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 meÂ 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 Â£5,200 on the hammer for one of theÂ oldest bottles of rum in the world, dating back to 1780 from the recently discovered Harewood House collection.Â The auction hadÂ 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 takeÂ spectatorsÂ and bidders through the history of each of the rums, while Christie’s auctioneerÂ David Elswood hosted the Saturday highlight and a grand total of Â£10,670 to be donated to the WaterAid Charity Fund and theÂ 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 togetherÂ and discussÂ and sample rum.
So let there be rum…
OVD and WoodÂ´s 100
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 agoÂ 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 itÂ´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 – itÂ´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 Â 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.
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 noÂ harshness at all which was expected. The bottles are individually numbered and comes in a velvet leather effect gift box.
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.Â 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 wereÂ 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 pageÂ andÂ get the Party started with W&D’s Caribbean Punches!
More on rum punch later on this blog.
Excellent taste and so refreshing….
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….Â not out for sale yet though. And luckily and finally the Doorly`s XO will soon be launched in the cold countryÂ 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.
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, itÂ´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.
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 ClemÃ¨nt and Rhum JM
I wish there was more french caribbean rhum agricole at the rumfest! but at least there was ClemÃ¨nt 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 ClemÃ¨nt 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…ClemÃ¨nt V.S.O.P
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 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.
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.
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 blackishÂ 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.
Taking a look at the menu on the tray revealed the cocktail recipes and whichÂ 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.Â All three of them were really tastyÂ cocktails! they are welcome to “kidnap” me into that hut again if they want…anytime!
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 almostÂ tiki-ish…
The Don Q rums have recently redesigned their bottles honoring it`s heritage as one of Americaâ€™s oldest family-owned and operated businesses. DestilerÃa SerrallÃ©s has for over 149 years been producing many goodÂ rums .
Don Q Cristal, one of Â the classic rums from Don Q.
Alexx creating good flavors…
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.
ChockaÂ´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 coconutsÂ makes life go around….drink them fresh as is or pour some rum in it.
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!
Naval Style Rums Black Tot and Pusser`s with Martin Cate
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 atÂ precisely 6 bells in the forenoon watch (11am) when the last rum ration was issued aboard ships of the British Royal Navy.Â One of the sailors told me that he cried that day.Â The last tot was served onÂ july 31 1970 and since then theÂ Black Tot Day is celebrated every year in memory a 300 year old Royal NavalÂ 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 sealedÂ 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 bottledÂ by Speciality DrinksÂ who bottled them under the name Black Tot Last Consignment. When the flagons were opened there were three original soleraÂ rums there and these threeÂ 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 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 pieceÂ of history in a glass and that`s what you pay for,Â is precious not only because of itÂ´s history but also because this is the last that remain from the original barrels and when itÂ´s gone itÂ´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 do.Â It`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 greatÂ fullbodied rum as well.
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
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 iÂ totally enjoyed this seminar!
Awesome mugs made by Cheeky Tiki! i especially like that ZombieÂ mug.
And the tiki drinks all made with fresh fruits and good rum were all well made!Â
The Mahiki Treasure Chest, itÂ´s really tasty.
ItÂ´s always a pleasure to listen to Alexandre Gabriel and Paul McFadyen when they tell you about Plantation rums, itÂ´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 Â 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…
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!Â And that is all for this year, hopefully i`m back again the next!
RUMFEST PICTURE PARADE!
Chef Hassan de Four cooking with rum….
Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell at ChristieÂ´s rum auction
Â The lovely Duppy Share Rum, what a beautiful display!
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 ClemÃ¨nt and Rhum JM….both brands makes excellent rhums.
Rhum ClemÃ¨nt VSOP in the beautiful 25 Year Anniversary bottle. And yes indeed i do love me some Ti Punch!
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 theÂ barrels.
Rhum JM, one of the classic good rhum agricoles from Martinique.Â
Only good things can come out from Pusser`s rums and fresh pineapples! Â
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.
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. ThereÂ´s only the french version out for now, it has recently been launched but the english version is on the way.
Â Beautiful display and another solid rum, Mount Gay from Barbados. I love their XO and the Black Barrel!Â
TIKI, TIKI, TIKI………….!
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….
Sign at the Pub “The George and Dragon”upstairs at the Ibis Hotel.
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 World Record Certificate, Largest Rum tasting in the world! well done Ian!
And at last….
Check out my previous post about the Guiness World Record for the World`s Largest Rum Tasting and the Boutique Rumfest!