The Rum Howler Blog

(A Website for Spirited Reviews)

  • The Rum Howler Blog

  • Visit My Online Memorabilia Store

  • The Rum Howler Top Canadian Whiskies of 2013

    Click the image to find the Best 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2013

  • The Rum Howler Interview (Good Food Revolution)

    Click on the Image to see my interview on Good Food Revolution

  • The Rum Howler Top Rums of 2013

    Click the image to find the Best 30 Rums of 2013

  • Industry Interviews

    Interviews

    Click the Image for Great Interviews with the Movers of Industry

  • Cocktails and Recipes

    Click Image for Awesome Recipes

  • Follow Me on Twitter!

Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

The 2013 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 27, 2013

RH-winner2013Rum continues to be a spirit on the rise. There was a time not long ago that when I stopped by a local store to buy a bottle of rum, I had really only two or three choices, and they were all named Bacardi. Now it is not uncommon for me to see up to twenty different rum brands even in the small liquor stores, and some of the large stores will have as many as 50 different brands to choose from. When I talk to the local merchants, they all tell a similar story, more and more people are asking for rum and some of them even come into the stores brandishing my reviews as ammunition.

My Rum Howler Awards are published each year. They represent my yearly proclamations regarding the best rums which I have tasted within that particular year. As is the case each year, all of my Awards are based upon side by side tastings within each category of spirit. I taste the spirit neat, and I also mix a few cocktails. Sometimes I have my friends help me. All rum samples which I receive to review on my website each year are automatically considered for the awards. I do my review, and then I set aside the remainder of the spirit for the end of the year judging. I also receive additional industry samples specifically for these awards.

My side by side tastings are completed, and it is time for me to reveal the recipients of my 2013 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Rum.

The 2013 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Rum

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Flavouerd Rums, Overproof Rum, Rum, Rum Reviews, Spiced Rum, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Year in Whisky (2013 Rum Howler Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 22, 2013

RH-winner2013I tasted a lot of great whisky this year from all over the world, and I noticed a few trends which deserve noting. Whisky is growing in popularity throughout the world, and this is having consequences in both the variety of whisky available to the consumer, and the quality of the whisky available to the consumer. In terms of variety, things have never been better as I can find whiskies on the store shelves from places I would never have imagined a few years ago. The number of brands available from India and Japan keep growing, and as well brands from places like New Zealand, England, Wales, and Australia are also surfacing in my local liquor stores. A stronger selection of brands available to the consumer can only be good news; and hopefully consumers (and whisky critics) can put their prejudices aside and give these brands the chance they deserve.

However the flip side of this world-wide popularity of whisky is a disturbing reluctance from some of the major players to maintain their age statements. The simple fact is that there is just not enough aged whisky stocks to maintain the present brands due to the growing world-wide popularity of the spirit. Of course the marketing hype proclaims the spirits are as good as ever, but I guess I question the veracity of those statements. Time will tell, and thankfully there are still many brands maintaining their standards and many more great whiskies for me to discover.

It is time for my to make my yearly proclamations regarding the best whiskies which I have personally tasted in the year which is 2013. As is the case each year, all of my Rum Howler Awards are based upon side by side tastings within each category of spirit. I taste the spirit neat, and I also mix a few cocktails with each spirit. All spirit samples which I receive to review on my website are automatically considered for my awards. I do my review, and then I set aside the remainder of the spirit for the end of the year judging. I also receive additional industry samples specifically for these awards. My side by side tastings are completed, and it is time for me to reveal the recipients of my 2013 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Whisky.

These Awards are for the best Whisky Spirits I encountered in the year 2013!

The 2013 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Whisky

Posted in Awards, Extras, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

The Year in Vodka (2013 Rum Howler Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 12, 2013

RH-winner2013The Rum Howler had another great year tasting Vodka in 2013 as it seems like producers from all over the world have been sending me samples for review upon my website. My quirky style of vodka review appears to have struck a chord with these producers, especially those in Eastern Europe who have told me that my willingness to bring the gastronomic experience into my review process is much appreciated. The willingness of foreign producers to send me samples in spite of the huge difficulties they can experience in dealing with Canadian Customs and Excise means that I had an unusually strong group pf spirits for this years Vodka Awards.

As is the case each year, all of my Rum Howler Awards are based upon side by side tastings within each category of spirit. I taste the spirit neat, and I also mix a few cocktails with each spirit. This year, with the very best spirits, I also compared each spirit with various food pairings in my efforts to determine the very best.

All spirit samples which I receive to review on my website are automatically considered for my awards. I do my review, and then I set aside the remainder of the spirit for the end of the year judging. I also receive additional industry samples specifically for these awards. The competition was particularly fierce this year, and it is time for me to reveal the recipients of my 2013 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Vodka.

These Awards are for the best Vodka Spirits I encountered in the year 2013!

The 2013 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Vodka

Posted in Awards, Extras, Flavoured Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

And then there was # 1 – Brugal Titanium Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 5, 2013

op10RUM 550The Brugal Distillery was founded in 1888, by Andrés Brugal Montaner. Over the next one hundred and twenty years the company grew steadily, and it is now one of three large Rum Distillers in the Dominican Republic. The original family which founded Brugal is still in the control. George Arzeno Brugal, is the current chairman, and most of the board members are direct descendants of the original company founder. In fact, the Brugal Distillery has become an institution in the Dominican Republic. Just about every friend of mine who has visited this the Dominican Republic has a vivid tale to tell of their amazing bus ride to the distillery, and another tale to tell of how much fun it was to sample the Brugal Rum.

SAM_0972 Brugal TitaniumBrugal Titanium Rum is a triple distilled premium white rum produced primarily for the domestic market (and in parts of Europe) as a high-end cocktail spirit meant to compete with ultra premium Vodka. It is a pity that this rum is not widely available; based upon the tasting sessions my friends and I conducted this past August, it just might be the very best white rum in the world!

Here is a link to my newly published review:

#1 White Rum – Brugal Titanium 

“…The nose is lightly effervescent with a spiciness which reminds me of the lemon-like scent of coriander seeds and the rye-like scents of ginger and cardamom spice. A light sugar cane scent is evident, as well as hints of anise and licorice, light mushy banana smells and perhaps a touch of mint …”

This is a refined spirit filled with spicy character and suave refinement within the flavour nuances. Although this rum is not widely available, it is still a fact that the Brugal Titanium is one of the best white rums I have sampled to this point in my rum explorations!

PS: I included a brand new daiquiri style cocktail with my review, the Emissary Daiquiri!

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note; You may follow my Countdown list of the 10 best white rums here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 10 White Rums

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Top 10 White Rums Countdown # 2 – El Dorado 3 Year Cask Aged Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 4, 2013

op10RUM 550I am very near to the end of my white rum countdown and for the third time, (perhaps the fourth depending upon the origin of Potters Superior Rum), a rum from Demerara County in Guyana has found its way onto the list. This is no accident, as Demerara County (in Guyana) is popular across the world for its rich, three hundred year history of rum production. Using a combination of old wooden stills in conjunction with modern stills and distilling techniques, Demerara Distillers Ltd. (DDL), has built a reputation for outstanding quality and consistent production. In fact, Demerara Distillers is the currently the largest supplier of bulk Caribbean Rum to Europe and North America.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The El Dorado 3 Year Cask Aged Demerara Rum is blended from aged stocks (the youngest being no less than 3 years old) and then filtered twice through charcoal filters to produce a clear rum. All of the Demerara Rum produced by El Dorado is aged exclusively in American oak (bourbon barrels).

Here is a link to my latest review:’

#2 White Rum – El Dorado 3 Year Cask Aged Rum 

“… In my mouth the taste is light but sweet. The rum has a pleasant soft texture with light oil-like mouth-feel. There is no bitterness and the soft butterscotch/caramel flavours remain firm through the palate accented with light minty candy-like flavours. There is also a light spiciness which hints at citrus zest and banana peel. As I sip I also begin to sense very light undercurrents of dry fruit, chocolate and a light but firm impression of baked coconut …”

Note: I originally reviewed the El Dorado 3 Year Cask Aged Demerara Rum four years ago as one of my original reviews to open the website. This however, is a new review, based upon tasting sessions with a more recent bottling.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note; You may follow my Countdown list of the 10 best white rums here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 10 White Rums

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Top 10 White Rums Countdown # 3 – Plantation 3 Stars Silver Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 3, 2013

op10RUM 550Plantation 3 Stars Silver Rum is relatively new white cocktail rum from Cognac Ferrand ( see Plantation Rum Website). In producing this rum Alexandre Gabriel (President and Owner, of Cognac Ferrand) blends rum from three different Caribbean Islands in order to achieve the correct balance between flavour and character suitable for a cocktail rum bearing the Plantation name. These three Islands (Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad) are considered by the folks at Cognac Ferrand to be the three “star” producers of the Caribbean, hence the name “Plantation 3 Stars” was chosen for the rum.

A great deal of time was spent by the Cognac Ferrand team tweaking the rum to get it just right. Even the exact bottling proof was examined thoroughly. According to Alexandre Gabriel:

plantation-3stars-b“I was dreaming about this rum and could mentally taste it before it was done so we worked relentlessly until we were there. We wanted character and personality but didn’t want it too heavy taking away from our purpose which was to have a balanced and elegant rum exceptional for cocktails. We found the perfect balance at 41.2% alcohol by volume.”

I guess the opinion of my friends and I is that Cognac Ferrand did indeed get it right, as this spirit was declared the Number 3 Rum in my Rum Howler Countdown of the Best White Rums in the World (that I have tasted)!

Here is a link to the review:

#3 White Rum – Plantation 3 Stars Silver Rum 

“… The breezes above the glass display a very obvious scent of hard candy where orange and lemon drops mix with tropical fruits like mango and soft banana. There is even a few lightly minty notes of Christmas candy-cane and a light butterscotch/caramel impression in the air. As you let the glass breathe you begin to notice a vague astringency or roughness in the air as well …”

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note; You may follow my Countdown list of the 10 best white rums here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 10 White Rums

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Top 10 White Rums Countdown # 4 – Flor de Caña Extra Dry 4 Year Old Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 2, 2013

op10RUM 550Flor de Caña has a history of rum production which is dated to 1890 at the San Antonio Sugar Mill, in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. The company was founded by Francisco Alfredo Pellas and today, over 120 years later, the company is led headed by the fifth generation of the Pellas family. It has grown to be not only one of Central America’s leading brands of rum, it is also one of the most recognized rum brands in the world.

FDC Extra DryIf you check the Flor de Caña website, they make it clear that the FDC Extra Dry 4 Year Old Rum is not meant for sipping. It is a mixing rum meant for premium cocktails and bar drinks. My judging panel agrees, and the tastiness of those cocktails and bar drinks has resulted in the white rum being named the fourth best in my 2013 White Rum countdown!

You many read a full review here:

#4 White Rum – Flor de Caña Extra Dry 4 Year Old Rum

“… There is a lot of character in that initial first taste, but silky smooth, and suave are not descriptors I would use to describe the rum. Instead I would call the rum organic, and slightly pungent. It carries a lightly harsh sting or spiciness which swats at the palate. Notice though, that the first term I used to describe the rum was character. In fact my first sip of the rum reveals far more character than I usually find in white rum …”

The character I perceive within the FDC Extra Dry is I believe, what makes this rum such a great cocktail rum. It makes an outstanding Daiquiri, and a fantastic Cuba Libre‘. As well, the standard Mojito made with FDC Extra Dry is a treat to sip on even during my Canadian winter!

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note; You may follow my Countdown list of the 10 best white rums here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 10 White Rums

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

Top 10 White Rums Countdown # 5 – El Dorado Deluxe Silver 6 Year Aged Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 30, 2013

op10RUM 550According to the El Dorado Website, the El Dorado Deluxe Silver 6 Year Aged Rum is blended from selected light to medium bodied aged rums which have been produced on Demerara Distillers’ wooden Coffey still (the last of its kind operating in the world today) and the company’s famous French Savalle Still.

DeLuxe Silver RumThe result is a fully aged, double-filtered, 6 Year Old White Rum. This rum is meant not just to compete with the new strain of super premium white rums that have entered the market recently, it is meant to compete head to head with the super premium luxury vodkas which have garnered a good chunk of the market share in the distilled spirits category.

This clean Guyanese spirit arrives in my countdown as the 5th best white rum I have tasted, and you can read my review by clicking the following excerpt (link):

#5 White Rum – El Dorado Deluxe Silver 6 Year Aged Rum

“… That candied sweetness I noted in the breezes above the glass takes form in the mouth with a flavour that resembles something like Christmas candies. The rum also carries forward a nice ‘fresh’ spiciness with flavours of orange peel and banana peel swirling around that sweet candy. Vague hints of butterscotch and canned fruit syrup (think canned peaches here) compliment the flavour  …”

The El Dorado Deluxe Silver is a very nice, very clean rum, in fact ‘clean’ is probably the best adjective to use to describe the rum. It is a great rum to use for mixing cocktails when you are trying to satisfy a crowd because that clean taste will appeal to just about everyone.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note; You may follow my Countdown list of the 10 best white rums here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 10 White Rums

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

Top 10 White Rums Countdown # 6 – Diplomatico Blanco Reserva

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 29, 2013

op10RUM 550Diplomatico Rums are produced by Distilleries Unitas S.A. (DUSA) at the foot of the Terepaimai National Park in Venezuela, South America. About four years ago, building upon the success of their core line-up of rums (the Diplomatico Anejo, the Diplomatico Reserva, and the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva), Dusa introduced an ultra premium aged white rum called the Diplomatico Blanco Reserva. This Blanco Reserva was added to the Diplomatico brand to serve as an alternative to premium Vodka for bartenders and connoisseurs. It is designed to be a cocktail rum meant to exist side by side in the high-end niche market formerly reserved only for high-end Vodka.

Diplo BlancoThis Venezuelan spirit arrives in my countdown as the 6th best white rum I have tasted, and you can read my review by clicking the following excerpt (link):

#6 White Rum – Diplomatico Blanco Reserva

“… The rum is smooth and buttery in the delivery with the alcohol bite resting very deeply in the bottom of the delivery. The rum flavours, including the light caramel, the baked banana, the lemony citrus peel, and the traces of sweet candy are all there in the initial delivery playfully dancing on my palate  in a light dollop of oaky vanilla  …”

The rum eases into cocktails beautifully, adding a nice mild rum flavour and only a mild alcohol bite which was of course the intention of the crafters of the Diplomatico Blanco. As such this rum hits the target squarely as an alternative to high-end vodka!

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note; You may follow my Countdown list of the 10 best white rums here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 10 White Rums

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Top 10 White Rums Countdown # 7 – Pumpkin Face White Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 28, 2013

op10RUM 550Sometimes my best laid plans go asunder. Such was the case after I thought I had completed my list of Top 10 – White Rums in late August of this year. About a month later, (about four weeks before my countdown was to begin publishing) I received samples of the “Ultra-Premium” Pumpkin Face Rums. As soon as I sampled the Pumpkin Face White Rum, I knew I had a problem, as this rum absolutely deserved to be considered as a contender in this series.

So I did the only thing I could, I brought my Panel of Judges over, and I made some Daiquiris and some Mojitos  and we proceeded to judge this rum as if it was part of the original competition. When the scores were tallied, the result was that the Pumpkin Face White Rum fell into the number 7 slot of the Best White Rums in the World (that I have tasted)!

Pumpkin Face WhiteHere is a link to my recently published review:

Top 10 White Rums Countdown # 7 – Pumpkin Face White Rum

“… As I nosed the rum, mild impressions of banana, orange zest, and faint grassy vegetal notes rose into the breezes. There were also a few light traces of cotton candy, wisps of mint, and hints of anise-like licorice scents …”

The Pumpkin Face White Rum is not only a very good cocktail rum, it is also quite enjoyable as a sipper; which frankly, is quite unusual in the white rum category!

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note; You may follow my Countdown list of the 10 best white rums here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 10 White Rums

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,126 other followers

%d bloggers like this: