Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 6, 2012
5 Barrel Rum is a premium aged rum produced in Belize, (the northernmost mainland country of Central America). According to the producer, Travellers Liquors Limited, the rum is made from locally grown Belize sugar cane which is cut and crushed in a manner which retains its natural flavors. As well, all of the rum is aged in Kentucky oak barrels for a full 5 years. It is blended to be a full-bodied rum with the well-rounded taste which results from oak barrel aging.
When I reviewed the 5 Barrel Rum last January, I called it a “Rum Lover’s Rum”. My Judging Panel agreed and after the scores were counted, this wonder from Belize wound up at spot number 19 on the Countdown List of the Best Rums in the World:
“… The initial flavour of the rum is full of caramel and butterscotch melded into the oak spices. Some light orange peel weaves in and out and deeper down lurks a wonderfully rich tobacco flavour. Just as I noticed upon the nose, the rum grows in the glass as you slowly sip it. Brown sugar and baking spices (nutmeg, vanilla and spicy cinnamon) begin to appear alongside the oak spices and the tobacco…”
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: 5 Barrel Rum, Belize Rum, Dark Rum, Rum, Rum Review, Top 30 Rum, Travellers Liquor | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 5, 2012
Zaya Gran Reserva Rum is a brand currently owned by Infinium Spirits. This rum brand was originally distilled and aged in Guatemala, but in 2008, the production of Zaya was moved to Trinidad and Tobago where it is now produced by Trinidad Distillers Ltd.. Zaya is apparently constructed from a secret recipe (in other words a blend) of several well aged rums to meet a specific taste profile which is very similar to (but not the same as) the original Guatemalan rum. All of the rums in the Zaya blend are aged for a minimum of 12 years in small oak casks.
When you read the following review you will notice that there was wide disagreement between myself and the other judges with respect to the Zaya Gran Reserva. Despite the disagreement, the Zaya checks in as the number 20 rum on my 2012 Top Rum Countdown…
“… The initial aroma from the glass is very complex with rich vanilla, oak and pipe tobacco leading out into the air above the glass. Sweet caramel winds through the breezes, and I seem to catch accents of marmalade, marzipan and banana peel as well…”
The Zaya is a flavour bomb of a rum filled with vanilla and sweet caramel!
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Dark Rum, Infinium Spirits, Rum, Rum Review, Top 30 Rum, Zaya | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 4, 2012
Havana Club’s new Selección de Maestros Rum is an authentic Cuban rum that has recently replaced the Havana Club Barrel Proof in the portfolio of Havana Club Rums. The rum undergoes a rather unique maturation process where it is first aged in old white oak barrels, and when the final rum is blended, it is then finished in specially ‘selected’ younger finishing casks.
The unique approach to aging and finishing has resulted in a delicious, spicy rum which just happens to have made the cut in the Top Thirty Rums Countdown:
“… The immediate nose is of sweet toffee, with a nice complement of cinnamon. Nutmeg and cloves work their way into the breezes along with a little oak, some hot orange peel and a touch of green tobacco. As the glass sits, the aroma of toffee intensifies making the rum seem very attractive, which of course leads me to steal a sip…”
The rum has been bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume which makes the flavour just a bit intense which, for my particular palate, is a very good thing!
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Cuban Rum, Dark Rum, Havana Club, Rum, Rum Review, Selección de Maestros, Top 30 Rum | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 3, 2012
According to the Dictador website, Dictador Rum is produced in Colombia South America, more exactly, on the Caribbean coast of Colombia at Cartagena de Indias City. The rum is named for Arango Y Ferro who was nicknamed ‘Dictador’ by the local population of Cartagena de Indias, in early Colombia (sometime after 1751) as he rose to prominence in the trade and commerce between the Spanish Colonies and Spain. Arango apparently fell in love with the local cane spirit and became an important producer of rum at that time.
The Dictador Perpetual is an elegant sipping rum and a very worthy addition to my Top 30 Rums in the World listing:
“… I would describe this as a light to medium bodied rum with a soft dryness. The smoky sherry-like accents are very noticeable initially; but as the rum decants, sweeter flavours of butterscotch and toffee begin to take center stage. There is a moderate amount of oak spice and citrus zest which gives the rum a nice spicy heat. Rich brown sugary baking spices, (in particular vanilla and cinnamon) build alongside the butterscotch and toffee… “
This is one of those rare rums which seems to taste better every time I have another glass.
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Colombian Rum, Dark Rum, Dictador, Rum, Rum Review, Top 30 Rum | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 1, 2012
Flor 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 still 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.
“… In those breezes are lovely scents of walnut shells and pecans, sticky sweet caramel and honey, rich baking spices (especially cinnamon, cloves, allspice and vanilla), and a nice firm but mellow oakiness which is quite lovely. I receive a distinct impression of richness with nice accents of chocolate caramel, light dabs of cola and a moderately spicy tobacco which drifts upwards to add character to the overall aroma…”
I love this rum, and when my friends and I were doing are tasting sessions, I was quite happy to learn that the loved it too. Our affection translated to position number 23 on my Best Rums of the World Countdown!
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Dark Rum, Flor de Cana Rum, Nicaraguan Rum, Rum, Rum Review, Top 30 Rum | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 30, 2012
This year, when I was deliberating over my 2012 Rum Howler Awards, it occurred to me that the line-up of rum which I had tasted over the past year was impressive. When I further considered all the rums I had tasted since I opened this website, I realized this was indeed an impressive amount of rum that I have tasted and scored. Adding it all up, I have tasting and scoring notes for over 300 rums which I have had the privilege of sampling over the past four years. (Note: In addition to the nearly 175 rum reviews I have published on this site, I also have tasting notes and scores compiled for over 125 more rums which I encountered at various festivals and judging events which I have attended.) This gives me a broad perspective on the world of rum. And perhaps, all this rum tasting and scoring gives me at least some of the qualifications to embark on a very particular quest to uncover and list the Best Rums in the World.
If you are interested in such things, a detailed explanation of how I came up with this list is available here:
This web page also contains the complete list in reverse order. One catch, is that I will be filling that list out over the next several weeks, one rum at a time, countdown style. As I fill out the list, I will be providing my most up to date review for that particular Rum. Some of these rums have been reviewed previously, and those reviews will be updated if required to reflect my feelings on the most recent bottling. Some of the Rums on the list will be reviewed for the first time. Although the effort put into this project was very significant, I hope that those who read the reviews and follow the countdown have some fun. Disagreement with my Panel of Judges is welcome, and so are questions about the list.
Posted in Awards, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: DrinkWire, Rum, Rum Howler Awards, Rum Reviews, Top 30 Rum | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 30, 2012
The year 1852 is proudly displayed on the label of each bottle of Bermudez Rum indicating the year in which the Bermudez family began to produce rum commercially. In fact, the Bermudez Rum has been produced in the Dominican Republic practically from the beginning of its nationhood making the Bermudez Distillery the oldest commercial rum distillery in the Dominican Republic. The Bermudez Anniversario is the premium rum in their range and my personal favourite from the Bermudez family. It enters the countdown as the 25th Best Rum in the World.
“… Initially, I receive a soft caramel and vanilla from the glass. This is followed by stronger aromas of oak tannin and spice. As I allow the glass to decant, an aroma of fragrant baking spices became more assertive over time expressing a rich molasses and a spicy toffee. There also appears to be a gentle smoke in the air with vague scents of dried fruit…”
The Ron Bermudez Anniversario has an elegant style reminiscent of cognac but it fully retains its character as rum. I have found this to be a completely unexpected treat.
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Bermudez Rum, Dark Rum, Dominican Rum, Rum, Rum Review, Top 30 Rum | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 29, 2012
Rhum Barbancourt is distilled and produced by Societe du Rhum Barbancourt, in Port Au Prince on the Isle of Haiti. The word “rhum” is the French spelling for our English word “rum”. However, the differences between Rhum and Rum are often much deeper than just a twist in spelling. This is because the traditions of making rhum in the French West Indies differs from the traditions of rum production in the rest of the Caribbean. The major difference in the production of Agricole Rum is that it is distilled from fermented sugar cane juice rather than fermented molasses.
As far as Rhum goes, Rhum Barbancourt kind of breaks the mold and goes its own direction, but it is a direction which pleased the Judges and I so much that it landed at number 26 on the countdown list of the 30 Best Rums in the World:
“… The initial scents in the breezes are of butterscotch and sandalwood oak. As the glass breathes the aroma becomes more complex with some light baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon and cloves) and both citrus (orange peel) and dry fruit (dates, apricot and raisin) evolving… “
This Rhum displays a very nice balance of flavour with a more mellow style of oak which allows the flavour nuances within to shine.
Posted in Rum Reviews, Dark Rums, Rum, Awards | Tagged: Rum Review, Dark Rum, Rhum Agricole, Top 30 Rum, Rhum Barbancourt, Haitian Rhum | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 28, 2012
Appleton Estate 50 Year Old Jamaica Rum – Jamaica Independence Reserve, is blended from rums which have been aged for a minimum of 50 years in hand selected, oak barrels. Only 800 bottles of this very rare, Limited Edition bottling were made available for sale around the world at a target Retail Price of US$5,000 per 750ml bottle. A few bottles trickled into my home Province of Alberta, and I was lucky enough to sample one with a friend from which I composed my initial review. I was also sent a media kit from Appleton Rum with a 100 ml sample. Using that sample my Judges and I tasted and scored the Appleton Estate 50 Year Old Jamaica Rum in our search for the best rums in the world.
The Jamaica Independence Reserve checks in to my countdown at number 26. It is as well, the most expensive rum on the countdown list:
“… I sensed strong notes of oak and orange peel zest rising above the glass imprinted with deep dark brown sugar and baking spices. The dark brown sugar smells grow stronger over time as do the baking spices which display scents of spicy nutmeg, and cinnamon. I also smell walnuts and a strong impression of vanilla…”
The finish of this rum displays oak spice, orange peel, cloves and cinnamon that seems to linger forever.
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Appleton Rum, Dark Rum, Jamaican Independence Reserve, Monumental Spirit, Rum, Rum Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 27, 2012
According to the Demerara Distillers Ltd. (DDL) website, The El Dorado 15 Year Old Special Reserve Rum is a blend of selected aged rums (some as old as 25 years), from the Enmore and Diamond Coffey stills, the Port Mourant double wooden pot still, and the Versailles single wooden pot still. It is blended and aged in old bourbon oak casks. (You may read about these ancient stills here.)
The website also makes it clear that the 15 year age statement represents the youngest rum in the blend. This is quite different from those rums which feature a solero style age statement which highlights the oldest rum in the blend and usually includes a high percentage of rum which is much younger in the blend.
“… The immediate nose brings forward rich oak filled notes of spicy toffee, dark dried fruit, marmalade, and vanilla into the air. As I let the glass sit, I begin to notice sherried aromas of raisins and dates, some dark bittersweet chocolate and a welcome but delicate scent of pipe tobacco.”
The longer the glass sits, the richer the flavour and aroma become!
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Dark Rum, El Dorado Rum, Guyanan Rum, Rum, Rum Review, Top 30 Rum | Comments Off