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Archive for the ‘Flavouerd Rums’ Category

Diplomatico Hacienda Saruro

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 8, 2011

Hacienda Saruro is an aged rum liqueur produced by Distilerias Unidas, S.A. In case that particular distilling company doesn’t roll off your tongue easily, just think Diplomatico Rum.  That’s right, the people who brought us the wonderful Diplomatico Rums are responsible for Hacienda Saruro.

If you are wondering what an aged rum liqueur is supposed to be, then my next suggestion is that you think about Drambuie. Drambuie is the honey flavored scotch whisky liqueur made from aged malt whisky, heather, honey, and a blend of herbs and spices.  What Drambuie is to Scotch, Hacienda Saruro has the potential to be to Rum.

I was given my first sample of this elixir over a year ago at a special tasting I was invited to by the local Importers of Diplomatico Rum, PB Beverages. At the tasting, everyone who was there was bowled over by the flavour and richness of this unique spirit. It has taken a year to finally reach the market, but the product has finally arrived in Alberta, and so has my sample bottle from PB Beverages.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… There is a nice mixture of honey sweetness and sharper oak tannin, as well as a bevy of dry fruit and fieldberries sitting underneath to support the flavour. I taste a nice ribbon of orange flavour as well as citrus zest riding in the currents. Vanilla, hazelnut and almonds ride in the currents as well although the nutty flavours are not assertive…”

You may read my full review here:

Review: Diplomatico Hacienda Saruro

As usual I have included a nice recipe after the review which I call the Kentucky Crocodile.

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Admiral Nelson’s Spiced Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 27, 2010

Admiral Nelson’s Spiced Rum is bottled at 70 proof (35 % alc/vol).  The Rum is bottled in the U.S. by Admiral Nelson Rum Company of Missouri. The bottle I reviewed would have been aged in oak for at least one year as per Canadian Law. The Admiral Nelson Rum website indicates that savory spices are used to create the blend with a hint of sweet vanilla.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…When I swirled the rum, I noticed nice long slender legs in my glass. I like long slender legs as they indicate a touch of oiliness in the rum which should lengthen the finish. After I let the glass sit for a while, I took a nice deep wiff and found that the nose of this rum is quite nice. I’m getting a little vanilla, and fragrant rummy caramel which rise  up in a nice mixture.  Tidbits of other spices meander in and out of the breezes,  light accents of cloves, coriander and nutmeg. I detect very little if any oak scent at all….”

You may read my Full Review here:

Review: Admiral Nelson’s Spiced Rum

As well I included a nice recipe I call The Admiral Overboard.

Please enjoy the review and recipe.  Cheers!

Posted in Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

The 2010 Golden Rum Barrel Awards

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 26, 2010

About eight weeks ago UK Rum Ambassador Ian Burell sent me my nomination form for the Golden Rum Barrel Awards. These were to be the first World Wide Rum Awards based upon a judging by a panel of Rum Experts from at least three different continents and  many different Countries of the world.  I was invited to not only nominate rums I considered worthy, but also to judge in London at UK Rumfest!  Alas, that other world in which I dwell, (that one where I have a business to run and responsibilities to my family) prevented me from participating in London. But I did present my nominations to Ian, and I was very curious how the awards would turn out.

The Bachanalia Girls performing at the Award"s Ceremony

Judging took place on October 14  and 15th and the final results were announced the next day in a wonderful ceremony with included an appearance by the Bachanalia Girls.  Here are the results!

Best White Rum

  • Banks 5 Island Rum (Caribbean / Indonesia)

Best Super Premium White Rum

  • Oronoco (Venezuela / Brazil)

Best Flavoured or Spiced Rum

  • Elements 8 Spiced (St. Lucia)

Best Gold Rum up to 6 years old

  • El Dorado 5 (Guyana)

Best Premium Gold Rum up to 12

  • Dos Maderos 5 + 5 (Spain)

Best Premium Gold Rum (over 12)

  • El Dorado 12 (Guyana)

Best Super Premium Gold Rum minimum aged 15yrs

  • Mount Gay 1703 (Barbados)

Best Solera Rum

  • Atlantico (Dominican Republic)

Best Dark Rum, Black rum or Navy Styled Rum

  • Pussers 15 years (British Virgin Island)

Best Agricole Aged up to 4 years

  • Clement VSOP (Martinique)

Best Agricole over 4 years

  • Plantation Guadeloupe (France)

Best Cachaça

  • Beija flor Reserva Especial

Best North American Rum (inc Mexico)

  • Los Valientes 15 (Mexico)

Best South American Rum

  • Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva (Venezuela)

Best European Rum

  • Black Tot Black Tot Last Consignment (UK)

Best Australian Rum

  • Holey Dollar Cask Strength (Australia)

Best Asian Rum

  • Old Monk (India)

Best Caribbean Rum

  • Mount Gay 1703 (Barbados)

Best Central American Rum

  • Ron Abuelo 12 (Panama)

Best New Rum Brand

  • Zafra Master Reserve 21 (Panama)

Best Rum Package

  • St Nicholas Abbey (Barbados)

Ian Burell with Bibendum's Paul Macfadyen, Importers of Los Valientes Rum.

Posted in Dark Rums, Flavouerd Rums, Rum, White Rums | Tagged: , , | Comments Off

Review: Cruzan Black Strap Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 24, 2010

The Cruzan Rum Company is located on the Island of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. The Island of St. Croix is the largest of the US Virgin islands, being approximately 28 miles long and 7 miles wide. Along with the tourism industry and one of the largest oil refineries in the Caribbean, the St. Croix economy is dependent to a large extent upon the Rum Industry as a major engine of their economic growth.

All of the Cruzan Rums are produced using a modern five column distillation method which produces a light bodied rum, the quality of which can be tightly controlled by the five column distillation. The rum is then aged in once used American oak bourbon barrels. The Cruzan Black Strap Rum is a ‘navy style’ rum which is full of molasses flavour but which is perhaps a lighter bodied rum than one would find in a typical navy rum.

The sample bottle of Cruzan Blackstrap Rum for this review was given to me  by Simon Mooney, the local Brand Ambassador for Beam Global and is pictured below and to the right.  It is bottled at 40 per cent alcohol by volume and is, I believe, aged for two years in the aforementioned American Oak.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…Cruzan Black Strap Rum is an aromatic bombshell. When I opened my bottle  for the very first time, my nostrils were immediately aware of the rich molasses filled aroma in the air which contained strong accents of black coffee and dark licorice….”

You may read the entire review here:

Review: Cruzan Black Strap Rum

And remember, my aim is to help you drink better spirits… not more spirits!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Rum Howler Awards – The Rum Wrap Up

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 22, 2010

Today I am wrapping up the Rum portion of my Rum Howler Awards presenting what might be considered the ‘grand prize’ awards for best rums I have tasted over the past year.  I wanted to be completely fair about things so I decided that perhaps I should bring in some help and have the final tasting session done by panel rather than by myself alone.

All final tastings were done in a blind format. The panel members were not even tasting the same spirits at the same time. The rums were ranked  by each panel member and then the rankings were compared to choose the best spirit for each category. Categories based loosely on age and price were established as you can see below:

The Rum Howler Award for Best Rum (aged 5 years or less):
(A price point below $37.50 in my market (Alberta) was also required.)

Juan Santos 5 Year

Honourable mention, Bermudez Ron Anejo 1852, El Dorado 5, and Diplomático Añejo,

This was a very close race with each of the four finalists receiving at least one first place vote from each of the panel members. In the end, The Juan Santos was a clear winner receiving second place votes on every scorecard where it was not ranked number one.  For those who are not familiar with Juan Santos, it is a Colombian Rum produced by Casa Santana and is sold in some markets as Ron Santero 5 Anos. In all 9 rums were considered here and the four mentioned were the cream of the crop.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Rum: (aged 10 years or less)
(The rums must also be priced below $50.00 per 750ml in my market of Alberta)

Bermudez Don Armando

Honourable mention to, Juan Santos 9 Year, Diplomatico Reserva, and Bacardi 8 Yr Old Rum

The Colombian rums from Casa Santana just keep surprising the panel. However a bigger surprise was the Bermudez Don Amando which scored highly on every panel members scorecards. A soft light bodied rum which seemed to win everyone over. The Diplomatico Reserva and the Bacardi 8 yr had strong advocates as well but, the scoring was not as consistently high.  In all eight rums were considered for this award.

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The Rum Howler Award for The Rum of the Year:
(Age and price irrelevant)

Cubaney 25 Solera

Honourable mention Appleton Estate Master Blender’s Legacy, Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva, and Juan Santos 21 Year.

What a finish for the Rum of the year Selection!  A completely surprising result as the unexpected Sample bottle sent to me just recently by Oliver and Oliver (via Pavol Kazimer of Drums) literally ran away with the title on every panel members scorecards.  On some cards it wasn’t even close.  The Appleton Master Blender’s Legacy showed much better than I anticipated, and South America had two rums in the final four.

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And here is a summary of this portion of the Rum Howler 2010 Rum Awards

The Rum Howler Award for The Rum of the Year, Cubaney 25 Solera

The Rum Howler Award for Best Rum (aged 10 years or less), Bermudez Don Armando

The Rum Howler Award for Best Rum (aged 5 years or less), Juan Santos 5 Year

All of my 2010 Rum Awards can be found on this summary page:

The Rum Howler Awards for Rum Excellence!

Posted in Dark Rums, Flavouerd Rums, Howls, Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

The Rum Howler Awards – Part 1

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 19, 2010

It is hard to believe that my blog has been online for one year now.  I have sampled over 70 bottles of rum, and over 40 bottles of whisky in that time, (and built 4 new bookcases to hold all the bottles). Of course the question I always get from people who read the blog is, “So what is your favourite Rum or Whisky?”

Today I am going to attempt to answer the question by presenting the first annual Rum Howler Awards! Of course, everyone should understand that I must introduce some provisos when I make the claim to tell you what I like best. I obviously cannot judge any spirit which I have not tasted during the past year. I also cannot make a comparative final tasting when the sample I received for my review, was so small that I now have none left to compare.  Fortunately, in most cases I saved a small sample of my favourite rums and whiskies just for this purpose, as to be honest my Rum howler Awards have been in the works for a while now.  So without more adieu perhaps I will begin.

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The first Rum Howler Award is presented for the Best White Rum in a Daiquiri (I consider the daiquiri to be the quintessential cocktail for white rum).

And the Winner is:

Kōloa White Rum

Honorable mention to El Dorado 3 Year, and Bermudez Ron Viejo Blanco.

Judging this category involved me making me a daiquiri using each nominated rum and doing a side by side comparison on a hot summer evening. The Kōloa daiquiri was the runaway favourite.  A surprising result perhaps, but then again this rum is so clean and pure perhaps I should have anticipated its magnificence in a classic cocktail like the daiquiri!

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The next award is for the best overall white rum. White rum has recently experienced a substantial category change where we have the new so-called premium white rums which have been aged for up to six years (perhaps more) and then filtered clear to give the rum a superior sipping and mixing profile. This means a second award for White Rum is in order.

The Best White Rum Overall:

El Dorado 3 Year

Honourable mention to Bermudez Ron Viejo Blanco, and Highwood Imported White who were the other nominees.

For this category I considered not only the flavour in a daiquiri but also the overall flavour in The Cuba Libre, and the Mojito, (the triumvirate of classic white rum cocktails). I took that overall score and gave it 50 % of the weighting, then I also compared the taste of each rum neat which accounted for the other 50 percent of the score.

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The spiced/flavoured category of rum is all the rage right now. For my awards I decided I would include the so-called Black Rums and the dark Navy Rums in this category as they appear to my palate to be essentially the same as flavoured rums.

The Rum Howler award for the Best Spiced or Flavoured Rum is:

Gosling’s Black Seal

Honourable mention goes to Juan Santos Coffee Rum,and Lambs Blacksheep Rum.

Of course this category was difficult to judge based upon the extreme differences in the rums involved. So I could not follow a rigorous format. I decided to go to the producers websites and see if i could build the recommended cocktail for each spirit. I balanced this off with the flavour drinking the spirit neat. It was a very close battle between the Gosling’s Black Seal which was tremendous in a Dark ‘n Stormy versus the Juan Santos Coffee Rum which is a great sipping dessert rum.

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Now I am going to turn my attention to Whisky.  Anyone who has read my blog realizes that I love to mix cocktails and bar drinks. I believe that the vast majority of whisky drinkers do the same. The Horse’s Neck (Whisky and ginger-ale) is the quintessential bar drink that I like to serve, and as such a suitable drink to use for judging the mixability of whisky.

Therefore, I created The Rum Howler Award for the Best Whisky in a Horse’s Neck:

Gibson’s Finest 12 YR

Honourable mention to Hiram Walker Special Old and Centennial 10 Year Old.

I loved judging this one. I made small whisky and ginger ale drinks from just about every one of my Canadian Whiskies and tasted them over several nights to arrive at the last three.  (I also tried several American, Irish and Scotch Whiskies as well but they just didn’t measure up.)  The final three were judged side by side in a final evening of pure enjoyment.

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Next I turned my attention to Blended Whisky. I did not discriminate between age, or cost. If the whisky was labeled as a blend it qualified for an award.

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Blended Whisky goes to:

Wiser’s 18 Years Old

Honourable mention goes to Johnny Walker Black Label, and Forty Creek Portwood Reserve.

I decided to judge this award based first upon the whiskies flavour in two classic whisky cocktails, The Old Fashioned, and the Manhattan.  50 percent of the score was derived from the flavour the whisky presented in these cocktails. The other 50 % of the score was derived from the flavour the whisky displayed when drank neat.  I sampled three Scottish whiskies, Johnnie Walker Black Label, Johnnie Walker Gold Label, and Old Parr Superior. As well I sampled three other Canadian Whiskies, Forty Creek Portwood Reserve, Crown Royal Cask No. 16, and of course Wiser’s 18 Years Old.

The Wiser’s 18 Year Old won by the slimmest of margins in a final taste off with a whisky which continues to surprise me, Johnnie Walker Black Label.

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Of Course if I select the best Blended Whisky, I should also select the best Single Grain Whisky. Included in this category is any whisky which is made from a single grain with the exclusion of Single Malt Whiskies.

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Single Grain Whisky goes to:

Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey

Honourable mention to Alberta Premium Rye 25Yr Old, and Century Reserve 21 Yr Old.

I decided to judge this award in the same manner as  I judged the best blended Whisky. Based first upon the whisky flavour in the two classic whisky cocktails, The Old Fashioned, and the Manhattan. Then based upon the flavour the whisky displayed when drank neat.  I was very surprised when the side by side comparison revealed a winner which was not Alberta Premium 25 yr Old (one of one of my personal favourites) . Instead the Greenore Single Grain Whisky from Ireland reigned supreme!

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And there you have it, the first six Rum Howler Awards:

The Best White Rum in a Daiquiri, Kōloa White Rum.

The Best White Rum Overall, El Dorado 3 Year.

The Best Whisky in a Horses Neck, Gibson’s Finest 12 YR.

The Best Blended Whisky, Wiser’s 18 Years Old.

The Best Spiced or Flavoured Rum, Gosling’s Black Seal.

The Best Single Grain Whisky, Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey.

More Rum Howler Awards will be posted over the next several days as I continue to award the rums and the whiskies which pleased my palate the most since I began my blog a year ago. Stay tuned!

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Flavouerd Rums, Howls, Irish Whskey, Rum, Whisk(e)y, White Rums | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off

Review: Big Black Dick Dark Caribbean Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 19, 2010

My second review in honor of International “Talk Like a Pirate” Day is for a rum inspired by the exploits of the not so well-known pirate, “Big Black Dick”

According to the Big Black Dick Rum website,  Big Black Dick is believed to have been born  of ‘Royal’ African parentage.  You can pretty much guess at the story, Hometown Boy Prince captured by French slavers. Rejecting his African name they decide to call him ‘Richard Le Noir‘ , which means ‘Black Richard’. He gets tossed overboard by the slavers near an uncharted Caribbean island, where he miraculously swims ashore only to be promptly captured and becomes a slave working in the Cane fields.

After years of labour, he learns the secret of how to turn sugar cane into the Caribbean’s finest rum. Because he was such an honest hard-working guy, he is granted his freedom in the early 1700’s.  Of course, he immediately became a dashing pirate who wore incredible purple velvet, carried four pistols, and becomes known as Big Black Dick, the Pirate. Unlike most other pirates, he lives a long and hearty pirate life, and then he retires to a fine life making his famous Pirate Rum… and his famous Secret Seasonings,….and of course his famous Caribbean Hot Sauce.

I seriously doubt, much, if any of the story is true….but hey, it’s a heck of a story and serves as the backdrop for a very interesting marketing campaign.

You may read the full story of the rum in the bottle here:

Review: Big Black Dick Dark Caribbean Rum

Posted in Dark Rums, Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off

Review: Captain Morgan’s Original Spiced Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 19, 2010

It is InternationalTalk Like a Pirate”Day and so I though I would review a couple of rums which embrace the pirate mythology.  I am going to start with Captain Morgan’s Original Spiced Rum.

Admiral Sir Henry Morgan (aka Captain Morgan) was a Welsh ‘privateer’ who attacked and plundered the Caribbean on behalf of, and with the written consent of (in the form of an English Letter of Marque), the Governor of Jamaica, Sir Thomas Modyford. Privateers at that time in history were essentially ‘legal pirates’ who were allowed to attack and loot enemies of the state reaping the rewards from their plunder in lieu of pay. Researching Sir Henry Morgan, I learned he was a skilled naval captain, a ruthless buccaneer, and one of the most successful ‘privateers’ in the history of piracy earning a Knighthood for himself in 1674.

Captain Morgan’s Original Spiced Rum is of course the name of Diageo’s top-selling spiced rum. I am on a bit of a mission to find out if the rum lives up to the man for which it was named. On the surface at least, we have some nice comparisons. Captain Morgan the Privateer was one of the most successful buccaneers in the history of piracy, practically defining the means and methods of a successful pirate campaign. Captain Morgan the Original Spiced Rum is perhaps the most successful Spiced Rum in the entire category and has pretty much set the standard for sales and marketing for all other spiced rums to follow. But what about the rum itself? Is it really as good as the marketing? I put Captain Morgan Spiced Rum through the paces of my review system to find out.

You may read the full review here:

Review: Captain Morgan’s Original Spiced Rum

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off

Review: Kōloa Kaua`i Dark Hawaiian Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 16, 2010

Photo courtesy DakineImages.com/Jo Evans (http://dakineimages.com)

It was at the Rum Renaissance in Miami Florida this past May that I was first introduced to Kōloa Kaua`i Hawaiian Rum. Although The Kōloa Rum Company had been ‘up and rumming’ for only a little more than a year, the Kōloa Kaua`i Dark Hawaiian Rum garnered one of prestigious gold medals at the Rumxp Tasting Competition which was in held conjunction with the event. This was a remarkable feat considering that the license to distill alcohol had been issued only one year previous, on April 1, 2009.

I decided I had better get to know this company a little better, and after I emailed my information request, I was contacted by Jeanne Toulon, Director of Public Relations, for the Kōloa Rum Company.  Jeanne was only too happy to help me out and soon deluged me with news clippings, a cool video and as much information as she could stuff into the large brown envelope that she sent my way.  (I was even given a small sample of the crystallized brown sugar from the Gay and Robinson Plantation which is the basic raw material from which all of the Kōloa Rum is distilled. )

Photo Courtesy Jeanne Toulon (Kōloa Rum Company)

Her generosity also extended to a sample bottle of each of the rums in the Kōloa range to review at my leisure here on my blog. Sadly I have come to the last of these sample bottles, happily it is a sample of the Kōloa Kaua`i Dark Hawaiian Rum, the Gold medal winner at Rum Renaissance.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…The rum is gentle and brings forward initial flavours of vanilla, dark molasses, and sweet caramel. A layer of hotter spices lies underneath and warms the mouth. In particular I seem to get a nice accent of cloves which brings about a certain depth of flavour…”

You may read the full review here:

Kōloa Kaua`i Dark Hawaiian Rum

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

Introducing Kōloa Kaua`i Hawaiian Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 3, 2010

It was at the Rum Renaissance in Miami Florida this past May that I was first introduced to Kōloa Kaua`i Hawaiian Rum. The Kōloa Rum Company had been ‘up and rumming’ for approximately one year, and in spite of the competition from much more experienced rum companies, the Kōloa Kaua`i Dark Hawaiian Rum garnered one of prestigious gold medals at the Rumxp Tasting Competition which was in held conjunction with the event. This was a remarkable feat considering that the license to distill alcohol had been issued only one year previous, on April 1, 2009.

So I decided I had better get to know this company a little better, and after I emailed my information request, I was contacted by Jeanne Toulon, Director of Public Relations, for the Kōloa Rum Company.  Jeanne was only too happy to help me out and soon deluged me with news clippings, a cool video and as much information as she could stuff into the large brown envelope that she sent my way.  I was even given a small sample of the crystallized brown sugar from the Gay and Robinson Plantation which is the basic raw material from which all of the Kōloa Rum is distilled.  (I should add that her generosity also extended to the delivery of three bottles of the Company’s, Kōloa Kaua`i Hawaiian Rum, so that I could sample and review them at my leisure here on my blog.)

In case you are wondering, the Kōloa Rums are made using a vintage 1210 gallon vintage copper pot still imported from Kentucky.  This copper still was first shipped by train to the west coast and then by boat to the Islands of Hawaii.  Constructed just after World War II, the still was previously used to distill Kentucky whiskey.

The actual base material for the distillation is not molasses, but rather the Gay and Robinson Plantation crystallized sugar.  I am told that the sugar has a higher than normal molasses content and indeed it carries a wonderful molasses aroma.  From this distillate, and using the vintage copper pot still, all of the Kōloa Rum is made in a batch style.  The resulting white rum is about as pure as rum can be,  bottled fresh with no barrel aging.  The gold rum is just as fresh as the white, with the gold colour stemming from the addition of caramelized Gay and Robinson Plantation crystal sugar.  And finally, the dark rum, which also uses fresh rum, is enhanced with the same caramelized sugar as well as a secret recipe of spices to give it the dark rich colour and flavour which resulted in the Gold Medal at Rum Renaissance.  In a way these are throwback rums made in the manner and style of the past when it was entirely the blender’s mastery that was needed to sooth the spirit rather than the use of oak barrel aging.

The The Kōloa Rum Company has already broken new ground being the first company to legally produce rum on the Island of Kaua`i.  They have also recently established a Plantation style tasting room for visitors to the distillery to enjoy their rums, and they have won a Gold medal at Rum Renaissance.  All of this after merely one year of operation! I think it is obvious to see why I was excited to learn more.

So over the next several weeks I will be embarking on a Hawaiian odyssey of sorts. I will review each bottle of Kōloa rum, putting them through the rigors of my tasting methodology.  What the results of my reviews will be, I cannot say at this point, but what I can say is that based upon the accolades they have already earned, and based how hard they have worked in their first year of operation, I am entering upon my Hawaiian odyssey with a very positive outlook.  You can look forward to the reviews over the next several weeks.

Posted in Dark Rums, Flavouerd Rums, Howls, Rum, White Rums | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off

 
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