… Jan 22

Have a Spirited 2012

A little bit late I know, but they do say it’s fashionable to be late to the party, so in that spirit, here’s to a fantastic 2012 and let’s hope it continues to bring good fortune to fine rums and everyone who enjoys the pirate spirit.

From what I saw and heard last year, the Rum category had a great year, with more brand awareness, the introduction of many great new rums to the UK (including but not limited to:  Banks 5 Island Rum; Chairman’s Reserve The Forgotten Casks; Plantation Guatemala Gran Añejo; Plantation Single Cask Limited Edition Rums; Ron de Jeremy and St Lucia Distilleries 1931) and a continued rise in the number of rum clubs and rum tastings. Although I have no statistics to back up the aforementioned claims, I would say that the sheer number of people attending RumFest 2011 could be taken as testament enough proof, as it was certainly busier than the year before, as I have been led to believe it has been each year before it.

2011 was also an interesting year for me, with my first true explorations of the appreciation of this much misunderstood category of spirit. Not only did I gain more knowledge about the history of rum, the Caribbean and the impact that sugar cane production had on the world at large, but in attending the shows, tastings and rum clubs I had the pleasure of making new friends and meeting lots of interesting and fun people. I can only hope that 2012 allows me to continue expanding my knowledge and allowing me to share it with you, my readers.

Bacardi 150 Years

At the very least I know that with 2012 being the 150th anniversary of Bacardi, that there should be plenty of opportunity to learn more about one of the most influential brands of Rum. The 4th February will see Bacardi celebrating 150 years since Don Facundo Bacardí Massó purchased a small distillery and the rest as they say is history. As such Bacardi have just announced a series of exclusive worldwide birthday parties and innovations, including the opportunity win BACARDI–branded apparel in social media promotions, a tie-in with National Geographic Channel’s “Ultimate Factories” and a number of new and commemorative products including the $2000 crystal decanter Ron BACARDÍ de Maestros de Ron, Vintage, MMXII®. As it’s fair to say that most people I know don’t have a spare $2000 to spend on what is likely to be an excellent bottle of rum, maybe I’ll see if I can persuade Floridita‘s Richard Woods and Bacardi’s UK Ambassador Shervene Shahbazkhani to put a bottle in for a future Rare Rum Club. Somehow I doubt it, but with nothing ventured, nothing gained, what have I got to lose…

Talking of London’s Rum Clubs, Trailer Happiness kicked of the New Year with the London Rum Club playing host to Banks Rum on the 9th January. More details will be in a soon to be released post, but suffice to say the night was a great success and if the rest of this year’s London Rum Clubs are anything like this one, then it should be a great year to come. Floridita’s Rare Rum Club has also announced its first event of the year, which is due to take place on the 23rd February, although no specific rum has been stated, it should be an evening well worth the visit. And working on the principle that three’s a charm, even Cottons Rhum Shack has thrown its stirrer into the mix, announcing their intention of adding a Cottons new Rum Club to their 2012 agenda.

This weekend has also seen the start of Selfridges Rum Week, in their London store, following in the footsteps of similar events in their Birmingham and Manchester stores, thios past week gone. Offering shoppers the chance to “Get warm in the winter with Rum at Selfridges London”, every day sees a series of tasting workshops in the ground floor Wine Shop. Please see the Selfridges website for further details.

Also kicking off this week is the first of a number of Master Classes at The Grosvenor Hotel’s Réunion Bar. First up will be Santa Teresa’s brand ambassador Jim Wrigley who will be taking guests through a discovery of rum and chocolate. A week later, Stefanie Holt and Paul McFadyen, the respective brand ambassadors for El Dorado and Plantation Rum’s will combine forces to combat seafaring ne’er do wells to talk about their great rums. While there are currently no further Rum Master Classes lined up at the moment, this is a great start and may be an indication of a bar for rum lovers to keep an unpatched eye on.

Lastly, a few dates for the calendar as this year sees the return of many of the Drink / Rum shows of 2011:

(While every effort has been made to confirm these dates, please check on the respective websites for confirmation before making any sort of booking relating to the event.)

All in all, I think 2012 is shaping up to be a great year, now let’s just see if I can also pull my finger out and get on with all those rum reviews that I keep promising myself that I’ll write, as well as playing catch up with a couple of the round-ups from last year. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who’s helped me out in the past year but also to you, the readers who keep coming back and have given me such positive feedback.

Here’s to a great 2012 – Salute!