The Countdown is on for the UK Rumfest!

“Rum is more than a Spirit, it´s a Life Style”

Rum glass

Expect rum connoisseurs from all corners of the globe at the UK’s largest rum celebration taking place next month – The RumFest!

This time of the year there`s so much rum happenings in Europe and all are happening with just weeks in between them making it really hard to attend them all….and for me it boils down to once again attending the UK Rumfest.

I have covered previous UK Rumfests here and now there`ll be one more and I really looking forward to see my rum friends again and see what new and old rums will be there to try out and enjoy and not to mention all the seminars and other events that will keep you busy busy busy………

Here`s the press release:

The countdown begins for the ninth addition of the world’s premier rum festival taking place at ILEC Conference Centre, Earl’s Court on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th October 2015.

Thousands of rum lovers will be treated to blends from all corners of the globe. Whether a Ron Tiburon from Belize, a Le Dom Tom from France or a Nine Leaves blend from Japan, there are over 400 rare and exquisite rums to sip, savour and buy across the two days. Following the success of last year, the Golden Tot tokens return where visitors can pick up a token for just £5 opening the doors to rum’s elite allowing the more serious rum enthusiast to try rums that usually retail for over £200 a bottle.

Away from the tasting shacks and immersive pop-ups will be a series of enriching and tantalising seminars, masterclasses and workshops including the not-to-be missed Cachaca Tasting mapping out its rich history in Brazil and flavours; an introductory level aroma masterclasses; chocolate and rum pairing; a fascinating look at the history of rum; and a series of one-to-one tastings.

Top blenders, mixologists and distillers will also be on hand to teach ticket holders the art of cocktail making as well as more ways to enjoy their favourite rums.

Whilst one of the most influential and awarded personalities in the rum world, the legendary Tito Cordero, Diplomatico’s Master Blender, will take visitors on a journey through the foothills of the Andes.

Worlds-largest-rum-tasting

The RumFest’s famous food offering will deliver mouth watering cuisine from exotic rum making locations and temperatures are set to rise with live stage demos showcasing rum pairings, cooking demos, live cocktail competitions and more. Vanessa Bolosier creator Creole Kitchen is model turned award-winning chef and will be bringing years of inherited stories and recipes to RumFest’s Main Stage.

Expect big flavours and plenty of spice from a lady with innate Caribbean cuisine knowledge. Contemporary Caribbean cook Shivi Ramoutar will take over Sunday’s Main Stage presenting her culinary mission to twist these classic caribbean dishes and ingredients from her childhood into her own vibrant, fresh and easy-to-make delights.

Other highlights for 2015 include the return of RumFest’s Auction in partnership with Christie’s auction house. A must see for this year, RumFest is hoping to smash last year’s grand total where over 20 precious and rare rum were sold off for charity.

Carnival Hour rounds off the RumFest experience each day in the ultimate party finale, featuring live bands and dancers that embrace the fun and social spirit of rum.

Sugarcane-Mount-Gay-stand

This year for the first time in history The Rum Experience is teaming up with leading bars, chefs, distillers, brands and rum lovers to curate a week long series of events that will take over the capital for the inauguralThe Rum Experience Week. Each event will be hosted by a different brand or partner and will show attendees new ways to experience rum, including rum pairings with cigars and chocolate, rum infused cooking classes and exclusive menus, a Thames Tiki rum cruise and interactive tastings.

The fitting finale to the week long-long events is of course The RumFest. Tickets to select events are available now and more events will be announced soon with full information on the website – rumexperienceweek.com or fromrumfest.co.uk.

RumFest Founder and Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell is the leading name in rum. Dedicating his life to promoting rum and rum culture around the world, over the years Burrell has been recognised with a number of industry awards as well as regularly appearing as a rum expert at events and on television shows like Sunday Brunch, the Alan Titchmarsh Show and more.

Speaking about the return of RumFest, Burrell says, “We’ve refined RumFest this year into something very special. We’ll be taking rum lovers on the UK’s biggest celebration of rum yet, showing them the fun side of the culture, while at the same time giving an insight into the spirit so they can take home what they’ve learnt, armed with a better understanding of the spirit.

And with this we introduce the first ever Rum Experience Week which allows rum and spirit lovers to rejoice in the marvels of the category in a entire week-long celebration.

We look forward to seeing you there.”

rum-experience-no-date

The RumFest takes place in London at the ILEC, 17th to 18th October 2015. Standard day tickets are now on sale at £49.95, which includes access to all areas of the the event and tastings from all exhibitors. VIP tickets are on sale from £75 and allow for early access of one hour ahead of standard ticket buyers along with a two course Caribbean lunch and RumFest goodie bag.

Golden Tot Tokens are £5 each and allow for additional access to the more premium rums on offer. One token can be exchanged for rum retailing £80 – £100 and more expensive rums will be available for additional tokens. Tickets to the new private rum tastings will be announced soon. For full information on RumFest and to buy tickets head to rumfest.co.uk.

The RumFest
Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th October 2015
London’s ILEC, Earl’s Court
rumfest.co.uk

Tiki Bars – Latitude 29

Latitude 19

And so finally I got to go the Latitude 29! I´ve been waiting since they opened with great anticipation and (high) expectancy…..well…I try to not have too high expectations whatever it is, better to have an open mind, but with this one i`s a bit different….because this is the BUM`s place….this is the man who uncoded all the secret codes and brought us all these lost drink recipes and who wrote no less than six stellar books on the subject if you count in Taboo Table.

His books have been my to go tiki drink (and history) books for years and so now he and his wife Annene Kay aka Mrs Bum opens a real tiki bar in my favorite city New Orleans!

And I wasn`t there when they opened….and had to wait all the way until this year´s Tales before I could finally go and see it  – and in the meantime I`ve been drooling over all the food and drink pictures (can you say Tahitian Steak Frites?) and the drinks…..oh the drinks….

I`ve seen so many beautiful pictures of these drinks that I didn`t know what to start with….but I ended up ordering a Pontchartrain Pearl Diver as my first drink – in the NEW Pearl Diver`s glass! 🙂

The Pearl Diver`s glass, the Swizzle cup and the skull barspoons are all new for this summer in collaboration with Jeff Berry and Cocktail Kingdom and they were sold at the Tales but are also available online. The vintage Pearl Diver`s Punch glass is more or less impossible to find anymore so I`m really happy they are re-making them and same for the cool swizzle cup! I hope to see more re-making of these type of vintage tiki drink glasses….

And not only are the glasses really cool they come in beautiful vintage looking packages too!

Latitude29 Pearl Diver 3

The Pontchartrain Pearl Diver was good…..very very good – well balanced and oh so tasty! I didn`t try so very many drinks during the Tales because it was so incredibly busy….and so was I…so I decided to wait until after Tales and THEN go there for some serious drink tasting!

So last friday I went there early and I sat there and happily indulged Tahitian Steak Frites with luscious Coconut Butter and later a Mahi Mahi Bahn Mi accompanied by a whole array of drinks until in the evening, I actually spent a whole “working day” in the place!

And I had a nice chat with the Bum, about rums and rums and rums…and of course, tiki drinks. I was indeed a very good day….The place is so cool and relaxed, beautifully decorated and the music is great! with everything from real good and cool old style Jamaican reggae to surf music! and the co-bar manager Steven Yamada and his staff are very attentive, friendly and nice.

It`s really a place to go not only for the great drinks and food but also to escape from the world outside and it doesn`t matter if there´s big windows to the outside world…..because this is New Orleans! and the view from the beautiful arched windows is nothing but beautiful….over the pool and the tropical plants in the courtyard of Bienville House Hotel.

This used to be housing the former Iris restaurant, I went there in 2009 with all the Tales bloggers and now I cannot recognize the restaurant and bar anymore, it´s a total different world! quite the transformation….the only things that looks the same is the courtyard and the hotel lobby.

Take a look:

2009-2015 2

Back in 2009…Alan Walther tends the bar at Iris…..and he did serve some amazing cocktails! he later moved on to Loa, this was long before the Iris became what it is today – a true tiki haven!

2009-2015

The Tales Blogger Dinner in 2009 in the former Iris restaurant, the same view today of the beautiful courtyard and pool but the dining room has dramatically changed…..

Bienville House Hotel Courtyard

This is such a tranquil and peaceful place….if staying at this hotel you get both all this plus the Latitude29 in one place…..

Pool view through window

Eat Drink and be Merry!

drinks collage

Hurricane, Kea Colada and Royal Hawaiian Cocktail.

The food menu has something for everyone! executive Chef Chris Shortall and his staff creates their own take on modern Tiki Cuisine which is playful and tasty and there`s something for everyone including options for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free guests.

First thing I opted for was the Tahitian Steak Frites which I`ve been dreaming about since they opened…..

The Tahitian Steak Frites are tender, luscious and juicy (I ordered mine medium-rare) served with hot crispy thin fries and a tasty dipping sauce plus a dollop of coconut butter on top! the Bum told me that in Tahiti they add coconut to the cow´s diet and therefore everything the cows are producing have a touch of coconut flavor…heavenly….and so they wanted to re-create that idea here with the coconut butter.

I LOVE it!

Steak frites collage

I`m not joking, I think I could eat this almost every day….the meat is so tender and melts in your mouth together with that lovely coconut butter….

The Mahi Mahi Bahn Mi is wild caught Mahi poached in coconut oil, jalapeño, sriracha, and shallot….and at a Chef`s Challenge before the Tales I tried the ribs which are very tasty too….and not to forget the crispy green beans!

Another nice dish is the Shrimps in Blanket, the gulf shrimps here really are something special. They are big and juicy….and have more shrimp flavor than shrimps I`ve tasted anywhere else.

Latitude shrimps in blankets

Shrimps in Blanket

Latitude 29 Sahimi beans

These green beans were amazing…..

An array of seductive tropical tiki drinks…..

Latitude 4

When you enter a tiki bar you want to be seduced….you want to forget the daily struggles and take a “trip to the South Seas” with exotic tropical drinks! (inspired by drinks in the Caribbean….) 🙂

So I started with the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver….it`s such a good drink!…..balanced, fruity and rummy! The Pearl Diver is a mix of honey-butter-spice mix blended with passion fruit, lime and Jamaica rum. The butter adds a wonderful slightly viscous mouth-feel, if you didn`t know it was butter in the mix you wouldn`t know what it was but you would know there was something there….

After the Pearl Diver I had the namesake drink of this bar – the Latitude 29…..it comes in a tall glass wrapped in banana leaf for that real tropical feel – and you get that cool gorgeous swizzle stick! – made after the wall art by Bosko! The drink is made with eight-year Demerara rum, passion fruit purée, house made Madagascar vanilla syrup, orange, pineapple and lemon.

They are both gorgeous in their presentations with the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver in the new re-made super cool Pearl Diver`s glass.

Latitude29 collage

The Latitude 29

The Rum Barrel is according to the menu a communal drink but it says “For 2 to share, or 1 thirsty pirate to hoard. A kill-devil’s brew of 3 rums, 4 juices, multiple herbs, spices and sweeteners …” – so apparently I`m a “thirsty pirate” since I had no problem drinking it all by myself….

It sure makes you feel like a rummy pirate! 😀

It`s presentation is BEAUTIFUL! and fun! see the picture….they really take time to garnish up these beauties….and the drink itself is strong and rummy/fruity/spicy. One of my favorites!

Latitude 7

Rum Barrel, complete with pineapple peel, cherries, orchid, swinging monkeys and umbrella! superfun garnish 🙂

And so is the Coffee Bongo…..also incredibly nicely garnished….with a pineapple leaf cut out to look like a palm tree frond…..topped with two coffee beans….stunning! the drink is also strong/spicy and rummy with lots of character and if you like coffee and pineapple together, you find it here.

Latitude 23

Every drink is not rum though….there´s a drink called “Outcast of the Islands” which was amazingly tasty and is a mix of London gin and Persian lime…with cinnamon, ginger, almond and anise, heavenly….

And it LOOKS heavenly too! it comes served with an ice shell…..how cool is that? and the Navy Grog comes with the iconic ice cone which is made with the Bum`s ice cone device sold by Cocktail Kingdom (as well as the Pearl Diver`s glasses, the swizzle cup and the skull bar spoons)

And there are drinks with bourbon, brandy, tequila, beer and vodka….but I haven`t tried them all yet….there`s something for everyone in the drink menu too. Me, I tend to mostly stick to the rums….

Ice cone shell drinks

Outcast of the Islands and the iconic Navy Grog

The Professor Remsberg`s Punch is a very interesting drink and very tasty too, the drink contains “Fine old Guadeloupe rum, gently stirred with lime and a Caribbean spiced syrup discovered over 30 years ago in San Juan by the Professor himself”…….I wonder what is in that syrup? If you didn`t know, Stephen Remsberg is the world´s biggest rum collector.

Latitude 21

Professor Remsberg`s Punch

All the drinks at Latitude 29 are good and well balanced, from the (real, no chemical-mix) Hurricane, Mai Tai, TOTC Swizzle, Nui Nui, Kea Colada, Royal Hawaiian Cocktail, Lapu Lapu, Hawaii 504, Missionary`s Downfall and the Paniolo….which is Kentucky bourbon and Hawaiian macadamia nut liqueur shaken with lime, house made cranberry syrup and a dash of molé bitters.

It`s evident to me that they pay as much attention to the garnishes as the drinks themselves because some of these drinks ar off the charts when it comes to beautiful presentations! you get a little work of art in your hand!

And the drink names alone takes you on a exotic journey…..a lot of them created back in the heydays of tiki.

Tasty, exotic and beautiful.

Hawaii 504

The Hawaii 504

You know, you need to go there and just try all these heavenly things! btw….between 3 and 6 pm every day it´s Happy Hour with a special menu….where among the drinks you`ll find the Banana Banshee and the Royal Hawaiian Cocktail….both perfect to cool you down when it´s hot outside which is a guaranteed thing in New Orleans during the summer.

And the best thing of all….you get the Steak Frites for half the price! what is there not to love?

The Banana Banshee is a frozen cocktail with Jamaican rum, lime, coconut milk and coconut cream, fresh banana and aztec bitters and topped with grated chocolate!

Lat29 Banana Banshee 2

Banana Banshee

I also ordered a few off-menu drinks with the help of Jeff Berry`s Total Tiki app, such a handy thing to have! and they were delivered top notch! I think Steve outdid himself with the Coconaut….coming beautifully garnished with a Cruzan Blackstrap float on the side. It tasted absolutely heavenly…..it was a mix of Hamilton 151 Demerara, El Dorado 5, for the rums plus that lovely float of blackstrap to pour yourself 🙂

Coconaut collage

This Coconaut was incredible!

The Zombie was spicy and nice just as I expected, and just about right with the strength, and the Kamehameha Rum Punch did live up to it´s name…..

Kamehameha and zombie

Kamehameha Rum Punch and the Zombie…..

This interesting drink recipe is from Sippin`Safari and originates from the Hotel King Kamehameha in Kona, Hawaii, as the origin of the drink around 1960.

So who was King Kamehameha you might ask?  Kamehameha – also known as Kamehameha the Great was the head of a dynasty ruling the Hawaiian islands for more than a century. The name Kamehameha (pronounced kuh-may-ha-may-ha) means “the one set apart.” He conquered the Hawaiian islands and formally established the Kingdom of Hawai`i in 1810.

This drink is actually named after the Hotel King Kamehameha in Kona, Hawaii who took the name after the great Hawaiian King – Kamehameha.

Every year on Kamehameha Day (June 11, a state holiday in Hawai’i), National Statuary Hall is the scene of a ceremony in honor of the king and the statue of Kamehameha the Great is draped with lovely (and loooong) leis of fragrant flowers from Hawai’i. The Festival continues to pay tribute to Kamehameha and acts to preserve and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture.

Communal Drinks

And as every tiki bar should, there:s also a couple of different communal drinks on the menu, the newest one is a monster drink called the “Plantocracy Punch” for 6-8 people but we were only three so we tried the Lapu Lapu which uses a recipe which according to the menu is a Don The Beachcomber’s “lost” unpublished 1964 recipe, recently discovered by the Bum and presented here for the first time in over 40 years.

And of course it`s appropriately garnished with little mermaids taking a rummy ice bath…..

Lapu Lapu collage

Fruity, spicy, rummy Lapu Lapu and little mermaids swimming in the bowl….

Latitude 16

Rums….

Samaroli rums collage

While sitting in the bar I spotted two Samaroli rum bottles….and so of course I ordered a sample of each….and with the rum samples you get a small shot glass with water and a dropper, neat.

One was the 13 year old Guadeloupe 1998 Rhum Agricole and the other 1988 Demerara Dark Rum. The Guadeloupe is spicy and a touch smokey, with a strong character but at the same time, not too aggressive, it´s fruity, peppery, balanced and picky but also smooth.

A few drops of water brings out a whole array of tropical fruits flavors! this rum is incredible. I REALLY liked it!

The 23 year old 1988 Demerara rum had flavors of wood, macerated tropical fruits, apricot, vanilla, banana peel, mango and something else I couldn`t define…..but here a few drops of water didn`t bring out much change….still very woody, strong and fruity. Also a very good rum! Both of these rums are distilled in the Caribbean and then matured in Scotland.

They are not cheap but they are unique rums and they give you something to remember.

Then I saw a curiosity on the menu….it had a sort of mellow toasty coconut flavor…interesting….and I think it also could be used as ingredient in some of the drinks maybe? how about a Toasted Coconut Daiquiri?

Toasted coconut collage

The Interior Decor…..

TD art

Here is top crafts….the first thing you notice is of course the big centerpiece which now is in the same spot as the huge mirror was when it was the bar at Iris. The centerpiece is a huge carving of the Pacific Islands in a map in the forms of small tikis made by Daniel Gallardo aka Tiki Tiablo, and it`s a stunning work of art!!

Here is a collage of close-ups of the “Islands” in the map and there´s a nod to New Orleans too….do you see the fleur de lis on top?

TD map collage

Bosko Hrnjak did all the new (non-vintage) light fixtures and all of the new (non-vintage) tiki carvings, wall panels, etc, over 50 of them in total. And Dave “Basement Kahuna” Wolfe did 8 Easter Island carvings on the hut wall-dividers.

It`s all beautiful….

wall art collage

lamps collage

Another (practical) thing I greatly appreciate are the power outlets with USB ports located on each side of the tables, I wish more bars had that, it should be standard everywhere.

Tiki glasses, Barspoons and Orgeat

Latitude 11

All tikiphiles already knows about the Pearl Diver`s glass, the swizze cup and the cool skull bar spoons which you can find at the Cocktail Kingdom which I mentioned above….but a new thing is the Latitude29 orgeat which comes in a heavy round glass bottle and is sold in the bar.

I haven`t tried the orgeat yet even though I bought a couple of bottles (USD 15 each) but i`m out travellling so that will have to wait.

So to sum it all up, what I was looking for was how the food and the drinks tasted and were presented and if there´s consistency….(and yes I have returned) and how the decor and the feel of the place was, what music did they play and how loud? is it possible to have a conversation or do you have to scream? and how I was treated as a guest.

Personally I have nothing to complain about, the food and drinks are top class, the decor tasteful and genuinely tiki, it`s a laid back and relaxed feel, the staff attentive, professional and very sweet and so I`ll keep coming back, this is now my primarily watering hole in New Orleans :-).

That said there´s a lot of very good bars here, I just happen to really really like well made tiki drinks and in the relaxed vibe and environment of a real good tiki bar, there I feel the most at home.

Samaroli Rums and Pearl Diver at latitude 29

 

Interior pole

 

Bum sign

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.

Puka Punch Challenge 2015

Puka Punch 4

This weekend it was all about the Puka Punch! and that`s a nice drink using many rums so you can play around a bit with it!

Puka Punch Challenge recipe logo collage

The Puka Punch was made by Ray Buhen of the Tiki Ti in the 1960s (in 1961 Ray opened the Tiki Ti, now owned by Ray`s son Mike and grandson Mike Jr)

For this Challenge, I made two Puka Punches, the first one (in the picture on top of this post) was made with the recipe above but using different rums, Old New Orleans white rum, Blackwell rum and floats of demerara and blackstrap.

The second one is Puka Punch double! a wicked combination of Smith and Cross, Rougaroux Fullmoon Dark, Rhum JM agricole blanc with big rich floats of Lost Spirits Distillery 151 Cuban and Cruzan Blackstrap! to round up the‪#‎PukaPunchChallenge2015‬

This rum combo turned out fantastic! and the recipe is a twist of the classic one:

PUKA PUNCH  3

Puka Punch Double

2 oz fresh lime juice

2 oz mango juice

0.75 oz passion fruit syrup

0.75 oz orange honey mix

0.25 oz falernum

1 oz Smith and Cross

1 oz Rougaroux Fullmoon Dark

2 oz Rhum JM agricole blanc

Floats of equal amounts of Lost Spirits Distillery 151 Cuban and Cruzan Blackstrap, to taste

2 dashes Angostura bitters

14 oz crushed ice

Blend in blender at high speed for no more than 5 seconds and pour unstrained into a 25 oz snifter and add more crushed ice if needed. Pour the floats and don`t be shy! Garnish with 2 speared pineapple chunks and 2 maraschino cherries, two orchids and two tropical leaves.

TIKI 2

The Floating Rumshack tiki is happy! belly full of Puka Punch…..

If you want to join the Challenges or just take a look at all the nice drinks, follow @el_nova_1 on Instagram for updates! and for the drinks, the hashtag #pukapunchchallenge2015