UK Rumfest 2015!

Here comes the RUM

 

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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!

Mahiki 1

Rum University

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.

Ron Diplomatico masterclass

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.

Aroma Academy

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….

Rum Univ RS

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

Rumfest

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.

Velier tasting room signs

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.

Velier tasting table

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….)

HOV Foursquare Potstill

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.

st James XO

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.

St Nicholas Abbey

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…

Foursquare

Foursquare special casks

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.

Bacardi cocktails

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!!

Angostura berrel

Angostura rums

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!

Blackwell rum

Jamaican flavors with Blackwell rum! and cocktails….

Blackwell rum cocktails

The Golden Eye and Black Storm…followed by…

Rum Punch with JWray

…..some JWray overproof Rum Punches!

Ian and reporter

The man responsible for it all….Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell. Holding the special Rumfest Blend!

Ekte Rum DA

Ekte Rum from Copenhagen Rum Club! Dark and Aged…

Ekte Rum PG

Pungent and Geeky!

Jack

What would a rumfest be without pirates? and this particular pirate, “Jack” was everywhere…. 😀

Carnival time

Carnival dancing…..

Jack Iron

I see this rum every year…it`s a good one and to me the rumfest would be “empty” without this bottle around….

Overproof rums

More good overproofs….RumFire and RumBar.

Mezan rums

Another brand I like, Mezan rums, especially the Monymusk one.

Orchids

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.

Rum Nation Jamaica

Rum Nation…

Mauritius Rums

Rums from Mautitius….

Bristol rums

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.

Real mcCoy

And Real McCoy! this is a very very good rum! made by Foursquare for Real McCoy.

limes

This picture is just to make you thirsty… 🙂

Pussers Painkiller

And when you`re thirsty….a Painkiller is never wrong….

Painkiller mug

Cheers and Up Spirits!

Pussers Gunpowder rum

Pusser`s Gunpowder Proof.

La Mauny

Rhum agricole, so different from molasses rums and equally good, this is what I love about rum, there´s so many different ones!

Shockas coconuts

In between rums or WITH rums, Shocka´s coconuts is a must have at the UK Rumfest. I filled mine with Mezan Monymusk rum….

Sirop JM

A very good sugarcane syrup, made on Martinique.

Trois Rivieres rhums

Trois Rivières….nice rhums.

HSE

HSE – Habitation Saint Etienne, Sherry Finish, a very good rhum agricole.

Velier Caroni 17

Here`s the new 17 year old Caroni by Velier, it´s very good….

Velier Caroni rums

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 bottles on table

Velier rums…a whole table full of them for tasting….

Velier Caroni single cask 2000

Caroni, single Cask.

Velier Caroni single cask 2000 bottle

Aged in the tropics.

Velier Diamond 1999

More tropical aged demerara rums from Velier….

Velier HOV tasting table

This is rum prn for rum geeks…..

Velier Basseterre 95

Basseterre -95, a fantastic rum from Guadeloupe, I like this one very much.

Velier Liberation 2012 version integrale

Rhum Rhum 2012, the stronger version (version integrale) amazing rum!

Velier HOV Forsythe Pot still

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.

Velier Uitvlugt 96 bottle

Uitvlugt 1996….another amazing rum.

Mahiki Aloha

Aloha time at Mahiki 🙂

Mahiki Pina Coladas

With tasty Pina Coladas.

The Ladies room at Mahiki

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 ….. 😀

Trailer After party

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!

Trailer Zombie

TOTC 2015 – Tapping Rum`s Past for Rum`s Future and Clairin Rums of Rural Haiti

PLANTATION RUMS2

There was a clear presence of rum at the Tales of the Cocktail and as a rum enthusiast and rum blogger I tried to get to them all…I almost managed….but here are two of the rum seminars and tastings, more will come:

Tapping Rum`s Past for Rum`s Future

This seminar was talking about rum’s history which spans centuries, and how its flavor and character have changed dramatically over the years. How rums used to taste long ago and whether it´s possible to reverse-engineer those styles of spirits, and improve on them for today. Talking about rum’s past —drawing inspiration from historic styles of the spirit, as well as from vintage menus, cocktail recipes, distillers’ notes and popular literature.

There was the deconstruction of the Plantation 3 stars and little did I know that the 3 Stars actually is made with four rums! I always thought it was 3….but it´s made with two white rums, one from Barbados, and one from Jamaica and then a dark Trinidad and then there`s an extra dark rum from Jamaica…

Surprise surprise!

Plantation rums collage

Then of course there was the Stiggin`s….this elusive pineapple rum that was first made last year by Plantation rums, and presented at last year´s Tales, which was meant to be an “experiment” and only making a short appearance….but causing such a global outcry in the rum and cocktail community that they decided to make more….and thank God for that!!

Now the Pineapple strikes back…coming back at this Tales in full force….and finally yours truly got hold a bottle! gonna hold on tight to that one…

Plantation Stiggins

So how did they make the Stiggin`s Pineapple rum and what does the name Stiggin´s mean?

In the 19th century England, Pineapple rum was considered a delicacy, so much that it was even immortalized by novelist Charles Dicken`s character, Reverend Stiggins. In England there was even a house built like a pineapple!

The first wild pineapples came from South America and they had a strong scent of raspberries and were smaller than the pineapples we see today and needed to be pollinated by birds. They were discovered by an indian tribe called Guarani and they made pineapple wine.

In 1654 the pineapple came to Madagascar and then it traveled all around the world. When it finally came to England around the 18-1900th century it was a big thing. The pineapple fruit was really precious and not for the common people to enjoy but was the fruit of the kIngs.

In 1778 Capt Cook brought it to Hawaii and those pineapples he brought must have come from the Kew gardens in England since that was the place they were grown in Europe.

Plantation distillate for the pineapple rum

So back to Stiggin`s – for 3 months the Plantation rum folks did eat pineapples for breakfast every morning….they wanted to find the best pineapple available today and finally they found it – the Victoria pineapple from La Rèunion island in the Indian Ocean and it`s one of the most expensive pineapples in the world.

So first the pineapples are peeled by hand – all of them!! then the rinds of the fruit are infused with Plantation 3 stars rum for one week and then they are distilled in a pot still. And separately the fruit is infused with Plantation dark rum for 3 months.

After that the two liquids are married together and left to age in casks for 3 months and the final product is then ready – Plantation Stiggin`s Fancy Pineapple Rum! anyone who have tried this rum knows how awesome it is!!!

Plantation pineapple drawings

And now we know how it was made! 🙂

This seminar was presented by Paul Clarke, Jeff Berry, Martin Cate, Alexander Gabriel and was sponsored by Plantation Rum.

Clairin Rhums of Rural Haiti

CLAIRIN SEMINAR 6

A look inside the little known and rarely understood world of rural rhum production on the island of Haiti. Beyond the large brands such as Barbancourt and Vieux Labbe, most of the rhum produced and consumed by islanders in rural Haiti follows rustic, age-old production methods in the outer regions of this unique island. Slow, natural fermentation attracts the natural yeast of each micro-region, delivering a true snapshot of local DNA — true terroir — followed by a gentle distillation and simple finishing to produce a delightful, fresh cane spirit of fine quality.

In this intimate tasting seminar, we’ll sample some of the very best examples of Clairin from Haiti, which are now gaining greater appreciation in Europe thanks to the passionate efforts of Gianluca Gargano of Velier.

This was one of the exclusive tastings and one I was really looking forward to attend….and that`s because I`m a huge fan of Velier rums, I think their Demerara. Agricole and Caroni rums are absolutely one of a kind and completely outstanding….. I find the Clairin rums to be AMAZING! plus I find rums from Haiti extremely interesting….

The seminar/tasting was every bit as interesting as I thought it would be and all the Clairin rhums tastes fantastic! There are 3 Clairin rhums by Velier and they all have very different tastes and personalities and one thing they have in common is that they are incredibly flavorful and vibrant! very brilliant and lively rums!

This exclusive tasting was moderated by Robert Burr (Miami Rumfest) and presented by Luca Gargano (Velier), Ian Rum Ambassador Burrell (World Rum Ambassador), Alexandre Vingtier (Rumporter.com) and Peter Holland (The Floating Rum Shack)

clairin seminartasting

Luca Gargano and Velier

The tasting was led by Luca Gargano who in the 70s I became the brand ambassador of St James’s rhum from Martinique. One day he arrived in Martinique….this was in the old days before mass tourism had reached the island and he fell in love with this tropical island and it`s girls… 🙂 and of course, the RUM! At an age of 18 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.

Rum geeks knows that he was the one who found a Damoiseu rum that was set apart because it contained a small percentage of molasses rum and because of that didn`t fit into the standard since they could only bottle pure sugar cane juice to obtain their AOC.

Well, that was damn lucky thing for us that he found that put away Damoiseau rum….which was distilled in 1980 at a full proof of 60.3 % and Luca found it to be exceptional – which I can attest it really is!! that rum is absolutely amazing! – so he bought all their stock (almost) and kept it all full proof. Later he discovered that they had kept some of their stock and released their own “1980 Damoiseau” the same year…hm….

But with the 1980 Damoiseau rum the “Fullproof” rum concept was born and then he started to work with the DDL in Guyana and their chairman Yesu Persaud and now more wonderful things happened because he became the ONLY one in the world who got access to the DDL rum stock and thus he could pick and choose among the old rum barrels at the DDL….which has been a REAL blessing to the rum lovers in this world!

And not only this, Luca did also find and bought up a whole heap of old Caroni barrels in Trinidad when Caroni had sadly been closed down and he let his rums age in the tropics because he believes that tropical ageing is the best! so his story cut in short – he and his outstanding rums has become a legend in the rum world and now he was there at this seminar with his new Clairin rhums from Haiti.

Rhum agricole or clear white pot still rhum in Haiti is called clairin and to obtain the Appelation Triple A the rhum must be produced following these rules:

CLAIRIN SEMINAR 4

So the sugarcane is grown very naturally together with herbs, trees and flowers, for example banana and the sugarcane varietes has to be indigenous not hybrids and also has to be organic. And in the rhum production wild natural yeast is used and fermetation has to be at least 120 hrs.

The juice has not to be dilluted with water. The distribution is small batch pot still or pot and small column and the source of heat is direct fire and the Clairin rhums has to be bottled at strength of distillation with no dilution and bottling is done on Haiti.

There are something like 5oo producers of these white/clear pot still rhums on Haiti, producing everything from “drink-at-your-own-risk-moonshine” to good rhums and these rhums are very different and they are organic and made the old fashioned way country-style, it´s the dink of the country!

Clairin Sajous, Vaval and Casimir

CLAIRIN RUMS

These are the three Clairin rhums by Velier that we tasted and they are ALL outstanding! I love their vibrancy and full proof strength! They are completely unique of it´s kind and of rums! The first one, the Sajous is made in Sajous by Chelo and bottled by Velier and it`s bottled straight from the still at 53.5 % ABV and is still the “mildest” of the three and a wonder of balance and vibrancy. But make no mistake by the term “mildest” – this stuff is pungent, it hits you right in your nose and stomach…..

You get hit by something that I can only describe as similar to the lovely but very special “kerosene” flavor you find in the overproof JWray (although this is not a molasses rum and it does not taste like JWrat at all) then you get hit by a whole array of wonderful and strong flavors, there`s nothing weak about this rhum. It`s herbal, grassy, floral, salty and sweet, strong and spicy but also smooth like butter….and I love it!

The next one, the Vaval is a rhum I also have at home, it´s a bit more temperamental and with an even stronger flavor…..its a heady rum….packed full of flavors and it`s distilled at the Arawaks distillery in the village of Cavaillon, Haiti.

The last one will kick your ass to the moon…..

Casimir is the first of these three rums I ever tried, that was last year, also at the Tales when I tried a sample brought to the Tales and then and there I fell in love with Velier Clairin rhums. Casimir is the most “difficult” of the three I´ve heard….it`s like to try to jump up and ride on a young horse or even a bull that have never had anyone on its back before…it will kick, it will run and it will try to give you trouble….

Well, my palate loved it at first sight….so I guess i`m safe 🙂 packed full of strong vibrant and unique flavors it dances around in your mouth in a frenzy! it`s double distilled at the Douglas Casimir distillery in the village of Baraderes. It`s herbal and rich, strong and wild….

If you love rum and vibrant agricole rhum I recommend you to try these rums!

Clairin rums bottles

Then we also tried another of Lucas rhums, the Rhum Rhum Liberation 2010. This rhum is made on Marie-Galante outside of Guadeloupe in collaboration with master distiller Capovilla.

It`s made from fermented pure sugar cane juice without any water added during a 10 day long fermentation period. So it`s just fermented sugar cane juice, nothing else.

This is pure rhum! and a very fine rhum, it`s aged about 2-3 years in casks that have contained french wines. The name “Liberation 2010” refers to that the rhum has been “liberated” from the cask and put together in 2010.

It´s balanced, tropical fruity and slightly spicy. it´s not a weak rhum but it has nothing to do with how the Clairin rhums attacks your senses….this is more like a mild but firm caress on your palate. It`s a wonderful expression of Rhum!

So this tasting has been very very memorable and pleasant, interesting and challenging…..I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Rhum Rhum Liberation 2010

Rhum Rhum, Liberation 2010.

clairin vaval

This my friends are some of the worlds very finest rums!

clairin the spirit of haiti

Pictures by Laura Godel and me.

La Confrérie du Rhum Celebrates 2 Years!

 

la-Cuvée-anniversaire-TiArrangé-de-Céd-Ananas-Victoria-Sauternes-Finish-single-cask-en-édition-limitée-à-500-exemplaires

La Confrérie du Rhum Celebrates 2 Years on the 28th of march 2015, and for this celebration there´s a new rum made! This rum is La Cuvée Anniversaire Ananas Victoria Sauternes Finish (Single Cask, Label Rouge) in a limited edition of 500 bottles.

This infused rum has as a base white AOC rhum agricole from Martinique and has been aged for 8 months in sauternes casks before being infused with red labelled Victoria pineapples from Rèunion Island.

The red labelled Victoria pineapples are a high quality and rare product, cultivated and chosen under a very selective way. The standards of this variety of pineapples is very high in terms of cultivation and final results.

The 70cl bottle of this Cuvèe (32% abv) are labelled with a white and gold label with the logo of the group on it and this bottling  will be presented and sold exclusively at the shop Christian de Montaguère in Paris, starting at 2 (14h) o`clock sharp! What a rhum arrangè is you can read here and here you can read about Rhums de Cèd, amazing flavored/arranged rums made by Cèdric Brèment.

La Confrérie du Rhum is a Facebook group created in march 2013 and already counts more than 5000 members. Professionals and rumlovers talk and share their common passion about rum and distillates from sugarcane on it.

For the second birthday of this group, the administrators decided to bring out this “Cuvèe Anniversaire” and teamed up with Cédric Brèment, the famous French rhum arrangè producer of Les Ti`arrangès de Cèd.

I was lucky to get a little sample for pre-review and let me tell you this is some really nice stuff! the lush tropical and sunny fragrance of ripe pineapple is the first that hits me when i open the little bottle….

The taste is rich, floral and fruity, sweet and herbal, and the notes of the rhum agricole is in the front while the lush sumptuous and almost decadent pineapple is lingering in the back. It`s total sweet harmony…and it definetily makes me want to own a bottle….lucky are those who can go there and buy one!

Cèdric Brèment is a master of his art!

Cuvèe Anniversaire

The rum will be sold for 36 euros and you read about the event on the Facebook page

We have the honor to see you there to discuss and share our common passion and also you will have a little surprise, namely, a special anniversary cuvée in the presence of its producer, Cedric Brement in person!

No need to book, or pre-order, you’re all just welcome from 14h until closing of the shop.

Christian de Montaguère
20, rue de l’Abbé Grégoire, 75006 Paris, France

Saturday march 28 at 2:00pm – 7:00pm

Cheers to the second Anniversary of La Confrérie du Rhum!

La Cofrerie du rhum cuvee anniversaire

La Confrèrie du Rhum Cuvèe #2 – Guadeloupe 1998

La Confrèrie du Rhum Cuvee #2

Next up from La Confrèrie du Rhum! this is a molasses based rum from Guadeloupe! not what i expected……

Maybe you remember my first post with Cuvèe #1 which was a rum from Barbados? not too long ago….they are fast in creating these rums for the La Confrérie members! I can almost not keep pace…haven´t even got to know the first one deep enough yet!

La Confrèrie du Rhum” is a french rum forum on Facebook where everything rum/rhum/ron is discussed and was created by Benoit Bail in early 2013. The members are all rum lovers and professionals from the industry (salesmen, producers, distilleries, bottlers, barmen/women etc) from the rum world.

In this very active group everything about rum is discussed, and pictures, rum reviews, websites and ideas are shared almost round the clock and in the past 18 months the group has grown rapidly.

So on to the rum!

This rum is distilled at the Bellevue au Moule Estate and Distillery on Guadeloupe and owned and run by Mr Hervé Damoiseau.

On the label it says distilled in march 1998 and imported to Germany in sept 2013, and it was extracted from the barrel in nowv 2014 and bottled in january 2015, it`s 42% ABV or 84 proof. There`s 156 bottles being made so it´s a limited edition.

La Confrèrie du Rhum Cuvee #2 label

The bottle bears the typical red vax seal made by Benoit Bail like the first Cuvèe #1.

Color and nose: Deep golden amber, it´s a rich a bit darker hue than just brilliant gold. The nose is light and fruity with a hint of apricot, something i cannot define and wood.

In the mouth: the taste is a total surprise to me, it´s dry and astringent in a very pleasant way with lots of oaky wood, a little bit of tropical fruit, sugarcane, licorice and spice. It`s a very sippable, pleasant rum.

I was so surprised at it´s dryness because the nose did not reveal that at all, the nose was more like promising of a fruity semi sweet rum but nothing like that! here the oak dominates with a very dry finish! it´s definitely a good rum, well worth aquiring if you can…

With 156 bottles and first come first serve for over 5000 members…I better be alert like a cobra and hope to be online the day and time when they let go of this beast!

Thanks to Benoit Bail, Vincent Bidault de Villiers and Jerry Gitany for creating these rums for the members of La Confrèrie du Rhum!

La Confrèrie du Rhum Cuvee #2 sticker

Tiki Drink Wizard and Fire Artist at Tacoma Cabana – Meet Jason Alexander!

Jason A

“It was me, Beachbum Remixed and the Beachcomber.

That’s how it started”

If you`re on Facebook in the Rum and Tiki crowd or if you are in Tacoma up in Seattle you might not been able to miss that there´s a real tiki drink, rum afficionado and fire wizard residing at the Tacoma Cabana inventing the most amazing flaming tiki drinks with a great rum selection on hand – his name is Jason Alexander.

I count myself lucky to be one of his friends because not only is he a great guy but the inspiration he throws around is affectuos and his drinks and especially the flaming ones are a feast for the eye and mouth (but i have yet to go all the way to Seattle and try them in person) we been talking drink recipes for quite a while and he really have developed a style of his own.

When i saw all his amazing concoctions with mouth watering descriptions and fantastic photographs both on instagram and facebook i got curious, what is his story? how did he start with all of this ending up owning his own tiki bar? How about this obsession with strong rums and fire?

So i went and asked him a couple questions:

Orchid small  Tell me, how did you get into tiki and tiki drinks, how did it all start?

I got into tiki and the drinks when I first went to the Okolemaluna Tiki Lounge in Kona, Hawaii. After having artificially flavored sugar sludge Mai Tai’s and not knowing the history of the drink, my life was transformed that day that I stepped inside that little tiki heaven. I’ll never forget that first Mai Tai and Zombie. These were legit drinks and I had to know the story.

Orchid small  What are the greatest influences in tiki that have affected you the most?

My influences for tiki is pretty dynamic. I can find inspiration almost anywhere. That being said, I enjoy Donn the Beachcombers drinks the best. I like his style and the way he went about creating a drink. He always tinkered with his recipes and I’ve developed that habit too.

I’m almost always never satisfied with some of my recipes.They can always be better or built in a different manner. I admire the way Donn blended various styles of rum together to create a unique drink. I honestly never knew about these other guys doing tiki bars. I had never heard of any of them before this. It was me, Beachbum Remixed and the Beachcomber. That’s how it started.

Orchid small  You are obviously obsessed with fire….and are quite the fire artist with flaming tiki drinks, how did that happen?

A IMMOLATION!!!! — at Tacoma Cabana.

I’ve always been a little bit of a pyromaniac my whole life. I can sit and watch and play with a proper fire for hours. My obsession with lighting drinks on fire started shortly after the cabana opened. I could make a decent drink, but my garnishes left something to be desired.

I thought what could I do that nobody else that I knew of was doing as far as garnishes went. Fire was the immediate answer. So I set out on a mission. Did a little research and some trial and error until you see what you have now.

I wanted big flames and sparks. I wanted guests to feel slightly afraid for a moment until they had a sip of their drink and it immediately took them back to paradise. Most of the ridiculous fire rigs just come to me. I don’t know how or why, but they just do.

A - Three dots and a dash - Jason edition

Three dots and a dash….

I try and match them to a drink or a drink to the garnish. Just depends. I also won’t garnish a drink until the drink is solid or I won’t make the drink until the garnish is ready. You get it all or nothing. I’m only going to give you my best. Always. I think everybody on Instagram helped push me to develop bigger fire rigs too.

I got a lot of great response from it and I wanted to see how much I could push the envelope. I make the rigs for my guests too. Most of the drinks you see on my feed or not regular menu items.

So you never know what you’re gonna get when you walk in the door. Some stuff is super labor intensive to make so, depending how much extra prep time I have will dictate what I can make that day.

Orchid small  Where is most of your drink inspiration coming from and what is your mission?

Most of my drink inspiration comes from the life I’ve lived and the non tiki things around me. HP Lovecraft has been a huge motivator for me. I like to think that tiki could have a dark side. Music has been a factor in what I create too. Bands like Nile and Devildriver have had a hand in helping theme out drink for me. For example my Necromancer of Fiji was inspired by the Nile song The Essential Salts.

There was an old thrash band in the 90’s that I used to listen to called Sacred Reich. Their song Surf Nicaragua came on the radio as I was driving to work and I wondered to myself what it might be like to Surf Nicaragua and what that drink would taste like. So I made one.

My time as a US Marine as influenced some drinks as well like my Golden Shellback, Drunken Helmsman and Sea Grave. A Golden Shellback is a person who has crossed the international dateline and there equator at their point of intersection. I happen to be a golden shellback and always wanted to make a drink that tasted like that.

My mission is to make and remake tiki drinks. Some of the old ones needed a breath of fresh air. Some are way too sweet, way too tart or just very one dimensional.

I like to take an old recipe and rework it a little bit while still staying true to the drink. From that comes my original creations which I would like to take to the darker more sinister side of tiki that doesn’t quite exist yet. We’ll see how that goes.

Orchid small  You use almost only rum at your bar, why? and which rums do you prefer the most?

A - Tacoma rums

When I opened the cabana I knew that I wanted to put a wall of rum up because most people who go to Hawaii expect rum over there and there is very little. At least on the Big Island which was 99.9% of my exposure. Keep in mind that this was before I had any idea of tiki bar history. I wanted my place to be very rum centric while trying to give rum and tiki drinks a good name again.

I feel like you can go to any bar and see a good, diverse selection of liquors except rum. There is always the usual suspects of Captain Morgan, Bacardi and Malibu, but there never was anything beyond that at most places here. I wanted to overcompensate for that by carry a vast array of rum while only carrying two of everything else. I do have a decent liqueur collection because that goes without saying.

Basically in use the rums that are gonna make my drinks taste the way I want them to and make them taste the best. Currently in my well and what In use to make the majority of the drinks on the menu is: Plantation Overproof, Original Dark, 5 year and 3 Star rounded out with Coruba Dark, Bacardi 8 and El Dorado 5 year.

I probably over use the Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana combination as well as Guyana and Trinidad pairing, but they all work so well together. I also use and abuse any rum that speaks to me like Lost Spirits and anything over proof. I should probably use more agricole. I hardly use any of it for some reason.

Orchid small  Tiki can be a lot of things to different people, what does it mean for you?

Tiki means to me…to have fun. Not take things so seriously. Let loose. Live in the moment. For me tiki is play time. I get to help fulfill peoples fantasies of escapism for awhile. I get to facilitate all these drinks for tiki people that they always hear about, but are not able to always make at home or have the ability to. I get to be that guy for the tiki crowd and it is a tremendous honor.

Orchid small  The best tiki bars you have been to are?

The best tiki bars I’ve been to….every tiki bar I’ve been to and will go to is the best. I can always find something I like about a place. It’s not always about how cool and inventive the drinks are or how legitimate the decorations are and how much money you dumped into the place to make it hip and trendy.

It’s how you’re treated when you walk through the door. The best tiki bar could be the one that can only serve me a rum and coke while having the only thing tiki about the place being the bartender wearing an aloha shirt, but they made me feel like I was in the right place and that is what makes a bar the best.

Feeling welcome.

Orchid small  How do you see the future for tiki culture and tiki drinks?

I see the future of tiki expanding rapidly. Most bars nowadays have a tiki night. I think tiki drinks are the perfect drink to bridge the gap between your sports bar/chain restaurant bar and the hardcore cocktail bars. I think tiki drinks, if done right, can appeal to a lot of different people.

Orchid small  If you can pick one drink to try to convert somebody into tiki drinks, which one would it be?

If had to pick one drink to convert people over to tiki drinks, which one would that be? I don’t think I could pick just one. If I had to, I’d pick the Zombie without a doubt. To me that is everything that tiki is. Strong, flavorful, complex, not one flavor dominates but some how they all come together has one harmonious intoxicating note. But not everybody likes a Zombie and it can quickly turn people off from the whole experience.

You have to quickly read an inexperienced quest and get them into a tiki drink that suited to them so that they won’t think that all tiki drinks are too strong or too sour or too sweet or just too odd. There is a perfect tiki drink for most people. You just have to take a second and try and make that match. Luckily, most people will give you a second chance.

Orchid small  And what would you serve somebody who has had them all and is looking for something new and different?

If I had to serve a tiki professional something new that they’ve never had before, I think I’d serve them one of my originals like the Golden Shellback or the Drunken Helmsman. Or maybe one of the classics that I’ve tweaked a little bit. You may have had a shrunken skull before, but you haven’t had my shrunken skull yet. Seriously, you need to try my shrunken skull.

Orchid small

Thank you Jason!

And to show off a few of his amazing drinks –  here are some pictures and recipes by Jason to stir your appetite and if you can, head over to Tacoma Cabana and have one or a few of these incredible drinks!

A warning though…if you keep scrolling there´s a chance you gonna get VERY VERY thirsty! the rest of this post is nothing but a BIG dose of tiki drink p*rn!

Orchid small

There is a perfect tiki drink for most people!

A Jasons Spiritcutter 2

The Tiki drinks are calling….

A Aerial Tiki Fire!

Luau Scorpion Bowl…one that stings!

A - Golden Shellback

Golden Shellback

1 1/2oz pineapple
3/4oz lemon
1/2oz orgeat
1/2oz Swedish Punsch
1/2oz Benedictine
1 1/2oz Lost Spirits Polynesian Style Rum

Looks so tasty! i`m sure sure the moai in the aquarium agree 🙂 and the awesome tiki mug is created by Rob Hawes aka “Tiki Rob” who owns Maui Tiki Tours and makes awesome tiki mugs on Maui!

Krakatoa

Krakatoa

Jason`s take on the Krakatoa drink from Remixed page 58. So,” We’ll depart Sumatra on board PanCannibal Airways and take a trip to KILAUEA!!!

Bitters, Dons mix, passion fruit juice, lemon juice with coffee liqueur, amaro, falernum, apricot liqueur and then further fortified with Jamaica, demerara and overproof rums. Don’t forget the float of cold Kona coffee. See you on top of the volcano!!!!

A - Shrunken Skull 2         

“You may have had a shrunken skull before, but you haven’t had my shrunken skull yet. Seriously, you need to try my shrunken skull”     

Shrunken Skull

2 dashes Horror In Clay Die Fiendishly Tropical Bitters
1/4oz Allspice Dram
1/4oz Falernum
3/4oz lime
3/4oz grenadine
1oz Plantation Original Dark
1oz El Dorado 5yr

A - Braddah Kimo's Big Island Pahoehoe for 2

Braddah Kimo’s Big Island Pahoehoe for 2!

A Fogcutter variation by Jason

A Cabana Fogcutter…with Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired Rum.

A - Rum Barrels

Here´s a whole load of Cabana Rum Barrels! aren`t they pretty?

A - Rum Barrel Tacoma Cabana

Cabana Rum Barrel! Four juices including lilikoi, special blend of barrel spices and a meticulous blend of Jamaica, demerara, Barbados and Trinidad rums.

It’s the perfect combination of ingredients that isn’t too sweet, not too sour with just enough spices for added depth and the right amount of rum to kick you in the ass!

A - Rum Bowl for Two

And a Flaming Rum Bowl for two…

“If it’s not on fire and Overproof, then why are you drinking it?” 🙂

A - Necromancer of Fiji

The Necromancer of Fiji….

Black salt, black strap bitters, Donns Mix, lime, lemon, lilikioi, falernum, orgeat, Swedish Punsch, Campari, grenadine and a blasphemous blend of rum sure to make a Zombie crawl back into its grave!

(serves 2)

Pinch of black lava salt
4 dashes black strap bitters
12 drops absinthe
1oz Donns mix
1oz lime
1oz lemon
1oz passion fruit juice
1/4oz orgeat
1/4oz falernum
1/2oz grenadine
1/2oz campari
1/2oz Swedish Punsch
1 1/2oz Lemon Hart 151
1 1/2oz Plantation Overproof
1oz Plantation 3 Star

Flash blend for 5 seconds with two cups ice

A - Tacoma cabana 6

Pearl Diver`s Punch Bowl for Two…

A - Pearl Diver`s punch

Pearl Divers Punch Bowl! Lime, orange, pearl mix, falernum and rums.

A - Stiggins Jungle Fancy!

Stiggin’s Jungle Fancy with lime, lilikoi, Campari, falernum bitters and Plantation rums Stiggin’s Fancy Pineapple Rum. “You can take the bird out of the jungle…”

A - WAR BIRD!!!!

“War Bird” – Just look at that garnish….

Inspired by Cocktailwonk ‘s post “The Jungle Bird Goes to War” (where you can see the the original recipe)  Jason made this take on the Jungle Bird that Cocktailwonk had dubbed WAR BIRD!!!! – lime, lilikoi, campari, pineapple and Lost Spirits Distillery Polynesian Inspired Rum.

I`m thirsty….and if you are not thirsty by now you might just stop reading my blog…. 🙂

A - pieces of eight

Pieces of Eight…with eight pieces of pineapple hearts…brilliant!

A - Grass Skirt Daiquiri

Jason`s interpretation of Moderntiki ‘s Grass Skirt Daiquiri complete with Hula Girl!

Dash of angostura
Dash Luxardo
1/4oz Spices No. 2
1/4oz cinnamon syrup
1/2oz falernum
1/2oz lime

A - Drunken Missionary

He even made his take on my “Drunken Missionary” which was in my review of the Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum and his looks soooo much nicer! that purple orchid with that deep sea green….wooow!

Drunken Missionary

0.5 oz fresh lime
0.5 oz honey syrup ( add liquid honey to simple syrup, warm it up a bit, stir and set aside to cool)
0.5 peach liqueur
1 oz Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum
1.5 oz pineapple-coconut juice
Crushed ice
Nutmeg
Fresh mint

Muddle mint with lime juice and honey syrup, add the rest of ingredients and shake it ice cubes until the shaker frosts on the outside, then strain into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice.

Garnish with a fresh and spanked mint sprig or two, a couple speared maraschino cherries and lime triangles and grate some nutmeg on top and enjoy!

A - Drunken Helmsman

Drunken Helmsman

– 1 oz lime, 1/2 oz maple, 1/2 oz falernum, 1/2 oz Amaro Meletti, 1 1/2 oz Plantation Overproof….

A Arkham Aku Lapu

The Arkham Lapu Lapu…looks mystic….like it has some superpowers…or maybe it is YOU that will get some mystic superpowers when you drink this?

A - Ed Hamilton Ministry of Rum ZOMBIE PREACHER

Ed Hamilton Ministry of Rum ZOMBIE PREACHER! can i have one of these please?

A - The Blackest Black Times Infinity Daiquiri.

The Blackest Black Times Infinity Daiquiri…Lemon Hart 151, Mauby Liqueur and just a small squeeze of lime. A drink that was made on Black Friday.

A - Coconaut Re-Entry2

Coconaut Re-Entry, looks delish doesn`t it?

A - Demerara Dry Float

Demerara Dry Float, served up.

A - Shrunken Zombie Fugu

A Shrunken Zobie Fugu, served on a plate like a dish…

 A - Tacoma Rum Barrels

Lovely Tacoma Rum Barrels! i think i could have them all!

A - Mug by Scott Taylor

Da’ Beachcomber tiki mug created by Scott Taylor aka on Instagram as Tikipop! he lives on Maui and makes outerwordly tiki mugs, well worth checking out! such attention to detail and craftmanship….

Da’ Beachcomber looks happy 🙂

A - Guyana Zombie jasons version of my drink

Jason`s beautiful version of my Guyana Zombie!

A -  Mr Bali Hai

Mr Bali Hai….as cool as ever, comes loaded with fire and goodness!

A - Scott Taylor shot glass

Moai flask by Van Tiki and tiki shot glass by Scott Taylor.

A - Zombie Old Fashioned

A Zombie Old Fashioned…with Horror Infused Fiendishly Tropical Bitters!

A - Pahoehoe bowl with extra fire!

Pahoehoe Bowl with Extra Fire!

A - The Hawaiian 504 from L29

“A hint of danger always pushes a beverage from great to excellent” – VanTiki

(check out Van Tiki`s website and Facebook page)

“Yes, I really do serve the drinks I post to my guests. All you have to do is ask or maybe you just might get surprised”

“I love Zombies!!!! Woooooooooo!!!!

“It doesn’t matter how much fire is on top of the drink if it doesn’t taste good”

“Mostly, I’m thankful for the support from the tiki community, whether it be people drinking the drinks or making the drinks. It’s a pretty amazing crowd to be in”

Jason Alexander

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Follow Jason aka tikicommando on Instagram.

All pictures on this post courtesy of Jason Alexander.

The First Rum from La Confrèrie du Rhum!

La Confereie du Rhum Cuvee #1

La Confrèrie du Rhum” is a french rum forum on Facebook where everything rum/rhum/ron is discussed and was created by Benoit Bail in early 2013. Today “La Confrèrie” has 3600 members and of course i`m one of them! and the amount of things i`ve learnt especially about rhum agricole in this french speaking (they speak english too)  🙂 group is not bad.

The members are all rum lovers and professionals from the industry (salesmen, producers, distilleries, bottlers, barmen/women etc) from the rum world.

In this very active group everything about rum is discussed, and pictures, rum reviews, websites and ideas are shared almost round the clock and in the past 18 months the group has grown rapidly.

On general demand Vincent, Jerry and Benoit, who are the hosts of the group, decided to bring on a first special bottling named after the group, which should be sold to it`s members in january 2015.

This ultra limited edition bottling which counts 55 bottles of 500 ml, comes from Barbados and remembers by this way the beginnings of history of rum. Distilled at the W.I.R.D (West Indies Rum Distillery) in 2000, this rum has been aged in American oak casks during 13 years, partly in Barbados and then in Germany and has finally been bottled in 2014 for the Confrèrie du Rhum.

The bottle has been waxed by Benoit to give them a better look and to combine the red wax with the red writing on the black label which hides a map of the island in the back. I think the label is really nice! i like how the red contrasts to the black label and how the wax matches the red text. I also like the map of Barbados in the background.

La Confrerie du Rhum

The rum has a golden color and the nose is that of “deep barrel” if there´s such a description…there´s wood and tropical fruit, slight hints of vanilla..and something “medical” but not unpleasant!

So how does this rum taste to me? well, i must say really good!

The taste is very pleasant with the same tropical fruit notes as in the nose, black pepper, liquorice, sugarcane and wood with a rather dry finish with a slightly astringent after taste which i really like and a plus in my book is that i cannot detect any extra sugar in this rum! 🙂 I also find it has a slight smoky note to it, a bit of earthiness. The rum is 43% ABV.

This marks the beginning of what i hope to be the first of many more rums for La Confrèrie du Rhum! Well done Benoit Bail, Vincent Bidault de Villiers and Jerry Gitany!

La Confèrie du Rhum

La Confrerie logo

 

See other La Confrérie Barbados 2000 rum reviews on RumRatings