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Archive for the Category "Rum Reviews"

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!

Rum Review – Appleton Estate V/X Jamaica Rum Aug 11

Appleton Estate V/XWith so many rums on the market, picking one for my first full rum review was never going to be an easy choice. However that choice became a lot easier, thanks largely to the generous support provided by the lovely people at J Wray & Nephew, the parent distillery of Appleton Estate Rum.

With a history dating at least as far back as 1749, Jamaica’s Appleton Estate is known for its hand crafted blended rums and their unique taste and quality.

The flagship rum of their range, the Appleton Estate V/X Jamaica Rum is a blend of fifteen rums of varying types and ages. Golden in colour, with a rich orangey aroma and a smooth, rich and sweet taste, this rum makes for a great premium mixing rum, while still retaining enough character and complexity for sipping over ice.

Presented in the distinctively shaped Appleton Estate 70cl bottle, with its depictions of a traditional sugar plantation and the rum distillery, Appleton Estate V/X Jamaica Rum  has been bottled at 40% ABV / 80 Proof.

The tastings and cocktail making were done over several evenings, allowing an opportunity to properly assess the qualities of the rum.Appleton Estate V/X - Daiquiri Tastings included sampling the rum neat and over ice, as well as the base rum in the following cocktails: Cuba Libre, Daiquiri, Mai Tai and Mojito.

Tasting Notes

Neat – In its most basic form, the Appleton Estate V/X Jamaica Rum has a smooth start with a slightly spicy after-bite. Notes of honey and burned sugar come through in the mouth, while the aroma has a noticeable orange peel scent.

Over Ice – Adding ice to this rum really lets it open up and gives it a silky smooth finish. Given a choice between drinking this rum neat or over ice, over ice would always be my preferred choice.

Cuba Libre – Despite the strong flavour of the lime, the complex flavours of this rum really shine through, giving this cocktail a more noticeable and robust taste.

Daiquiri – Again the stronger flavour of the V/X rum stands out in this classic cocktail. While not quite as refreshing as when made with a good white mixing rum, this Daiquiri had plenty of taste and made for an excellent cocktail. If trying this one yourself, you may want to add a touch more sugar to compensate for the more complex flavours of the rum.

Appleton Estate V/X - MojitoMai Tai – With this cocktail calling for both a golden and a dark rum, I feared that the flavours of the V/X might be lost among the stronger flavours of the Myers’s dark rum. This fear was proved unfounded as, despite being more subtle than in some of the other coctails here, the character of the V/X came through and helped this drink come alive. Definately a good combination of rums in this great drink.

Mojito – Like the Daiquiri, this is another cocktail that is known for its refreshingly light taste and is most often made with a white mixing rum. Adding a golden rum was clearly going to change the taste profile of this cocktail, giving it more character and flavour. And with the quality and complexity of the V/X, this change was certainly a positive one. Although it still made for an excellent Mojito with white sugar, you may want to experiment making this with some form of brown sugar, thereby complimenting the rum with the more complex sugar taste.

In summary Appleton Estate V/X Jamaica Rum makes for an excellent mixer, deserving of its premium label. It brings a smooth and complex taste to all of the classic cocktails (Cuba Libre, Daiquiri, Mai Tai and Mojito) without being too overbearing or distractive from the expected taste. It is also easy enough to sip and enjoy it over ice making this rum a great all rounder.

Further Information – Appleton Estate Rum

Rating – Great Mixer to Sip

Rum Reviews… Not that you’d have noticed… Jul 24

Appleton Estate 8 Year Old RumAs some of you may have noticed, that what has been lacking of late is any actual reviews of any of the rums listed on the site. There’s been roundup’s of Rum Shows and Rum Clubs, as well as details on bottles and distilleries, but nothing that I would really call a proper review.

It’s my own fault really, starting a website with plans of world dominance and delusions of grandeur, I set upon the mammoth task of adding every bottle all at once, be it Rum, Cachaça, Tequila or Vodka. I must have had too many of something when making that decision, as after all this time, there are still gaps that need to filled in, such as details on some of the distilleries, the History of Cachaça and basically every bottle review.

So after a recent reality check, Rum has taken point, Vodka’s fallen off the wagon and there’s been a number of other tweaks of late, in order to bring the site more together and easier to navigate. However, as anyone who’s tried writing a website will confirm, it takes time to write this stuff, but I’m also aware that anyone who might consider being a regular reader wants to see regular reviews, news and updates. So here’s the plan:

Along with playing catch up with all of the missing content, there will be regular sneak-peaks and reports on both the Notting Hill and Kanaloa Rum Club’s, news about new or interesting rums, upcoming tastings and Rum Shows including my take on the day and of course the all important Rum Reviews.

As well as tasting observations about sipping the rum in it’s neat form, each rum will also be tasted over ice, as well as making the base of four classic rum cocktails; Cuba Libre, Daiquiri, Mai Tai and Mojito. There may even be a fifth cocktail, inspired by the rum under review, but that will be determined on an individual basis. To round off each review, the rum will be given its rating on my very own non-scientific good to bad scale of; Rum Heaven, Sipping on the Beach,  Great Mixer to Sip, Cocktail Mixer and No Comment.

To start off the Rum Reviews, I will be looking at Appleton Estate V/X, the 8 Year Old Appleton Estate Reserve and the 12 Year Old Appleton Estate Extra rums. Why Appleton Estate? Well partly because I’ve thoroughly enjoyed finishing a bottle of the V/X recently with my usual Rum and Diet Coke’s, but also because of the generosity of the nice folk at Appleton Estate for sending me over a bottle of the Reserve and Extra rums for review. So lookout over the next couple of weeks for full reviews and hopefully a couple of Appleton Estate inspired cocktail recipes.