TOTC 2014 – The Tastings! Limited Edition & Vintage Rums and The House of Angostura!

 Vintage Rums Velier rums 3

Limited Edition and Vintage Rums

If I can….where there is rum and good company…I will be….

And so I camped overnight outside the Acadia-Madewood suite in the Sonesta to be sure to be there in time to catch the rums….well…no I didn’t…haha but I was there for sure!! This was an exclusive interactive tasting seminar featuring a selection of rare editions, vintage rums, limited bottlings and collector’s private stock.

The tasting was held by Robert Burr (Miami Rum Renaissance and Rob’s Rum Guide ) Leonardo Pinto (host of ShowRum, the Italian Rum Festival in Rome and the author of ISLA DE RUM web site) and the self proclaimed “high functioning rum-o-holic” from London Paul Mc Fadyen (co-owner of the iconic Trailer Happiness bar in the Notting Hill neighborhood of London and Brand Manager for Plantation Rum)

It was an entertaining and interesting tasting with rums found principally in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy, among them two fine demerara expressions from Velier and a new rum from Banks not even launched yet.

seminar tasting

Robert, Leonardo and Paul took us through the history of rum and about the rums selected for this tasting, and then we also got a bonus rum to taste before the official tasting of it, the pineapple rum from Plantation rums. Also we got a quick presentation of the Lost Spirits Distillery by Bryan.

It’s not so easy to take notes during an interactive tasting like this one but I tried to get a few anyway, we tried eight different rums (plus the pineapple rum from Plantation which will be in another post) and so here are some very quick tasting notes:

Bristol Cuban 2003

This rum was bought unaged and was then aged in bourbon barrels in Bristol for seven years. Light yellowish in color, with hints of citrus peel and raisin and the flavor is balanced with notes of light tropical flowers.

Banks

Banks is coming out with a new rum soon and we got a taste of it….my notes says ” lively, fruity, a happy rum with a little wood, a bit of spice with a round nose with hints of honey, tropical fruit and wood. It’s a Connoisseur’s Cut Limited Release, made with Nicaraguan, Jamaican and Guyanese rums.

Mezan – 98 Guyana

I had never tried Mezan rum before. I found it sweet, a bit delicate, light and complex, some wood, tropical fruits and orange peel. It’s been aged in Europe.

Cuban Banks Mezan

Velier Port Morant 93

Now time for the big boys…two demerara expressions from Velier (Luca Gargano) both fabulous rums! note the little green label around the neck of the Diamond bottle…showing the rum was purchased at my favorite French rum shop in Paris, Christian de Montaguere.

Amazing nose….tropical fruits, wood, apricot, almond, cherry…and in the mouth an explosion of flavors….mashed tropical fruits, wood, spice, intense and warm.

Velier Diamond – 81

It gets even better……a 31 year old demerara that has been aged in the tropics (like all Velier rums) it’s a strong and a quite tannic rum and here we get wood, warm spices, a bit of apricot, the rum is amazing,  a stunning expression.

Velier rums

Plantation Guyana 2005

Demerara rum = Guyana Rhapsody…This expression from Plantation rum is a bit woody, on the dry side, “cool”, with hints of vanilla and fruit, a touch of smoke..

Plantation Guadeloupe – 98

Has a lovely nose, fruity, sugarcane, the flavor is balanced, slightly grassy and floral, a bit dry but has some sweetness, a big rum, very nice sipper.

Bristol Caroni – 96

A nice rum, woody and fruity. Long finish.

Plantation and Bristol rums

RUM! The Past, Present and Future of Cocktails by The House of Angostura

Angostura needs no presentation….and they had a tasting session that really was both entertaining, interactive and fun! we sampled different expressions of rum while John P. Georges (Master Distiller for the House of Angostura) and Philip Duff spoke about the history and making of rum. At the end of the session we got to blend our own rum…

We tasted a range of Angostura rums, the 5 year old, soft and round with notes of tropical fruits, the 7 year old with more robust flavors of chocolate, baking spices, chocolate, coffee, toffee, caramel, the 1919, a premium sipping rum, spicy, peppery, dark roasted nuts, and hints of smoke, and the 1824, aged for 12 years, a rich rum with notes of honey, fruits, chocolate and spices. All these rums are excellent.

But we also tasted a range of other rums to compare and try different styles and types of rum.

Angostura cocktail small

Here is the description:

Join John P. Georges (Master Distiller for the House of Angostura), Philip Duff (Creator of the Rum Institute education program and renowned spirits educator) and Daniyel Jones (Winner of the Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge 2013, Angostura® Global Brand Ambassador and native Trinidadian) for a unique, free Tasting Room seminar, covering the following topics:

Rum’s place in the history of cocktails, from the very birth of cocktails right through to the present day, with a never-before seen history – and tasting – of the legendary Queen’s Park Swizzle!

A comparative multi-brand rum tasting, to help you map the many different styles of rum. 

Making rum! From distilling to blending to aging to bottling, all the subtleties of production that accumulate into the personality of a fine rum, straight from the mouth of the man responsible for one of the Caribbean’s largest rum distilleries. Includes tastings of deconstruction samples never before made available to the public.

A snapshot of rum in the cocktail world today: The Tiki renaissance, rum in classic and neo-classic cocktails, and boundary-pushing rum cocktails from around the world.

Yes it was interesting and fun indeed…and the tasty Angostura bitters glazed nuts and chicken with BBQ sauce was incredibly tasty too! also I think Angostura is a very classy brand from the products they make (love them all) to the way they operate and their team is awesome people.

Here’s a picture parade….(photos for the Angostura post by Laura Godel)

Angostura presenters

Philip Duff and John P. Georges, and lurking in the background Joey from Rated R Cocktails.

Angostura Rum Institute small

This was a great session!

Angostura John P Master Distiller

Angostura Master Distiller John P. Georges

Angostura tasting rums small

Rum tasting and blending.

Angostura bitters glazed nuts

Try this….it’s delicious…

Angostura cajun chicken strips small

Cajun Chicken Strips….

Angostura BBQ dip

With Angostura Bitters BBQ Dip Sauce…scrumptious!

Amaro di Angostura

But Angostura had more up their sleve….apart from a orange bitters pool party they also had a spirited brunch and a launch of a new product which turned out to be – amaro – bottled at 35% with aromas of cinnamon, dark chocolate and angostura aromatic bitters. Great on it’s own and in cocktails. Presented by the Angostura brand ambassador Daniyel Jones, people got to sample cocktails and shots with the new amaro made by Ivy Mix (Clover Club NYC) Mike Tomasic (House of Angostura Global Brand Ambassador) Daniyel Jones (House of Angostura Brand Ambassador) and JJ Goodman (The London Cocktail Club, UK).

It’s a very nice product indeed! look out for a few cocktails and a review later.

Angostura amaro cocktail small

Doesn’t this look tasty?

Angostura Daniyel making amaro cocktail

Daniyel Jones mixing up delicious cocktails.

Angostura Amaro shot 2

A shot of Amaro di Angostura..

Next up….more tastings! and more rum!

 

BANKS FIVE ISLAND RUM

banks

This is a very intriguing rum that packs a lot of flavor…and its a white rum with an unusually strong dark rum character.

I don`t think i`ve come across a white rum that has so much of the dark rum flavor before..but on the other hand there´s many white rums i`ve never yet tasted.

I first saw it at the Tales this summer and got me a sample but i wasn´t prepared for how good this rum was. Its an intense white rum which is a blend of rums from five distilleries, each aged between three and twelve years and some is carbon-filtered to get a white color.

According to the label, 5 Island Rum is a “Sophiscated blend of Barrel-Aged rums. Pot stilled Jamaican and light Trinidadian, amber rums from Guyana and Barbados and Indonesian Java.. Enhanced and inspired by the journeys and discoveries of Joseph Banks, a gentleman, botanist and explorer. According to the neck band this is a dry Flavorful rum.

On the nose its light but with the typical Jamaican pot still lingering around. There has been descriptions of this rum with taste notes of both tropical florals, gardenia, citrus blossom, dark chocolate, habanero pepper, smoke, soursop and orange…gingery and peppery..wow..that´s a lot of flavor descriptions!

I find a rich multitude of flavors and among them dried apricot, tropical fruit and a slight buttery sugarcane flavor steadily backed up by the pot-still flavor but there`s no heaviness in this rum, its light and bright and yet it got a slight funk..in a good way – so much flavor. I also find a vegetal note in it..making it very suitable for many mixed drinks.

I would also say this rum is great for a daiquiri.

Banks Five Island Rum is blended in Holland and made for mixing cocktails really, but i find it`s also an excellent sipper. Its been nominated for the Golden Rum Barrel awards 2010 in the classes “Best White Rum”,”Best Premium White Rum” and “Best New Rum brand” – we will soon know the results since they were decided today.

You can soon read more on their website.

This smooth flavorful rum is like i said great for daiquiris..which allows the flavor to speak for itself which a rum like this deserves. But one can also go the other way and make a wild drink.

I´m gonna make a twist of the Witchdoctor which i was introduced and seduced to at Bar Tonique…using mint instead of basil (for garnish only in this drink) since that´s what i got and its always fun trying out new things.

So here we go:

BUSHDOCTOR

bushdoctor

1.5 oz Banks Five Island Rum

1.5 oz Batavia arrak

1/4 – 0.5 oz sugarcane syrup (Petit Canne)

0.5 oz fresh lime

Top with a little soda if you like

Garnish fresh mint

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass with ice, top with a little soda if you like and stick a mint sprig as garnish.

The Witchdoctor uses basil syrup and Smith & Cross, here i replaced the basil syrup with Petit Canne´s deep flavored sugarcane syrup and i think the Batavia arrak mixes well with Banks, increasing the tropical fruitiness and adding some deep mellowness to the drink. No wonder it mixes well with arrak since there´s rum from Indonesia in it.

The crisp clean lightness is still there but there´s a more earthy tone from the arrak with an aftertaste of dried tropical fruit. Basically this is a mojito sans muddled mint but the addition of Batavia arrak changes it into something else – and that´s what makes it a Bush doctor..

The next thing i REALLY had to do was making a Chartreuse Swizzle and since we more or less lived on them in the mixohouse serving them in flower vases communal style every night i took that awesome drink to heart and added it in my regular rotation here and YET i didn´t think about subbing the Smith & Cross with Banks…not until today and of course its a big win! its not a new idea at all, its just me lingering behind..

Then after having a couple sips i came to the conclusion that this is tasty! BUT floating some Smith & Cross would maybe improve it even more and really, it did – it was like adding the final touch if you like. And now..no more messing around!

CHARTREUSE SWIZZLE

chartreuse-swizzle

1 oz Green Chartreuse

1 oz Banks Five Island Rum

1 1/2 oz Pineapple juice

1 oz fresh lime juice

1/4 oz Falernum

2 dash Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters (instead of Angostura)

Float Smith & Cross

Add ingredients to a suitable glass full of crushed ice. Swizzle to mix, float Smith & Cross and garnish with plenty of fresh mint, and add straw.

As good as it can be…and if you switch the pineapple juice for fresh grapefruit juice (white) you´re in for a VERY refreshing drink! The drink in the picture actually is the one with grapefruit juice.

Nothing wrong at all with Angostura but the Bitter Truth`s aromatic bitters added a slight bitter edge that i like.

My conclusion after this experiment is that Banks Five Island Rum is a rum i want to have in my bar regularly.

Sugarcane bar

 

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