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Kanaloa Rum Club – Gosling’s Rum Jul 27

Kanaloa Rum ClubWhile London basked in the light of yet another overcast summer’s evening, a small crowd gathered under the shelter of Kanaloa’s Tiki Club, as a Dark ‘n’ Stormy evening brewed.

Playing host to Gosling’s Rum and their UK distributors Love Drinks, the bar tenders at Kanaloa Tropical Island Bar & Grill kicked off the second Kanaloa Rum Club with Bermuda’s national cocktail, the Dark ‘n’ Stormy.

One of only two cocktails to have been trademarked, Gosling’s Dark ‘n’ Stormy is a simple but effective drink, being 2 measures of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum over ice, topped with ginger beer and garnished with a wedge of lime. Bringing their own style to this classic cocktail, the Kanaloa bar tenders also added a splash of fresh lime juice, prior to the ginger beer, resulting in a drink that in their own words is a “tiki classic”.

Our guest speaker for the evening was Malcolm Gosling Jr (pictured right), who was on the Kanaloa Rum Club - Malcolm Gosling Jr - Rum Tastinglast day of his UK trip to share his love and passion for his family’s business. A family business that has been around since 1806. Today, Gosling’s Rum has become part of the national heritage of the small island of Bermuda. A vital ingredient in Bermuda’s national dish, Fish Chowder, along with it being essential to several of Bermuda’s cocktails, Gosling’s Rum is even used to christen new buildings on the island.

With a history as rich and full of character as the rum itself, Gosling’s Rum has been produced since 1863, where after 3 years of experimentation with blending imported Caribbean rums, their distinctive black rum was born. Originally sold from the barrel, due to a lack of glass manufacturing on the island, it wasn’t until World War I that Gosling’s Rum was sold from reclaimed champagne bottles. Using black sealing wax to seal the corks in place, it wasn’t long before people started asking for the “Black Seal” rum.

Using a secret blend of Caribbean rums, Gosling’s Black Seal Rum uses rums aged from 3-6 years old, which are then blended together with a small amount of molasses to give that rich dark colour, before being bottled at 40% ABV / 80 Proof.

Not surprisingly, the evening’s tasting started with their signature Gosling’s Black Seal Rum. For me this rum hits the tongue with a rich smoothness that finishes with a slight bite. With plenty of character and flavour, I see this rum as not only great for cocktail mixing, but also for sipping over ice. (With a full review coming over the next few weeks, I will be putting both of these ideas to the test.)

Next up was the latest edition to the Gosling’s range of rum, Gosling’s Gold Rum. Created in 2005, after 100 years of experimentation, this blend of 2-5 year old rums, is lighter in colour and taste than the Black Seal Rum and I very much see it as a mixing rum. Also bottled at 40% ABV / 80 Proof, this amber coloured rum is still smooth, but doesn’t have quite as much depth of  character as its older brother, the Black Seal Rum.

Kanaloa Rum Club Gosling's Family Reserve Originally kept for the Gosling family themselves, our next tasting was of the Gosling’s Family Reserve Old Rum and I for one am so pleased that they decided to share this little gem. Taking the original Gosling’s Black Seal Rum blend and then aging them in charred oak barrels for a further 16 and 20 years, this 40% ABV / 80 Proof rum has a rich deep amber colour, with a chocolaty aroma. Incredibly smooth to sip, this is without a doubt one of my favourite rums.

Limited to 5000 cases every year, each bottle comes in its own distinctive wooden box and is individually numbered and signed by Malcolm Gosling, the president of Gosling’s Export (Bermuda) Limited and Malcolm Gosling Jr’s father.

To finish off the evening we were treated to Gosling’s 151 Proof Rum, which with a bit of help from one of Kanaloa’s bar tenders was proved to be extremely flammable and highly suited for fire breathing. Bottled at 75.5% ABV / 151 Proof, this overproof rum uses the same blend of 3-6 year old rums as Gosling’s Black Seal Rum.

Clearly an overproof rum of this strength is going to be strong to the taste, but where Gosling’s 151 Proof Rum succeeds is that it also has retained a lot of the depth and character of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum as well.

 With the tasting over, the rest of the evening was spent catching up with some of the Rum Club faithful, chatting with Malcolm and the Love Drinks team and enjoying “The Bermuda Triangle” – one of the cocktails that Stuart Hudson and his team at Kanaloa had put together for May’s National Bermuda Day celebrations. A blend of Gosling’s Family Reserve Old Rum, bitters and falernum served over ice, this cocktail truly is an expression of the best that Gosling’s Rum offers.

So my thanks to Malcolm Gosling Jr for his informative and tasty presentation, Kirsty and Joel of Love Drinks and to Stuart and the Kanaloa bar team for a great evening and for allowing me to get an even better understanding of what Gosling’s Rum has to offer.

Although the date of the next Kanaloa Rum Club is still to be confirmed, it is likely to be Wednesday the 10th August 2011. It is however definite that it will be featuring the excellent El Dorado Rum, presented by their UK Ambassador, Stefanie Holt and will be an evening not to be missed.

For further details about the Kanaloa Rum club, please email or if you’re passing by, simply pop in to Kanaloa Tropical Island Bar & Grill and ask the bar staff.

Kanaloa Rum Club – Gosling’s Rum (Sneak Peak) Jul 18

Kanaloa Tropical Island Bar and GrillAs hinted at in my last Kanaloa Rum Club posting, on Monday the 25th July 2011, Kanaloa Tropical Island Bar & Grill will play host to Malcolm Gosling Jr, along with the fantastic range of Gosling’s Rum.

Bermuda’s largest exporter, Gosling’s Rum dates back to 1863, where it was originally sold from the barrel, with most people bringing their own bottle to fill up. With the First World War, came the opportunity to reclaim the empty champagne bottles from the British Officer’s Mess, which were then filled with Gosling’s rum, before the cork was sealed with black sealing wax. Hence the name, Black Seal Rum. The rest is as you say history and I’m sure Malcolm will give a more detailed background on the company and its excellent rums.

The evening will be commencing at 6pm, for a 7pm start and will include all four of the Gosling’s Rums:

Gosling’s Gold RumGosling's Rum – This lighter golden rum is perfect for sipping or mixing.

Gosling’s Black Seal Rum – Rich, smooth & full-bodied. The essential ingredient in Bermuda fish chowder, as well as the base of Bermuda’s favourite cocktail, the Dark ‘n Stormy.

Gosling’s Black Seal 151 Proof Rum – Take Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and give it the serious kick of 151 proof alcohol. Not to be taken lightly…

Gosling’s Family Reserve Old Rum – Based on an old Gosling family recipe, this is just sublime.

While not confirmed, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gosling’s trademark cocktail, the Dark ‘n Stormy. A blend of Ginger Beer and Gosling’s Black Seal Rum.

For further details about the Kanaloa Rum club, please email or if you’re passing by, simply pop in to Kanaloa Tropical Island Bar & Grill and ask the bar staff.

Kanaloa Rum Club – Plantation Rum Jul 15

Kanaloa Tropical Island Bar and GrillWith the recent-ish move of Bartender Jamie Kimber from Trailer Happiness to Kanaloa Tropical Island Bar & Grill, has come the very pleasent surprise of another London based Rum Club.

Aimed slightly more at the regular City of London’s Tiki Bar loving consumer crowd, as well as the Rum Club faithful, this newest edition to London’s drinking scene is intended to be held every two weeks and future evenings have already been lined up to feature Gosling’s Rum and El Dorado Rum, among others.

Maybe for some, the 13th July 2011 might be an unlucky day, but not for those of us fortunate enough to attend the inaugural Kanaloa Rum Club with Plantation Rum. Hosted by the excellent Paul McFadyen of Bibendum Spirits, the UK distributor of Plantation Rum, it also included the special guest speaker of Alexandre Gabriel, the head of Cognac Ferrand and the man behind Plantation Rum.

Plantation Gran Añejo Rum Plantation Rum is the brainchild of Alexandre Gabriel’s Cognac Ferrand, where they combine a number of the finest Caribbean rums with a double aging process in the cellars of Cognac Ferrand’s Château de Bonbonnet in France.

The range includes a number of  blended rums, namely: Plantation 20th Anniversary Extra Old Rum, Plantation Gran Añejo Rum (pictured right),  Plantation Grande Reserve Rum,  Plantation Original Dark Rum and Plantation Original Dark Overproof Rum, as well as the Single island Vintages: Plantation Barbados 2000 Rum, Plantation Grenada 1998 Rum, Plantation Guyana 1999 Rum, Plantation Jamaica 2000 Rum, Plantation Nicaragua 1998 Rum, Plantation Panama 2000 Rum, Plantation St Lucia 2001 Rum and Plantation Trinidad 2000 Rum.

Along with the attendance of Alexandre Gabriel, highlights of the evening included the Plantation Rum based Rum Punch, tastings of several Plantation Rums including the newly introduced and incredibly smooth Plantation Gran Añejo Rum from Guatemala, along with Jamie’s experimentation in Tiki Cocktails using Plantation Rum.

Unfortuantely, due to other commitments a full update of the evening isn’t possible, having left at the start of the main presentation. Although this meant missing out on the evening’s full tasting, I can confirm from previous tasting sessions that the range of Planation Rum includes some of the finest examples of quality rum and no decent rum collection should be without at least one or two bottles from the range of Plantation Rum.

So my thanks to Jamie, Alexandre, Paul and rest of the Plantation/Bibendum team for a great evening and I look forward to many future evenings at the Kanaloa Rum Club, including the 25th July 2011 when it plays host to Gosling’s Rum. For further details about the Kanaloa Rum club, please email or ask for Jamie at the bar.