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 ‘Rum Reviews’ Category

Review: Dictador XO Insolent Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 23, 2014

Dictador Insolent SAM_1195This past May, I was invited by Thirsty Cellar Imports, to attend a Rum Master Class hosted by Hernan Parra Arango, Rum Master for Dictador Colombian Rum. At the event, the attendees were given the opportunity to taste the entire Dictador line-up which of course included not only the Dictador 12 Year and the Dictador 20 Year Solera Rums, but we also tasted and learned about the Dictador XO Perpetual and XO Insolent Rums.

At the Rum Master Class, I learned that for the Dictador XO Insolent in particular, the aging barrels used are pre-used oak barrels which have a significant percentage of oak obtained from Jerez Spain, as well as pre-used Port Wine Barrels. Near the end of the aging process, the barrels earmarked for the XO Insolent Rum are emptied (and the rum stored of course), and these barrels are subjected to an open flame process which caramelizes the rum soaked oak fibres on the interior of the barrel. These barrels are then refilled with the same rum allowing the spirit to draw the sweet caramelized flavours from the interior of the oak barrel. The final rum is blended and barreled at 40 % Alcohol by volume.

You may read my full review for the XO Insolent Rum by clicking on the following excerpt:

Review: Dictador XO Insolent Rum

“… luscious with sweet toffee smells rising from the glass tainted with impressions of butterscotch, vanilla, corn syrup, creme de brulee, maple syrup and peanut brittle. There is a backbone of firm oak sap and spice melded wonderfully into these sweeter butterscotch like aromas with delectable baking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves) and hints of milk chocolate …”

Please enjoy my latest review!

Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Review: Lamb’s Palm Breeze (Amber Rum)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 14, 2014

Palm BreezeIn my part of Canada, Lamb’s is one of the most popular rum brands. The brand is owned by Corby Brand, and they the rum’s history all the way to 1849 when Alfred Lamb opened his wine and spirits business in London, England. Apparently Alfred stored his rum barrels (which had been imported from the Caribbean) in his underground cellars which were directly beneath the Thames River. The cool underground air which did not experience large seasonal fluctuations in temperature nor large fluctuations from day to night is reckoned to be one of the secrets behind the unexpectedly smooth taste of his rum.

Of course the rum no longer is aged under the Thames River in Britain; but it does maintain its Caribbean heritage as the Lamb’s blend is sourced from a variety of Caribbean rums which have been aged for a minimum of one year in oak casks. The final rum is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume and sold as Lamb’s Palm Breeze.

Spence

Spence Cocktail

You may click on the excerpt link to read the full review:

Review: Lamb’s Palm Breeze (Amber Rum)

“… When I bring the glass to my nose, I notice light smells of butterscotch, sandalwood and spice. It is the sandalwood and spice (rather than the butterscotch) which grows in the breezes as I let the glass breathe. I soon notice traces of white pepper and cinnamon as well as building citrus zest and banana peel. Interestingly, a plastic-like scent reminiscent of faux leather seems to be entwined within the spiciness. Hints of vanilla and almond round out the aroma, which if I had encountered it in a blind format, I might just have mistaken it for a light Canadian whisky …”

The Master Blender (Joy Spence) for Appleton Estate Rum shared her favourite cocktail with me during an interview I conducted a few years ago (See interview here).  I found it nice to know that those who make great rum, also agree with me that it is more than acceptable to mix their great rum into a cocktail. At the conclusion of my review, I share the Spence Cocktail as my suggested recipe for for Lamb’s Palm Breeze.

Please enjoy my review and Joy Spence’s great cocktail!

Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Angostura Royal Oak Select Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 2, 2014

new royaloakAngostura Distillers Limited have been producing rum on the Island of Trinidad since the 1930s. Although the company was originally more famous for its production of Angostura Bitters, it has over time also become one of the major producers of rum in the Caribbean. Their rum is produced on a large 5 column still which is located near Port of Spain, on East Main Road, and (as noted on the Ministry of Rum) it is directly east of a coconut-processing plant. The five-column still used by Angostura is capable of producing many marques of rum which range from very light bodied to heavy bodied distillates. This varied production allows the distillery to produce many different styles of rum with differing characteristics depending upon the aim of the final product.

The Royal Oak Select is a light bodied, amber rum which does not carry an age statement. The Angostura website notes that the rum is: “a blend of carefully selected Trinidad rums aged for a maximum of 5 to 7 years by the Master Blender.”

Sloe Lime Daiquiri

Sloe Lime Daiquiri

I note that this statement stresses the oldest rum in the blend and not the youngest. I suspect (based upon my tasting notes) that this blended rum is on average, 3 to 4 years old.

You may read my full review of by clicking on the following review excerpt:

Review: Angostura Royal Oak Select Rum

“… I notice strong butterscotch and caramel scents rising into the air above the glass accented by orange peel and wood spice. There is a nice mellow coconut aroma laying within the caramel, and I wonder if the scents and smells of the coconut processing plant which resides next to the distillery have set their subtle imprint upon the rum as it aged …”

I hope you enjoy this review of the rum which many believe is Angostura’s signature rum blend. And of course, please enjoy my suggested cocktail which I have included at the conclusion of the review, the Sloe Lime Daiquiri.

 

Posted in Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Review: Havana Club Anejo 3 Anos

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 26, 2014

Havana Club 3 SAM_1182Havana Club is a Cuban Rum produced by Havana Club International (a joint venture between the Cuban Government and Pernod Ricard) currently produced in two Cuban locations, San José de Las Lajas and Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba. According to tradition the production of the rum which was to become Havana Club began in 1878 when Spanish immigrant José Arechabala established Destileria La Vizcaya in the port city of Cárdenas, Cuba. The distillery remained in the hands of the Arechabala family and in 1934  José’s grandson (also named José Arechabala) apparently created the recipe for Havana Club Rum and began to market it throughout the world. However, the family lost control of the distillery and the brand when after the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the Cuban Government nationalized the distillery and company.

Tonic Mojito SAM_1183

Mojito Tonic with Havana Club Anejo 3 Anos

Havana Club Añejo 3 Años is a pale straw coloured rum spirit which has been aged for 3 years in Cuba. Because of the current difficulties between USA and Cuba the distillery which produces the rum must source its aging barrels from outside of the USA. This means that first fill American oak is almost certainly not used in the aging process, more likely the distillery uses second or third fill barrels which would be sourced from its Caribbean neighbors. Although the rum exhibits some colour it is nevertheless sold as a white cocktail rum which is said to be particularly well-suited for the Cuban Mojito.

You may read my full review by clicking on the following link:

Review: Havana Club Anejo 3 Anos

“… The breezes above the glass are lightly sweet with hints of cotton candy, butterscotch and a light vanilla. Although it takes a minute or two the scent of fresh-cut grass becomes stronger as the glass sits, as do impressions of fresh plantain and canned pears. Bits of sandalwood struggle out of the glass which indicates that although the spirit appears to be filtered, some indications of wood aging are apparent in the air above the glass …”

Please enjoy the review which includes a nice Mojito style cocktail completed with Tonic Water rather than soda. I call it, the Mojito Tonic.

Cheers Everyone!

 

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

Review: Goslings Family Reserve Old Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 15, 2014

A dark 'n Stormy made with Gosling's Family reserve.

A Dark ‘n Stormy made with Gosling’s Family reserve.

James Gosling (in 1806), left England intending to bring a load of merchandise goods to America for trade and sale. Apparently the ship upon which he was traveling was confounded by calm seas and instead of reaching America, the ship’s 90 day charter expired, and the ship’s Captain changed course to Bermuda. James Gosling never made it to America and instead settled in Bermuda opening a shop in St. George’s at the end of that year.

James’ brother Ambrose joined him in 1824, and the Gosling Brothers rented a shop on Front Street in the new Capitol of Hamilton (which was maintained by the family for 127 years.) In 1860, the new company of Gosling Brothers began to experiment with the rum trade, and three years later they were selling a distinctive dark rum. Gosling’s originally sold the rum directly from the barrel requiring their customers to bring their own container. However during World War I the brothers began to acquire Champagne bottles which they filled with rum. The bottles were corked and covered with black wax sealing wax. Soon customers began to ask for that Black Seal Rum.

Goslings Family Reserve Old Rum is apparently blended from the same stocks and in the same manner as their flagship brand, Gosling’s Black Seal. It is however, aged for a longer period of time in what the company calls ‘dark barrels’.

You may read my full review by clicking the excerpt link:

Review: Goslings Family Reserve Old Rum

“… The breezes above the glass are tainted with licorice stained molasses, dark tobacco smoke, and strong hints of orange peel. I also sense some fine oak spices, a bit candied caramel and if you give the glass a little time, a scent of marmalade begins to develop. As the breathing continues some luscious baking spices rich with brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla begin to push through …”

Please enjoy my review which includes my recipe suggestion (Gosling’s patented cocktail) , The Dark ‘n Stormy.

Happy Father’s Day everyone!

Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Review: Brugal XV Ron Reserva Exclusiva

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 1, 2014

Peurto Plata Punch SAM_1158The 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. Although the Edrington Group now controls the company, George Arzeno Brugal, is the current chairman, and most of the current board members are direct descendants of the original company founder.

According to the Edrington Website, Brugal makes their rum in a traditional manner (from molasses) and ages it on site in Puerto Plata in American white oak barrels. My sample bottle of Brugal XV Ron Reserva Exclusiva arrived to me direct from the Dominican Republic via my young newlywed daughter who recently returned from her honeymoon with her husband in the Caribbean. This rum was bottled for the domestic market, and thus it is a 37.5 % alcohol by volume offering and is sold in a 700 ml configuration. Although the label implies the rum is may be aged for as long as 15 years, the reality is that this rum does not carry an age statement. The large XV on the label is simple that, a large XV. My research indicates that this particular rum is in fact a blend of rums which vary in age from 3 years to 8 years.

You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt link:

Review: Brugal XV Ron Reserva Exclusiva

“…  I sense a mild oak presence with woodspice and notes of honey and butterscotch lying within the oak. An impression of almond comes forward as do bits of banana and orange peel zest. Giving the rum time in the glass allows me to notice some cinnamon accents and an underlying mustiness in the breezes …

As you can see from the photo to the left, I could not resist making a nice ‘punch’ style cocktail which I call, Puerto Plata Punch.

I hope you enjoy the review, and of course my recipe suggestion!

 

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

Review: Rum Nation Barbados Anniversary Edition (12 Years Old)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 22, 2014

SAM_1126 FINE DALLIANCE

A Fine Dalliance

Rum Nation is an Italian rum company created by Fabio Rossi, who began his life in the spirits trade as a Oenologist (one who has studied winemaking). After his studies, Mr. Rossi left the wine business and started up a whisky company in Edinburgh (Wilson and Morgan) acting as an independent bottler of Single Malt Scotch Whisky. His interest turned to rum and in 1999, Fabio Rossi founded Rum Nation. His company is headquartered in Italy; but Fabio purchases select rums from various distillers in the Caribbean and the Americas. As a result Rum Nation provides a rather unique assortment rums from various Caribbean producers. His Rum Nation Barbados Anniversary Edition (12 Years Old) celebrates the first 15 years of Rum Nation (2001 to 2014) as an independent bottler of unique Caribbean Rum.

The Bajan rum was distilled from sugar cane molasses upon a column still in Barbados (R.L. Seale) in 2001 (Batch Number L14/059). It was matured in the Caribbean (in Ex American Bourbon casks) for the majority of its aging life. However the rum was transported to Italy to be finished in Piedmont (Italian area of the Nebbiolo Wine) for the last 18 to 24 months. For finishing, the rum was transferred to Ex Spanish Brandy and Ex sherry Oloroso casks before being bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

You may click on the excerpt to read the full review:

Review: Rum Nation Barbados Anniversary Edition (12 Years Old)

“… As I let the glass sit, the aroma from the glass deepens bringing lush scents of vanilla and baking spices (nutmeg and cinnamon in particular) into the air above the glass. Hints of marmalade are apparent and the brown sugar, oak and the baking spices keep growing in strength. I notice bits of cola and milk chocolate and perhaps just a touch of sea brine and menthol. All indications are that this is a rich indulgent rum.

Just because a particular rum is a wonderful sipper, it does not mean that we cannot find joy in the cocktail format. The trick is to use other ingredients sparingly such that they serve as an elegant accent to the rum’s flavour and not as a distraction. At the conclusion of my review I provided a cocktail suggestion , A Fine Dalliance, which I believe strikes the right balance.

Enjoy the review, and my wonderful cocktail!

Posted in Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Lamb’s White Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 15, 2014

Lamb's WhiteIn my part of Canada, Lamb’s is one of the most popular rum brands, and I thought it was time that I should visit their popular white rum on my website. For those who do not know, Lamb’s is a Corby Brand who trace the rum’s history all the way to 1849 when Alfred Lamb who opened his wine and spirits business in London. His method of aging rum in his cellars under the Thames river was supposed to be one of the secrets behind the unexpectedly smooth taste of his rum brand. Of course the rum no longer is aged in Britain but it does maintain its Caribbean heritage as the blend is sourced from a variety of Caribbean rums which have been aged for a minimum of one year in oak casks. The final rum is filtered clear and bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume and sold as Lamb’s Genuine White Rum.

Grapefruit Daiquiri

Grapefruit Daiquiri

I recently received a sample of the Lamb’s White to review and you can find my full write-up by clicking the following excerpt link:

Review: Lamb’s White Rum

“… the breezes above the glass brought forwards the light scents and smells of a very mild butterscotch, green banana, a mild citrus zest, some light sandalwood spice, and a light cotton candy aroma. Allowing the glass to breathe resulted in the identification of a vague sort of ‘grassiness’ and the return of that impression of mustiness …”

My review includes a nice cocktail, the Grapefruit Daiquiri!

Please enjoy my review!

 

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

Review: El Dorado 8 Year Old Cask Aged Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 23, 2014

SAM_1070According to the El Dorado Website, the El Dorado 8 Year old Cask Aged Rum is blended from selected stocks of rum which included rum from no less than four of DDL’s traditional Heritage Stills including both the original Wooden Coffey Still which was rescued from the Enmore Estate and the Double Wooden Pot Still which was rescued from the Port Mourant Estate. Each of these stills is well over 200 years old and they represent the last of their kind operating in the world today. The use of these ancient stills ensures that the Demerara Rum produced at DDL’s Diamond Distillery is unlike anything produced anywhere else in the world. (For more information on the unique Heritage Stills in operation at the Diamond distillery you may read my first hand account here (Diamond Distillery Tour).

The new 8 Year Old Rum from El Dorado Rum was recently released in Ontario, Canada and I was provided a sample bottle by the distributor Woodman Wines and Spirits.

Rum Manhattan with El Dorado 8 Year Old Rum

Rum Manhattan with El Dorado 8 Year Old Rum

You may read my full review of the El Dorado 8 Year Old Cask Aged Rum by clicking on the following excerpt link:

Review: El Dorado 8 Year Old Cask Aged Rum

“… The rum carries sweet flavours of butterscotch, toffee, and dark brown sugar as well the bitterness of dark caramel treacle. Within the sweet and the bitter, I taste luscious baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg) and firm impressions of roasted walnuts and pecans. Marmalade, a ribbon of corn whisky, impressions of cocoa, a touch of leather and brine, and a firm imprint of tobacco …”

As I was tasting this El Dorado Rum, it occurred to me that the spirit would work very well in a Rob Roy cocktail. Of course, once I substituted the Scotch in the cocktail for the 8 Year Old Rum, what I had really created was a Rum Manhattan which I decided would serve very well as the suggested cocktail featured at the end of the review.

Cheers Everyone!

Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Review: Tanduay Gold Asian Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 14, 2014

gold finalLast year, Tanduay Holdings began its American Invasion by placing two new rums into the North American market. For those who do not know, Tanduay is one of the largest Rum producers in the world. (The reason they have been relatively unknown in North America is because their Asian rum is produced in the Philipines, and it sells almost exclusively into Asia.) The Tanduay invasion was launched with two premium rums (a Silver, and a Gold). The Silver Rum (reviewed here) is a blending of rums which have been aged up to 5 years and filtered to be a pale straw coloured spirit meant for mixing high-end cocktails. The Gold Rum is a blending of rums aged up to 7 years and is meant to be a spirit to be enjoyed neat or over ice, although the makers of the rum do not shy away from recommending their Gold Rum for quality cocktails as well.

SAM_1062

Rum Crusta

Here is a link to my full review of the Tanduay Gold Asian Rum:

Review: Tanduay Gold Asian Rum

” … I sense a light honeyed brown sugar and toffee aroma rising from the glass with spicy accents that are enticing. The spiciness carries impressions of ginger, cardamom, vanilla, clean oak and orange peel. There is also a bit of an exotic flair within this spice hinting that the rum may have a few surprises for me when I taste it …”

My review includes a classic nineteenth century cocktail recipe which tastes very nice indeed with the Tanduay Gold Rum. That recipe, the Rum Crusta is based upon a 1878 variation of the Brandy Crusta developed by Leo Engels who almost certainly used Joseph Santini’s 1840 Brandy Crusta recipe as his inspiration (see the Leo Engels Brandy Crusta recipe and explanation here).

Cheers everybody, and let us hope that the recent warmer weather is a harbinger of springtime!

 

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

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,107 other followers

%d bloggers like this: