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The 2011 Rum Howler Awards – (Regional Rum Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 29, 2011

Today I am continuing with my Rum Howler Awards as I am selecting the best rum from the various rum producing regions of the world. I have an Award for Best Rum from Central America, and Award for Best Rum from South America, and Award for Best Rum from North America, an Award for Best Rum from the Caribbean Islands and an Award for the Best Rum from Outside the Americas and the Caribbean.

All of these awards are based upon side by side tasting sessions held over a period of several weeks. As with the Whisky awards I began at the start of August slowly tasting different Rums from my collection of reviews samples bringing only the very best forward for the final tastings which took place over the past month.

(Note: Many rums brands are distilled in one region but transported in bulk to be blended and even aged for a further time in another region. Other rums brands are actually blends of several rums which have been distilled in more than one region. In all cases, I have decided that the location where the rum is bottled will be considered the place of production for that particular rum brand.)

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The Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum From Central America

and the winner is:

Panama Red 108 Overproof Rum

Honorable Mention to Traveller’s 3 Barrel Rum and Ron Abuelo 7 Year Old Rum

I had to think hard about whether to allow an over-proof rum to win this award. However, I really could not come up with a valid reason not to allow the Panama Red 108 to be considered. It is a tremendous rum which quickly became a favourite of mine and of my entire rum club. In side by side tastings with the Traveller’s 3 Barrel, and the Abuelo 7 year Old (which I have not reviewed yet); it seemed to have just that bit of extra flavour and richness which made me pick it out as the winner.

It is unfortunate that this rum has a rather limited distribution at this time but perhaps this award will help to change things, as I really would like to see this brand in my locale soon.

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And the Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from South America

and the winner is:

El Dorado 21 Year Old Rum

Honourable mention to Dictador 20 Year Solera Rum and Dictador 12 Year Solera Rum

I tasted some great rums from South America this year. But leading the pack were the two great rums from Columbia (the Dictador Rums) and the great El Dorado Rums from Guyana. (I could easily have given the El Dorado 12 Year Old Rum an honourable mention here too).  The El Dorado 21 Year Old Rum was chosen as the winner in the head to head tasting because of its superior complexity, and the beguiling way the oak flavours have melded into the rum. This is almost rum perfection.

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The Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from the Caribbean Islands

and the winner is:

Mount Gay Eclipse Black

Honourable mention to Atlantico Private Cask, and Mount Gay Eclipse (Gold)

Last year’s winner in this category was a wonderful solera blend from Oliver and Oliver, and this year their blending expertise is on display again as they are the masters behind the blending of the wonderful Atlantico Private Cask. However, this year Mount Gay muscled its way into consideration as I finally had the chance to sample their full range of rums. I almost went against the grain of convention by awarding the prize to the younger Mount Gay Gold Eclipse, but after several side by side tastings I became convinced that the new Mount Gay Black Eclipse was the superior rum. The two Mount Gay Rums are both very good, and on another day I might have chosen the Gold Eclipse over the Black; but… it wasn’t another day, and on the day I did my comparison’s the Black reigned supreme.

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The Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum From North America

and the winner is:

Famous Newfoundland Screech Rum

Honourable mention to Lemon Hart Demerara 151 Rum

Both of the rums nominated in this category are rums brands from Canada, where almost all of the rum produced is purchased in bulk from the Caribbean and then transported to Canada to be bottled. The rums are usually also aged for a further time in Canada and then blended with other stocks to produce the desired flavour profile. In the case of the Newfoundland Screech, the rum is a 100 % Jamaican blend of 4 marques that are produced in the same distillery as Appleton Estate Rum. All of these marques are aged in Jamaica. This rum has a reputation of being a rather harsh blend recommended for only the brave of heart. Frankly the reputation is undeserved, as Screech is a smooth rum which tastes delicious on ice or mixed in cocktails. 

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The Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from Outside the Americas and the Caribbean

and the winner is:

Plantation Panama 2000 (Old Reserve)

Honourable mention to Plantation Barbados (Grande Reserve) 5 Year Old Rum and Plantation Grenada 1998 (Old Reserve Rum)

A clean sweep of the nominations for the wonderful  Plantation Rums of Cognac Ferrand (located in the Cognac Region of France). These wonderful rums are purchased from a variety of distilleries throughout the Caribbean and transported to France where they are aged for an additional time in used Cognac casks. The result is a wonderful thread of cognac goodness which is imparted to the already deliciously aged rums. I have tasted just about the entire line-up of Plantation Rums and have not been disappointed by a single sip. Who would have thought that France could be a world leader in the production of Rum?

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And there you have it, my Regional Rum Howler Awards for Outstanding Rum:

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum From Central AmericaPanama Red 108 Overproof Rum

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from South AmericaEl Dorado 21 Year Old Rum

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from the Caribbean IslandsMount Gay Eclipse Black

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum From North AmericaFamous Newfoundland Screech Rum

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from Outside the Americas and the CaribbeanPlantation Panama 2000 (Old Reserve)

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Over the next two weeks I will be wrapping up my Awards with the best of the best in Rum and Whisky

Cheers!

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5 Responses to “The 2011 Rum Howler Awards – (Regional Rum Awards)”

  1. Hi Chip

    I tried the Potter’s Naval rum the other day, and think it might just edge out the Screech. It certainly gives both the Lamb’s Old Navy and the Young’s Old Sam a run for their money. Keep an eye out and let me know what you think when you get it.

    Regards

    R van D

    • Hi Ruminsky

      I have tried the Potter’s Rum on a few occasions and its weird, sometimes I like it, and sometimes it falls kind of flat. I should get a hold of Highwood to send me a sealed bottle for review though as I am trying to get more U.S. and more Canadian Rums reviewed. Speaking of Highwood, you should try their Momento Amber Rum, I think it is really good.

      London Dock and Ragged Rock are two rums I want to try next year as well. So many Rums…. so little time!

      Cheers!

      • Wasn’t overenthused by the Momento…chalk that down to our different tastes :-)

        Agree that Abuelo 7 beats the Abuelo 12 (that surprised me).

        btw…will be in Edmonto week leading up to New Year, will you be around? I seem to remember a certain Pyrat’s bottle I wanted to pass on….I can certainly bring more.

  2. Thanks for doing this, Arctic Wolf. I don’t know the Panama Red 108, so I will look out for it. As far as I know, it’s not available in the US.

    Cheers!

    Jack

    • Thanks Tubazak

      Panama Red is a great overproof rum, and I was lucky to receive a bottle directly from Panamonte Brands to review on my website. As indicated in the write-up, the distribution is rather limited which is unfortunate.

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