Mr Rum Ambassador Ian Burrel – Founder of the UK Rumfest
Here´s the second post on my round-up of the UK Rumfest that took place oct 12-13 at the ExCeL in London to celebrate all things Rum!
THE CONNAISSEUR´S COVE
The Connaisseur´s Cove was new for this years Rumfest and was the secluded area for the true rum enthusiasts who were not there just to party but also to learn about rums more in-depth and get a chance to sample and savor some of the world´s finest rums.
And the “Cove” was crowded…much more than i expected and i think i should started in there first instead of us heading to the Boutique area because that area was never crowded like that.
Connaisseur´s Cove had rums such as Gosling´s, Centenario, Pusser´s, Ron Botran, El Dorado, St Nicholas Abbey, Don Q & Caliche, Angostura, R.L Seale and Doorly’s, Lamb´s Navy, Berry bros & Rudd, Green Island, Clarke´s Court, Ron Cubay, Chamarel, Diplomatico, Zacapa and Mount Gay.
Jax & Smatts was a combo of Jax coconut water and Smatt`s silver rum. Also Coco Real the fine cream of coconut brand paired up with Pusser´s rum for tasty painkiller cocktails.
I`m trying to feature the rums that are new to either me or the market my posts because to me the rumfest is very much about that, trying out new rums you never tried before – but that said i do of course sample from the well established premium brands too even if i already know what they taste like – just because they are so good….
And rums like Appleton, El Dorado or anything from Foursquare are all masterfully created marvels of good flavors, complexity and balance. You can`t go wrong with any of these rums, they are solid.
And i don´t think you can have too many rums..
FROM THE CARIBBEAN TO THE UK RUMFEST
I was lucky to be able to come along and fetch the barrel with 15 year old rum from St Nicholas Abbey in Barbados and bring it to the UK Rumfest! That was really interesting and i shall admit i`m in love with the St Nicholas Abbey rum which i first discovered at the UK Rumfest in 2011.
This was when their flavorful white rum still had no name and was called the “See Through” but today it´s sold as their White Rum and it`s distilled from fresh sugar cane syrup and is absolutely fantastic – like all their rums. A review of the white rum will follow in a separate post.
So here´s the rum from the dock to the Rumfest in pictures:
On a rainy morning….a crate with a barrel of rum is transported to the UK Rumfest, the rum in the barrel is 15 year old rum from St Nicholas Abbey. I couldn´t wait to see that crate being opened…
Covering the crate on the inside under the first cover was a huge and very heavy piece of beautiful mahogany, taken from one of the old trees on the St Nicholas Abbey property, the oldest mahogany trees on the island. The same mahogany is also used in the hand stamped cork tops together with leather.
The barrel being taken out and rolled to the stand to be lifted and put up and made ready for the pouring of rum to be sampled and enjoyed at the Rumfest.
And here it is!! The first ever rum taken out of this specific barrel and poured into one of these beautiful bottles. Never yet tasted before until now…it was very exciting! and the rum tasted…oh so goood….one of the best you can get today.
It´s made with great attention to detail and is a true handcrafted work of art all the way to the beautiful bottle which you can get personally engraved.
Sugarcane “honey” and pure brown sugar from the estate.
They don´t only make rum at the St Nicholas Abbey, there´s also wonderful sugars and condiments being made, all in the same hand crafted style. They also makes a beautiful rum cake and there´s picture of it in my previous post.
One thing i enjoyed tasting was the sugarcane honey – which is the evaporated sugarcane juice their rum is made of – because this rum isn´t made from molasses. The sugarcane honey does not taste like molasses either – instead it has a very earthy kind of flavor which tastes wonderful.
They also make a wonderful hot sauce and equally nice pepper rum – i just love these little exotic tasty condiments!
SEMINAR WITH MARTIN CATE – SMUGGLER´S COVE
In his seminar “Tales from America´s No 1 Rum Bar” Martin Cate told us the story of his fabulous rum bar Smuggler´s Cove and also quite a bit of the story of the tiki bars and drinks.
Smuggler´s Cove is a bar that celebrates rums and it´s history along with the tiki and it´s history and together it becomes so much more than just tiki because the history of rum dates back so much longer.
They serve traditional drinks of the Caribbean islands, classic libations of prohibition-era Havana and exotic cocktails from legendary Tiki bars.
It´s all about the right drink in the right location with the right atmosphere – and of course – the right rum for the right drink! – and here Martin Cate is a master! – which makes me come to think about another master when it comes to pairing the right rums with the right mixers – yes you guessed it – Don the Beachcomber!
Sidewinder´s Fang as served at the Smuggler´s Cove
At the Smuggler´s Cove they take pride in measuring the drinks for consistency.
Martin also do what he can to support business and buys well made good quality falernum for example even though he easily could make it himself. But if there´s small businesses that makes great products, why not support them?
They also have something called the Rumbustion Society where you get an opportunity to sample over 200 rums from countries around the world as a member. They have 3 different levels and on the third level you`ll be rewarded with a private distillery trip. And by then you`ll have tasted 200 rums and gained a lot of rum knowledge!
If you wanna know more about Smuggler´s Cove in San Francisco to go their website here. I for one have yet not been there but i hope that one day…
There was many more seminars or rum master classes but i didn´t make it to any other, it´s just too many things going on at the same time…and when you have fun time flies and all of a sudden you discover the day is over…
And of course we got some nice cocktails to imbibe – one tasty spicy rum punch type of drink and then one with coconut that was soooo tasty! and i really really liked that one, so much that i went and asked Martin for the recipe so i can make them at home and also share with my readers.
The drink got no name so i call it Martin`s Coconut Punch…until Martin comes and give the drink a name…
Martin`s Coconut Punch
1 part Coco Real cream of coconut
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 part fresh lime juice
2 parts Angostura 1919
And shake it up with ice and serve with ice cubes.
THE REAL MC COY
The Boutique Rumfest was a separated area for the trade only with various rums to sample and a much better chance to talk to the producers since it´s so much calmer. Last time i was at the Boutique Rumfest in 2011 it was taking place on the friday before the Rumfest started on the saturday but now it had it´s own area instead during the two rumfest days.
The first thing i saw in there was the “Real McCoy” rum booth and i was really happy to meet them in person for the first time, they are very nice people. The Real McCoy rum has a very interesting story and it´s a good rum. They sent me their 5 year old rum for review when i was in New Orleans this past summer.
Now i got a chance to talk to them in person and to try out their white and their 12 year old expressions. The white was good but the one i was really fond of was the 12 year old….it´s a very nice rum indeed with a round full bodied flavor. I hope to pick up a bottle some day.
Cheers to you Real McCoy people!
To my joy i saw the Bristol Spirits rums and of course went straight to taste them all and talk to the producer of these fine rums.
A bottle of 1999 Port Morant Demerara catched my attention of course…and not surprisingly also turned out to be my favorite rum from their range of exhibited rums. The PM 1999 does surely has to contain rum distilled from the double wooden pot still since it used to be in the Port Morant Estate that was founded in 1732.
Demerara is a designation of origin and is rum being distilled in Guyana. The only distillery today that is left in Guyana is the DDL – Demerara Distillers Limited and they operate all those stills that were brought from the now defunct Sugar Estates among which Port Morant is one.
The PM 1999 has a typical demerara flavor and is rich, full bodied with dark notes of dried fruit and chocolate. It is (46% ABV)
After that i tried the 1998 Caroni which is a rum from Trinidad and the now defunct Caroni Distillery. Trinidad rums usually have a light style and so was this one. Light, elegant and flavorful.
But there´s also so called Heavy Caronis which are very fullbodied and strong rums with high alcohol content and a type of rum i like a lot. Some of the heavy Caronis i`ve tried actually even reminds me of the heavy Jamaican pot still rums or full proof demeraras but without the demerara flavor though.
It´s a shame the Caroni distillery is not operating, there´s some real good rums coming out from there and when they are gone they are gone because they are coming from an era that no longer exists..
I can say one thing, without the Rumfest i wouldn´t been able to try all these interesting rums!
Another rum i had never tried before even though i recognized the brand name so i went and tried their range of rums. They are of Cuban origin but are today made in the Dominican Republic.
Some quick tasting notes – the 15 year old (which i found sweet with hints of dried fruit and a flavor that comes upfront on the palate) the 18 year old (smooth and somewhat “cool” and more of wood in the flavor, vanilla, honey) the 21 year old (fruity with caramel, oak, vanilla) the 25 year old (smooth, mature, vanilla, oak) the 15 year old porto finished, aged in porto barrels (raisin, grapes, dried fruit) and the 25 year old single malt barrel finished (semi-sweet, mature, honey)
It´s hard to try to get the flavors on a fast note like that but you get an overall impression though and to me it´s like that of a typical Cuban rum but then again i`m not an expert on Cuban rums…but i find them interesting.
And now something different, a small batch rum from the Philippines called Don Papa – named after a hero of the Philippine revolution. Aged 7 years in American oak barrels. This is to me a very sweet rum with flavors of vanilla and candied fruits.
They made cocktails too and one that was pretty pleasant was made with coconut jelly and kalamansi juice, here´s the recipe:
40 ml Don Papa rum
3 tblsp coconut jelly
3 big ice cub
Top with pink Guava juice (Tropical Groove)
Dash of fresh kalamansi juice ( or lime if you can`t find kalamansi) and add a lime for garnish too.
Parabola Samba/Latin Fushion Collective and they were loud!!
And it´s a Samba party!
Before the Rumfest i got to enjoy a little bit of London Cocktail week at various bars and there´s so incredibly many really great bars in London that i`m only gonna post pics from one, the first one i got to. Before i even had dropped my suitcase i was “dragged” into a glass lift outside of the Heron Tower and up we went….38 floors up to a bar called SushiSamba…
This lift was scary…
But the Tonka bean Old Fashioned i had was worth it!
Tonka bean infused El Dorado 5 yo rum, Benedictine, Star Anise syrup and garnished with a flamed star anise that was attached at the top of a sugarcane stick to turn upside down and stir the drink with when the star anise finished burning.
Excellent cocktail! and a great bar with a fantastic view!
And excellent view of London from the bar.
See you again London at the next UK Rumfest!