UK Rumfest 2015!

Here comes the RUM

 

IMG_1628

This year was without doubt the best Rumfest ever! such great selection of rums and classes, tastings and good people. The venue, the ILEC Conference Centre is a good place for this and I don`t think it felt too crowded this year. With over 400 rums to try a rum enthusiast will be very busy these 2 days…

The varietes and types of rums was astonishing – everything from old favorites and big brands to new rums for this years UK Rumfest. Some of the old ones included St Nicholas Abbey, Foursquare, Real McCoy, Bristol Spirits, Don Q, Westernhall, St Aubin, Ron Diplomatico, Botran, Pusser`s, Angostura, Rum Fire and more….

And some of the new rums included Hamilton rums and Matugga and then there was a new rhum agricole tasting room manned by Benoit Bail and Jerry Gitany with several tastings of different agricole cane spirits from Martinique with four tastings a day (!) which was a great new addition for this year – as well as the House of Velier tasting room.

The House of Velier tasting room and session by Gianluca Gargano….who brought not only his educational and entertaining classes to the UK Rumfest but also an array of absolutely incredible rums – among them were four of the eight new upcoming Habitaion Velier pure single pot still rums, one among them in collaboration with Foursquare. You can see them all here.

More rhum agricoles and the presence of Velier is what i have been missing the previous years….now i`m very happy 🙂 and I hope the presence of Hamilton rums is an indication of those rums being sold in Europe soon….that said, there were of course a LOT of other interesting and exciting rums too! too many to get to try them all believe it or not.

The day before the rumfest which was on the saturday and sunday, was the Boutique Rumfest, an event for the trade with a great selection of rums on display as well and a chance for people in the industry to get together. And before the Boutique Rumfest was the Rum University with masterclasses by Tito Cordero from Ron Diplomatico. Richard Seale from Foursquare and Aroma Therapy.

And of course there were cocktail competitions, rum auctions and Caribbean rum cooking……..paired with the traditional carnival dancers and drummers.

I started my UK Rumfest adventure with a trip on the thursday night to the Tiki on Thames Rumfest Party at Mahiki which was very nice with a whole bunch of good rum friends there. Mahiki has some beautiful tiki decor and the drinks were good and the ambiance wonderful!

Mahiki 1

Rum University

Doesn`t matter how much you know about rum, or think you know…there´s always much much more to learn, and the Rum University is a good thing to attend! the rum school never ends…

This year there were three seminars, the first was with Tito Cordero about Ron Diplomatico which contained some very interesting information about how their rums are distilled, in an intricate way with many different stills and ways, I had no idea…and then of course we got to taste one of their rums., the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva.

Ron Diplomatico grow their own sugarcane in Venezuela and use water from their own wells behind the distillery, also they propagate their own yeast, it´s one of the world´s top range rums.

Ron Diplomatico masterclass

The next seminar, the Aroma Therapy was all about mastering the art of olfaction that forms our sense of smell and the ability identificate aromas and smells. We got taste strips which over a matter of minutes changed their fragrances, and we wrote down what flavor notes we got from them before the true flavor notes of the strips was revealed, a very interesting experiment.

When you describe a flavor note, go from A-Z, for example “banana” is not just “banana” it can be so many things – from unripe or green to caramelized with raw sugar and one key thing to id aromas and smells is aroma recognition. Go into the depth of what you taste and smell when trying to describe it.

Aroma Academy

The last seminar was with Richard Seale debunking rum myths and revealing some hard facts and truths….also talking about rum cathegories and distillation. Anyone interested in rum should go to one of Richard`s seminars. One thing to learn is that fermentation is the making of the “wine” and the creation of flavor while distillation is the extraction of flavor, while maturation is the evolution of flavor.

He also made an interesting experiment, we got three glasses with clear spirit, two were industrial rums and one contained a vodka and he asked us to pick out which one was the vodka, and that sounds like an easy task but it wasn`t, me for one, was very unsure about which one was what and that my friends showed me how some industrial rums are made to be just like vodka…an eye opener for sure.

I don`t know which brands of rums they were but I know for sure that that is NOT the kind of rums I want to drink, I want rum to taste like rum and don`t want it to be industrial. Also there were two glasses, one with a pot still rum and one from a column to show us how the pot more accurately captured the raw material, the wine of the molasses and smelled like true rum.

Further Richard stated that all rums that contains sugar are not bad but all bad rums contains sugar….

Rum Univ RS

After the Rum Univeristy the Boutique Rumfest was on…and when you come out to that rum filled room you feel like children coming to a big playground full of candy and toys… 😀

There was a good selection of rum producers displaying their rums, the good thing about Boutique Rumfest is that they have time to really chat with you since it`s not so crowded. It`s also a place to get to try more odd rums that you usually don`t stumble on and one such rum and that had a very different flavor was Matugga rum which is made in the UK using ingredients from East Africa.

Another interesting rum was Nine Leaves from Japan, a rum that tastes better than I knew coming from a country which is known more for their whiskies than rum.

Also happy to see the Hamilton rums there, for the first time in Europe and I sampled the three I reviewed earlier this summer (Guyana 43%, Jamaica Pot Still Black and Saint Lucia Pot Still 7 years)  plus the Jamaican Pot Still Gold and the Saint Lucia Pot Still 9 years, and it was all good…..I especially liked the Saint Lucia 9.

Heavy rums with a lot of rich and pungent flavors.

Rumfest Day One

Rumfest

And finally, the big day! the Rumfest with everything that it entails….LOTS of rums to discover and try as well as old favorites to drink again. Caribbean food and music and lots of seminars and tastings! and the “global rum mafia” was well represented! It`s the people that makes it all up! old friemds and new friends, you meet them all the Rumfest!

House of Velier

First tasting seminar for me was House of Velier, what else? it`s some of the best rums in the world and I been a fan of Velier rums for many years. I followed the notes that was taped to the walls….eager to get to the rum sanctuary called “House of Velier Tasting Room”….hmm….those are some magic words…

The rest of the people coming after me could surf on the waves of drooling on the carpet…..but joke aside, it was very special.

Velier tasting room signs

Just follow the signs….

Luca Gargano, always so passionate about his rums presented a great session with some really incredible rums to sample, some which probably i`ll never get to try again. Luca took us through his history with rum from when he as a young brand ambassador for St James rhum in the 70s first went to Martinique………at the time he fell in love with rhum/rum and never looked back.

When he was 27 he purchased the company Velier and started to import several brands of rums and the rest is (very interesting) history until this day with Luca for the first time at the UK Rumfest presenting a few of his wonderful and unique rums.

I saw and also wrote about his Clairin presentation earleir at this year`s Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and it was absolutely fabulous.

Velier tasting table

Among the rums he presented was the red magnum bottled “Caroni 2000 Millenium” (Extra Strong 120 proof) and which blew me away….and the fabulous “Basseterre -95” from Guadeloupe, four expressions of the House of Velier Single Pot Still rums, Uitvlught 1996, the new Caroni 17 year, the wonderful Clairins from Haiti, Rhum Rhum 2012 version integrale (higher proof) Caroni single cask 2000, Diamond 1999……..oh my the RUMS!

And very interesting was the new soon to be launched single pot still rums (looking forward to get me a bottle of that Foursquare – or if possible, all of them….)

HOV Foursquare Potstill

It was a tasting fest like no other! when you get to taste these kinds of rums, the word “rum” gets a whole new meaning.

Rhum Agricole from Martinique

After Velier I went to the Rhum Agricole tasting session, “Rhums of Martinique” by Benoit Bail and Jerry Gitany where we could sample different rhums agricoles, among them rhums from St James, Trois Rivières, La Mauny, Neisson, Rhum JM, HSE, Rhum Clemènt…all great rhums.

I`m very happy to see so much more rhum agricoles at the UK Rumfest, it has been called for for a long time….we need more rhum agricole at the (non french) rum events.

st James XO

A Baby has grown up!

Yep! there´s a “rum baby” that has grown up this year….namely St Nicholas Abbey`s newest rum which a little bit pre-maturely was launched last year….the 5 year old expression.

This year the baby has grown up and the flavors matured. It has the typical st Nicholas Abbey flavor, an explosion of flavors in other words, I think it tastes stronger and more complex than it was last year.

This rum was made from their white rum that was laid to rest creating their first estate produced 5 year old rum.. It`s their first rum distilled and aged entirely on the estate (the previous rums were made exclusively for the plantation by master Distiller Richard Seale from R.L Seale and Foursquare) and was ready in 2014.

The St Nicholas Abbey Rum 5 Year Old is a beautiful Rum that commemorates a beautiful story – not least, the first generation of Warren’s, Arthur and Henry, born into St. Nicholas Abbey 21st May 2014.

St Nicholas Abbey

It`s only to congratulate! it`s a fine fine range of rum expressions, on the very top of good rums in this world and if you would do a blind tasting you would easily be able to pick up any of the St Nicholas Abbey rums because they really do have a very distinct flavor.

And not only do they sell their beautiful rums in hand engraved botttles at their estate and distillery on Barbados, there´s all kinds of absolutely gorgeous products, one is their sugarcane syrup which was on display at the Rumfest. And it`s not your usual sugar syrup, this is made with their sugar cane “honey” (not the same as honey from the bees:-) which is fermented sugar cane juice and it has a deep deep flavor….same as their rums and no wonder, that`s what their rums are made from…

Foursquare

Foursquare special casks

Of course Foursquare had their Doorly`s there and also the Port Cask Finish which I also tried last year, but this year there were also a few new expressions (at least to me) that I had not tasted before, all special casks – a 2004 vintage at 61%, a Sinfadel Cask Blend at 43% and a 2013 Cognac Cask at 65%, they were all very good!

These are rums for sipping and enjoying slowly….good rums shall never be gulped down! you waste the precius (and often expensive) “juice” and miss out on the whole array of taste notes that is hidden in the “treasure chest”….

I wouldn`t use these in cocktails either, some rums are best sipped neat.

I like to see Foursquare coming up with more cask strength rums because I think they carry so much more flavor and punch, they are so much more interesting….

Rumfest Day Two

Same same but different….with other rums to try that I missed yesterday and it´s always such a good feeling to return to that happy rum filled big room on the sunday…. 🙂 and I did go back to the Velier tasting room since there were some additional other rums to try on the sunday and I don`t need to be asked twice if I want to return to a Velier tasting room….I could go to a Velier tasting room every day the whole year long.

I also went back to the Rhum agricole tasting room too to try what I missed yesterday….because yesterday there was so much chatting that I missed out on some of the rums when time did run out….

Followed the agricole tasting room was the Mauritius Gold Cocktail Competition and then the traditional Caribbean drummers and dancers which always closes down the Rumfest.

Bacardi cocktails

Another nice thing was the Bacardi “hut” with cool cocktails, same way as last year but another rum (Bacardi 8) and other cocktails. This time we got a wooden tray with three mini cocktail “glasses” on, one was a Bacardi 8 neat, one was an Old Fashioned and one was the “Old Cuban” cocktail.

Very tasty (especially the Old Cuban) and very neat! I really like how they present their products.

Passing by the Angostura both beautifully arranged with all their iconic rums and bitters I saw one of the coolest rum barrel mugs ever, if I could just get me one of these….I wish….if I had one of these mugs i`d make tiki drinks with Angostura 5 and 7 year old rums….how cool wouldn`t that be? what I love the most about it is how beautiful the barrel is and then the butterfly!!

Angostura berrel

Angostura rums

Beautiful Angostura rums

Here´s pictures of the Rumfest, I hope to see you there the next year dear readers of my blog 🙂 it`s an amazing event with so much to see and do!

Blackwell rum

Jamaican flavors with Blackwell rum! and cocktails….

Blackwell rum cocktails

The Golden Eye and Black Storm…followed by…

Rum Punch with JWray

…..some JWray overproof Rum Punches!

Ian and reporter

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

Ekte Rum DA

Ekte Rum from Copenhagen Rum Club! Dark and Aged…

Ekte Rum PG

Pungent and Geeky!

Jack

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

Carnival time

Carnival dancing…..

Jack Iron

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

Overproof rums

More good overproofs….RumFire and RumBar.

Mezan rums

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

Orchids

At the Don Q stand, Alexx Mouzouris did a fantastic job with both the cocktails and the decorations…..just like he did the last year. He knows how to make it stand out and look inviting and special! and he sure knows how to make super tasty cocktails.

Rum Nation Jamaica

Rum Nation…

Mauritius Rums

Rums from Mautitius….

Bristol rums

Bristol Classic….another rum i`m used to see at the UK Rumfest, this is a classic good rum brand with many different expressions and types of rums represented.

Real mcCoy

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

limes

This picture is just to make you thirsty… 🙂

Pussers Painkiller

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

Painkiller mug

Cheers and Up Spirits!

Pussers Gunpowder rum

Pusser`s Gunpowder Proof.

La Mauny

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

Shockas coconuts

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

Sirop JM

A very good sugarcane syrup, made on Martinique.

Trois Rivieres rhums

Trois Rivières….nice rhums.

HSE

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

Velier Caroni 17

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

Velier Caroni rums

The 2000 Caroni Millenium magnum bottle, an incredible rum! with the 17 year, these are some seriously good rums and if I could afford that big red magnum Caroni….but maybe one day.

Velier bottles on table

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

Velier Caroni single cask 2000

Caroni, single Cask.

Velier Caroni single cask 2000 bottle

Aged in the tropics.

Velier Diamond 1999

More tropical aged demerara rums from Velier….

Velier HOV tasting table

This is rum prn for rum geeks…..

Velier Basseterre 95

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

Velier Liberation 2012 version integrale

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

Velier HOV Forsythe Pot still

Habitation Velier, Forsythe Pot Still 2005. On the back label it says “it`s the fruits of the first distillation in more than 50 years at Worthy Park in the double retort pot still built by Forsyth. Barrel proof without additives or colorings. It was the first rum to be produced at Worthy Park when the historic estate which had previously worked interruptedly since 1670, started distilling again.

Velier Uitvlugt 96 bottle

Uitvlugt 1996….another amazing rum.

Mahiki Aloha

Aloha time at Mahiki 🙂

Mahiki Pina Coladas

With tasty Pina Coladas.

The Ladies room at Mahiki

Giant clam shell to wash your hands in at the ladies room, Mahiki, beautiful!

So it started with a tiki bar and ended with another tiki bar….

After the Rumfest closed down there was the traditional after party at the Trailer Happiness!!! something I did NOT wanna miss! and there we got these huuuuuge Zombies in skull mugs…..and I don`t know what they did put in those but yes they totally zombied me out ….. 😀

Trailer After party

This was so not to be missed!  What a wonderful way to finish the Rumfest, with these huge superpotent Zombies! I hope I can be back again the next year!

Trailer Zombie

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

UK Rumfest 2015 is on the way!

UK Rumfest rum glass

Get ready! the Rum is coming to London again!

RumFest is set to return again to London this year, with its most comprehensive offering to date. Rum aficionados and newcomers are invited to immerse themselves in one of the world’s best loved spirits with masterclasses, seminars, cocktail making and quality tastings.

Over 400 of the rarest and most diverse rums in the market will be showcased at the event, which has become the one-stop resource for rum lovers up and down the country for the past nine years. The Golden Tot returns in 2015 providing access to the ultra-premium rum offerings and new private and intimate tastings will give discerning drinkers the chance to discover the rarest rums from around the world.

The jam-packed programme will also feature cocktail making competitions, a Christie’s rum auction, incredible food and the party atmosphere of Carnival Hour.

Ian Burell at the UK Rumfest

The ninth annual RumFest is already on course for its best year yet, taking rum lovers on a voyage of discovery through the glorious world of rum. Launched by Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell, the The Rum Experience’s RumFest has become one of the biggest events on the rum calendar and caters for everyone who enjoys a tipple, from novices to fully fledged rum connoisseurs.

2015 will see RumFest soar to new heights thanks to a refined, rum-fuelled programme set to both educate and entertain. Whether a keen rum enthusiast, all-round spirit lover or new to the category, RumFest is the one-stop shop for all to embrace rum as a lifestyle choice.

A day ticket to RumFest gives attendees unrivalled access to try and buy over 400 different blends from around the world. Following the success of last year the Golden Tot tokens return. Available on the day for just £5, the Golden Tots open the doors to rum’s elite and allows the more serious rum enthusiast to try rums that usually retail for over £200 a bottle.

Seminars and workshops take place across the two days where brands, ambassadors and leading industry figures give an in-depth insight into the world of rum including rum and food pairing and the making of rums. 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.

In a new move for 2015 RumFest’s trade sister show Boutique RumFest will make an appearance across the two days, giving the rum super fan unprecedented access to selected rums with private tastings that have previously been reserved only for those who work in the industry.

UK Rumfest Ian-at-auction

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.

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, cocktail competitions and more. 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.

UK Rumfest Chef-Hassan

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, 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.”

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.

See you there!

And here are the posts I made last year, if you wanna check out what`s going on at the UK Rumfest, and here`s all the posts from 2011-2014.

UK rum-experience-logo

UK Rumfest 2014 – Let there be RUM!!! (part two)

Sugarcane Mount Gay stand

Exciting rums…interesting (and tasty) seminars, good rum friends, carnival music and good food – that`s the UK Rumfest!(and in England good food to me spells either Caribbean food or Fish and Chips (with extra hotsauce) and there was Caribbean food in the venue and upstairs in the pub they had the most delicious and crispy fish and chips! oh how i miss that one now!

Here`s the second post about this years UK Rumfest! (the first part is here) I liked it a lot this year, the venue was very good and more intimate than last year which allowed rum lovers and producers to have better and easier discussions, likewise the rum selection was good – but i do have a wish though…i`d love to see Velier rums and more french style rhum agricoles…

Combined with main stage presentations featuring Chef Hasan De Four on cooking with rum, London auction house Christie’s hosted The RumFest’s first ever auction for charity including £5,200 on the hammer for one of the oldest bottles of rum in the world, dating back to 1780 from the recently discovered Harewood House collection. The auction had over 20 precious and rare rum lots sold to the highest bidder, for prices that stretched into the thousands.

Ian Burrell was on hand to take spectators and bidders through the history of each of the rums, while Christie’s auctioneer David Elswood hosted the Saturday highlight and a grand total of £10,670 to be donated to the WaterAid Charity Fund and the Geraldine Connor Foundation in Leeds.

On Friday the trade-only Boutique RumFest returned in association with the Cork Supply company (which btw had an interesting short seminar about cork) and allowed buyers, distributors, distillers, press and industry figures from as far as Fiji and India to come together and discuss and sample rum.

So let there be rum…

OVD and Wood´s 100

OVD collage

That was the first stand i stumbled into on the saturday when the rumfest started, first thing i saw was the OVD bottle …

OVD is a demerara rum from Guyana and OVD stands for Old Vatted Demerara, a rum i know since a long time and also wrote about long ago on this blog. OVD was first imported in Scotland in 1838 and is a blend of demerara rums that is aged for seven years in oak casks and it´s the best selling dark rum in Scotland.

But there was also Wood`s 100 which i also have known about for long but had never tried so now i had my chance and disappointed i was NOT! this rum is bursting with good flavors! and a plus in my book – it´s a bit stronger, i have a special love for full proof rums. This is a perfect rum for tots and tiki drinks.

Wood`s 100 is an excellent overproof navy rum also from Guyana and distilled at the diamond distillery using a combination of  spirits made in pot and column stills from sugarcane growing on the banks of the river Demerara. The appearance is dark and syrupy and the flavor is unrefined rich demerara with kick and depth.

OVD Woods collage

Ron Cubay

Next stop was Ron Cubay, i wrote a little about them last year and remember i said i need to re-visit them. This year they had a new rum there, Ron Cubay Extra Viejo – a light gold colored rum which is mix of white rum and extra aged rum reserves. That is old Cuban rums that are aged for an average of seven years and then some of the best whites that are aged for nearly 13 years in white American oak barrels. From what i remember of the taste of this rum, it had a quite intense fruity flavor, balanced and no harshness at all which was expected. The bottles are individually numbered and comes in a velvet leather effect gift box.

Cubay collage

Rum Punch!

Oh how i love these Caribbean rum punches! they serve them and sell them ready made at every UK Rumfest, some are small batch brands. Really, nothing is so Caribbean to me as a rum punch and i love their appetizing colors, usually red and the two i tried at this stand were all that.

The first i tried was the rum punch from River`s Rum from the River Antoine distillery in Grenada, and oh so tasty! after that i tasted W&D`s Caribbean Rum Punch, as tasty as as can be! it`s actually really nice to break off from all the neat rum sampling with a cold Rum Punch, it sort of clear the palate a bit too.

W&D Rum Punch also have a website where you can order both rum punches and Caribbean cakes for all occasions, they also offer non alcoholic punches! You can order from the website and also book them for catering at your events if you live in the UK. You can also check out their Facebook page and get the Party started with W&D’s Caribbean Punches!

More on rum punch later on this blog.

Rum punch collage

Excellent taste and so refreshing….

Foursquare

This distillery and it`s excellent rums and Richard Seale need no presentation. I spent a great deal of time here talking rum at this this stand. I tried a special one that was very interesting and oh so good…. not out for sale yet though. And luckily and finally the Doorly`s XO will soon be launched in the cold country where i happen to live…so a new Doorly`s XO will soon be comfortably installed in my home bar.

Here is a link to a video about the Foursquare rum distillery.

Foursquare collage

St Nicholas Abbey

Here comes the next absolut top quality rum, also from Barbados, i wrote about this distillery and their rums last year and this year they are launching their very own 5 year old, made at the distillery from start to end. A very exciting new rum from St Nicholas Abbey! more on this rum and the white one later.

Real Mc Coy

Another good one, i tried their rum the first time last year, it´s really good stuff and the Real Mc Coy rum has an interesting history that i wrote about when i reviewed their 5 year old rum. I`m gonna write about the 12 year old soon, which is my favorite of the three. But i recommend trying them all.

Pusser`s

This year there are two new rums arriving from Pusser`s to the UK, a 40.5 abv version of the current gunpowder proof rum (54.5%) and also a 100% natural spiced rum which is steeped for up to ten days with stem ginger, cinnamon, clove and vanilla.

Rhum Clemènt and Rhum JM

I wish there was more french caribbean rhum agricole at the rumfest! but at least there was Clemènt and Rhum JM both solid and good agricoles. I made sure i tried them all even though i`ve tried many of them before 🙂 Also on display they had the 25 year anniversary bottle from Rhum Clemènt made in collaboration with artist JonOne which i think is really really pretty! i want one! the glass too! and the content of the bottle is pure good rhum agricole…Clemènt V.S.O.P

Plantation

Plantation had a hut this year with all kinds of rum suspects walking in and out…They had the whole range to try on the stand, well almost…including their famous Stiggin`s Fancy Pineapple rum and the new Jamaican -98 Tokai which was very good.

Angostura

Angostura rum is always around, anywhere i go they are there and they are good, i like all of their rums and the bitters plus their amaro that was launched in the summer and which i`m gonna write about later. Angostura is always solid and consistent.

Angostura

El Dorado

The flagship of demerara rum, they went big this year and had pop up bars and masterclasses around London, they even made a El Dorado pop-up bar which was built like a replica of the Golden City.I will always love their rums, especially my “first love” the 15 year old.

Bacardi

Unsuspecting i passed by their hut…and was gently dragged in with the words, “do you want to try a few cocktails”? then seated at a table and a wooden tray appeared with 3 cocktails that were each made with a different Bacardi rums. One was smoking, the next was blackish and the third was served in a egg shell. Interesting. I looked at the tray, tried them and was caught by surprise…they were amazing! especially the one in the egg cup.

Bacardi cocktails

Taking a look at the menu on the tray revealed the cocktail recipes and which rums they were made with. The first one on the left with smoke in a mini bottle was the Phoenix Daiquiri – made by Rob Libecans – Bacardi Gold rum (stone washed) smoked barrel stave pomegranate oil, citric acid, mineral sugar)

The second in the middle was the Black Butter – made by Rich Woods – Bacardi Black rum, cherry bark, cola and toffee popcorn reduction. The third one in the egg cup (my fav) was the Bacardi 8 PJB – made by Monica Berg – Bacardi 8 year old rum (peanut infused) fresh lime, Norfolk raspberry cordial. A sort of variety on the daiquiri with the raspberry cordial as a sweetener. All three of them were really tasty cocktails! they are welcome to “kidnap” me into that hut again if they want…anytime!

Don Q

Over at the Don Q stand there were fantastic cocktails galore!

Made with the good Don Q Rums by Alexx Mouzouris – Don Q Brand Ambassador in Europe and bartender extraordinaire! I sampled one cocktail that was especially good, it was some kind of punch infused with chile peppers. He also decorated the booth with cymbidium orchids making it look tropical and almost tiki-ish…

The Don Q rums have recently redesigned their bottles honoring it`s heritage as one of America’s oldest family-owned and operated businesses. Destilería Serrallés has for over 149 years been producing many good rums .

Don Q collage

Don Q Cristal, one of  the classic rums from Don Q.

Alexx burning it

Alexx creating good flavors…

Sunset Rums

Genuinely Caribbean…rums, rum punches and hotsauces at this stand. I tried all the rums and punches and also bought a hotsauce and a green seasoning for my cooking at home – you can never have too many rums or hotsauces! Sunset strong rum is probably one of the strongest overproof rums there is (84.5% or 169 proof) and nah i didn`t try it neat but i had it in a rum punch.

Chocka´s Coconut Hub

Fresh coconuts with coconut water at Chocka`s Coconut Hub, freshly chopped in front of you. This is one of these things that i really like…and coconuts makes life go around….drink them fresh as is or pour some rum in it.

Chocka coconut collage

And there`s more….Mount Gay, Ron Botran, Havana Club, Gosling`s, Diplomatico, Mezan…there was over 400 rums at the rumfest and i cannot cover them all….and then we have the masterclasses/seminars and they were good!

MASTERCLASSES

Naval Style Rums Black Tot and Pusser`s with Martin Cate

Black tot seminar MC

This seminar about navy rum, the British Royal Navy and the black tot turned out to be a memorable one when sailors from the Royal British Navy took part in our sampling of the Black Tot Last Consignment Rum, telling their stories about how it was at the time and on that day. The so called Black Tot Day was the last day they could have their daily rum ration called a “tot”

It ended at precisely 6 bells in the forenoon watch (11am) when the last rum ration was issued aboard ships of the British Royal Navy. One of the sailors told me that he cried that day. The last tot was served on july 31 1970 and since then the Black Tot Day is celebrated every year in memory a 300 year old Royal Naval tradition.

So when the tot was not done anymore the British navy had no more use of those rum barrels they had stored in warehouses and so they emptied the barrels into wicker clad stone flagons which were sealed under HM Customs and Excise Supervision and were then transferred to Government bonded warehouses where they did sit for 40 years (!) and the rum was only used for state occasions and royal weddings.

Until when the stocks were acquired and bottled by Speciality Drinks who bottled them under the name Black Tot Last Consignment. When the flagons were opened there were three original solera rums there and these three were blended together to create the Black Tot rum. Original naval records states that the naval rums were rums from Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad.

Black tot collage 1

Black Tot rum and story telling, cheers!

The Black Tot rum is the last that exists today from the barrels they used to have on the British Royal Navy ships and this rum fetch a price of 610 British pounds per bottle, or 76 pounds for 5 cl and in the US around USD 1000. This rum is literally a piece of history in a glass and that`s what you pay for, is precious not only because of it´s history but also because this is the last that remain from the original barrels and when it´s gone it´s gone.

The Black Tot rum is a very good rum, containing 54% strong navy rum and one of the rums in the blend is demerara rum from Port Morant Guyana and it really does have a very deep, very woody demerara flavor with a long finish. It tastes old….but in a good way, with hints of very dark coffee, leather, smoke and tar. Not everybody likes the flavor, but i doIt`s believed that these rums were distilled in the 1940s.

We also sampled Pusser’s and their Blue Label which is a classic British Navy style rum, and needs no presentation….it`s inspired by the recipe used to produce the tot and using the same four rums required to make a real navy rum, rums from Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad. And as most of you know it`s a great fullbodied rum as well.

Black tot collage 2

Happiness and history in a glass…and yours truly enjoying a precious and memorable moment of tot cheering with the Royal Navy sailors.

Mahiki Cocktail Masterclass by Georgi Radew

mahiki seminar georgi

This seminar followed the Navy rum seminar…so from navy rum straight to tiki drinks! not bad at all…i could spend every day like this…

Georgi spoke about the history of the tiki cocktails from the old favorites to the new twists that are made at Mahiki with demonstrations of a couple of those cocktails including their Treasure Chest, which was tastier than i expected. Overall, the seminar was very good and entertaining, the Mahiki cocktails were all well made and very tasty!

The seminar was sponsored by Duppy Share so we got a presentation of the Duppy by the founder George Frost and of course we got to drink Duppy Share both neat and in the cocktails.

Tiki drinks + Duppy Share, yes i totally enjoyed this seminar!

Mahiki mugs

Awesome mugs made by Cheeky Tiki! i especially like that Zombie mug.

Mahiki session

And the tiki drinks all made with fresh fruits and good rum were all well made! 

mahiki treasure chest

The Mahiki Treasure Chest, it´s really tasty.

Plantation Rum

It´s always a pleasure to listen to Alexandre Gabriel and Paul McFadyen when they tell you about Plantation rums, it´s both interesting and entertaining. And of course we got to sample the star of the show the Stiggin`s Fancy pineapple rum, i consider myself  lucky to get a chance to do that for the third time now since last summer and then their new rum the 98 Jamaican tokai and single cask rums which of course, like the rest of the rums from the Plantation range, was nothing but excellent.

btw i love that Stiggin`s Fancy bottle… i wish i had one, full or empty to beautify my home bar…

Plantation collage

There were many more great seminars i`d liked to attended but you know, you need to be out there in the big room too meeting the people and sampling the rums! and when you do….time flies! And that is all for this year, hopefully i`m back again the next!

RUMFEST PICTURE PARADE!

Chef Hassan

Chef Hassan de Four cooking with rum….

Ian at auction

Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell at Christie´s rum auction

Duppy Share

 The lovely Duppy Share Rum, what a beautiful display!

Real Mc Coy12

The Real Mc Coy 12 Year Old Rum and their other rums as well are excellent! more on this 12 year old gem later!

There were not many agricoles from the french caribbean around for some reason but i did find Rhum Clemènt and Rhum JM….both brands makes excellent rhums.

Rhum Clement collage

Rhum Clemènt VSOP in the beautiful 25 Year Anniversary bottle. And yes indeed i do love me some Ti Punch!

ED rums

Amazing expressions from El Dorado, i like all their single barrel rums a lot! they had all their rums up for sampling, some in exchange for golden tot tokens. There were also of course the 5, 8, 12, 15 and 21 to sample.

The single barrel rums are more for the rum connoisseurs as they are not blended and as sweet or “smooth” as the others since they are straight from the barrels.

Rhum JM collage

Rhum JM, one of the classic good rhum agricoles from Martinique. 

Pussers collage

Only good things can come out from Pusser`s rums and fresh pineapples!  

Colorful caribbean rums

I love these colorful Caribbean rums with the sunshine vibe! and they really do have some interesting strong rums! one of my favorites is the Rivers…it tastes like a smoky JWray. Worthy Park Rum Bar is another good overproof, it actually won the best overproof at the Showrum 2014 in Italy, the Italy Rumfest.

atlas du rhum

I also got a chance to take a look in Luca Gargano`s (Velier Rum) new book “Atlas du Rhum” which is about rum and rum distilleries in the Caribbean. There´s only the french version out for now, it has recently been launched but the english version is on the way.

Mount Gay2

 Beautiful display and another solid rum, Mount Gay from Barbados. I love their XO and the Black Barrel! 

TIKI, TIKI, TIKI………….!

Trailer collage

A collage from Trailer Happiness…excellent tiki bar! i really wish i had been able to visit more of London`s tiki bars but hopefully the next time! I wish i could spend all my time just visiting tiki bars….

bar signs

Sign at the Pub “The George and Dragon”upstairs at the Ibis Hotel.

Ron Jeremy

Last time i saw this Ron Jeremy figure was in San Diego this summer at the Tiki Oasis at one of the room parties…..Ron Jeremy is everywhere…..here adorned with a colorful lei!

guiness cert 2

Guiness World Record Certificate, Largest Rum tasting in the world! well done Ian!

And at last….

Drink more rum

 

Check out my previous post about the Guiness World Record for the World`s Largest Rum Tasting and the Boutique Rumfest!

UK Rumfest 2014 – Let there be RUM!!! (part one)

Rum UnivHavana Club 7 anos

WORLD RECORD!

“ Rum is about history and that’s what we all achieved today ”  – Ian Burrell

This years UK Rumfest was different from the others i been to in that this year Ian Burrell did an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the World`s Largest Rum Tasting – and YES…we nailed it!

The world record was set with 353 participants, it´s official here.

World record rum tasting

The rum tasting took place at the ILEC Conference center, where also the UK Rumfest and the Boutique Rumfest took place. There were rums presented by six brands for tasting and joining Burrell in leading the tasting were Joy Spence from Appleton Estate, John Georges from Angostura, John Eason from DonQ, George Freegard from Pusser’s, Xavier Herrera from Diplomatico and Asbel Morales Lorenzo from Havana Club.

It was a great evening and i feel very happy to be part of that historic event! i took a little (not so good sorry) video when the announcement was made:

We weren`t sure if we would break the previous record which was recently done in Colombia so it was with great excitement we awaited the announcement after we had tasted all the premium rums on the table….and luckily we made it! and this is how happy the crowd was:

World record 3

Guinness world record collage

It was a great and funny evening! thanks to Peter Holland (The Floating Rum Shack)  for his awesome and fun selfie! now that was a good start…

THE RUM EXPERIENCE UNIVERSITY

rumexpuniv

That was the next thing up and this was a one day rum-course with several seminars covering rums, how rum is aged and blended, distillation, rum history, how to taste and appreciate rum, about sugarcane, molasses, rum barrels etc

Six of the world’s most knowledgeable rum aficionados shared their their knowledge under one roof. The world’s first female master blender and award winning Master Blender Joy Spence from Jamaica; From Canada Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum’s Master distiller Michael Delevante for his first masterclass in the UK; Havana Club’s Master blender Asbel Morales all the way from Cuba; Foursquare Rum Distillery’s award winning rum maker Richard Seale from the home of rum Barbados.

Michael Delevante spoke about Appleton Rum and Joy Spence, master blender with a vibrant personality from Appleton thought us among other things, how to taste rum, what to look for and how to appreciate the rum in the glass, Asbel Morales from Havana Club spoke about the Havana Club 7 year old Rum and Richard Seale from Foursquare Distillery on Barbados had a great and very interesting seminar about spirits distillation which was in depth and enlightening, i sure learnt a thing and two!

Here are a few short notes from the seminars:

  • That the yeast used by the Appleton distillery comes from the cane of the estate and that yeast culture been going since 1972.
  • There´s a lagoon on the Appleton Estate property where the water for the fermentation process comes from, water that has been filtered through the limestone formations.
  • Appleton uses both pot and column stills in different proportions, the column stills produces light fruity notes of pineapple, banana, coconut while the pot stills produces heavier types of rum (simplified)
  • One tropical year of ageing is equivalent to three years in cooler climates due to the evaporation (angel`s share)
  • When looking at an aged rum in the glass holding it up to the light, you will see a “green shadow” which is produced by tannins from the oak reflecting the light. The longer the rum been in the barrel, the more pronounced is the “green ring or shadow” Appleton 21 had a very pronounced such green shadow in the glass.
  • Distillation does not create flavor, it extracts it.
  • Fermentation creates flavor, distillation extracts flavor and maturation is the evolution of flavor.
  • Only three columns are needed to distill a spirit.
  • Cuba is the birthplace of light rum and rum in Cuba is much more than a drink it´s a cultural expression.
  • The youngest rum in the Havana Club 7 anos has been aged for 7 years and HC 7 is a blend of 4-6 different rums.
  • Cuba has over 80 local rum brands, ten of them are high quality rum brands.

And when it comes to rum the learning is a life-long journey…rum is actually more than just a drink, rum is a life style.

Rum University collage

BOUTIQUE RUMFEST

The Boutique Rumfest is a trade only event created specifically for New or Boutique Rums or Cachaça brands. The target audience  are wholesalers, distributors, spirit buyers, bar professionals etc and importers from all over Europe. I like this event because it´s calmer and so much easier to get time to talk to the exhibitors with less crowds. What i try to do is find and try interesting rums that are new to my palate, not necessarily new on the market even though of course new rums on the market always are a given. Here are a few of the rums i tried at the Boutique:

St Nicholas Abbey 5 Year Old

St Nicholas Abbey 5 year old

Here is the new release of the first ever estate produced rum at  5 years old rum from St Nicholas Abbey, very flavorful and it got that wonderful “St Nicholas Abbey” flavor to it. It`s an excellent rum and after their range of wonderful and totally amazingly good rums (the white, the 10, 12 and 15 (oh the 15….) these are rums that will blow your mind and that`s all i`m gonna say for now because a review will come and there i will write more in depth about this rum.

Duppy Share

Duppy Share 3

Duppy Share was released in the UK in july and is a golden Caribbean rum crafted from a blend of oak-aged spirits from the islands of Jamaica and Barbados. The  brand name “Duppy Share” takes its name from the dark spirits of Caribbean folklore known as duppies.

It is said that in the dead of night, when the distillers’ backs are turned, they journey between islands, stealing a share of the rum left ageing in old oak barrels. Spirit masters, and skilled in the fine art of blending, the duppies take only the best. It`s the same as what we know as the “angels share”  🙂 More on this rum later on this blog.

Authentic Caribbean Rum

The ACR or Authentic Caribbean Rum was developed as a symbol of authenticity, provenance and quality for rums within the WIRSPA family (The West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers’Association Inc) and designed to help trade customers and consumers identify Authentic Caribbean Rum brands it is also used to promote the development of Authentic Caribbean Rum.

The ACR marque had a whole range of authentic caribbean rums for tasting on the table, the brands belonging to the ACR are English Harbour 5 year Old, Cockspur Fine Rum, Doorly`s XO, St Nicholas Abbey 10 Year Old, Mount Gay XO, Traveller`s Five Barrel, Clarke´s Court Old Grog, Westerhall Vintage, El Dorado 15 Year Old, Barbacourt Réserve Spéciale Five Star Rum, Hampden Gold, Monymusk Plantation Special Reserve Rum, Barceló Imperial, Brugal XV, Captain Bligh XO, Chairman’s Reserve, Borgoe 8 Year Old Grand Reserve, Angostura 1919.

Here´s a whooole lot of great rums! one that is new to me is the Jamaican monymusk…

ACR collage

Westerhall

Westerhall Rums are rums from Grenada, the spice island of the Caribbean. They are genuine Caribbean rums with a down to earth island style. They have some good rums like their vintage and plantation rum and i`m also fond of their Jack Iron overproof .

Clarke`s Court

Another rum distillery from Grenada, Clarke´s Court. The distillery dates back to 1937 and they have a range of nice rums like the Old Grog, the #37 Blend and other tasty things like their Rum Punch and the nutmeg flavored Camerhogne Spice liqueur.

Rums from Mauritius…

I see them more and more…the rums from Mauritius – and i tried all i could try and liked many of what i tried too, the Mauritius Gold, St Aubin, Blue Mauritius and Green Island are all interesting rums from a very interesting and beautiful island. I haven`t tried all rums from Mauritius yet though, but at least more now after the Rumfest than before.

Bounty rum from Fiji

Paradise Beverages carried a range of rums from Fiji and one especially catched my attention, Bounty Rum overproof, it was great! i wouldn`t mind having a bottle of that one.

Bounty overproof

Two Indies Rum

A rum that is a mix of Indian and Caribbean (younger rums from Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica) styles of rum made by Amrut, a distiller in India that began production right after India got its independence in 1948. It`s a different rum in that the indian rum in the mix (3 year old) is made with something called jaggery goor which is a concentrated product of date, cane juice, or palm sugar and can vary from golden brown to dark brown in color. I have used it myself sometimes in simple syrup making to add a bit of a darker depth to tiki drinks, it´s pretty tasty.

From what i remember from the brief tasting of this rum is that it had a tropical fruit-ish but dark flavor with some spiciness.

Examples of furthermore rums were Ron Cubay, Doorly`s, English Harbour, Dos Madeiras, Ophtimus, Ron Centenario, Real McCoy, Seven Fathoms…some of these i will write about in my next post.

Clarkes court collage

Clarke´s Court Rums

Westerhall collage

Westerhall Rums, Jack Iron, Vintage and Plantation.

Mauritius collage

Beautiful rums from Mauritius 

Yes there are more rums than these…and i went to several interesting seminars – more will come in the next post, about the UK Rumfest!

Carnival lady

Duppy Share Punch anyone?

TOTS AT THE READY, IT’S RUM TIME AT THE UK RUMFEST 2014!

RUM EXPERIENCE 1

LESS THAN MONTH TILL LONDON HOSTS THE WORLD’S PREMIER RUM CELEBRATION, THE RUMFEST!

The UK Rumfest and the official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title attempt for the Largest rum tasting event!

The UK rumfest returns on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th October with a fresh look and a new venue. London’s ILEC Centre in Earl’s Court will play host to the eighth annual event, a celebration of rum and rum culture and in particular for 2014, a look at some of the most premium blends on the market.

The RumFest embodies the heart and soul of the spirit and the passion of its founder Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador. bringing together the world’s biggest, smallest, established and up-and-coming brands for a weekend of celebration, discovery and community.

Now in its eighth year the two-day event attracts both consumer and trade professionals alike, succeeding in developing even the most educated rum fans knowledge whilst introducing the spirit to complete novices. 2014’s RumFest will take proceedings to the new heights with a focus on the premium brands and blends within the category.

The all-new Golden Tot Tokens will give visitors the opportunity to take part in some exclusive tastings of ultra-premium blends that retail between £80 – £2000 a bottle. With limited amounts available, visitors are urged to get in quick before stocks of these exquisite blends run out fast.

RUMFEST AUDIENCE

Guests are invited to take part in Seminars, Masterclasses and Workshops taking place across the two days set to bring to light the delights of the category. Seminars hosted by prestigious brands including Angostura, Diplomatico, Mount Gay, Havana Club and Don Q who will take attendees on an intimate journey of rum discovery.

A selection of the industry’s greatest ambassadors including Richard Seale of Foursquare rum and one of the world’s best distillers Michael Delevante, will share their wealth of knowledge with a captivated audience. Food will also play a big part in this year’s proceedings with chocolate and marshmallow pairings, plus live cooking demonstration on the main stage washed down with handmade cocktails from the Global Rum Ambassador himself.

And i`m sure all the lovely Caribbean food vendors will be there this year again with their hot spicy food and potent Rum Punches…

Finally, the floor will be filled with live bands, souk dancers and the spirit of rum fully embraced in the ultimate party hour finale each day.A truly ‘rum-derful’ thing indeed.

speed comp

The RumFest takes place in London at the ILEC Conference Centre, Earl’s Court on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th October 2014. Standard tickets are now on sale at £49.95 via the website, which include access to all areas of the the event and single measure tastings from the majority of exhibitors. 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. This year as a precursor to The RumFest, Global Rum Ambassador, Ian Burrell will host a very special world record attempt for the World’s Largest Rum Tasting on Thursday 9th October. Limited tickets are available and can be purchased for just £10 via the RumFest website.

Moreover…

A  RUM TASTING EVENT LIKE NO OTHER!

Worlds largest rum tasting

Limited spaces available to the official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title attempt for the Largest rum tasting event with tickets on sale now

Thursday 9th October 2014
London’s ILEC, Earl’s Court
Tickets at £10 via rumfest.co.uk

On Thursday 9th October rum fans will have the honour of joining six leading rum aficionados in a very special tasting at London’s ILEC, ahead of the eighth annual The RumFest.

Handpicked by Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell, the selected rums are the cream of the crop within the rum category and the likes of the Serralles’ master distiller Roberto Seralles, Appleton’s esteemed Master Blender Joy Spence and Angostura’s Master Distiller John Georges, will guide enthusiasts on an unrivalled voyage of rum discovery.

In a unique twist, attendees will unite to make history in a bid to set the record for the ‘World’s Largest Rum Tasting’, adjudicated by an official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ representative. Limited tickets for this one-time-only event are on sale for only £10.

Rum’s biggest event, The RumFest, is set to get a lot bigger as it invites guests to become part of a record breaking attempt to host the world’s largest rum tasting, with hundreds of rum enthusiasts coming together to sample rums from across the globe. The tasting will be presented by leading brand representatives, who will be able to give attendees a comprehensive and unrivalled insight into six esteemed rums.

Rumfest 2014

Representing Jamaica, Appleton’s Rum will be sipped and savoured with commentary from revered Master Blender, Joy Spence, whilst Puerto Rico’s number one premium rum from the Serralles distillery, Don Q, will be sipped and savoured with none other than Master Distiller, Roberto Seralles.

For a historical twist Pusser’s Rum, launched in 1655, will be presented by Head of Rum Procurement George Freegard. Angostura will bring a taste of Trinidad to the evening hosted by Master Distiller John Georges and the delights of Cuban’s classic Havana Club will be presented by its Master Blender Asbel Morales Lorenzo. The finale to the evening will be the esteemed Diplomatico providing a taste of South America with former Golden Rum Barrels Awards winner and Rum Master, Tito Cordero.

Doors will open at 5pm where guests will be greeted with a welcome speech from Global Rum Ambassador and RumFest founder Ian Burrell, followed by an introduction to the rules and regulations of the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™. From 6.30pm the world record attempt will begin as guests taste the six rums from some of the world’s most revered rum distilleries followed by an audience Q&A and the presentation of the Guinness World Records certificate.

THE ESTEEMED PRESENTERS & RUMS

Appleton’s Rum – Master Blender, Joy Spence (Jamaica)
Serralles distillery, Don Q – Master Distiller, Roberto Seralles (Puerto Rico)
Pusser’s Rum – Head of Rum Procurement, George Freegard (Navy-style)
Angostura – Master Distiller John Georges (Trinidad)
Havana Club – Master Blender Asbel Morales Lorenzo (Cuba)
Diplomatico – Master Blender Tito Cordero (Venezuela)

Hosted by Global Rum Ambassador and The RumFest founder Ian Burrell

rum-experience-no-date

UK Rumfest 2013!! Celebrating all things RUM in London! part 2

Rumfest 2013 IAN

Mr Rum Ambassador Ian Burrel – Founder of the UK Rumfest

Here´s the second post on my round-up of the UK Rumfest that took place oct 12-13 at the ExCeL in London to celebrate all things Rum!

THE CONNAISSEUR´S COVE

Rumfest 2013 ED barrels

The Connaisseur´s Cove was new for this years Rumfest and was the secluded area for the true rum enthusiasts who were not there just to party but also to learn about rums more in-depth and get a chance to sample and savor some of the world´s finest rums.

And the “Cove” was crowded…much more than i expected and i think i should started in there first instead of us heading to the Boutique area because that area was never crowded like that.

Connaisseur´s Cove had rums such as Gosling´s, Centenario, Pusser´s, Ron Botran, El Dorado, St Nicholas Abbey, Don Q & Caliche, Angostura, R.L Seale and Doorly’s, Lamb´s Navy, Berry bros & Rudd, Green Island, Clarke´s Court, Ron Cubay, Chamarel, Diplomatico, Zacapa and Mount Gay.

Jax & Smatts was a combo of Jax coconut water and Smatt`s silver rum. Also Coco Real the fine cream of coconut brand paired up with Pusser´s rum for tasty painkiller cocktails.

I`m trying to feature the rums that are new to either me or the market my posts because to me the rumfest is very much about that, trying out new rums you never tried before – but that said i do of course sample from the well established premium brands too even if i already know what they taste like – just because they are so good….

And rums like Appleton, El Dorado or anything from Foursquare are all masterfully created marvels of good flavors, complexity and balance. You can`t go wrong with any of these rums, they are solid.

And i don´t think you can have too many rums..

FROM THE CARIBBEAN TO THE UK RUMFEST

Rumfest 2013 st nicholas abbey barrel

I was lucky to be able to come along and fetch the barrel with 15 year old rum from St Nicholas Abbey in Barbados and bring it to the UK Rumfest! That was really interesting and i shall admit i`m in love with the St Nicholas Abbey rum which i first discovered at the UK Rumfest in 2011.

This was when their flavorful white rum still had no name and was called the “See Through” but today it´s sold as their White Rum and it`s distilled from fresh sugar cane syrup and is absolutely fantastic – like all their rums.  A review of the white rum will follow in a separate post.

So here´s the rum from the dock to the Rumfest in pictures:

Rumfest st nicholas abbey boat and crate

On a rainy morning….a crate with a barrel of rum is transported to the UK Rumfest, the rum in the barrel is 15 year old rum from St Nicholas Abbey. I couldn´t wait to see that crate being opened…

Rumfest 2013 St Nicholas abbey mahogany and corks

Covering the crate on the inside under the first cover was a huge and very heavy piece of beautiful mahogany, taken from one of the old trees on the St Nicholas Abbey property, the oldest mahogany trees on the island. The same mahogany is also used in the hand stamped cork tops together with leather.

Rumfest 2013 st nicholas abbey barrel in crate and rolled

The barrel being taken out and rolled to the stand to be lifted and put up and made ready for the pouring of rum to be sampled and enjoyed at the Rumfest.

Rumfest 2013 St Nicholas abbey 15 yo

And here it is!! The first ever rum taken out of this specific barrel and poured into one of these beautiful bottles. Never yet tasted before until now…it was very exciting! and the rum tasted…oh so goood….one of the best you can get today.

It´s made with great attention to detail and is a true handcrafted work of art all the way to the beautiful bottle which you can get personally engraved.

Rumfest 2013 st nicholas abbey sugarcane honey and sugar

Sugarcane “honey” and pure brown sugar from the estate.

They don´t only make rum at the St Nicholas Abbey, there´s also wonderful sugars and condiments being made, all in the same hand crafted style. They also makes a beautiful rum cake and there´s picture of it in my previous post.

One thing i enjoyed tasting was the sugarcane honey – which is the evaporated sugarcane juice their rum is made of – because this rum isn´t made from molasses. The sugarcane honey does not taste like molasses either – instead it has a very earthy kind of flavor which tastes wonderful.

Rumfest 2013 st nicholas abbey hot and pepper sauces

They also make a wonderful hot sauce and equally nice pepper rum – i just love these little exotic tasty condiments!

SEMINAR WITH MARTIN CATE – SMUGGLER´S COVE

rumfest 2013 smugglers cove seminar

In his seminar “Tales from America´s No 1 Rum Bar” Martin Cate told us the story of his fabulous rum bar Smuggler´s Cove and also quite a bit of the story of the tiki bars and drinks.

Smuggler´s Cove is a bar that celebrates rums and it´s history along with the tiki and it´s history and together it becomes so much more than just tiki because the history of rum dates back so much longer.

They serve traditional drinks of the Caribbean islands, classic libations of prohibition-era Havana and exotic cocktails from legendary Tiki bars.

It´s all about the right drink in the right location with the right atmosphere – and of course – the right rum for the right drink! – and here Martin Cate is a master! – which makes me come to think about another master when it comes to pairing the right rums with the right mixers – yes you guessed it – Don the Beachcomber!

rumfest 2013 smugglers cove drink

Sidewinder´s Fang as served at the Smuggler´s Cove

At the Smuggler´s Cove they take pride in measuring the drinks for consistency.

Martin also do what he can to support business and buys well made good quality falernum for example even though he easily could make it himself. But if there´s small businesses that makes great products, why not support them?

They also have something called the Rumbustion Society where you get an opportunity to sample over 200 rums from countries around the world as a member. They have 3 different levels and on the third level you`ll be rewarded with a private distillery trip. And by then you`ll have tasted 200 rums and gained a lot of rum knowledge!

If you wanna know more about Smuggler´s Cove in San Francisco to go their website here. I for one have yet not been there but i hope that one day…

There was many more seminars or rum master classes but i didn´t make it to any other, it´s just too many things going on at the same time…and when you have fun time flies and all of a sudden you discover the day is over…

rumfest 2013 smugglers cove drinks seminar

And of course we got some nice cocktails to imbibe – one tasty spicy rum punch type of drink and then one with coconut that was soooo tasty! and i really really liked that one, so much that i went and asked Martin for the recipe so i can make them at home and also share with my readers.

The drink got no name so i call it Martin`s Coconut Punch…until Martin comes and give the drink a name…

Martin`s Coconut Punch

1 part Coco Real cream of coconut

2-3 dashes Angostura bitters

1 part fresh lime juice

2 parts Angostura 1919

And shake it up with ice and serve with ice cubes.

THE REAL MC COY

Rumfest 2013 real mc coy 12 yo

The Boutique Rumfest was a separated area for the trade only with various rums to sample and a much better chance to talk to the producers since it´s so much calmer. Last time i was at the Boutique Rumfest in 2011 it was taking place on the friday before the Rumfest started on the saturday but now it had it´s own area instead during the two rumfest days.

The first thing i saw in there was the “Real McCoy” rum booth and i was really happy to meet them in person for the first time, they are very nice people. The Real McCoy rum has a very interesting story and it´s a good rum. They sent me their 5 year old rum for review when i was in New Orleans this past summer.

Now i got a chance to talk to them in person and to try out their white and their 12 year old expressions. The white was good but the one i was really fond of was the 12 year old….it´s a very nice rum indeed with a round full bodied flavor.  I hope to pick up a bottle some day.

Cheers to you Real McCoy people!

BRISTOL SPIRITS

rumfest 2013 bristol rums

To my joy i saw the Bristol Spirits rums and of course went straight to taste them all and talk to the producer of these fine rums.

A bottle of 1999 Port Morant Demerara catched my attention of course…and not surprisingly also turned out to be my favorite rum from their range of exhibited rums. The PM 1999 does surely has to contain rum distilled from the double wooden pot still since it used to be in the Port Morant Estate that was founded in 1732.

Demerara is a designation of origin and is rum being distilled in Guyana. The only distillery today that is left in Guyana is the DDL – Demerara Distillers Limited and they operate all those stills that were brought from the now defunct Sugar Estates among which Port Morant is one.

The PM 1999 has a typical demerara flavor and is rich, full bodied with dark notes of dried fruit and chocolate. It is (46% ABV)

rumfest 2013 bristol caroni and port morant

After that i tried the 1998 Caroni which is a rum from Trinidad and the now defunct Caroni Distillery. Trinidad rums usually have a light style and so was this one. Light, elegant and flavorful.

But there´s also so called Heavy Caronis which are very fullbodied and strong rums with high alcohol content and a type of rum i like a lot. Some of the heavy Caronis i`ve tried actually even reminds me of the heavy Jamaican pot still rums or full proof demeraras but without the demerara flavor though.

It´s a shame the Caroni distillery is not operating, there´s some real good rums coming out from there and when they are gone they are gone because they are coming from an era that no longer exists..

I can say one thing, without the Rumfest i wouldn´t been able to try all these interesting rums!

OPHTIMUS

opthimus 15 oporto

Another rum i had never tried before even though i recognized the brand name so i went and tried their range of rums. They are of Cuban origin but are today made in the Dominican Republic.

Some quick tasting notes – the 15 year old (which i found sweet with hints of dried fruit and a flavor that comes upfront on the palate)  the 18 year old (smooth and somewhat “cool” and more of wood in the flavor, vanilla, honey) the 21 year old (fruity with caramel, oak, vanilla) the 25 year old (smooth, mature, vanilla, oak) the 15 year old porto finished, aged in porto barrels (raisin, grapes, dried fruit) and the 25 year old single malt barrel finished (semi-sweet, mature, honey)

It´s hard to try to get the flavors on a fast note like that but you get an overall impression though and to me it´s like that of a typical Cuban rum but then again i`m not an expert on Cuban rums…but i find them interesting.

DON PAPA

rumfest 2013 don papas

And now something different, a small batch rum from the Philippines called Don Papa – named after a hero of the Philippine revolution. Aged 7 years in American oak barrels. This is to me a very sweet rum with flavors of vanilla and candied fruits.

They made cocktails too and one that was pretty pleasant was made with coconut jelly and kalamansi juice, here´s the recipe:

COCO BREEZE

40 ml Don Papa rum

3 tblsp coconut jelly

3 big ice cub

Top with pink Guava juice (Tropical Groove)

Dash of fresh kalamansi juice ( or lime if you can`t find kalamansi) and add a lime for garnish too.

rumfest 2013 samba drums

Parabola Samba/Latin Fushion Collective and they were loud!!

rumfest 2013 samba 3

Samba dancers…

rumfest 2013 samba 2 pics

And it´s a Samba party!

Before the Rumfest i got to enjoy a little bit of London Cocktail week at various bars and there´s so incredibly many really great bars in London that i`m only gonna post pics from one, the first one i got to. Before i even had dropped my suitcase i was “dragged” into a glass lift outside of the Heron Tower and up we went….38 floors up to a bar called SushiSamba…

rumfest 2013 sushisamba lift

This lift was scary…

rumfest 2013 tonka bean old fashioned

But the Tonka bean Old Fashioned i had was worth it!

Tonka bean infused El Dorado 5 yo rum, Benedictine, Star Anise syrup and garnished with a flamed star anise that was attached at the top of a sugarcane stick to turn upside down and stir the drink with when the star anise finished burning.

Excellent cocktail! and a great bar with a fantastic view!

rumfest 2013 view from sushisamba

And excellent view of London from the bar.

rumfest 2013 view from sushisamba 2

See you again London at the next UK Rumfest!