Compagnie des Indes is a French independent bottler which was founded by Florent Beuchet has a solid wine and spirits background since he comes from a family of wine makers in Burgundy in France, so he naturally started with wine education and tastings and then travelled to the US and worked for Banks Rum in NYC as their Brand Ambassador for 2 years before starting his own brand Compagnie des Indes in 2014.
The idea behind Compagnie des Indes is to bring authentic rum from many regions with both blends of different countries as well as one origins and single casks showing the genuine character of the rums from each region.
The name Compagnie des Indes pays hommage and bring memories from days past when merchants from the East India Companies travelled to bring back precious and exotic goods from far away places. And in like manner Florent brings rums distinct to each region to us.
There´s a commitment to transpareny clearly stating on each label exactly what the bottle contains as well as the name of the distillery, bottling date, number etc – I want to se more of this!
Recently there were two tastings here with rums from Compagnie des Indes, both mixed in cocktails and neat. The range was nine different rums whereof five were single casks. Some rums were also at cask strength. In cocktails the rums are really nice, they mix very well but they also sip very well so they are versatile.
These are generally drier style of rums with no sugar or anything added except for a very few which has a lower amount of sugar or caramel but Florian is all transparent about it and from this upcoming year there will be no more caramel added.
The rums Florian brought to the tasting were these:
1 – Caraibe – A blend of rums from Barbados (mostly Foursquare) 25%, Trinidad 50% and Guyana 25% Aged for between three and five years in American white oak, distilled in column stills, no age statement. This rum is fruity and complex with hints of apricot, peaches and vanilla with a little peppery touch.
2 – Latino – the second of the blends, contains 60% rum from the Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala (who makes Botran and Zacapa) and then 40% Caraibe. It`s a light type of rum, typical for the Spanish types of rum or ron with caramel, toffee and vanilla aromas and a “coffee bean” like finish. Aged 5 years in American white oak.
3 – St Lucia – 13 years single cask, 43% This is a 100% pot still rum using molasses from Guyana. No additives except water. Spicy, warm and woody with a nice fruity finish.
4 – Martinique – 13 years single cask 44% from the Dillon distillery. No additives except water. Has been aged in the “more spicy” french oak, with more dryness and touch of smoke. This is a rhum agricole that is a bit less grassy on the notes than what we usually see with an elegant fruity flavor of ripe tropical fruits.
5 – Barbados 12 year old – pot and column still rum from Foursquare. This rum surprised me with very clear notes of the same flavors as I have encountered in the rums from St Nicholas Abbey. Now that in intself is actually not surprising since Richard Seale and Foursquare have made all the St Nicholas Abbey´s rums except for their latest 5 year old expression. But this is still the first rum I try apart from the very SNA rums that has those flavor notes, interesting….and of course – very nice aromas! kudos to Foursquare! and of course – No additives what so ever.
6 – Boulet de Canon n1 – A limited edition of rum aged in islay whiskey barrels. A refined blend of the Caraibe with 5 yrs rums from Trinidad, Barbados and Guyana, finished in an Islay whisky barrel for 8 months. Has an elegant touch of smoke and a nice finish. Boulet n2 is coming later this year and will be aged in peated whiskey barrels.
7 – Jamaica – 5 years, Navy Strength 57% Worthy Park, Monymusk, Hampden and then, a secret Jamaican distillery makes up this expression. Very nice and flavorful and smooth in regard to it´s proof. No added sugar or caramel colouring. One of my favorites in this bunch!
8 – Haiti 11 years, Barbancourt distillery. Cask strength rum 59.4% it gets better and better…has a round aromatic nose of what it comes from, the old stills at Barbancourt. Unfiltered. No additives what so ever. No added sugar, caramel colouring or water. Very aromatic, dry and fruity. Love at first sight…
9 – Guyana – And the last one, a demerara…(Port Mourant) Very nice and flavorful – but not heavy to my surprise since it´s a cask a strength rum at 58%.
There´s many more rums than these by Compagine des Indes, and especially interesting are a range of very attractive cask strength rums available only in Denmark.
This is a rum company issuing very nice expressions where many are single casks and many also interesting cask strength rums and most without any added sugar (and if they have some – it is stated clearly on the label) so these rums are worthy to look out for.
One last thing, I think the labels are absolutely gorgeous!!
Samaroli is an Italian private bottler of rums and whiskies since 1968. Silvano Samaroli made himself well known by selecting and bottling great scotches and rums. His rums are produced from single casks that are selected one by one and the rums are matured or partly matured in the cooler climate of Scotland.
There´s a whole bunch of new Samaroli rums for this year to try out and here´s two, one Trinidad Caroni rum 1999 cask #10 and a Demerara from Guyana, from 1990 and cask #18. Both are very interesting espressions and they have no additives and are brimming with flavors. I think even though the Caroni and Demerara rums are two different styles of rums, some of the Caronis, especialy the heavy ones reminds me in many ways of the old demerara rums even though each have their own typical distinct flavor profile.
It´s the depth of flavors and then something else, maybe that punch…because the light Caronis I have tried does not have that similarity with Demeraras at all. This Caroni here is not a heavy Caroni in terms of proof but in terms of flavor I think it matches the “heavy” ones.
Demerara 1990, cask #18, 45%
This is an Enmore demerara rum distilled in 1990 and bottled in Scotland in 2015 which makes it a 25 year old rum….it has been double aged, so partly in tropical climate and partly in the cool Scotland climate which brings something from both worlds.
What I get when I sniff in the glass is first of all wood….a lot of deep barrel hits my nose… then molasses, mashed overripe dark tropical fruits, tobacco, burnt sugar and leather, slight very pleasant hints of butterscotch and caramel…
It´s interesting to sit and smell the nose of rums like these because they are so complex and there´s a lot going on. Hard to put words on sometimes.
Taking a first sip the wood explodes in my mouth – old demerara rum barrel and it´s a trip back in time to drink it. There´s the flavors of the same tobacco and molasses notes as in the nose, burnt sugar and mashed tropical fruits, hints of vanilla, leather and earth. It has a deep demerara flavor and is very woody….almost on the way to be overpowering on the wood notes but it sits just right there before it becomes too much. Also it´s not on the sweet side which I like.
I love these old demerara rums as you know, there´s nothing like them and just like the old Caronis, never will be. And sadly, when these are gone they are gone….that is especially true for the Caronis since they are no more produced but it´s true also these single cask demeraras. This one for example, only 340 bottles were made.
These rums are collectors items.
So let it be sipped….
Trinidad 1999, cask #10, 45%
This Caroni rum was distilled in 1999 and bottled in 2015, so it´s 16 year old. It was first aged on Trinidad and then further aged in Scotland.
The nose is quite light and it´s pleasantly fruity and here the wood makes itself known but in the background, not upfront like the demerara rum. Sweet hints of succulent tropical fruits but the nose doesn`t really reveal what´s to come….
In the mouth this rum is absolutely gorgeous! it´s brimming with brilliant fruity notes and it has an aftertaste that I really like – a lot! Parts is wood and then there´s smething else. And there´s apricot, vanilla and maybe mango…and other mashed tropical fruits, hints of liquorice and it has a very pleasant dry finish.
Then that after taste…I cannot put words on what it is…but it´s so delicious…
Here´s another incredible Caroni, only 260 bottles were made.
The Caroni Sugar Factory
There were originally more than 50 different rums brands produced in Trinidad – by 1950 that number had reduced to 8 and today there is only one left – Angostura. Caroni was established in 1918 on the site of the old Caroni Sugar factory and operated until 2002.
The Caroni sugar factory started to operate a cast iron still in 1918 and at that time there were some eight or ten other sugar factories operating, each producing different types of rums and these rums were bought up by merchants and sold to rum shops all over the island. There were all kinds of “blends” and concoctions being made by both the merchants and the rum shop owners and sold over the counter as “petit quarts”
Eventually Caroni went from the original cast iron still to use a wooden coffey still – until 1945 when they got a copper still which was followed by a single column in 1957 and then a four column Gerb Herman still in 1980.
For nearly 100 years Caroni has had large sugar estates on the island and was the major producer of molasses. Sadly now since it`s closed no more of their magnificient rums are produced.
Pictures in this post are courtesy Rombo.
The two Samaroli 1999 Trinidad and 1990 Demerara (and others) can in Europe be purchased here.
FIBAR is the biggest bar Show in Spain and was held in Valladolid in a pretty cool building that looks like a giant football, the Cúpula del Milenio on november 17-19.
The first ever European Tiki Experience took place there on the tuesday nov 17th and it was for that I was invited to do a seminar about the history of tiki together with Oriol Elias from the Rum and Tiki blog Three of Strong. We made a seminar called “Paradise Lost, the Roots of Tiki” where we covered the history and roots of the American Polynesian Pop culture with all it´s past and present bars and bartenders, carvers, artists, writers, musics and what the tiki culture is all about.
We also raised a toast with Chief Lapu Lapus to Jeff Beachbum Berry in appreciation of all that he did to uncover the lost recipes and all the books he wrote containing history and recipes for a lifetime! because without him we wouldn`t have all these recipes resurrected today.
And he toasted us back….in a video he made back in New Orleans 🙂
The other speakers in the Tiki Experience were Sly Augustin, owner of the Tiki bar Trailer Happiness in London who made a seminar called “The Future of Tiki”, and Miguel and David Perez also know as the two “Brothers in Tiki” were talking about tiki bar and tiki products.
Thanos Prunarus, owner of the famous Baba au Rum bar in Athens did a seminar about the Anatomy of Tiki Drinks and Miguel Escobedo, (Kona Lei) did a seminar called “Tiki-Orama:50 years of Cocktails and Iberian Tiki”
Among the guest bartenders were Guillermo Uriel, bartender at Mahiki in London.
Pavon tiki mugs was also for sale and I was happy to be able to grab a few….they have some that are really cool like the big bamboo and the pineapple mugs, they also have a swimming vahine bowl that is pretty cool and another with a smiling tiki that looks very happy and drunk 🙂
One thing that I learnt at the Tiki Experience is that Tiki in Europe is most likely going to become bigger and bigger but be formed in it´s on fashion and inventiveness – but without losing connection with the traditions. I see a very exciting future for both rums and tiki in Europe…
A very interesting seminar that I attended was Luca Picchis seminar about the Negroni cocktail where he also presented his book “Negroni Cocktail an Italian Legend” which I also bought a copy of and I would recommend anyone who`s a lover of cocktails to get a copy, it´s a masterpiece.
Every night after FIBAR there was a party and good food to have…the bar to go to was El Nino Perdido, great cocktails and nice atmosphere! Bar manager at El Nino Perdido is Juan Valls, also the organizer of FIBAR Valladolid.
There were a lot more things happening at FIBAR but we had only one day of the three so the other things that happened at FIBAR I cannot write about…..but i`m very happy to been able to be there, it was a great experience and I met so many nice people both new and old friends and I hope I can be back again the next year!
Here is as usual when I go to these kind of events, a picture parade….because pictures speak more…
Cúpula del Milenio
Beautiful Daquiris like these…
Paired with Spanish croquetas…
Siderit Hibiscus Gin, made in northern Spain and very tasty.
….made a very refreshing gin and tonic.
Hendrick`s Gin booth, give him a drink….
Luca Picchi (Head bartender in Coffee Rivoire of Florence and author of the book Negroni Cocktail) made a great seminar about the Negroni – The history of the Negroni cocktail and the Italian appetizer !
(pic credit FIBAR)
FAIR Rum from Belize!
And Puerto Rican Don Q
Mezcal goodness and burnt cinnamon stick – yummy…
Plantation rums! and of course the famous Stiggin´s Fancy….probably the tastiest pineapple rum I have ever tasted.
Big pineapple tiki mug from Pavon.
And a swimming vahine.
Aloha shirt and rums….
Oriol at our seminar “Paradise Lost, the Roots of Tiki”
And now we`re entering the realm of tiki…
Three of Strong and A Mountain of Crushed Ice taking it through the history of tiki to show where it came from and that tiki is so much more than just the drinks, which btw were some of the world´s first crafted farm to glass cocktails – in tropical costume.
And no tiki seminar without the Bums books!
Or the Bum himself….
Chief Lapu Lapu was served….
And it was good….
Sly Augustin (Trailer Happiness, London) talked about the exciting future of tiki.
(pic credit FIBAR)
While Miguel Escobedo (Kona Lei, Madrid) made a seminar called – Tiki-Orama:50 years of cocktails and Iberian Tiki, and Thanos Prunarus (Baba au Rum) spoke about the anatomy of The Anatomy of Tiki Drinks and of course his world famous rum bar, Baba au Rum (pic credit FIBAR)
Guest bartending was Guillermo Uriel, bartender at Mahiki in London. (pic credit FIBAR)
The Tiki Experience was created by Miguel Pérez Muñoz and David Perez, also known as the “Brothers in Tiki” (pic credit FIBAR) who also did a seminar about tiki bar and tiki products.
Three Dots and a dash, one of my fav tiki cocktails
There were so much more than what these pictures have shown and we were there only one of three days! try to go and visit the FIBAR in 2016!
Here´s an old favorite again, the Penang Afrididi #1. It`s a “forgotten” tiki drink from 1937 and it was created by Don the Beachcomber. I like Donn`s drinks and I like this one! it was served at Don the Beachcomber’s Caberet Restaurant in the International Marketplace in Honolulu, circa 1958.
I`m curious about the name of this drink and wonder how it came to be and where it comes from…? if anyone knows please write in the comments.
There´s vibrant old dusty magic tasty tiki history here!
There´s also more versions of this drink, for example the #2 which simply cuts the same ingredients by half, blend and strain into a cocktail coupe or glass. Also Jason Alexander at Tacoma Cabana made his version of this drink and called it Penang Afrididi #3.
Penang Afrididi #3
2 dashes of Horror in Clay Tropical bitters, 1/2 oz each lime, orange, pineapple juices and 1/2 oz passionfruit syrup, 1/4 oz each falernum and fassionola, 1 oz ginger beer, 1 1/2 oz light rum, 1 1/2 oz Deep Ones Gold Blend (a house blend of three rums he makes), flash blend all ingredients.
Here´s the fassionola again, I need to try to make my own someday and I need to get the commercial version as well (the red one) I`d love to compare them, something I`ve had in mind for a while but that gonna be another post, and I also wanna try Jason`s version.
There´s also an interesting descendent of this drink that was dates back to the Mai Kai opening in 1956 and they had two versions of it, that drink is called the Zula and it`s flavor profile has only three ingredients, Herbsaint (or Pernod), pineapple, gold rum. You can read about the Zula over at the Atomic Grog.
From “Sippin’ Safari” page 95 by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry
- 1 1/2 oz. Light Puerto Rican Rum
- 1 1/2 oz. Amber Virgin Islands Rum
- 1/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
- 1/2 oz. Unsweetened Pineapple Juice
- 1/2 oz. Orange Juice
- 1/2 oz. Passion Fruit Syrup
- 1/8 tsp. Pernod or Herbsaint
Put everything into a blender and add six ounces of crushed ice. Blend it at high speed for five seconds.
And I couldn`t resist to add some of the liquid from my jar of Maraschino cherries..and that´s what gave the drink that wonderful shades of red.
This is one of the typical old Don the Beachcomber drinks where he used his fantastic imagination to create types of drinks that at the time had never been seen before with multiple rums, juices, spices and “secrets” (like drops of Pernod)
His Rum Rhapsodies as he called them!
Next time I want to try the Atomic Grog`s Tribute to The Mai-Kai’s Zula…and i`d love to make a twist on it as well.
But until then i`ll make this – a twist on the Penang Afrididi using an aged rhum agricole sweetened with a mix of 50/50 passionfruit syrup and hibiscus grenadine.
Afrididi Martiniquaise (or Penang Afrididi #4)
2 oz. Rhum agricole vieux (I used St James 12)
1.5 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Unsweetened Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz. Orange Juice
0.25 oz. Passion Fruit Syrup (homemade)
0.25 oz Hibiscus Grenadine (homemade)
1/8 tsp. Pernod or Herbsaint
Put everything into a blender and add six ounces of crushed ice. Blend it at high speed for five seconds. Pour into a snifter and add more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with a palm leaf and sugarcane stick.
It turned out to be a fruity and distincly rhum agricole forward drink….not strong, just fresh! the day I have my own fassionola made i`m gonna try that in this drink!
Today there´s more spiced rums on the market than ever before and it can be tricky to pick out the good ones because spiced rums can be so much….
I think we tend to drink more spiced rums in the winter season, many in warm rum drinks to beat the cold and depending on what you gonna do you may need different types of spiced rums. In this guest post there´s a few spiced rums listed that can be worth trying but of course, taste is personal so this is just a guideline.
St Aubin Spiced
This is a spiced Rhum Agricole, made from sugarcane juice instead of molasses. It´s made by the St Aubin Distillery on Mauritius. In it you find orange peel, hints of gingerbread cake and cinnamon. St Aubin plantation located on southern Mauritius has been cultivating sugarcane since 1890 and takes it´s name from one of it`s first owner Pierre de St Aubin.
On the estate there`s both artisanal and a traditional rums made. The water used in the rum making comes from their own spring water from Bois Chéri. It`s all local produce
Tonka Bean Infused Rum by Old Amazon
This 100% pot still rum is infused with Tonka Bean. Tonka Bean is a vanilla substitute that has been banned in many countries including the U.S. due to it´s content of coumarin which in high concentrations can be lethal. But it takes enourmously large doses – about 30 entire tonka beans to eat to fall ill. About the same volume at which nutmeg are toxic.The Old Amazon No1 Tonka bean infused rum can be safely used and guarantees a pleasant surprise.
Chairman’s Reserve Spiced
From St Lucia Distiller´s, this spiced rum is known as one of the very best of spiced rums available today. It has flavor notes of Orange peel, cardamom, cinnamon, caramel and vanilla. Chairman`s Reserve Spiced is one of the classic spiced rums and is best enjoyed with coconut water or ginger beer.
Kraken Black Spiced Rum
Launched in the UK in early 2010, this rum has an rich, spicy flavour. Named for the legendary sea monster, Kraken is a blend of Caribbean rums distilled from molasses made from locally-grown sugar cane. The rum is aged 1–2 years and then blended with a mix of 11 spices, including cinnamon, ginger and clove. It comes in a quite cool package!
Bristol Black Spice Rum
Bristol Black Spice Rum is a combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, apple, rich plump raisins and orange zest. This combination creates a bottle that is filled with spicy goodness and rich fruit flavours.
Dark Matter Spiced Rum
Made by the Ewen Brothers, this is a perfect mixture of fiery young rum and fresh spices. It is a good choice if you are looking for rum without any vanilla essence. The rum is also one of the best for making Bloody Mary (which is a mixture of rum and tomato juice). It even got lots of attention at the UK Rumfest.
This is one of the newest on this list as it was launched in 2014. It provides rum drinkers with a unique experience. It is spiced with Ginger and Cinnamon making it a welcome departure from all the vanilla flavoured rums in the market today. Most of those vanilla flavoured rums are just replicas of the UK’s Sailor Jerry! Pusser’s Spiced has a rich and warming profile, irrespective of the 35% ABV.
Find your favorite
These are a few good spiced rums you can count on to provide you with an exceptional experience. They will probably live a short lifespan in any spiced rum drinker’s cabinet. However, like rest the entries in this article, it is not for ladies that play on Jackpot Jane but more for spiced rum lovers. They are good enough to hopefully convert anyone to a lover of the Caribbean culture of spiced rum drinking!
Traditionally, Caribbean islanders would make spiced rums at home with whatever was locally available, and used spices like allspice, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon and most were locally consumed and only a very few made their way into the US.
Today we have more spiced rums available than before and there´s something for everyone!
The Tiki Farm 15th Anniversary Show with Big Toe, Ken Ruzic, Doug Horne, and Scott Scheidly showing wtih Michelle Bickford “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”
Friday, November 6th marks the opening night celebration of Tiki Farm’s 15th Anniversary, with a comprehensive exhibition of 500 of the most important and coveted selections of their over 2,000 different designs created to-date. Exclusive to the event, La Luz De Jesus will be world-premiering five brand new Tiki Farm limited edition Tiki mugs designed by Big Toe, Doug Horne, Flounder, Ken Ruzic and Michelle Bickford.
Each mug comes with a signed and numbered box label exclusive to that design, and one even comes with two Tiki Farm swizzle sticks.
An Anniversary Show Compendium is available for only $5. Art purchases can be handled by phone or email at (323)666-7667 or email@example.com
Tiki Farm is credited as being the world’s largest and most recognized manufacturer of Tiki mugs, having produced millions of mugs over the last 15 years, designed by such notable artists as Shag, The Pizz, Crazy Al Evans, Rick Rietveld and countless others.
Picture credit Tiki Farm, this is just ONE wall of the Tiki Farm installation at La Luz de Jesus! Mugs that go on forever….!!!
On display as well will be a tribute display to Tiki Farm’s late Art Director, The Pizz. Dubbed “The Lord Of Lowbrow”, The Pizz played a pivotal role in Tiki Farm’s most recent years, lending his artistic and creative abilities to a massive amount of designs.
Tiki Farm’s client list includes Disneyland, Pixar, Mattel, Hard Rock, Trader Vic’s, The Discovery Channel, Fender, Body Glove, Hyatt Regency and literally 1000’s of other commissioning clients. On display as well will be a tribute display to Tiki Farm’s late Art Director, The Pizz. Dubbed “The Lord Of Lowbrow”, The Pizz played a pivotal role in
Tiki Farm’s most recent years, lending his artistic and creative abilities to a massive amount of designs.This exhibition should not be missed by any fans of the mid-century artistic movement as well of course by any fans of Tiki, Lowbrow Art and Kustom Kulture. “Tiki” is an integral part of these movements, especially here in Southern California, and no other company better exemplifies the passion, commitment and creative breadth that has made
Tiki such a household word any better than Southern California’s beloved Tiki Farm.Tiki Farm’s Holden Westland as well as many of the current artists involved in the Tiki scene will be on hand to celebrate an amazing and unparalleled 15 years of wonderful, mind-boggling Tiki artistry and creativity.
Since their inception back in the Fall of 2000, Tiki Farm has helped paved the way of the modern day Tiki mug resurgence, defining the movement and creating the head of steam that has allowed so many other Tiki enthusiasts to try their hand at mug making.
Tiki Farm’s founder and president, Holden Westland, is regarded as “The Hardest Working Man In Tiki”, and the results from his efforts evidenced in Tiki Farm’s continued manic-paced production will be on display for all to enjoy at this special exhibition. Guests will be treated to a free printed show compendium that will allow for an informative and insightful walk-through of this phenomenal display of world-famous Tiki Farm goodies!
Here are the five brand new Tiki Farm limited edition Tiki mugs designed by Big Toe, Doug Horne, Flounder, Ken Ruzic and Michelle Bickford:
Nari Rani Marquesan Mug by Flounder (Scott Scheidly)
Ltd. Edition of 100, 8″ in height, 22 oz. capacity, $50 each
Rub for Rum Easter Island Tiki Decanter by Michelle Bickford
Ltd. Edition of 100, 9″ in height, 50 oz. capacity, $75 each
Tiki Farm Temple Mug by Doug Horne
Ltd. Edition of 100, 7 5/8″ in height, 20 oz. capacity, $50 each Sold Out
Bobomb Hand Grenade Tiki Mug by Big Toe
Ltd. Edition of 100, 8″ in height, 22 oz. capacity, $50 each Sold Out
Poko Ono Pineapple Mug by Ken Ruzic
Ltd. Edition of 100, 7.5″ in height, 16 oz. capacity, $50 each Sold Out
My 10 paintings function as a love letter to the art of tiki mugs, the art of the tropical cocktail and to my relationship with Tiki Farm and my pal Holden Westland. I met Holden (aka “the hardest working man in tiki”) in the 80’s over happy-hour long island ice teas, then we were reacquainted in the mid-2000s when our love for tiki and Polynesian ‘pop’ culture caused our paths to cross again. It has been a unique pleasure to work with Holden to create what I hope is a unique voice in the tiki mug world, and it is my absolute honor to be a part of the Mondo Tiki art show. – Tom Laura a/k/a/ Big Toe
Big Toe – Party Bob Acrylic on panel, 8×11″ (12×14″ framed), $300
Big Toe – Marwal Maiden Acrylic on panel, 8×11″ (12×14″ framed), $300
Images of past pop culture mixed with current-day pop culture provide an endless source of inspiration and possibilities for me – states Long Beach area artist Doug Horne whose work reflects his love of mid-century atomic, deco and of course, tiki. Doug has designed numerous tiki mugs and worked with Fender on their Art-Coustics Tiki Art Series of guitars.
Doug Horne – Maori Head Pastel and pencil on paper, 17×20″ $600
Doug Horne – Kraken Rum Floater Pencil on paper, 16×27″, $700 Sold
Ken ‘Kinny’ Ruzic is a self-taught artist, former marine, and world traveler. Ruzic says he began his career in the surf industry doing tee-shirt graphic design for Rusty Surfboards and Hawaiian Island Creations. Wanting to pursue fine arts, Ruzic divided his time between honing his in both art and graphic design. Ken blends Polynesian myth and tradition with his personal artistic mythology and humor working with acrylics, water color, ink, & wood burning.
Ken Ruzic – The Abandoned Table acrylic on wood 10×20″ $400
Ken Ruzic – The Double Fister Acrylic on masonite/artboard, 10×20″, (16×26″ with a Bamboo Ben frame), $500
Scott Scheidly a/k/a Flounder
Scott Scheidly creates realistic renditions of the surreal, often with pop culture references. He has also developed a strong following for his incredible paintings of skeletal art and botanics, as well as his sense of humor. Scott lives and works in Orlando and has an art degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.
Scott Scheidly – Moon Goddess Acrylic, 12×29″, (16×31″ framed), $1,800
Scott Scheidly – Shrunken Modern Primitive Head Acrylic, 9.75×9.75″, (13.75×13.75″ framed), $800
November 6–29, 2015
Artist reception: Friday, November 6th; 8-11 PM
Live music from Tommy Tokioka plus mid-century and more from DJ Lee of LuxuriaMusic.com
La Luz de Jesus Gallery
4633 Hollywood Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Preview both shows: www.laluzdejesus.com/michelle-bickford-mondo-tiki-show
Picture credits to La Luz de Jesus and Tiki Farm (picture of tiki wall)
Featured post by Richard Seale of Foursquare Distillery:
I was very disappointed to read the November editorial of ‘Got Rum’ magazine by publisher Luis Ayala. It seems as though Luis is responding to hearsay rather than making a substantive commentary on the Gargano Classification of Rum. It is not about Pot v Column; it is much more nuanced than that. Luca Gargano of Velier, Italy is one of the leading independent bottlers of rum and considered one of the category’s foremost authorities. He is not “lacking in the knowledge to push the concept”. I am confident once Luis has it properly explained, he will support the initiative.
Lets start with Luis’s first claim:
“some people in the industry are proposing differentiating rums based on the type of still used for their distillation, the choices being “Pot Still” or “Column Still.”
This is entirely inaccurate! No such choices are proposed!
Here are the four categories of the Gargano Classification:
1. Pure Single Rum – 100% pot (i.e. batch) still
2. Single Blended Rum – a blend of only pot still and traditional column still
3. Rum – rum from a traditional column still
4. Industrial Rum – Modern multi column still
Traditional Artisanal Rum Distillation
Modern Industrial “Rum” Distillation
Luis then sets up his first straw man:
“to claim that the distillate coming out of a simple pot still (round copper bottom, onion head with swan neck) and an Adams Pot Still with Two Retorts is the same”
But no one has made such a claim.
Moreover, the point of the Gargano classification is not to place the “same” rums in the same category (indeed if that was the case we could just simply taste them). The purpose of the classification is to separate rums in an informative manner: traditional v modern, artisanal v industrial, endogenous v exogenous flavour, authentic v ersatz. The order of the categories is an order for authenticity, complexity and real intrinsic value. It is not an order of preference, more on that later.
And another straw man:
“To further assume that the distillate coming out of a “beer” or “stripping” column is the same as that coming out of a rectifying column is even more ridiculous.”
No such assumption is being made. I reiterate, the classification is about authenticity and value, not whether the rums are the “same”.
It further seems to me that Luis is making a common mistake. The dichotomy is not pot v column; the correct dichotomy is batch v continuous.
The “simple pot still” and the “Adams pot still” are both batch stills. And they are both traditional too, retorts and rectifying sections having been found on batch stills for rum since the early 19th century. As they are both traditional batch stills, they belong in the same category. A batch still with plates is still a batch still. There are no hybrid stills batch v continuous is a dichotomy. Distillers are very much free to make different rums from them. The making of the wine is an important step as distillation and so too is maturation. We expect and hope the rums within a category will not be the same!
What makes the batch v continuous dichotomy so important? Well in a batch still output is a function of time and in continuous distillation system the output is a function of position (in a system which is characterised by a steady state). The latter places an inherent constraint on profile of the spirit.
This key difference means several important things for our classification:
(1) Only the batch still affords the distiller access to the entire volatile component of the wine from which he can select his single heart or multiple fractions to make up his heart as he desires.
(2) Time driven output does not lend itself easily to automation because of the lack of a steady state for any meaningful amount of time. Even today with the best of automation the operation is still largely in the hands of the master distiller and thus inherently artisanal.
(3) The batch still is truly “small batch” and the cost of distillation is orders of magnitude higher than the continuous still (technically this is in part because in a batch still we are distilling a wine of decreasing strength whereas in the continuous still the strength of the wine is constant).
In simple terms the batch still is an indispensable component of premium rum. Or rather put another way, without true small batch distillation what exactly are you paying a premium for? It is unquestionably the most traditional method of distillation.
It will likely be suggested that “heavy” or “full bodied” spirits can be distilled from a column still. Indeed they can but they are inferior to the batch still. That is a subject for an entire article (or two) but a couple of quotes from Distillation scholars (from both rum and whisky) should hopefully convince the reader that it is not a spurious claim.
“Obviously, a carelessly distilled light rum is not a first-class, genuine, heavy rum”……..In preparing heavy rums, distillation of the fermented mash is best conducted in a discontinuous or batch still ” – Rafael Arroyo in Production of Heavy Rums (1945)
Arroyo likens making heavy rums from a continuous still as equivalent to carelessly distilling light rum.
“In order to obtain whisky of high quality, concentration of the spirit must be than 94.17 abv” – M Pyke in Journal of Brewing (1965)
Pyke’s comment reminds me of another common misconception. Whisky (or rum) distilled at high proof of 94% in a traditional ‘coffey’ still is a galaxy away from the distillate at 96% of industrial multi column plants with extractive distillation. Flavour is not a simple function of proof and you cannot directly compare the proof from a continuous system with what is the average proof of the output of a batch system.
But I digress unnecessarily. It is enough that the batch still is the only truly artisanal distillation to place it in the highest category. This might be a novel concept in rum but it is orthodoxy in whisky and brandy.
Luis poses the following as a challenge to the classification:
“Those who assume that all pot stills produce heavy, congener-rich distillates, forget (or conveniently ignore) the fact that many small (“craft”) distilleries actually use pot stills to produce vodka and other light/neutral spirits.”
This is entirely irrelevant!
What idiosyncratic craft distillers do with their pot stills is irrelevant to the classification. The batch still affords the distiller the opportunity to “capture the soul” of his flavourful wine. If he chooses through successive distillations to destroy the flavour that is his prerogative. Stupidity is everyone’s prerogative.
I would caution against the belief that “neutral spirits” do arrive from the pot still. While it is not theoretically impossible to make neutral spirits from batch distillation it is completely impractical. I know of no batch distillation making neutral spirit in practice. To meet the modern specification of neutral spirits a continuous technique known as extractive distillation is necessary. I have visited some of these so called “craft” distillers and observed the purchase of neutral spirits to be distilled again in the pot. Well vodka in, vodka out. Except its now called “craft vodka”. There is a pending court case alleging the same against a certain “craft vodka”. In other cases the product is simply not neutral spirit.
Distilled from low wines and call “pot stilled”? Perhaps more likely distilled from diluted neutral spirit. To meet the classification of “pure single rum”, the spirit must be distilled from the wine. I reiterate no one has proposed the vapid twin classification of pot and column. This is a serious classification. Silly games do not threaten it.
Luis apparently believes we are interested in the following question:
“How then, is one to differentiate the rich, congener-laden distillate from its lighter counterpart?”
Again this is irrelevant and not germane to the purpose of the classification. The classification is not about putting the “same” rums in a category and neither is it about separating “light” from “heavy”.
Luis’s answer to his own question is a tautology. Indeed if we were interested in classifying rums by congener counts, we would, wait for it, count congeners! But congener counts are a banal way to classify rums. It is inane to believe that a spirit containing hundreds of flavour inducing compounds should be classified by a handful of trite readily identifiable congeners. A poorly rectified column spirit even blended with neutral spirit will have ‘impressive’ congener counts. Does that make it artisanal? Can we tell from the lab test if the flavour profile is authentic? Does it capture the soul of the wine? Only an organoleptic test will suffice. These abridged lab results cannot even distinguish rum from whisky. A congener count of a few select congeners is just plain silly.
It is often said that Rum is a “global spirit” but it is far from the truth. Rum distillation as a 19th century distiller would recognise is today sadly uncommon. We have lost so many distilleries in the 20th century. There were 110 distilleries in Jamaica in 1901. Today there are 4. It is important to distinguish between traditional and modern distillation. Much “rum” today is absurdly neutral in character and not even produced by Rum Distilleries but rather by Industrial scale alcohol plants located to take advantage of cheap labour in some parts of the Caribbean. Traditional rum distillation in these territories has long disappeared. So-called “rum” is a tiny part of their output. They are the antithesis of artisanal. Consumers, bloggers, enthusiasts need to know the difference.
Rum is a spirit in the best of traditions but the category is facing two alternate paths. Is premium rum to have real value (as for whisky and cognac) or perceived value (as for vodka)? With rum’s renaissance too many ersatz products are arriving on the market to take advantage of consumers. Industrial scale production (from distilleries unknown or unseen), murky (or downright false) age statements, wine or other flavourings, sweetened by sugar and coloured like coca cola with caramel. At the same time, we have truly artisanal pure batch still rums with transparent age statements, from a named distillery, free of added colour, flavourings and sugar. Pure rum as it should be.
We need a framework that allows enthusiasts (and ultimately consumers) to distinguish between the two. Some will argue that typical consumers will care little about distillation and they would be right. But those same consumers know they must pay more for Cognac over Brandy and for Single Malt over Blended. These premium spirit buyers also know an age statements means, wait for it, its actual age! Not some ‘solera’ nonsense that is nothing less than a shameless attempt to obfuscate. When a brand asks for premium pricing, they must tick the boxes: artisanal production and transparent age statements. The new framework will help guide enthusiasts to understand if the rum meets the demanded value.
It is little wonder then that Rum does so poorly at the highest level. According to the IWSR only 16% of rum sales are at the premium/super premium level in contrast to 66% for Whisky (it is even 48% for Tequila). Our most expensive actively available rums can only barely make the top 50 list of the most expensive actively available whiskies. Why? We have to get our communication right and white/gold/dark for categories is pathetic.
Enthusiasts need to ask themselves what do they want from the category? Real value and authenticity or seduction with sugar and nice packaging for Industrial scale products. If the latter is sufficient to attract premium pricing, then traditional rum production may go extinct. It is already an endangered species. The large corporate brands will fight this classification. They prefer to sell perceived value, as it is far more profitable. We need opinion leaders like Luis on our side. Don’t dismiss a much needed classification as merely pot v column or light v heavy. The new classification is also not intended to create an order of preference. Just the same way you are entitled to prefer a blended whisky over a single malt, you are still free to love your Bacardi mojito or Captain and Coke (if you really insist!).
The new framework does not tell you what to enjoy but rather how to value what you enjoy.
This year was without doubt the best Rumfest ever! such great selection of rums and classes, tastings and good people. The venue, the ILEC Conference Centre is a good place for this and I don`t think it felt too crowded this year. With over 400 rums to try a rum enthusiast will be very busy these 2 days…
The varietes and types of rums was astonishing – everything from old favorites and big brands to new rums for this years UK Rumfest. Some of the old ones included St Nicholas Abbey, Foursquare, Real McCoy, Bristol Spirits, Don Q, Westernhall, St Aubin, Ron Diplomatico, Botran, Pusser`s, Angostura, Rum Fire and more….
And some of the new rums included Hamilton rums and Matugga and then there was a new rhum agricole tasting room manned by Benoit Bail and Jerry Gitany with several tastings of different agricole cane spirits from Martinique with four tastings a day (!) which was a great new addition for this year – as well as the House of Velier tasting room.
The House of Velier tasting room and session by Gianluca Gargano….who brought not only his educational and entertaining classes to the UK Rumfest but also an array of absolutely incredible rums – among them were four of the eight new upcoming Habitaion Velier pure single pot still rums, one among them in collaboration with Foursquare. You can see them all here.
More rhum agricoles and the presence of Velier is what i have been missing the previous years….now i`m very happy 🙂 and I hope the presence of Hamilton rums is an indication of those rums being sold in Europe soon….that said, there were of course a LOT of other interesting and exciting rums too! too many to get to try them all believe it or not.
The day before the rumfest which was on the saturday and sunday, was the Boutique Rumfest, an event for the trade with a great selection of rums on display as well and a chance for people in the industry to get together. And before the Boutique Rumfest was the Rum University with masterclasses by Tito Cordero from Ron Diplomatico. Richard Seale from Foursquare and Aroma Therapy.
And of course there were cocktail competitions, rum auctions and Caribbean rum cooking……..paired with the traditional carnival dancers and drummers.
I started my UK Rumfest adventure with a trip on the thursday night to the Tiki on Thames Rumfest Party at Mahiki which was very nice with a whole bunch of good rum friends there. Mahiki has some beautiful tiki decor and the drinks were good and the ambiance wonderful!
Doesn`t matter how much you know about rum, or think you know…there´s always much much more to learn, and the Rum University is a good thing to attend! the rum school never ends…
This year there were three seminars, the first was with Tito Cordero about Ron Diplomatico which contained some very interesting information about how their rums are distilled, in an intricate way with many different stills and ways, I had no idea…and then of course we got to taste one of their rums., the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva.
Ron Diplomatico grow their own sugarcane in Venezuela and use water from their own wells behind the distillery, also they propagate their own yeast, it´s one of the world´s top range rums.
The next seminar, the Aroma Therapy was all about mastering the art of olfaction that forms our sense of smell and the ability identificate aromas and smells. We got taste strips which over a matter of minutes changed their fragrances, and we wrote down what flavor notes we got from them before the true flavor notes of the strips was revealed, a very interesting experiment.
When you describe a flavor note, go from A-Z, for example “banana” is not just “banana” it can be so many things – from unripe or green to caramelized with raw sugar and one key thing to id aromas and smells is aroma recognition. Go into the depth of what you taste and smell when trying to describe it.
The last seminar was with Richard Seale debunking rum myths and revealing some hard facts and truths….also talking about rum cathegories and distillation. Anyone interested in rum should go to one of Richard`s seminars. One thing to learn is that fermentation is the making of the “wine” and the creation of flavor while distillation is the extraction of flavor, while maturation is the evolution of flavor.
He also made an interesting experiment, we got three glasses with clear spirit, two were industrial rums and one contained a vodka and he asked us to pick out which one was the vodka, and that sounds like an easy task but it wasn`t, me for one, was very unsure about which one was what and that my friends showed me how some industrial rums are made to be just like vodka…an eye opener for sure.
I don`t know which brands of rums they were but I know for sure that that is NOT the kind of rums I want to drink, I want rum to taste like rum and don`t want it to be industrial. Also there were two glasses, one with a pot still rum and one from a column to show us how the pot more accurately captured the raw material, the wine of the molasses and smelled like true rum.
Further Richard stated that all rums that contains sugar are not bad but all bad rums contains sugar….
After the Rum Univeristy the Boutique Rumfest was on…and when you come out to that rum filled room you feel like children coming to a big playground full of candy and toys… 😀
There was a good selection of rum producers displaying their rums, the good thing about Boutique Rumfest is that they have time to really chat with you since it`s not so crowded. It`s also a place to get to try more odd rums that you usually don`t stumble on and one such rum and that had a very different flavor was Matugga rum which is made in the UK using ingredients from East Africa.
Another interesting rum was Nine Leaves from Japan, a rum that tastes better than I knew coming from a country which is known more for their whiskies than rum.
Also happy to see the Hamilton rums there, for the first time in Europe and I sampled the three I reviewed earlier this summer (Guyana 43%, Jamaica Pot Still Black and Saint Lucia Pot Still 7 years) plus the Jamaican Pot Still Gold and the Saint Lucia Pot Still 9 years, and it was all good…..I especially liked the Saint Lucia 9.
Heavy rums with a lot of rich and pungent flavors.
Rumfest Day One
And finally, the big day! the Rumfest with everything that it entails….LOTS of rums to discover and try as well as old favorites to drink again. Caribbean food and music and lots of seminars and tastings! and the “global rum mafia” was well represented! It`s the people that makes it all up! old friemds and new friends, you meet them all the Rumfest!
House of Velier
First tasting seminar for me was House of Velier, what else? it`s some of the best rums in the world and I been a fan of Velier rums for many years. I followed the notes that was taped to the walls….eager to get to the rum sanctuary called “House of Velier Tasting Room”….hmm….those are some magic words…
The rest of the people coming after me could surf on the waves of drooling on the carpet…..but joke aside, it was very special.
Just follow the signs….
Luca Gargano, always so passionate about his rums presented a great session with some really incredible rums to sample, some which probably i`ll never get to try again. Luca took us through his history with rum from when he as a young brand ambassador for St James rhum in the 70s first went to Martinique………at the time he fell in love with rhum/rum and never looked back.
When he was 27 he purchased the company Velier and started to import several brands of rums and the rest is (very interesting) history until this day with Luca for the first time at the UK Rumfest presenting a few of his wonderful and unique rums.
I saw and also wrote about his Clairin presentation earleir at this year`s Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and it was absolutely fabulous.
Among the rums he presented was the red magnum bottled “Caroni 2000 Millenium” (Extra Strong 120 proof) and which blew me away….and the fabulous “Basseterre -95” from Guadeloupe, four expressions of the House of Velier Single Pot Still rums, Uitvlught 1996, the new Caroni 17 year, the wonderful Clairins from Haiti, Rhum Rhum 2012 version integrale (higher proof) Caroni single cask 2000, Diamond 1999……..oh my the RUMS!
And very interesting was the new soon to be launched single pot still rums (looking forward to get me a bottle of that Foursquare – or if possible, all of them….)
It was a tasting fest like no other! when you get to taste these kinds of rums, the word “rum” gets a whole new meaning.
Rhum Agricole from Martinique
After Velier I went to the Rhum Agricole tasting session, “Rhums of Martinique” by Benoit Bail and Jerry Gitany where we could sample different rhums agricoles, among them rhums from St James, Trois Rivières, La Mauny, Neisson, Rhum JM, HSE, Rhum Clemènt…all great rhums.
I`m very happy to see so much more rhum agricoles at the UK Rumfest, it has been called for for a long time….we need more rhum agricole at the (non french) rum events.
A Baby has grown up!
Yep! there´s a “rum baby” that has grown up this year….namely St Nicholas Abbey`s newest rum which a little bit pre-maturely was launched last year….the 5 year old expression.
This year the baby has grown up and the flavors matured. It has the typical st Nicholas Abbey flavor, an explosion of flavors in other words, I think it tastes stronger and more complex than it was last year.
This rum was made from their white rum that was laid to rest creating their first estate produced 5 year old rum.. It`s their first rum distilled and aged entirely on the estate (the previous rums were made exclusively for the plantation by master Distiller Richard Seale from R.L Seale and Foursquare) and was ready in 2014.
The St Nicholas Abbey Rum 5 Year Old is a beautiful Rum that commemorates a beautiful story – not least, the first generation of Warren’s, Arthur and Henry, born into St. Nicholas Abbey 21st May 2014.
It`s only to congratulate! it`s a fine fine range of rum expressions, on the very top of good rums in this world and if you would do a blind tasting you would easily be able to pick up any of the St Nicholas Abbey rums because they really do have a very distinct flavor.
And not only do they sell their beautiful rums in hand engraved botttles at their estate and distillery on Barbados, there´s all kinds of absolutely gorgeous products, one is their sugarcane syrup which was on display at the Rumfest. And it`s not your usual sugar syrup, this is made with their sugar cane “honey” (not the same as honey from the bees:-) which is fermented sugar cane juice and it has a deep deep flavor….same as their rums and no wonder, that`s what their rums are made from…
Of course Foursquare had their Doorly`s there and also the Port Cask Finish which I also tried last year, but this year there were also a few new expressions (at least to me) that I had not tasted before, all special casks – a 2004 vintage at 61%, a Sinfadel Cask Blend at 43% and a 2013 Cognac Cask at 65%, they were all very good!
These are rums for sipping and enjoying slowly….good rums shall never be gulped down! you waste the precius (and often expensive) “juice” and miss out on the whole array of taste notes that is hidden in the “treasure chest”….
I wouldn`t use these in cocktails either, some rums are best sipped neat.
I like to see Foursquare coming up with more cask strength rums because I think they carry so much more flavor and punch, they are so much more interesting….
Rumfest Day Two
Same same but different….with other rums to try that I missed yesterday and it´s always such a good feeling to return to that happy rum filled big room on the sunday…. 🙂 and I did go back to the Velier tasting room since there were some additional other rums to try on the sunday and I don`t need to be asked twice if I want to return to a Velier tasting room….I could go to a Velier tasting room every day the whole year long.
I also went back to the Rhum agricole tasting room too to try what I missed yesterday….because yesterday there was so much chatting that I missed out on some of the rums when time did run out….
Followed the agricole tasting room was the Mauritius Gold Cocktail Competition and then the traditional Caribbean drummers and dancers which always closes down the Rumfest.
Another nice thing was the Bacardi “hut” with cool cocktails, same way as last year but another rum (Bacardi 8) and other cocktails. This time we got a wooden tray with three mini cocktail “glasses” on, one was a Bacardi 8 neat, one was an Old Fashioned and one was the “Old Cuban” cocktail.
Very tasty (especially the Old Cuban) and very neat! I really like how they present their products.
Passing by the Angostura both beautifully arranged with all their iconic rums and bitters I saw one of the coolest rum barrel mugs ever, if I could just get me one of these….I wish….if I had one of these mugs i`d make tiki drinks with Angostura 5 and 7 year old rums….how cool wouldn`t that be? what I love the most about it is how beautiful the barrel is and then the butterfly!!
Beautiful Angostura rums
Here´s pictures of the Rumfest, I hope to see you there the next year dear readers of my blog 🙂 it`s an amazing event with so much to see and do!
Jamaican flavors with Blackwell rum! and cocktails….
The Golden Eye and Black Storm…followed by…
…..some JWray overproof Rum Punches!
The man responsible for it all….Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell. Holding the special Rumfest Blend!
Ekte Rum from Copenhagen Rum Club! Dark and Aged…
Pungent and Geeky!
What would a rumfest be without pirates? and this particular pirate, “Jack” was everywhere…. 😀
I see this rum every year…it`s a good one and to me the rumfest would be “empty” without this bottle around….
More good overproofs….RumFire and RumBar.
Another brand I like, Mezan rums, especially the Monymusk one.
At the Don Q stand, Alexx Mouzouris did a fantastic job with both the cocktails and the decorations…..just like he did the last year. He knows how to make it stand out and look inviting and special! and he sure knows how to make super tasty cocktails.
Rums from Mautitius….
Bristol Classic….another rum i`m used to see at the UK Rumfest, this is a classic good rum brand with many different expressions and types of rums represented.
And Real McCoy! this is a very very good rum! made by Foursquare for Real McCoy.
This picture is just to make you thirsty… 🙂
And when you`re thirsty….a Painkiller is never wrong….
Cheers and Up Spirits!
Pusser`s Gunpowder Proof.
Rhum agricole, so different from molasses rums and equally good, this is what I love about rum, there´s so many different ones!
In between rums or WITH rums, Shocka´s coconuts is a must have at the UK Rumfest. I filled mine with Mezan Monymusk rum….
A very good sugarcane syrup, made on Martinique.
Trois Rivières….nice rhums.
HSE – Habitation Saint Etienne, Sherry Finish, a very good rhum agricole.
Here`s the new 17 year old Caroni by Velier, it´s very good….
The 2000 Caroni Millenium magnum bottle, an incredible rum! with the 17 year, these are some seriously good rums and if I could afford that big red magnum Caroni….but maybe one day.
Velier rums…a whole table full of them for tasting….
Caroni, single Cask.
Aged in the tropics.
More tropical aged demerara rums from Velier….
This is rum prn for rum geeks…..
Basseterre -95, a fantastic rum from Guadeloupe, I like this one very much.
Rhum Rhum 2012, the stronger version (version integrale) amazing rum!
Habitation Velier, Forsythe Pot Still 2005. On the back label it says “it`s the fruits of the first distillation in more than 50 years at Worthy Park in the double retort pot still built by Forsyth. Barrel proof without additives or colorings. It was the first rum to be produced at Worthy Park when the historic estate which had previously worked interruptedly since 1670, started distilling again.
Uitvlugt 1996….another amazing rum.
Aloha time at Mahiki 🙂
With tasty Pina Coladas.
Giant clam shell to wash your hands in at the ladies room, Mahiki, beautiful!
So it started with a tiki bar and ended with another tiki bar….
After the Rumfest closed down there was the traditional after party at the Trailer Happiness!!! something I did NOT wanna miss! and there we got these huuuuuge Zombies in skull mugs…..and I don`t know what they did put in those but yes they totally zombied me out ….. 😀
This was so not to be missed! What a wonderful way to finish the Rumfest, with these huge superpotent Zombies! I hope I can be back again the next year!
Champion of the 42 Below cocktail world cup and owner of the Nu Lounge Bar in Bologna, Italy – master of tiki drinks and tasty libations and undisputed lover of pineapples, meet Daniele Dalla Pola!
Hailing from Milan and now living in Bologna where he resides at the Nu Lounge Bar when he`s not travelling the world spreading tiki and tropical drinks and aloha.
I have been admiring the tiki drinks and vintage style photos of Daniele Dalla Pola for a long time, I hope to one day be able to have one in person! last time I met Daniele was in New Orleans at the 2014 TOTC event “Dynamic Duos” at the Cane and Table where Jeff Beachbum Berry did bartend together with Nick Detrich mixing up drinks with Plantation rum.
It was an evening of great friendship, fun and tasty cocktails as this picture by my friend Laura Godel can tell!
Curious about how Daniele came into the world of tiki and what tiki means to him i asked him about his story:
You are one of the most prolific bartenders out there… tell us your story Daniele?
Thank you for a compliment! A long story short, to be a prolific bartender it`s essential to have passion for what you are doing, but passion without talent is nothing. My talent is all about hospitality. I learned how to improve my skills during my long time living in Miami, USA.
Everyday was a challenge, because I could loose my job in any moment. There was and there is still a lot of competitors-hardworkers so if you are not on focus you can lose your chance to success.
And it’s like this everywhere in the world. In last 10 years our world has been changing so much, a lot of “trains” (opportunities) pass by….you have to jump in.
And tiki, how did you get into that?
I been a tropical oriented kind of person since I started this profession and I always dreamed about opening a bar in Hawaii. I just fell in love with this incredible world of cool fancy drinks many years a go. Then thanks to the new golden era of cocktails I even decided to make a radical change to my bar, like Trader Vic did in the past.
I have seen tiki getting more popular in Europe, especially in the UK but it´s not near as big as in the US, naturally, and a lot of people seem to think tiki is just a style and just all about the drinks, when they are actually just a part of a whole culture and lifestyle, what`s your thoughts on that?
Tiki Culture is the coolest era ever, sometime I just wish that I can travel back in time and walk into one of the Don The Beachcomber or participate in one of the amazing Luaus at the Encino Plantation, maybe make a Missionary s Downfall to Clark Gable…
I agree that tiki is not just a type of cocktail, tiki can be a lifestyle, your home can be tiki style, you can buy outfit tiki style, you can have even a tattoo, but without Aloha Spirit all this won`t be possible.
And as for the drinks, what´s your favorite tiki drinks?
I love to make the Pearl Diver and the Missionary s Downfall…. my favorite depends of the moment…. now it`s Don`s Special.
I cannot do this interview without talking about pineapples, you really do promote the King of Fruits like no one else, why is it so special?
You just said it !!!! it`s the king of fruit and a symbol of friendship and of hospitality. It´s so good and i love the texture in cocktails and now it`s fashion too.
Obviously a silly question, but tell me why should I visit the Nu Lounge Bar?
Because of me !!!! is a joke !!!! 🙂 many reasons, one of them is for sure the location and all the good looking guys that work there…..
I see you use a lot of coconut, pineapple and banana, are they your favorite flavor pairings?
That was an easy question – RUM and LIME…….. 🙂
Your photos have a very nice vintage look, do you have any photography tips?
Just buy cool apps and practice, make sure that the background is nice and that there is nothing that can disturb, for example like a garbage bin, also I usually don t like pics with straws, try to have your style so the people can recognize your works easily. And change it when you dont like it anymore…..find a new style and start again.
Tell me something about Hawaii….what the Aloha shirt means to you!
Hawaii is magic, Hawaii is paradise….all the islands are incredibly beautiful, everything there is so special, all the breathtaking views, the beaches, the sound of ukulele, the kalua pig, and the beers are amazing,[ liquid Aloha ] the Kona coffee… and you can see some cute hula girls dancing.
But you can live with Aloha Spirit everywhere you want.
Talking about Aloha Shirts, I`ll say just one thing, now we cross the line a bit because fashion industry in the last couple of years is doing a lot *Hawaiian Style* and people will get tired of this.
But I`ll not! One day I hope to become a Kamaʻāina, so I`ll have a discount in the Aloha Shirt Shop….
And finally, you recently had a gorgeous pineapple mug made, is that a new signature mug for your bar?
Of course ….the Sexy Colada! and here`s the MANOA:
45 ml Bacardi Carta oro rum
30 ml Arcane cane crush rum
3 ml Absinthe
10 ml Pimento dram liqueur
15 ml Passion fruit syrup
15 ml Homemade falernum syrup
20 ml Grapefruit juice
20 ml Lime juice
5g Sugar cubes
1g Ground cinnamon
300g Crushed ice
Pour lime juice, grapefruit juice, falernum syrup, passion fruit syrup, pimento dram liqueur, white rum and overproof rum into a shaker and fill the shaker with crushed ice and shake.
Pour together with ice into a tiki mug and garnish with a mint sprig and a half lime with a sugar cube soaked in absinthe. Set the sugar on fire and sprinkle it with ground cinnamon.
After writing this post I know one thing for sure, someday I need to get myself over to Nu Lounge Bar….and now they also have these super cool pineapple mugs, a part of the Marama Project for Nu Lounge Bar. I made a “Aku Lapu Lapu” in it and the mug is just the right size for a good tiki drink and the top has a hole in it for the straw.
I think the mug is so cool………
And now let´s take a look at Daniele`s drinks! they are photographed in a lovely vintage tiki style and the garnishes and glassware and everything around are all creative and elaborate and the king is of course – the pineapple!
Here`s eye candy for tiki drink and tropical drink lovers! all are Daniele´s drinks and many of these are what you get if you head over to Nu Lounge Bar! I just love the vintage tiki style in these photos! and there´s such great attention to detail….but beware – it´s a VERY LOOOONG picture parade…..
With a hint of coconut, pineapple and banana…..spices, smoke and fire…….
Aloha is the greeting…..let´s get tropical!
Start with a Mai Tai……
Then get something spicy with a vibrant lively rhum agricole….the Spiced Martinique Swizzle!
And then….here it is! – Daniele´s fresh yummy drooly Sexy Colada!
Fragrant….cinnamon dusting on top…..
More pineapple! from Pina to Painkiller!
Sail away to the tropics….get tropical! and STAY tropical!!!
The Maori Sour ( Nu Lounge Bar )
20 ml. passion fruit puree
2 barspoon Guadeloupe sugar mixed with green tea ( powder )
20 ml. lime juice
1/2 passion fruit
60 ml. 42 below vodka
20 ml. manuka honey mix
Shake and pour unstrained in a cool glass
Add more ice ( crushed )
Garnish with the empty passion fruit filled with green tea , berrys, sugar
Ready for some heat? the Nu Volcano is erupting!
Followed by smoke…..
And lots of it….oozing it´s way around the table…
Pineapple and coconut again!!! let`s kill some more pain….
Yeah…we sure are in pineapple paradise….
And we´re on island time aren`t we…..?
Dreaming of Blue Hawaii….can you hear the waves crashing?
And the sweet island tones of the ukulele….
I spy a Scott Taylor mug….
We know what DTO is….and now it´s even BDT – Banana daquiri time!
Aqua de Mai Tai….very innovative and stunning presentation!
Missionary’s Flip Flop!
Painkiller, Spice Colada and Boo Loo
Pineapple love 🙂
As you can see, there´s a lot of attention to detail here…I mean down to the last tiny details….a sign of a true master! and a lot of Aloha spirit in his works! Beautiful pictures aren`t they? all pics in the picture parade are courtesy and credited to Daniele Dalla Pola, the pics of the smoke are courtesy Ariel from www.ascocktailproducts.eu Mahalo for giving me permission to use them here!
Address: Via Dè Musei, 6, 40124 Bologna, Italy
Phone:+39 051 222532
Hours:5:00 pm – 3:00 am
Picture credit for this awesome picure of the Santeria bottle surrounded by two of Mark Holts tiki mugs: Cocktail Guru
So how to tame this beast?? that was my first question to myself when I had my first sip of the Santeria rum that was made by the Lost Spirits distillery for Rational Spirits, a Charleston based distillery focusing on rum and which was founded to exploit the new technological improvements made at Lost Spirits in California and the first licensee of Thea One.
This is not an “easy” rum, this is a full fledged ester bomb and a strong one too. It´s a wild beast that needs to be tamed…and at 57.5 it sure packs a punch. I believe the ones that gonna like it the most is the tiki community because it really does shine in tiki drinks! but it also mixes well in other cocktails like for example rum swizzles and rum sours and to me, it`s in mixed drinks it makes it`s real magic ….
I find the bottle very cool and the label is beautiful and really does reflect the spirit of this rum! the label is made by a Swedish graphic designer, Christian Bjurinder.
To start from the beginning of the making of this rum, the first batch is made in a limited edition of 500 bottles and according to Bryan Davis it´s a pot stilled dunder pit style rum and he have used several strains of bacteria not used in rum before.
But I suspected that being the Lost Spirits Distillery it will of course have something of a signature taste to it and I think i`m right on that because there`s a flavor note that I have also found in their Colonial and Navy Style rums (minus the pronounced espresso coffee notes in the Colonial)
There has been a lot written already about the Lost Spirits Distillery and their way of rum making with their advanced post distillation technology and you can read about all of that here and here. In the Lost Spirits Distillery alchemy meets mad-science to create something far greater than the sum of its parts…. 🙂
Its run through their new Thea One reactor, (Targeted Hyper-Esterification Aging) post distillation – and it`s a bit of “black magic” how he does it, hence the name of this rum, or partly – because the Santeria rum was actually inspired by the Jurassic Park movie….
Here`s what Bryan has to say:
When humans develop new technologies, they first replicate the past or the world we know. Then they begin to imagine and use their newfound capabilities to craft dreams into reality. Sometimes those dreams lead to glorious results and sometimes to tragic consequences.
Santeria Rum is designed, more born, to reflect this most human of aspirations. The rum begins its life by brining the most arcane of spirits production techniques, the dunder pit, into the lab environment.
In nature, dunder pits host a specific family of bacteria that grow natively in the Jamaican soil. The bacterium ferment the residue in the pit into a rich broth of precursor molecules. Later during yeast fermentation and during the obligatory barrel-aging period, those precursors develop into the dense rich signature flavor that we know as Jamaican high ester rum.
Santeria reproduces this process in the lab using bacteria that have never been used in rum fermentation before. Those bacteria were carefully selected, incubated, and nurtured to both survive in the new environment but also to create an equally rich aroma and flavor profile to their Jamaican cousins. Yet with completely different precursor molecules.
The dense white spirit was then matured with new American oak in a Thea One photocatalytic reactor. The result is a whole new category of rum never seen before. Will our dream be glorious, or an abomination? Only time will tell.
So actually it`s 21st century science technology behind it paired with quite a bit of the mad scientist……..
Obviously not everybody will like this method while others find it very interesting, exciting and quite mind boggling. I think that this whole thing what Lost Spirits are doing is incredibly interesting and fascinating….What`s important to know is that there are no additives in this rum, no coloring or sugar etc, it`s just pure pot still rum made from grade A molasses.
I think traditional made rum and this kind of rum are two entirely different animals, but personally I like both and to me it`s like how the old saying goes – variety is the spice of life – and new and exciting experiences make life more interesting.
What I find intriguing is to see where all this gonna go? and this the first Rational Spirits release – Santeria is a whole new category of rum…
Wax seals for the Santeria rum, picture by Cocktailwonk
Nose and taste of the Santeria
So on to the nose and flavor of this rum, I find it having slight notes of creme bruleè and mature tropical fruits and then something “wine-like”, and then a bit of sweet butterscotch….
In the mouth there´s a lot going on…it`s a strong ester bomb for sure with hints of molasses, burnt sugarcane, wood, astringency, sharpness, wood, tropical fruits, apricot, dark plums and then something I cannot define. It`s very strong and has a sharp kick to it, it´s like a wild horse….there´s no delicate refinement it`s just BOOM! – but it`s not unbalanced, just very wild…..
It`s not very sweet but that`s no surprise since there`s no added sugar but there`s still a hint of sweetness though, just not very much. The color of the rum is that of dark mahogany, almost switching to black in certain lights and yet there is no coloring added either.
This – to me, is not so much a sipping rum as a mixing rum, even though certain pirates (like Bryan and Mark Holt) like to sip it 🙂 Mark for example found it to have heat that kept increasing, yet it never burned. But to me – I think it`s quite brutal when sipped neat even though it has great and complex notes without being inaccessible – but it really does great in mixing, and it mixed well in a variety of cocktails.
It`s strong though and can easily overpower other ingredients and I like to tame it a bit with either another “softer” rum to round it out a bit or use multiple fresh juices a la Don the Beachcomber.
Would I buy me a bottle? yes I would – because I find it “a great rum to make real tiki bombs!!”… (to quote my friend Oriol over at Three of Strong)
That it`s like made for tiki drinks is clear and it`s great in other cocktails too except for one thing – with coke, for some reason Santeria and coke does not like each other…
After the California Rumfest there was a Tiki Party over at Mark Holt`s amazing Tiki House high up in the hills in a place called the “Top of the World” where the Santeria was served and it also made it`s way into Paper Plane where marvellous drinks were made with it and here is one such drink, it´s a gorgeous swizzle called Swizzle My Nizzle.
The recipe originated from Jasper’s Corner Tap in San Francisco, but the rum was switched to Santeria.
I think it looks pretty incredibly tasty…………. !!!
Picture courtesy Cocktailwonk
Swizzle My Nizzle
1.5 oz Rational Spirits Santeria Rum
1 oz vanilla agave syrup
1 oz passion fruit juice
0.75 oz lemon juice
4 dashes Habanero bitters
Build in footed pilsner/cobbled ice/swizzle/top with ice and garnish with mint sprig and top with 10 dashes peychauds
Here´s a take on a few tiki drinks that I made with it for this post, they are well worth the effort.
Here`s a really good tiki drink that for some reason you do not see very often, it´s underrated in my opinion. It´s one of the boozy ones thus fit for the Santeria rum!
3 oz orange juice
2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz passionfruit syrup
¾ oz simple syrup
0.5 t vanilla extract (I didn`t have that, it was still good)
2 oz Rational Spirits Santeria Rum
Blend with 2.5 cups crushed ice and pour into a large snifter.
This turned out really really tasty….rummy, fruity and zesty! the Spindrift is strong and fullbodied with a perfect balance of flavours.
Banana Boo Loo
Beware of it`s quiet strength…….
A few small fresh pineapple chunks
2 1/2 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 1/2 oz lime juice
1 oz banana-demerara syrup*
2 oz Rational Spirits Santeria Rum
Put pineapple chunks, banana-demerara syrup and lime and pineapple juices in blender and blend without ice until liquefied. Pour unstrained into a hollowed out pineapple filled with crushed ice (or goblet) add rum and stir until well chilled.
As for the syrup – make a rich simple syrup (it takes 5-10 minutes) with 2:1 (or make a 1;1 syrup if you prefer a lighter one, but personally I prefer a more rich viscous syrupy syrup, it just add that mouthfeel to the cocktail and richness) with dark demerara sugar and water and when the sugar is dissolved by heating it up, add banana chunks to it from one half fresh banana and mash it with a fork then take off from heat and leave to cool and set for a couple hours or overnight ( I did overnight, it deepens the flavor)
This drink tasted AMAZING………holy batman wow! it was the first drink I made with this rum and i`m blown away……..
It`s quite rum forward and don`t be tricked by the banana syrup and pineapple smoothness – it will creep up on you, it´s boozy in a quiet way…
Aku Aku Lapu
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 oz grapefruit juice
1 oz orange juice
1 oz Falernum
1 oz Gold Puerto Rican Rum
1.5 oz Rational Spirits Santeria rum
Float Lemon Hart 151 Demerara rum or Hamilton 151
16 oz crushed ice
Blend at high speed for about 20 seconds. Pour into large snifter, tiki mug or bowl and add more ice to fill. Traditional garnish is a gardenia but I a tropical orchid works too.
This Aku Aku Lapu was served in the supercool “Sexy Colada” pineapple mug from Nu Lounge Bar, courtesy of Daniele Dalla Pola.
The Living Dead
Here`s a take on my old Guyana Zombie which I made for the TDN in 2009. The living dead might come and hunt you down…
1 oz pineapple juice
0.5 oz passionfruit juice
0.5 oz rich demerara syrup
1 tsp cream of coconut (Lopez or Real)
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
2 oz Rational Spirits Santeria
Shake with ice and strain into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice.
Garnish with pineapple leaves, speared pineapple chunks and tropical flowers. Dust a little cinnamon on top
Let the Living Dead transport you to the land of mystery……..
Daquiri….one of the best rum cocktails ever made and the base for so many other drinks in it´s simpleness.
1.5 oz Rational Spirits Santeria Rum
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz passionfruit syrup*
Shake together with ice and strain into a well chilled cocktail glass or coupe.
Boozy…..if you like boozy daiquiris this is for you….
You can also easily make your own passionfruit syrup, just add the fruit meat from 2-3 fresh passionfruits into a simple syrup making and leave to set a couple hours and preferably overnight for a really bright zesty flavor. I used the same dark demerara sugar in both syrups and it came of super tasty.
Conclusion – Santeria can be sipped (if you`re a pirate 🙂 but it´s in tiki drinks and other suitable cocktails it really shines and oh my does it shine!!
The Santeria is not yet launched but a press release will be posted here when it does, it will be released to select cities currently anticipating Charleston, Boston and a few in California.
And here are links to Lost Spirits and Rational Spirits Facebook pages.
Disclaimer – I may be the brand ambassador for Rational Spirits but this specific post is an independent review by A Mountain of Crushed Ice same as all other rum reviews on this site.