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The 2012 Rum Howler Awards for Rum (Part 1 – The Regional Awards)

To determine the winners of my regional rum awards, I consider not where a rum is distilled, but rather where it is bottled in determining the country of origin for a particular brand. This is because many rums are actually blended from stocks which are distilled in more than one country. As well many rums (after being purchased in bulk) are additionally aged in another location, or they are treated in some other unique manner before bottling. This of course, may make the final rum very different from what it was when it was originally purchased. For example, Plantation Rums receive additional aging in Cognac Casks in France before they are bottled. Some Legendario Rums have small amounts of wine added to their blend (and may be additionally aged) prior to bottling. Because of the special treatment these rums receive either through blending or aging outside of the country where the rum was originally produced, it only makes sense to consider them a product of the country where they are bottled, rather than where they are distilled.

I admit, this leads to some rather confusing situations, such as for the rums of  Ron Millonario whose Solera 15 Reserva Especial is distilled and bottled in Peru (and is therefore considered by me to be a Peruvian Rum). However, the same company also produces an XO Reserva Especial Rum which is also distilled in Peru; but because it is sent across the sea to Italy to be bottled, this rum is by my reckoning an Italian Rum. Alas, no system is perfect, but I do the best I can.

I have probably bored all of you with all my explanations, and what you really want to know, is who the 2012 Rum Howler Award Winners are. And so, without further ado, I present my Regional Rum Awards:

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The 2012 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from North America

and the winner is:

George Street Spiced Rum

Runner-up awards to Famous Newfoundland Screech Rum

Honourable mention to Lemon Hart Demerara 151 Rum and Siesta Key Spiced Rum

Most rums nominated in this category are rums which are purchased in bulk from the Caribbean, and then transported to Canada or the USA to be aged, blended and bottled. Last year, Newfoundland Screech won this category, and would have won this year as well had I not decided to allow spiced and overproof rums to be included in the competition. I really am not sure why I did not think of this before, but to me it makes sense that if I am trying to determine the best rum made in a particular region of the world, then I should not be bothered by what style the rum is (I will have other awards for that).

Although the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Commission (NLC) might be disappointed that their Screech Rum was runner-up this year, I suspect that knowing it was their own George Street Spiced Rum that declared the Best North American Rum, more than made up for any disappointment on that front.

(Considered for this award were:  George Street Spiced Rum, Lemon Hart 151 Demerara Rum, George Street Spiced Rum, London Dock Rum (Favell’s 70 Proof), London Dock Rum (Favell’s 100 Proof)Potters White Rum, Ragged Rock RumScreech (Famous Newfoundland Screech Rum), and Siesta Key Spiced Rum)

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The 2012 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from Central America

and the winner is:

Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) Rum

Runner-up awards to Panamonte Reserva XXV – 25 Year Old Rum

Honourable mention to: 5 Barrel Rum (Travellers) and Zacapa Centrenario 23 Solero

My goodness, what a line-up from Central America this year. The winning rum, the runner-up, and one of the honourable mentions are all what I consider to be “Ultra” premium rums. Included with this esteemed selection is a much less heralded rum from Belize, the 5 Barrel Rum which tastes so good that it deserves to be included with this grouping. The contest here was very close with the Ron Zacapa 25 Year Solero winning by just a whisker over the Panamonte Reserva XXV – 25 Year Old Rum.

(Considered for this award were: 5 Barrel Rum (Travellers), Abuelo 12-Year-Old RumFlor de Caña Grand Reserve 7 Year Old, Flor de Caña Centenario 12 Year Old, Flor de Cana Centenario Gold 18 Year Old, Panama Red 108 Overproof Rum,  Panamonte Reserva XXV – 25 Year Old RumZacapa Centrenario 23 Solera, and Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) Rum )

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The 2012 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from South America

and the winner is:

Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva

Runner-up awards to El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve Rum 

Honourable mention to: El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum and Juan Santos 21 Yr Antigua Reserva Rum

Not to be outdone by Central America, the line-up of rums from South America was just as impressive. Again, many of the rums which received awards and honourable mention were of the Ultra Premium Variety. In fact, if you look down below at the list of rums which were up for consideration this year in the South American Rum category, I think you would be hard pressed to come up with a more impressive list of premium rums. The rum selection from South America just seems to get better and better each year.

(Considered for this award were: Dictador 12 Year Solera, Dictador 20 Year Solera,Dictador XO PerpetualDiplomático Reserva ExclusivaEl Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum, El Dorado 15 Year Old Special Reserve Rum, El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve Rum, El Dorado 25 Year Old Vintage Reserve Rum, Juan Santos 12 Year Gran Reserva Rum, Juan Santos 21 Yr Antigua Reserva Rum, Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial, and Santa Teresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera )

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The 2012 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from the Caribbean Islands

and the winner is:

Appleton Estate Master Blender’s Legacy

Runner-up award to: Havana Club Selección de Maestros Rum

Honourable Mention to: Appleton Estate 12 Year Old Rum and Cockspur 12 Bajan Crafted Rum

I got back into the Appleton Rums in a big way this year, and I am glad I did. The rum company has had some impressive releases in the last few years which include a 21 Year old, a 30 Year Old, and a 50 Year Old Rum. After tasting their entire line-up earlier this year, I determined that my favourite two rums from their lineup continue to be the Master Blender’s Legacy, and the Apple Estate 12 Year Old. (The 12 year in particular seems to have improved significantly over the past three years). Speaking of getting better, I also noticed the Cockspur 12 has improved with the recent change to a 100 % Bajan water supply. Of Course, the Havana Club Seleccion is as good as ever and was well deserving of the Runner-up Award.

(Considered for this award were: Angostura Single Barrel Rum, Appleton Estate Reserve Rum,  Appleton Estate Extra Old 12 YearAppleton Estate Master Blender’s LegacyAppleton Estate 50 Year Old Jamaica Rum, Bacardi 8 Yr Old Rum, Bermudez Don Armando, Bermudez Anniversario, Caroni 1997 13 Year Old Rum (Cask RR1072)Cockspur 12 Bajan Crafted Rum, Cruzan Single Barrel Rum, Havana Club Selección de Maestros RumLegendario Ron AnejoMount Gay Eclipse Black, and Mount Gay Rum 1703 Old Cask Selection.)

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The 2012 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from Europe, India and Asia

and the winner is:

Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum

Runner-up awards to: Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo Rum

Honourable Mention to: Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum, and Rum Nation Panama 21 Years

The Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial is produced in Peru, and then transported to Italy for bottling by a company called Rossi and Rossi. This is similar to the Rum Nation Panama 21 Years which is sourced in Panama, but also bottled in Italy. Rossi and Rossi are not the only European producers interested in Rum. The Plantation Rums of Cognac Ferrand are  sourced in the Caribbean and then transported to France for additional “European style’ aging before being bottled by the aforementioned Cognac Ferrand. (It seems we have a bit of a European influence developing in the World of Rum.) I hope the trend of great European producers showing such an interest in rum continues because the award winners in this category were some of the very best rums I tasted this year.

(Considered for this award were: Amrut Old Port Deluxe, Legendario Ron Anejo, Plantation Guyana (Old Reserve Rum), Plantation Jamaica (Old Reserve 2000 Rum), Plantation Nicaragua 1998 (Old Reserve Rum), Plantation Panama 2000 (Old Reserve Rum), Plantation Trinidad 2000 (Old Reserve Rum), Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum, Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum, and Tanduay Superior 12 Year Old Rum)

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The Winners

The 2012 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from North America: George Street Spiced Rum

The 2012 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from Central America: Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) Rum

The 2012 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from South America: Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva

The 2012 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from the Caribbean Islands: Appleton Estate Master Blender’s Legacy

The 2012 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from Europe, India and Asia: Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum

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The Runner-Ups

The 2012 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for the Best Rum from North America: Famous Newfoundland Screech Rum

The 2012 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for the Best Rum from Central America: Panamonte Reserva XXV – 25 Year Old Rum

The 2012 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for the Best Rum from South America: El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve Rum

The 2012 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for the Best Rum from the Caribbean Islands: Havana Club Selección de Maestros Rum

The 2012 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for the Best Rum from Europe, India and Asia: Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo Rum

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The Honourable Mentions

The 2012 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for the Best Rum from North America: Lemon Hart Demerara 151 Rum and Siesta Key Spiced Rum

The 2012 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for the Best Rum from Central America: 5 Barrel Rum (Travellers) and Zacapa Centrenario 23 Solero

The 2012 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for the Best Rum from South America: El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum and Juan Santos 21 Yr Antigua Reserva Rum

The 2012 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for the Best Rum from the Caribbean Islands: Appleton Estate 12 Year Old Rum and Cockspur 12 Bajan Crafted Rum

The 2012 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for the Best Rum from Europe, India and Asia: Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum and Rum Nation Panama 21 Years

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