It was that time of the year again, the Libbey Glass Europe Glassology Christmas Tiki Cocktail Challenge which they announce on their page on Facebook and where you can express interest in participating. They pick 50 contestants that have a chance to be part of this fun competition and win fine prizes from Libbey.
This year my drink Santa`s Potion of Danger took first place! What a great way to start 2020! and I want to share the recipe here. It`s lenghty but not difficult, and not as complicated as it may seem!
It`s a fruity, spicy, refreshing Tiki cocktail with a pronounced tropical “zest” from the cranberry reduction, with a bit of tartness but without being actually sour, and it´s sooo deceptive… it goes down easily but it contains three of strong.
Float of pineapple infused Campari served in a passionfruit (or lime) shell on top of the ice to be floated on the ice before drinking.
Method: Add all ingredients except the pineapple infused Campari into a blender and blend at high speed for 5 seconds with 2.5dl crushed ice. Pour straight into a Kahiko Zombie glass. Top up with more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with the float of pineapple infused Campari and a flaming MK KD Grider Tiki Torch. A warning: these mini tiki torches get VERY hot after burning, so do not touch the torch part when removing it from the glass before drinking.
Serve alight and admire the flaming torch for a little, then remove it, float the pineapple infused Campari and enjoy!
Pineapple infused Campari: Add equal parts fresh crushed pineapple to Campari in a mixing glass and cover with a foil or plastic wrap. Let sit for 24 hours in the fridge, then strain as fine as you can.
Santa`s Spices:Lightly toast 1 bigger or 2 small crushed cinnamon sticks, 20 cloves and 2 star anise, se aside. Make a 2:1 simple syrup with demerara sugar and mash one 1/2 banana into it, add the toasted spices and one slit up Tahitian vanilla bean. Let it simmer for a couple minutes, take off heat and let sit for at least 30 minutes to cool and marry the flavors.
Cranberry and ginger reduction: Reduce 2 dl natural cranberry juice without too much sugar together with 4 cm long and 2 cm thick sliced ginger root until you have what you need for this drink, 30 ml/1 oz. Discard the ginger slices and cool. It should get a sharp strong ginger bite and pronounced tartness from the cranberry juice.
As always when I go to rumfests and try out rums I`ve never tried before I find something that sparks my attention and interest and the rums from Hèritiers Madkaud is one. They are not only very good rhum agricoles they also have an interesting story and I think they deserve to be more known. I`d recommend anyone interested in rhum agricole to try them out!
The rhum Hèritiers Madkaud is today owned by Stèphane Madkaud who re-launched the rum by the end of 2007 and most parts of the story was told to me directly by him.The story of the rum brand Madkaud is very old and goes back to the days of slavery on Martinique.
RHUM MADKAUD – THE HISTORY AS TOLD BY STEPHANE MADKAUD
The thing is that in the beginning, my ancestors, as slaves, had no names, no family names (no last names in fact) they just had first names. My slave ancestor was called “Louis”, and that’s all. And he had a number for identification. If you give me one minute, I will get you his real number….he was number “105”
So what is written is that “what we know today for sure, is that before being called “Madkaud”, my ancestors were black slaves who worked on a plantation in “Grand Anse – Lorrain”, in Martinique. ” In fact in 1849, one year after slavery was abolished, they decided they wanted to be called “Madkaud” because of a French former governor of Martinique who was called “Mackau” who, in 1845, as a congressman, produced a law which allowed the enslaved to buy their own freedom with their own work. So maybe this is how they got free, maybe a few years before slavery was officially abolished in 1848.
Louis had 9 sons and daghters among which was Félicien (the 9th) who was may grandfather’s grandfather and Félicien was born in 1857 as a free man and he created the rum brand in 1895. He was a distiller for a french man who owned a sugar factory, but the guy went bankrupt because there was sugar crisis in the years 1880s and he needed to leave Martinique.
Félicien could take the factory but to be able to make it financially, a marriage was arranged with a white lady whose father was a trader in France (in Bordeaux) They got married in 1893 and Félicien created Agricole rhum Madkaud in 1895.
In these years it was the end of molasses in Martinique and this is how agricole rum began…because of sugar crisis.
Félicien was the first Black man to own a factory. We know he had some difficulties because the owners around did not accept his presence at such a level. But he was also a fighter.
“Habitation Duvallon”, where rum Madkaud was created. The place is called “fond capot”, in the city of Carbet.
Thank you Stèphane! – and the brief history of the rum itself is this:
In the 1950s and 60s the rums from Madkaud were well known on Martinique but they disappeared from the market to reappear in the 90s.
The cause of the brand`s collapse was the death of Stèphanes grandfather, aged 40 in the mid 60s causing bankruptcy. Some cousins did their best to keep the brandname alive but they were no more producers. However they succeeded in making the brandname survive through a partnership with a larger producer but this was only survival.
They were limited to just a small single quota with the production controlled by a third party, the family rum could no longer afford to be what it once was and only very small amounts of rum were sold locally.
Then in the 90s the quotas were suppressed in Martinique and they could go back to business but without a real marketing policy. In 2007 Stèphane created Heritiers Madkaud as a sign of a new era – with better casks, more beautiful bottles, and little by little…better communication.
This is why the story starts again 40 (!) years later… 40 years after Stèphanes grandfather’s death.
And in 2013 the Madkaud rum was awarded bronze for the white, and silver for the VSOP at the rumfest in Madrid and the same year also bronze and silver in HongKong. This was followed by a gold medal at the Paris rumfest in 2014 and in 2015 it was awarded gold in Madrid and double gold in Berlin for both expressions.
I think that`s quite amazing for a rum that almost disappeared and was more or less “gone” for 40 years….and now it`s time for the tasting – here are my thoughts, in short:
Héritiers Madkaud Blanc Cuvée Castelmore
The color is crystal clear and the nose is elegant with whiffs of fresh grassy notes followed by hints of citrus, and sugarcane. The taste is mild and balanced with hints of fresh sugarcane, citrus and white pepper. It has the typical grassy herbal notes of fresh cut sugarcane and is pleasant to sip and the crisp grassiness is more in the background than upfront, it doesn`t attack you, more like caressing your palate. It has a medium long finish.
Héritiers Madkaud VSOP Cuvée Castelmore
Well rounded nose, with hints of wood and herbal grassiness of the cane and tropical fruits. In the mouth it´s mild and pleasanly fruity and balanced with hints of spices, orange and wood, tropical fruits and sugarcane. It has a longer finish than than the blanc. This rum has been aged four years and has a clear amber color.
There`s no sugar or other “things” added, this is pure rhum agricole!
And of course, sipping it neat is the best and the given cocktail would be a ti punch but I wanted to make some tropical cocktails too, plus two tiki drinks as well, to see how they mix :
60 ml/ 2 oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole VSOP
15 ml/ 0.5 oz fresh pineapple juice
15 ml/ 0.5 oz fresh orange juice
15 ml/ 0.5 oz fresh lime juice
15 ml/ 0.5 oz banana syrup*
Dash Angostura bitters
Flash blend in blender on high speed with 2.5 dl/ 1 cup of crushed ice for 5 sec and pour into a snifter, top up with more crushed ice
*Banana syrup – Make a simple syrup with equal parts sugar to water, preferably raw sugar and add the slices from 1 banana and mash the banana slices into the syrup and give it a quick “cook up”, then take off heat to cool. Let sit for an hour to let the flavors marry before straining and bottling into a clean bottle.
2 oz (60ml) fresh pineapple juice
0.5 oz (15ml) honey cream mix
0.5 oz (15ml) orgeat
0.25 oz demerara syrup
1 oz (30ml) fresh lime juice
1 oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole VSOP
1 oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole Blanc
Decent float of overproof rum
Blend in blender at high speed for 5 sec with a cup of crushed ice and pour into a pineapple, add more crushed ice to fill.
Add the float and a couple dashes of aromatic bitters,(I used Zulu Aromatic bittters from Brazil, but Angostura works just as fine).
To make honey cream mix:
Mix 4 tsp honey with 2 oz (60ml) water
Heat up and stir until the honey is dissolved.
Add 1 tbsp unsalted butter and mix it all together, cool to roomtemp.
This is one of Don the Beachcomber’s greatest masterpieces, it was made back in 1940s, even though Jeff Berry have pointed out in his book “Beachbum Berry`s Remixed” that it may even be as old as back in 1937. It´s a masterpiece of refreshing herbal awesomeness! and it never gets old. In this recipe the rums are switched to Madkaud Agricole Blanc. And honey-mix is used here which is like the previous honey cream mix but without the butter.
60 ml/2 oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole Blanc
30 ml/1 oz honey mix*
15 ml/0.5 oz Peach Brandy
15 ml/0.5 oz lime juice
45 ml/1.5 oz fresh pineapple juice
12-20 mint leaves
2.5 dl/1 cup crushed ice
Combine in a blender and blend at high-speed for 20 seconds. Pour into a goblet or coupe and garnish with mint sprig. (and a tropical flower if you like:-)
1 part honey
1 part water
Combine in a small sauce pan, heat up and stir until the honey dissolves.
Cool and bottle.
Ginger Coconut Sour
60 ml/ 2 oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole VSOP
22.5 ml/ 0.75 oz Campari
15 ml/ 0.5 oz fresh lime juice
30 ml/ 1 oz fresh pineapple juice
30 ml/ 1 oz fresh coconut water
15 ml/ 0.5 oz ginger syrup*
1 egg white
Shake hard and long to emulsify the egg white (or use blender) and pour into a chilled rocks glass. Dust grated nutmeg on top. Garnish with pineapple leaves.
*Make ginger syrup the same way as you do banana syrup. Peel the ginger before slicing, you need only a small piece of ginger, about 4 cm to 1 cup/2.5 dl of simple syrup.
30 ml/ 1oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole VSOP
30 ml/ 1 oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole Blanc
30 ml/ 1 oz pineapple juice
30 ml/ 1 oz coconut water
30 ml/ 1 oz Coco Lopez or Coco Real cream of coconut
30 ml/ 1 oz fresh lime juice
Dash Angostura bitters
Flash blend in blender at high speed for 5 sec with 2.5 dl/ 1 cup crushed ice. Pour into a coconut or rocks glass and top up with more crushed ice.
Well, no problem with the mixing! this rum both sips and mixes just fine! in other words, it´s very versatile. I`m glad it was brought back from “dormancy” by Stèphane!
Arcane rums are made from pure cane juice, so it`s a rhum agricole. As always when you come back from a rumfest, in this case the Rhumfest Paris, there`ll be rums to try out and to write about. I`m starting with the three expressions from Arcane, plus a spiced rum called “Beach House Rum” (not Arcane but from the same producer)
The three expressions in their range are the Delicatissime, Cane Crush and the Extra Aroma. The Extra Aroma I tried for the first time at Maria Loca during Daniele Dalla Polas Tiki Night and I was amazed by the strong banana flavor of this rum which mixed wonderfully with his amazing tiki drinks.
On the webpage it says – What Arcane stands for is this : in a white rum or in a 12 years old rum, you will always taste, in different versions,the magnificence of cane aromas. Arcane rum is always made from the distillation of pure cane juice.
So let´s start with the Cane Crush, it´s a very aromatic rum with lots of fresh “green” sugarcane flavors, grassy, floral and lively. It´s distilled twice, first in pot stills on Mauritius and then a second distillation in small alambics is made in Cognac. These alambics are the french variant of the alembic – which is an arabic word for a type of still that originally was used to make perfumes and it´s the alembic still the modern pot still is based on.
So in short, here´s my thoughts on the rums, remember this is how they taste to me, to you they may taste a bit different since we all have different taste perceptions:
Color – crystal clear
Nose – It´s crispy and fresh, grassy and a bit floral in the nose with slight hints of citrus.
Mouth – A very pleasant flavor, fresh and crispy just like like the nose but a little bit peppery with a fruitness and roundness backed up by the typical grassy agricole flavors of fresh cut cane.
Finish – I find the finish to be medium long with a fresh light cane flavor that stays for a little while.
A very pleasant and tasty rhum agricole that can be sipped easily and also mixed equally well.
Color – Golden light mahogany
Nose: Here´s something entirely different…. this rum has a strong nose of banana and coconut and the notes of grassy agricole flavors are quite restrained.
Mouth: Banana…. hints of coconut and something perfumey and floral, hints of sugarcane and some grassiness. It`s a tropically flavored aged agricole rum with strong banana and coconut flavors. It`s a spiced rum with coconut and banana and it`s quite sweet. I believe it´s a “like it or not” type of rum. Personally I like as a mixer because it mixes well in tiki drinks and tropical cocktails, but not as a sipping rum., it`s too sweet for that to my palate.
I tried it the the first time in Paris at Maria Loca when Daniele Dalla Pola did his “Arcane Jungle Bar” tiki night and made tiki drinks with among others, this rum which mixed wonderfully in his drinks.
The pronounced banana and coconut flavors (and some other tropical fruits) paired with the aged rhum agricole notes makes a statement to try to best describe it, if you like those flavors you`ll probably like this rum, if you don´t like sweet flavors of banana and coconut you won`t like this. In tiki drinks and exotic cocktails it´s wonderful and I like the aftertaste of coconut.
In the description it says “12 year old solera aged in oak barrels” which does not mean that all the rum in the bottle is 12 years old, but that there´s a percentage, how small, we do not know, that should be 12 years old in the blend of younger rums. If you don`t know that then you may believe it`s all 12 year old rum which is it not.
Finish: Aftertaste of coconut that lingers in your mouth for a while that gets me to think of a brown coconut that has been cracked and all the brown pieces spread out on the ground. The name “Extra Aroma” surely is true, this rum has a LOT of extra aroma! but as a sipper it`s a sugar-bomb warning.
Color – very light golden
Nose – A bit herbal and spicy, with hints of freshly cut grass, vanilla and some spice.
Mouth – Hints of vanilla, peppery, pronounced herbal grassiness and hints of floral notes as well, lively agricole flavors.
Finish – Spicy finish that ends with sweet notes of vanilla
This rum mixes as well as the Extra Aroma in exotic cocktails and I found that mixing the two, or any of them with Cane Crush is just as great, any of these rums adds a lively flavor to cocktails. This is a young golden rum that has been aged for 18 months in oak barrels and it`s kinda dryish but with sweet vanilla aromas.
For sipping, the one I prefer is the Cane Crush because it´s the cleanest and driest of them to me and for sipping neat I prefer a bit drier rums that has nothing added to them. It also makes a fine ti punch of course.
For mixing I find them quite versatile, especially with tropical type of drinks, the flavors just comes together.
I have no idea if these rums contains any additives but I`m positively sure that there´s some sugar added to the Extra Aroma since it has such strong banana and coconut notes. I believe it may have natural flavors added or at least so I hear, and then some sugar, but there´s no info… and that is a pity! anyway, it´s not cloingly sweet, it more makes a real strong statement of banana and coconut.
Then we have the bottles, I really like them, they have a cool design and the labels look exotic which pairs well with the rums they contain seeing to where the rum is made. But I would like to see more info on the labels as to what the rums contain as well, the more transparency the better.
BEACH HOUSE SPICED
And now on to the last one, a sort of bonus in this post, it´s a spiced rum.
This spiced rum is not the Arcane brand, it´s called “Beach House Spiced” which is a rum infused with tropical floral and spicy flavors dominated by orange which comes in a very pretty bottle at 40% abv. The nose is very floral and perfumey with hints of orange and spice. To be honest it´s too sweet for my palate but I can see it as a cocktail ingredient and also as a dessert rum – or if you like it sweet, as a sip on the beach at sundown which it says it´s designed for. I think this rum would benefit from a reduction of the sweetness though especially since the spice flavor is a bit on the floral side. But those with a sweet tooth will probably love it.
Now on to the drinks!
With some funky grassy, sugarcane, banana and coconut flavors from the rums paired with the darker roasted coconut water and nutty macadamia and orgeat flavors, this is my funky Colada!
30 ml/1 oz Arcane Extra Aroma
30 ml/1 oz Arcane Cane Crush
30 ml/ 1 oz fresh pineapple juice
30 ml/ 1 oz roasted coconut water
7.5 ml/ 0.25 oz macadamia nut syrup
7.5 ml/ 0.25 oz orgeat
15 ml/ 0.5 oz Coco Real
30 ml/ 1 oz fresh lime
Dash pimento dram
Blend all ingredients at high speed for 5 sec in a blender with 2.5 dl/ 1 cup crushed ice. Pour into snifter and add more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with a pineapple crown. The roasted coconut water can be difficult to find but can be subbed with unsweetened and if possible, fresh coconut water.
The Pina Colada is in my opinion an underestimated drink and it´s one of my favorites. It`s also a fun drink since it lends itself to a lot of experimentations!
A coffee flavored take on the ”Three dots and a dash” which is one of the classic tiki drinks. Coffee is one of my favorite tiki drink ingredients,so why not combine the two? That´s how “Coffee Dots” was born…
Adding an agricole rum with rich banana aromas gives this drink an extra tropical dimension.
15 ml/0.5 oz each of fresh lime and orange juices
15 ml/0.5 oz honey-mix
60 ml/2 oz Arcane Extra Aroma rum
15 ml/0.5 oz strong Kona coffee, cold
7.5 ml/0.25 oz pimento dram
Dash Angostura bitters
Blend in blender at high speed with 2 dl/ 1 cup crushed ice, 5 sec and pour into a snifter
Garnish with a pineapple leaf and 3 coffee beans
Banana Daiquiri Speciale
A Banana Daiquiri a day….is the #DRINKTROPICAL way!
Banana, both fresh and in syrup paired with rich coconut palmsugar syrup flambèed in 80% Stroh for the sweet…
Fresh lime juice for the sour and for the strong, Arcane Extra Aroma and Delicatissime blends together into a sumptuous tropical daiquiri drink….there´s no other “weak” in this except for the crushed ice….but the spice “to make it nice” is there in the dust of cinnamon and in the rums. Now this is not a Planter`s Punch but an extra lush banana daiquiri!
22.5 ml/0.75 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 banana, sliced
30 ml/1 oz Arcane Extra Aroma
30 ml/1 oz Arcane Delicatissime
15 ml/0.5 oz banana-palmsugar syrup*
Blend in blender with 1 cup crushed ice for 10 sec and pour into a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with a piece of frozen banana and a dust of cinnamon.
To make the banana-palmsugar syrup:
For a small bottle of syrup, make a simple syrup with 2.1 ratio of coconut palmsugar and water (about 1 cup of sugar) and slice 1/2 banana in it and mash slightly with a fork and boil on medium heat for a couple minutes but do not let it caramelize. Take off heat and add 2 tbsp 80% Stroh ¨(or other overproof rum good for flambeeing) and flambè before leaving to cool and flavors to set for about 30 mins, then strain and bottle.
Beach House Bird
This drink is an experiment, since I wanted to try the Beach House Spiced as a cocktail ingredient and due to it`s pronounced orange aroma I decided to use equal parts hibiscus grenadine and the spiced rum instead of simple syrup in a Jungle Bird since orange and Campari pairs so well.
It tasted like a sort of lightly floral Jungle Bird with hints of bitterness…
As for the Beach House Spiced as a cocktail ingredient, it works just fine and can be used instead of for example orange liqueur or simple syrup giving a subtle floral, slightly exotic perfumey character to the drink. Now this drink has Campari which in itself adds a lot of flavor with it´s herbal, bitterness so you get it in double measure here :-).
22.5 ml/0.75 oz Campari
30 ml/1 oz fresh lime juice
7.5 ml/0.25 oz hibiscus grenadine
7.5 ml/0.25 oz Beach House Spiced
45 ml/1.5 oz Appleton Extra
Shake with plenty of cracked ice, strain and pour into a old fashioned glass filled with fresh cracked ice.
I think that was all for now….enjoy the drinks if you decide to try them 🙂
The 2016 Rhumfest Paris took place on April 2, 3 & 4 th at Parc Floral, Paris. This event has become huge!!!
The venue was completely jam-packed with people! – So much rum….so much people!! on both days! and the day for the industry/professionals was on the the last day, the monday, and it would have been nice to have been there that day since the industry days are much less crowded, but unfortunately I had to travel back. Rhumfest Paris seem to me to have been completely sold out, around 8000 tickets were sold.
There were 119 participating brands and 40 exhibitors, plus 500 rums to try from as varied places as Thailand with Issan – agricole rum, and from La Rèunion island – Isautier, Savanna, Charette and Chatel….all very interesting rums! from Guyana one of my favorite brands, La Belle Cabresse and they also had various exotic rum punches and spices…
And represented for the first time at Rhumfest Paris – Tahiti! with the Mana`o rum – which – was a very interesting and tasty rhum agricole, it was surprisingly good for coming from such a small and far away place. What I especially liked with the Paris rumfest was that there were so much interesting and varied brands of rhum agricoles to try. I like to see at least as many agricoles as molasses based rums! and especially also smaller brands and here there was all of that in abundance.
But big brands were there too of course, among them Angostura who during a master class presented their new bottles for their classic rum range and had out for taste also their Amaro di Angostura.
Velier brought out their new Habitation Velier rums together with their Rhum Rhum and Clairin rums. I spent a lot of time at their booth…my favorites was the Habitation Velier Foursquare 2013 and then the Caroni 17!
Ekte Spirits from Denmark had some interesting rums to try as well, my favorite there was the demerara expressions.
But we started already on the thursday with the judging of the rums for the Rhumfest Paris Awards at La Rhumerie, a very nice French Caribbean rum bar and restaurant which I can recommend, especially for their rums and food! And the results of the 2016 Paris Rhumfest Awards is here.
A rumfest with lots of rum sampling needs some good fuel and there was some really tasty food available on food trucks with food from Martinique and Venezuela among others. I had spicy accras with extra hotsauce (of course) and other things, all very tasty! but the food thing that left me a memory is the Baba au Rhum dessert from La Rhumerie! it was so good…melted in your mouth….and soooo rum soaked!
During the nights there were a lot of things to do, you could sample a really fantastic range of rums at Mabel, among them I tried were the new El Dorado Cask Strength rums…and then Caronis…and at Maria Loca there was the one and only Daniele Dalla Pola doing his fantastic drinks during his “Arcane Jungle Night” with Arcane rum tiki drinks and great show! the drinks were so good!! (visiting his Nu Lounge Bar in Bologna is a must do!) and there was also a night of cocktails with Ron Botran Añejo!
Here is some shaking and pouring:
Also at Maria Loca we tried the new Maca rum which was very interesting and for being a spiced rum it was good! the intent is to create a spiced rum that differs from most and shows that spiced rums can be good and does not have to be cloingly sweet or unbalanced and overspiced.
Then we have the Dirty Dick Tiki bar where the exotic drinks were always flowing….don`t go to Paris without going to Dirty Dick!
Late nights in Paris during Rhumfest week and Paris Rhum Week is a recipe for exhaustion….but a LOT of fun! 🙂 but also during the days there´s interesting things to do for a rum fanatic, for example visiting Christian de Montaguère, the rumshop of sorts! with more than 900 different rums, and also rum and cocktail books, french caribbean rum and cook books and even spices and exotic perfumes! (among them amazing tiare and frangipani perfumes and banana oils…) on 20 Rue de l’Abbé Grégoire, 75006 Paris, and here is their website. This shop is a paradise….
I think the big win with this rum festival was the incredible diversity of rums, especially (and naturally) all the different agricole rums!
Here is my usual picture parade… – enjoy, a little piece of Rhumfest Paris!
If there was a prize for most beautiful stand, or booth, it would surely have gone to “Ti Arrangès de Cèd” which was a fantastic display of colors and beautiful “rhum arrangès” made by Cèdric Brément. I have a few of those at home, among them the banane-cacao, these are some tasty little treasures!
The new one with hibiscus is on the left. Aren`t they just beautiful?
Macadamia nuts and vanilla…
The star of the show…Ananans victoria!!!! this is the pineapple that is used for Plantation rums pineapple rum the Stiggin`s Fancy. This little pineapple grows on La Rèunion island outside of Africa. The one in the picure is a bit special though…it looks like a double pineapple and it had 6 or 7 shots! it was the wildest pineapple I ever seen! later I saw Daniele Dalla Pola walking around with it… I think he found himself a little “pineapple baby” 😀
Fresh, colorful, tasty and beautiful! pineapple, lime and rum!
Mana`o rhum!! this rhum agricole came all the way from Tahiti and it tasted very good! great sugarcane flavor. This is the first 100% organic rhum agricole produced in Tahiti. The name in the Tahitian language means “to think”, “to remember” and is a tribute to ancestral varieties of sugar cane. This is a purely local creation, produced from sugar cane from Taha’a, the first rhum agricole from French Polynesia. It was very interesting to try this! Read more here.
Rhum Clèment from Martinique had a little ti punch bar where you could get this very tasty little ti punch vieux!
Ekte Spirits sinle cask rums from Denmark. These are interesting! and they are all very good but are expensive.Then again, these are one of a kind rums, the number 2, the Jamaican 12 was made in 270 bottles only. The no 5, Guyana 17 years is 250 bottles and the 23 year old Guyana is 300 bottles made. Their website is here.
And here is Ekte Spirits regular line of rums, I love the names! “Light & Dry”, “Pungent & Geeky”, “Spiced & Rich”, “Dark & Aged” and “Aged & Geeky”. These I tasted for the first time at the UK Rumfest last year. Also I like the fact that there `s a transparency concerning what the bottle contains, it´s stated on the website.
Angostura rums is changing “clothes” – but not rum! their classic rums are unchanged and they released the new package during a masterclass which you can watch online here and even though the website is in french the masterclasses are in english and also translated to french.
When you see this sign…it works like a magnet…
Rows of pure goodness….Habitation Velier, Caronis, Rhum Rhum and Clairin rums!
Now…we are talking! this Foursquare 2013 Barbados Pure Single Rum was the best of the rums I tried at the Rhumfest, it´s just hands down outstanding. The Forsyths WP 151 proof is another gem and this one would be perfect for tiki drinks!
More from Habitation Velier, the bottles looks really interesting I think and they contain really good rums!
The 17 year Caroni is a wonder of explosive flavors! I think this lovely Caroni was my second best from the Rhumfest. Rhum Rhum Libération 2015 comes in a bottle with a very interesting and fun label and it comes in two strengths, go for the stronger one, the “version integrale” (the red label) This rhum was “liberated” from its cask in 2015 after six years of tropical ageing, Rhum Rhum Libération 2015 Full Proof is at 58.4° % ABV with no water added before bottling.
The Rhum Rhum brand was created by Luca Gargano of Velier in collaboration with Gianni Capovilla on the little island of Marie Galante which belongs to Guadeloupe.
Clairin rhums from Haiti, these are very different from the rest and all very flavorful! Sajous is the “mildest” of the three followed by Vaval and then comes the horsekick, the Casimir, a rum that will kick your butt to the moon…..
From two different parts of the world….Arcane rum comes from Mauritius and has some very nice and a bit different expressions while Issan hails from Thailand, and is a rhum agricole! it tastes good too!
More rhum agricole, La Belle Cabresse comes from French Guyana and is one of my old favorites, it has a flavor of it´s own, I think it´s the Guyana “terrorir”, it makes a nice ti punch! and so does the “Canne Grise” from Rhum Bielle, Marie Galante. Canne grise – grey cane is a type of sugarcane that originated from Barbados and that works very well on the small island of Marie Galante because it´s very resistant to drought. The rhum Canne Grise is very nice and fruity in flavor with an abv of 59%.
St James Cuvee Excellence is a very smooth and elegant rhum agricole which won a gold at the Paris Rhumfest Awards. St James rhums are always very very solid.
Plantation rums….always present at any rumfest! And as usual you will also encounter Pusser´s rums at any rumfest! 🙂
And here comes the rhum punches! I so love these! Punch Coco on the left from Guadeloupe and on the right are punches from french Guyana.
Punch Cacao and Punch Erotika and whatever is it is in that it probably works… 🙂 And here comes a few pictures of drinks, party, rum tasting, rum and fun!
Arcane rum booth, tiki drinks by Daniele Dalla Pola and Marc Battais! refreshing after all neat rum sampling. Sometimes you need to clean your palate with a tiki drink!
And when Daniele comes to town it sure gonna be a Sexy Coladas and a party! this particular Sexy Colada was served on top of a glass that contained fresh coconut water….a wonderful treat.
No rumfest anywhere without these guys….and the International judges of rhumfest Paris awards, but there needs to be more women! I was the only one! maybe there´ll be some more next year?
Time for tiki drinks at Dirty Dick! here is the Marrero daiquiri which is the Dirty Dick hommage to Ramon “Monchito” Marrero Pèrez, the creator of the original Pina Colada. (cirka 1954) It´s a fresh, light and sharp drink and I love the presentation…
Lovely drink! the “Mystic Fist of Ku” the drink that gives you unlimited power! and I love the garnish!
Tiki tap handles and beautiful Painkiller.
From Dirty Dick to Mabel…time for some serious rum tasting with the new El Dorado cask strength rums!
The 1999 Port Morant is just an explosion of flavors, it was my fav of the three, but that said, the Versialles was in it´s own way almost equally good, or at least it was more interesting because the flavors kinda kept growing on you….I would like to spend more time with it, with both! the Enmore I didn`t care so much about, not that it was not good, it was, but to me, it lacked something special…these two were for me the winners of the range.
This is a great place to go if you wanna try rums, they have an amazing collection!
Baba au Rhum, a treat that waited for me until after the last part of the judging and it was so worth waiting for! what a dessert! and sooooo rum soaked….with wonderful flavorful rum and it melted in my mouth! if I had the time I would have tried more of the foods at la Rhumerie but I will simply have to return.
Beautiful art and sculptures on the walls and in the room at la Rhumerie!
Rum books and rums at Christian de Montaguère, the “Atlas du Rhum” I hope to see in english soon!!
Unbelievable rhum from la Favorite! and my old Mixoloseum bag for booze is still going strong!
And that was all! hope to see Rhumfest again the next year! Cheers!
For those who doesn`t know, the Facebook group “La Confrérie du Rhum” is now counting over 12 000 members and it keeps growing! when I wrote about their first rum La Confrérie Barbados 2000 in about a year ago the membership was 3600, so it has more than tripled in a year!
As a member of this group since the beginning and a regular visitor I can easily say this is one of the most talkative rum groups around, and there´s a lot of rum knowledge there, with – naturally since the group is french, a lot of rhum agricoles being discussed (and in between there´s everything else)
But Velier and Silver Seal rums also has a very strong presence as well since those kinds of usually cask strength, full proof, no-additives, one of a kind demerara, caroni and agricole rums are not only some of the best you can get on this planet but they have always been solid in Europe. Personally they were my favorite rums since years back.
If you want to explore the wonderful and interesting rhum agricoles, this is place to be, I have learnt so MUCH during my time there!
In early 2014, Jerry Gitany and Benoit Bail started secretly working together with the distillery La Favorite in Martinique and they worked on a special bottling dedicated to the group. Now almost 2 years later this “cuvèe” dropped just before last Christmas, in 2015.
This collaboration finally brought to a wonderful 20 years old agricole rum which was bottled, waxed and labeled by hand and packaged in beautiful boxes together with 2 tasting glasses branded by the distillery and the group. The price is 205 euro.
This single cask agricole rum is issued from 4 different casks and each bottle shows the cask which it´s issued from and it´s degree of alcohol on the label. There´s a limited edition of 1000 cask strength bottles at 45% ABV. It´s a one of a kind rum.
So here´s my taste notes:
Appearance: very beautiful dark mahogany.
Nose: The nose is round and full, there´s mature tropical fruits like juicy banana mash and peels, sugarcane, hints of florals and herbals, apricots, mango, aromatic and sweet…
Mouth: Deep….this rum is deep and very balanced. Notes of the same fruits as in the nose, hints of wood, it`s a dry rum and it has very pleasant dry aftertaste and is mild and smooth, really caressing the palate. In overall a well balanced, elegant and very pleasant rum to sip. Medium long and dry finish.
Thats it folks! if you can, go get it….it won`t last long.
La Confrérie du Rhum Facebook Group page is here and you can buy this rum at Christian de Montaguére, in his shop in Paris or by contacting Christian.
This year was without doubt the best Rumfest ever! such great selection of rums and classes, tastings and good people. The venue, the ILEC Conference Centre is a good place for this and I don`t think it felt too crowded this year. With over 400 rums to try a rum enthusiast will be very busy these 2 days…
The varietes and types of rums was astonishing – everything from old favorites and big brands to new rums for this years UK Rumfest. Some of the old ones included St Nicholas Abbey, Foursquare, Real McCoy, Bristol Spirits, Don Q, Westernhall, St Aubin, Ron Diplomatico, Botran, Pusser`s, Angostura, Rum Fire and more….
And some of the new rums included Hamilton rums and Matugga and then there was a new rhum agricole tasting room manned by Benoit Bail and Jerry Gitany with several tastings of different agricole cane spirits from Martinique with four tastings a day (!) which was a great new addition for this year – as well as the House of Velier tasting room.
The House of Velier tasting room and session by Gianluca Gargano….who brought not only his educational and entertaining classes to the UK Rumfest but also an array of absolutely incredible rums – among them were four of the eight new upcoming Habitaion Velier pure single pot still rums, one among them in collaboration with Foursquare. You can see them all here.
More rhum agricoles and the presence of Velier is what i have been missing the previous years….now i`m very happy 🙂 and I hope the presence of Hamilton rums is an indication of those rums being sold in Europe soon….that said, there were of course a LOT of other interesting and exciting rums too! too many to get to try them all believe it or not.
The day before the rumfest which was on the saturday and sunday, was the Boutique Rumfest, an event for the trade with a great selection of rums on display as well and a chance for people in the industry to get together. And before the Boutique Rumfest was the Rum University with masterclasses by Tito Cordero from Ron Diplomatico. Richard Seale from Foursquare and Aroma Therapy.
And of course there were cocktail competitions, rum auctions and Caribbean rum cooking……..paired with the traditional carnival dancers and drummers.
I started my UK Rumfest adventure with a trip on the thursday night to the Tiki on Thames Rumfest Party at Mahiki which was very nice with a whole bunch of good rum friends there. Mahiki has some beautiful tiki decor and the drinks were good and the ambiance wonderful!
Doesn`t matter how much you know about rum, or think you know…there´s always much much more to learn, and the Rum University is a good thing to attend! the rum school never ends…
This year there were three seminars, the first was with Tito Cordero about Ron Diplomatico which contained some very interesting information about how their rums are distilled, in an intricate way with many different stills and ways, I had no idea…and then of course we got to taste one of their rums., the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva.
Ron Diplomatico grow their own sugarcane in Venezuela and use water from their own wells behind the distillery, also they propagate their own yeast, it´s one of the world´s top range rums.
The next seminar, the Aroma Therapy was all about mastering the art of olfaction that forms our sense of smell and the ability identificate aromas and smells. We got taste strips which over a matter of minutes changed their fragrances, and we wrote down what flavor notes we got from them before the true flavor notes of the strips was revealed, a very interesting experiment.
When you describe a flavor note, go from A-Z, for example “banana” is not just “banana” it can be so many things – from unripe or green to caramelized with raw sugar and one key thing to id aromas and smells is aroma recognition. Go into the depth of what you taste and smell when trying to describe it.
The last seminar was with Richard Seale debunking rum myths and revealing some hard facts and truths….also talking about rum cathegories and distillation. Anyone interested in rum should go to one of Richard`s seminars. One thing to learn is that fermentation is the making of the “wine” and the creation of flavor while distillation is the extraction of flavor, while maturation is the evolution of flavor.
He also made an interesting experiment, we got three glasses with clear spirit, two were industrial rums and one contained a vodka and he asked us to pick out which one was the vodka, and that sounds like an easy task but it wasn`t, me for one, was very unsure about which one was what and that my friends showed me how some industrial rums are made to be just like vodka…an eye opener for sure.
I don`t know which brands of rums they were but I know for sure that that is NOT the kind of rums I want to drink, I want rum to taste like rum and don`t want it to be industrial. Also there were two glasses, one with a pot still rum and one from a column to show us how the pot more accurately captured the raw material, the wine of the molasses and smelled like true rum.
Further Richard stated that all rums that contains sugar are not bad but all bad rums contains sugar….
After the Rum Univeristy the Boutique Rumfest was on…and when you come out to that rum filled room you feel like children coming to a big playground full of candy and toys… 😀
There was a good selection of rum producers displaying their rums, the good thing about Boutique Rumfest is that they have time to really chat with you since it`s not so crowded. It`s also a place to get to try more odd rums that you usually don`t stumble on and one such rum and that had a very different flavor was Matugga rum which is made in the UK using ingredients from East Africa.
Another interesting rum was Nine Leaves from Japan, a rum that tastes better than I knew coming from a country which is known more for their whiskies than rum.
Also happy to see the Hamilton rums there, for the first time in Europe and I sampled the three I reviewed earlier this summer (Guyana 43%, Jamaica Pot Still Black and Saint Lucia Pot Still 7 years) plus the Jamaican Pot Still Gold and the Saint Lucia Pot Still 9 years, and it was all good…..I especially liked the Saint Lucia 9.
Heavy rums with a lot of rich and pungent flavors.
Rumfest Day One
And finally, the big day! the Rumfest with everything that it entails….LOTS of rums to discover and try as well as old favorites to drink again. Caribbean food and music and lots of seminars and tastings! and the “global rum mafia” was well represented! It`s the people that makes it all up! old friemds and new friends, you meet them all the Rumfest!
House of Velier
First tasting seminar for me was House of Velier, what else? it`s some of the best rums in the world and I been a fan of Velier rums for many years. I followed the notes that was taped to the walls….eager to get to the rum sanctuary called “House of Velier Tasting Room”….hmm….those are some magic words…
The rest of the people coming after me could surf on the waves of drooling on the carpet…..but joke aside, it was very special.
Just follow the signs….
Luca Gargano, always so passionate about his rums presented a great session with some really incredible rums to sample, some which probably i`ll never get to try again. Luca took us through his history with rum from when he as a young brand ambassador for St James rhum in the 70s first went to Martinique………at the time he fell in love with rhum/rum and never looked back.
When he was 27 he purchased the company Velier and started to import several brands of rums and the rest is (very interesting) history until this day with Luca for the first time at the UK Rumfest presenting a few of his wonderful and unique rums.
I saw and also wrote about his Clairin presentation earleir at this year`s Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and it was absolutely fabulous.
Among the rums he presented was the red magnum bottled “Caroni 2000 Millenium” (Extra Strong 120 proof) and which blew me away….and the fabulous “Basseterre -95” from Guadeloupe, four expressions of the House of Velier Single Pot Still rums, Uitvlught 1996, the new Caroni 17 year, the wonderful Clairins from Haiti, Rhum Rhum 2012 version integrale (higher proof) Caroni single cask 2000, Diamond 1999……..oh my the RUMS!
And very interesting was the new soon to be launched single pot still rums (looking forward to get me a bottle of that Foursquare – or if possible, all of them….)
It was a tasting fest like no other! when you get to taste these kinds of rums, the word “rum” gets a whole new meaning.
Rhum Agricole from Martinique
After Velier I went to the Rhum Agricole tasting session, “Rhums of Martinique” by Benoit Bail and Jerry Gitany where we could sample different rhums agricoles, among them rhums from St James, Trois Rivières, La Mauny, Neisson, Rhum JM, HSE, Rhum Clemènt…all great rhums.
I`m very happy to see so much more rhum agricoles at the UK Rumfest, it has been called for for a long time….we need more rhum agricole at the (non french) rum events.
A Baby has grown up!
Yep! there´s a “rum baby” that has grown up this year….namely St Nicholas Abbey`s newest rum which a little bit pre-maturely was launched last year….the 5 year old expression.
This year the baby has grown up and the flavors matured. It has the typical st Nicholas Abbey flavor, an explosion of flavors in other words, I think it tastes stronger and more complex than it was last year.
This rum was made from their white rum that was laid to rest creating their first estate produced 5 year old rum.. It`s their first rum distilled and aged entirely on the estate (the previous rums were made exclusively for the plantation by master Distiller Richard Seale from R.L Seale and Foursquare) and was ready in 2014.
The St Nicholas Abbey Rum 5 Year Old is a beautiful Rum that commemorates a beautiful story – not least, the first generation of Warren’s, Arthur and Henry, born into St. Nicholas Abbey 21st May 2014.
It`s only to congratulate! it`s a fine fine range of rum expressions, on the very top of good rums in this world and if you would do a blind tasting you would easily be able to pick up any of the St Nicholas Abbey rums because they really do have a very distinct flavor.
And not only do they sell their beautiful rums in hand engraved botttles at their estate and distillery on Barbados, there´s all kinds of absolutely gorgeous products, one is their sugarcane syrup which was on display at the Rumfest. And it`s not your usual sugar syrup, this is made with their sugar cane “honey” (not the same as honey from the bees:-) which is fermented sugar cane juice and it has a deep deep flavor….same as their rums and no wonder, that`s what their rums are made from…
Of course Foursquare had their Doorly`s there and also the Port Cask Finish which I also tried last year, but this year there were also a few new expressions (at least to me) that I had not tasted before, all special casks – a 2004 vintage at 61%, a Sinfadel Cask Blend at 43% and a 2013 Cognac Cask at 65%, they were all very good!
These are rums for sipping and enjoying slowly….good rums shall never be gulped down! you waste the precius (and often expensive) “juice” and miss out on the whole array of taste notes that is hidden in the “treasure chest”….
I wouldn`t use these in cocktails either, some rums are best sipped neat.
I like to see Foursquare coming up with more cask strength rums because I think they carry so much more flavor and punch, they are so much more interesting….
Rumfest Day Two
Same same but different….with other rums to try that I missed yesterday and it´s always such a good feeling to return to that happy rum filled big room on the sunday…. 🙂 and I did go back to the Velier tasting room since there were some additional other rums to try on the sunday and I don`t need to be asked twice if I want to return to a Velier tasting room….I could go to a Velier tasting room every day the whole year long.
I also went back to the Rhum agricole tasting room too to try what I missed yesterday….because yesterday there was so much chatting that I missed out on some of the rums when time did run out….
Followed the agricole tasting room was the Mauritius Gold Cocktail Competition and then the traditional Caribbean drummers and dancers which always closes down the Rumfest.
Another nice thing was the Bacardi “hut” with cool cocktails, same way as last year but another rum (Bacardi 8) and other cocktails. This time we got a wooden tray with three mini cocktail “glasses” on, one was a Bacardi 8 neat, one was an Old Fashioned and one was the “Old Cuban” cocktail.
Very tasty (especially the Old Cuban) and very neat! I really like how they present their products.
Passing by the Angostura both beautifully arranged with all their iconic rums and bitters I saw one of the coolest rum barrel mugs ever, if I could just get me one of these….I wish….if I had one of these mugs i`d make tiki drinks with Angostura 5 and 7 year old rums….how cool wouldn`t that be? what I love the most about it is how beautiful the barrel is and then the butterfly!!
Beautiful Angostura rums
Here´s pictures of the Rumfest, I hope to see you there the next year dear readers of my blog 🙂 it`s an amazing event with so much to see and do!
Jamaican flavors with Blackwell rum! and cocktails….
The Golden Eye and Black Storm…followed by…
…..some JWray overproof Rum Punches!
The man responsible for it all….Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell. Holding the special Rumfest Blend!
Ekte Rum from Copenhagen Rum Club! Dark and Aged…
Pungent and Geeky!
What would a rumfest be without pirates? and this particular pirate, “Jack” was everywhere…. 😀
I see this rum every year…it`s a good one and to me the rumfest would be “empty” without this bottle around….
More good overproofs….RumFire and RumBar.
Another brand I like, Mezan rums, especially the Monymusk one.
At the Don Q stand, Alexx Mouzouris did a fantastic job with both the cocktails and the decorations…..just like he did the last year. He knows how to make it stand out and look inviting and special! and he sure knows how to make super tasty cocktails.
Rums from Mautitius….
Bristol Classic….another rum i`m used to see at the UK Rumfest, this is a classic good rum brand with many different expressions and types of rums represented.
And Real McCoy! this is a very very good rum! made by Foursquare for Real McCoy.
This picture is just to make you thirsty… 🙂
And when you`re thirsty….a Painkiller is never wrong….
Cheers and Up Spirits!
Pusser`s Gunpowder Proof.
Rhum agricole, so different from molasses rums and equally good, this is what I love about rum, there´s so many different ones!
In between rums or WITH rums, Shocka´s coconuts is a must have at the UK Rumfest. I filled mine with Mezan Monymusk rum….
A very good sugarcane syrup, made on Martinique.
Trois Rivières….nice rhums.
HSE – Habitation Saint Etienne, Sherry Finish, a very good rhum agricole.
Here`s the new 17 year old Caroni by Velier, it´s very good….
The 2000 Caroni Millenium magnum bottle, an incredible rum! with the 17 year, these are some seriously good rums and if I could afford that big red magnum Caroni….but maybe one day.
Velier rums…a whole table full of them for tasting….
Caroni, single Cask.
Aged in the tropics.
More tropical aged demerara rums from Velier….
This is rum prn for rum geeks…..
Basseterre -95, a fantastic rum from Guadeloupe, I like this one very much.
Rhum Rhum 2012, the stronger version (version integrale) amazing rum!
Habitation Velier, Forsythe Pot Still 2005. On the back label it says “it`s the fruits of the first distillation in more than 50 years at Worthy Park in the double retort pot still built by Forsyth. Barrel proof without additives or colorings. It was the first rum to be produced at Worthy Park when the historic estate which had previously worked interruptedly since 1670, started distilling again.
Uitvlugt 1996….another amazing rum.
Aloha time at Mahiki 🙂
With tasty Pina Coladas.
Giant clam shell to wash your hands in at the ladies room, Mahiki, beautiful!
So it started with a tiki bar and ended with another tiki bar….
After the Rumfest closed down there was the traditional after party at the Trailer Happiness!!! something I did NOT wanna miss! and there we got these huuuuuge Zombies in skull mugs…..and I don`t know what they did put in those but yes they totally zombied me out ….. 😀
This was so not to be missed! What a wonderful way to finish the Rumfest, with these huge superpotent Zombies! I hope I can be back again the next year!