TOTC 2015 – RUM – A Taste of 10 Rare Single Casks

plantation single casks rums

Rum is much more than a liquor in a bottle – it`s a lifestyle and the spirit of a people.

Here is a rare opportunity to experience some fine aged rums from a private collection, never before seen in the United States. Originally sourced in Caribbean casks, these select aged rums were further aged in special barrels in Europe over many years. This exclusive tasting event will be available for only twenty serious rum enthusiasts, featuring vintage rums from Guadeloupe, Belize, Guyana and Haiti, lovingly triple matured and rested in barrels from rare Sauternes, Pineau des Charentes and even Sherry casks.

At the Tales there are a few of these rare tastings and if you get the chance go to some, you will probably never get the chance to taste some of these spirits again. At this tasting there were 10 very rare single cask rums from Plantation rums and it was a privilege to be able to taste them.

Presented by Robert Burr, Paul McFadyen and Alexandre Gabriel and sponsored by Plantation rum and DrinkUpNY.com we were presented the philosphy and vision behind the Plantation rums, followed by tasting samples of these 10 rare single casks:

PLANTATION RUM SEMINAR

Cuba 1998 –  This rum was aged in Cuba. It has a sweet nose with hints of vanilla. A bit lighter rum, Cuban style with a bone structure of spicy cask. Notes of fruity apricot and vanilla with some spice. I found it to be an elegant and fresh rum.

plantation single casks cuba

Trinidad 1989 – This rum doesn´t exist anymore and is a blend of pot and column stills. It`s fruity and spicy, rounded and rich. A glimpse of the past….

Nicaragua 1998 – It has a faint nose, almost nothing but there´s slight notes of fruit. The taste is dry with a pleasant touch of wood. Not sure if I picked up a hint of cherry? I liked this rum a lot.

Barbados 1991 – Sweet, fruity, mellow and balanced made with 40% pot and 60% column stills with vanilla notes and french oak. A nice pleasant balanced rum.

Belize 9 yo – This rum is 100% column still rum. It has a very distinct coconut flavor, some hints of vanilla, it´s a very tropical rum.

Navy blend, Barbados, Trinidad, Belize – This was a very spicy strong bodied rum, woody, complex and rich! with a slightly fruity nose and of course one of my favorites…

Barbados 20 yo – Rare, only a few barrels are left. Spicy wood, smooth and balanced.

Guadeloupe 1998 –  One of my top favorites! incredible rum!! Rich, flavorful and outstanding! complex, wild and warm. Oh yeah……….

Jamaica 1998/Guyana 1988 –  My notes says “Flavor! Funky! Heavy! 🙂

St Lucia 15 yo – Sweet and woody…..

plantation single cask collage

Then there was also a surprise rum, a very rare 1983 Jamaican, which was VERY flavorful and funky….a high ester bomb! tropical bananas, wood, raisin, tropical fruit….

The vision of Plantation rums is to capture the essence of what rum used to be, how it used to taste and roll upstream against the tide of column still, and to reflect the style of each island. The rums are double aged, first in their tropical climate and then in limousine and oak casks in France.

According to Plantation rums double ageing is the key to refinement in combination with “elevage” which means to nurture the rum like you would nurture a plant or a baby. If distillation is a science then ageing is an art and the blender works the symphony…

We were tasting the “treasure chest” of Plantation rums, rums that are not available to the public for various reasons, for example the Trinidad 1989 which doesn`t exist anymore in the way it was made. Every single barrel is unique and whether the rum is aged in humid or dry cellars affects the rum, for example you get a smoother rum in a humid cellar since there the alcohol evaporates first and in a drier cellar you will get a spicier rum.

Every rum has it´s own “sweet spot” which is the proof at which the rum shines the most.

This and a lot of other things we learnt at this tasting/seminar which I think was outstanding and very interesting! I`m happy I was there!

I´m sure we will see more of Plantation rums at the Tales next year! don´t miss it……..

plantation single casks 5

Paul McFadyen and Alexandre Gabriel, photos Laura Godel

Tales of the Cocktail Announces Spirited Awards Winners

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Saturday night, the year’s best bars, bartenders, writers and cocktail experts from around the world were recognized at the 9th Annual Spirited Awards® as part of Tales of the Cocktail® 2015.

NEW ORLEANS, LA – July 19, 2015 – Following the largest nomination pool in the history of the show and a rigorous judging process by some of the most respected members of the cocktail industry, Tales of the Cocktail® is proud to announce the winners for each category of the 9th Annual Spirited Awards®. All winners were announced live last evening at the Sheraton Hotel New Orleans.  In addition to this year’s judged award winners, Jonathan Downey and Steve Mannan were also honored for their professional achievements.

“2014 was an exceptionally fertile year for drink books and drink writing in general, with extremely difficult choices to make in each of the four writing categories,” said David Wondrich Writing Committee Chairman. “As far as the judges are concerned, each of the finalists is a true winner and would have dominated the field in an average year. It was humbling to have to choose among them.”

For the past nine years, the Spirited Awards® have recognized the year’s best bars, bartenders, writers and experts, becoming the cocktail industry’s most prestigious and coveted award program. Winners were voted on by a panel of more than 100 industry experts, led by Simon Ford (Chairman), Jackson Cannon (U.S. Judging Committee Chairman), Jacob Briars (International Judging Committee Chairman), and David Wondrich (Writing Committee Chairman). Voting was a weeklong process that required extensive knowledge in each category. The votes were verified by the Super Committee and tallied to determine the Top 10, Top Four and ultimately this year’s winners.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the effort of the American judges of this years Spirited Awards,” said Jackson Cannon, American Judging Committee Chairman. “Their thoughtful, determined approach has parsed the incredibly worthy field down to those most deserving of the highest honors this year. A toast to the winners, they truly are the best of the best!”

This year, the sponsoring partners of the 9th Annual Spirited Awards® were Bacardi USA, BarSmarts, Beefeater Gin, Bleu Dry Bar, Caña Brava, Chivas, Cognac Ferrand, Courvoisier, House of Angostura, Luxardo, Mountain Valley Spring Water, Nicolas Feuillatte, The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley, Rums of Puerto Rico, Mezcal El Silencio and William Grant & Sons.

“The Second ‘Golden Age of the Cocktail’ continues to spread around the globe, as bartenders, bar owners and ambassadors continue to set ever higher standards internationally. It’s wonderful to see traditional strongholds like London and Melbourne sharing nominations with the resurgent bar scene in Paris, and to see the rise of great bars in places like Singapore and Dubai being recognized too,” said Jacob Briars, International Judging Committee Chairman.

“I’m grateful to our 50 International Committee judges for their hard work and dedication in distilling thousands of nominees down to our finalists and award winners, who represent the very best in the global industry. There has never been a better time to be a cocktail lover around the globe.”

2015 Spirited Awards® Winners

 

American Categories

 

Best American Bar Team
Employees Only (New York)

 

American Bartender of the Year
Ivy Mix (New York)

 

Best American Brand Ambassador
Brooke Arthur (House Spirits)

 

Best American Cocktail Bar
Williams & Graham (Denver)

 

Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar
Employees Only (New York)

 

Best American Hotel Bar
The Broken Shaker (Miami Beach)

 

Best American Restaurant Bar
Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks (Boston)

 

Best New American Cocktail Bar
ABV (San Francisco)

 

International Categories

 

Best International Bar Team
28 Hong Kong Street (Singapore)

 

International Bartender of the Year
Ryan Chetiyawardana (London)

 

Best International Brand Ambassador
Claire Smith-Warner (Belvedere Vodka)

 

Best International Cocktail Bar
Artesian (London)

 

Best International High Volume CocktailBar
The Black Pearl & The Attic (Melbourne)

 

Best International Hotel Bar
Beaufort Bar, The Savoy (London)

 

Best International Restaurant Bar
Blind Pig at Social Eating House (London)

 

Best New International Cocktail Bar
Dandelyan (London)

 

Writing Categories

 

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication
PUNCH

 

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer
Dave Broom

 

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book
Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail by Dave Arnold

 

Best New Spirits Book
Whisky: The Manual by Dave Broom

 

Overall Categories

 

Best Bar Mentor
Jim Meehan (Portland)

 

Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient
Amaro di Angostura

 

World’s Best Cocktail Menu
Dead Rabbit (New York)

 

World’s Best Spirits Selection
Canon (Seattle)

 

World’s Best Bar
Dead Rabbit (New York)

 

Special Recognitions

 

Lifetime Achievement Award
Jonathan Downey

 

Sam Guarino Citation
Steve Mannan

Congrats to all the winners!