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The 2011Rum Howler Awards – (The Rum Wrap-up)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 13, 2011

The last of my Rum Howler Awards are presented today. These are the my final rum awards presented to the Best of the Best in 2011, the Best Overall White Rum, the Best Overproof  Rum, the Best Flavoured Rum, the Best Spiced Rum, the Best Dark Rum (aged up to 5 Years), the Best Premium Rum (aged up to 12 years) and the Most Outstanding Rum of the Year, all for the year 2011.

All of these awards are based upon side by side tasting sessions held over a period of several weeks. I  began by slowly tasting different rums from my private collection of bottles and bringing only the very best forward for the final side by side tastings which took place over the last four weeks. Only spirits which I had tasted in the past year (between October 1, 2019 and September 30 2011) were considered.

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The Rum Howler Award for the Best Overall White Rum:

Newfoundlander’s White Rum

Honourable mention to Diplomatico Blanco Reserva, and Mount Gay Silver Eclipse who were the other nominees.

For this category I considered the flavour of the rum in a Daiquiri, a Cuba Libre, and a Mojito, (the triumvirate of classic white rum cocktails). I awarded an overall score to each white rum and gave that score 50 % of the weighting, then I also compared the taste of each white rum neat at room temperature which accounted for the other 50 percent of the score. It was very difficult to choose between the Diplomatico Blanco Reserva and the Newfoundlander’s White Rum; but in the end, I felt that the Newfoundlander’s Rum carried more character into the cocktails and was a more interesting spirit when sipped neat.

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The Rum Howler Award for the Best Over-Proof Rum

and the winner is:

Panama Red 108 Overproof Rum

Honourable mention to Lemon Hart Demerara 151 Rum.

This award was very difficult to judge as the two nominees were each very good, and very different in their style. The Lemon Hart 151 Rum is a tiki style rum used primarily as that special ingredient which puts the final touches on an outstanding cocktail. The Panama Red 108 is more of a ‘cask strength’ style of rum meant to be consumed neat or on ice.  In the end, I felt that the Panama Red brought more versatility to the table, as I was able to enjoy this rum in many styles of cocktails as well as occasionally sipping it on its own, whereas the Lemon Hart has been strictly a cocktail rum for me. 


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The Rum Howler Award for the Best Flavoured Rum

This Category includes flavoured rums, rum liqueurs and the so-called black rums. (Basically every style  of rum which I considered to be obviously flavoured or altered (but not spiced).

and the winner is:

Diplomatico Hacienda Saruro

Honourable mention goes to Cruzan Black Strap Rum.

In this category, I must be honest and say that it was really no contest. The Diplomatico Hacienda Saruro has been a favourite of mine ever since I took my very first swallow. This is simply put, an outstanding spirit! If you want to have a real treat, try my signature cocktail for this spirit, the Kentucky Crocodile.

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The Rum Howler Award for the Best Spiced Rum

and the winner is:

George Street Spiced Rum

Honourable mention to Bacardi Oakheart Smooth Spiced Rum, and Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum.

This category was difficult to judge based upon the differences in the styles of the rums involved. I decided to go to the producers websites and see if I could find some recommended cocktails for each spirit which I sampled. I balanced this off with my impressions of drinking each spirit when drank neat. The clear favourite was George Street Spiced. I did notice that all three of the nominees carried much more oak character and spicy ‘oomph’ into the cocktails than I have previously seen in the spiced category. This category has seen significant improvement over the last year.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Dark Rum:
(aged up to 5 years)

and the winner is:

Plantation Barbados (Grande Reserve) 5 Year Old Rum

Honourable mention to Plantation Barbados (2000) Old Reserve Rum, and Plantation Grenada 1998  (Old Reserve Rum)

It was a clean sweep of the nominations for the Plantation line-up in the 5 year and under category, and tasting these spirits side by side was a real treat. In the end, the Plantation Barbados Grand Reserve demonstrated a greater depth of flavour and smoothness which prompted me to award it the Best Rum in the 5 year Old category this year. I am happy to report that this rum is about to debut on the store shelves here in Alberta.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Premium Rum:
(aged up to 12 years)

and the winner is:

Dictador 12 year Solera

Honourable mention to Plantation Panama 2000 (Olde Reserve) Rum

When I tasted the Dictador 12 year Solera head to head against the Panama 2000 (a 9-year-old rum in case you are wondering) , the contest was actually very close between the two. In the end I decided that the Dictador rum carried just a little more depth of character in the glass and it was this character that tipped the balance and caused me to declare it the winner.

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Ed 21 Served Neat

The Rum Howler Award for The Most Outstanding Rum of the Year:

El Dorado 21 Year Old Rum

Honourable mention to Dictador 20 Year Solera.

The two finalists for Most Outstanding Rum of 2011 were both from South America. In fact, I tasted some great rums from South America this year. 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.  As I have said before, this is almost rum perfection.

In fact, this summer when my wife offered to buy me any rum bottle I wanted as a birthday gift at a local boutique store, she was shocked that I passed on the much more expensive 25 year Old El Dorado Rum and instead chose the 21 Year Old. When my wife pointed out to me that she was willing to buy me the $300.00 bottle instead of the $90.00 bottle, I just simply said, ” Trust me, the $90.00 bottle will please me just a little more. ”  (Just so you know, I had an opportunity to taste the El Dorado 25 Year Old Rum earlier that year at a tasting in Calgary organized by my friend Lance. Thanks Lance!)

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And there you have it, my Rum Howler Awards for Rum all wrapped up. Here is a recap of today’s awards:

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Overall White Rum:   Newfoundlander’s White Rum

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Over-Proof Rum:   Panama Red 108 Overproof Rum

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Flavoured RumDiplomatico Hacienda Saruro

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Spiced Rum:    George Street Spiced Rum

The Rum Howler Award for Best Dark Rum (aged up to 5 years):    Plantation Barbados (Grande Reserve) 5 Year Old Rum

The Rum Howler Award for Best Premium Rum (aged 12 years or less):   Dictador 12 year Solera

The Rum Howler Award for The Most Outstanding Rum of the Year:   El Dorado 21 Year Old Rum

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