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The 2013 Rum Howler Awards for Rum (The Regional Awards)

RH-winner2013My 2013 Regional Rum Awards recognize the best rum produced in the various rum producing regions of the world. These awards are not based upon where a particular rum is distilled; but rather they are based upon where these spirits are bottled. This is because many rums are actually blended from a variety stocks which are distilled in more than one country. As well, many aged rums are purchased in bulk and then are transported to be matured a further length of time in other locations, and they may even be treated specially (or perhaps I should say in a unique manner) before they are blended and bottled. This of course makes the final spirit very different from when it was originally distilled or transported in bulk. Because of the special treatment a rum may receive either through blending or aging outside of the country where the rum was originally produced, it makes sense for me to consider these spirits as a product of the country where they were bottled, rather than where they were distilled.

As I indicated last year when I presented my 2012 Rum Howler Awards, this leads to some rather ambiguous 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.

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K&S-BSThe 2013 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum bottled in North America

and the winner is:

Kirk and Sweeney 12 Year Rum

Runner-up awards to Famous Newfoundland Screech Rum

Honourable mention to Lemon Hart Demerara Original British 100 Proof Rum (review pending)

Kirk and Sweeney 12 Year Rum is crafted in the Dominica for a company from Sonoma California called 35 Maple Street, which is the spirits division of The Other Guys (TOG). TOG is wine company led by August Sebastiani, a member of one of California’s oldest wine families. The Sabastiani family has been involved in the Californian wine industry since August’s great-grandfather, Samuele Sebastiani, opened his family run winery over 100 years ago. Their rum is produced from stocks that have been aged for 12 years in American oak barrels. It is shipped in bulk to Sonoma California where it is bottled by 35 Maple Street at 40 % alcohol by volume.

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SAM_0959 fdc 21The 2013 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum bottled in Central America

and the winner is:

Flor De Cana Centenario 21 Commemorative Edition

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

Honourable mention to: Flor de Caña Centenario 12 Year Old Rum

The Flor De Cana Centenario 21 Commemorative Edition was produced as a special edition bottling near the turn of the century. The number 21 refers not to the age of the blend (which is 15 years), rather it is a nod to the 21st Century and the prestige which the Flor de Cana Rum Company had began to earn as a world-class producer of rum. When the rum was introduced at the turn of the century it created quite a splash winning accolades not only for the rum inside the bottle, but also for the stunning porcelain decanter which it was sold in. The rum is no longer widely available, and full sealed bottles have become collectors items in the rum world with pricing that ranges from $90.00 to $150.00 per bottle depending upon your locale. (My bottles cost $72.00 each when I purchased them in 2009.)

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21yo-rThe 2013 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum bottled in South America

and the winner is:

El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve Rum

Runner-up awards to:  Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva

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

The Demerara Distillers Master Blender is credited with the creation of El Dorado 21-Year-Old Rum which uses a blend of rums selected from their world-famous stills, the Enmore (wooden Coffey still), the Versailles (single wooden pot still), and the Albion (Savalle still). All of the rums in the blend have been aged in oak for a minimum of 21 years, making this one of the oldest production rums in the world.  The rum is part of a family of luxury cask aged rums which also includes a 12-year-old rum,  a 15-year-old rum and a 25-year-old Rum.

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Reimonenq Vieux 9yo 1999-08The 2013 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum bottled in the Caribbean Islands

and the winner is:

Reimonenq Vieux 9 Year Old Rhum (Distilled 1999)

Runner-up award to: Appleton Estate 12 Year Old Rum

Honourable Mention to: Havana Club Selección de Maestros Rum

Distillerie Reimonenq (also referred to as Musee Du Rhum) was founded in 1916 by the Reimonenq family. The distillery, like most others on Guadeloupe, produces Rhum Agricole from distilled sugar cane juice. The fresh-cut cane is crushed by electric mills and the resulting ‘honey’ undergoes a 24 to 48 hour fermentation in open air vessels. The fermented ‘wine’ is distilled in a stainless steel column in the traditional french manner. Fabio Rossi (of Rum Nation) personally chooses the barrels for the “assemblage” of the Rhum at the Reimonenq distillery, and the bottling is done exclusively for his company. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, this particular bottling is only available in Italy, however my examinations hopefully will provide some insight into the taste profile of the Guadeloupe Rhum produced at the Reimonenq Distillery.

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Ron Millonario XOThe 2013 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum bottled in Europe

and the winner is:

Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum

Runner-up awards to:  Rum Nation Demerara 23 Year Old

Honourable Mention to: Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum

Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum is a rum which has entered the marketplace from Peru. It was extremely hard to research this rum as not even the Ron Millonario Website has any information about it.  The website does speak of three old Scottish column stills and a slow distillation process used to produce their rum from sugar cane molasses, although the distillery which produces the rum is not mentioned (only that it can be found in the North of Peru). It is implied that this distillery uses its own specially selected yeasts in the fermentation process, and mention is made of the distillery’s own coopers who construct their own aging barrels from American and Slavonian oak.

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SAM_0958 Old Monk Gold Reserve RumThe 2013 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum bottled in Asia, India and Australia

and the winner is:

Old Monk Gold Reserve Rum (12 Years Blended)

Runner-up awards to:  Amrut Old Port Deluxe

Honourable mention to: Old Monk Very Old Vatted XXX Rum (7 Years Old Blended)

Old Monk is an aged dark rum produced by Mohan Meakin Limited in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India. According to the information I received from the importer, the Gold Reserve 12 Year Blended Rum is a molasses distilled rum, aged for a minimum of 12 years in oak casks (in the tropical climate of India) and then blended to be a smoother, more refined version of (the previously reviewed) Old Monk Very Old Vatted XXX Rum (7 Years Old Blended).

The brand receives very little attention from the press, and does not appear to be represented in any advertising campaigns which I have seen. Rather Old Monk appears to rely upon word of mouth and customer loyalty for its sales. Word of mouth must be good as the 7-year-old version of this rum is (again according to information I received) the largest selling well-aged dark rum in the world.

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And finally the Award that I am sure you have all been waiting for:

SAM_0959 fdc 21The 2013 Rum Howler Award for 2013 Rum of the Year!

and the Winner is:

Flor De Cana Centenario 21 Commemorative Edition

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

Honourable mention to: Reimonenq Vieux 9 Year Old Rhum (Distilled 1999)

I was not sure what to expect when I opened my first bottle of the Flor de Cana Centenario 21 Commemorative Edition. As I mentioned earlier, this rum was introduced to the world about ten years ago to great acclaim; but because of its dwindling stocks, it has become more of a rum for collectors, than a rum for enthusiasts.

What I found inside the splendid decanter was not just a great rum; it is the new standard from which I will judge other spirits. The Flor de Cana Centenario 21 Commemorative Edition is a true classic, a rum for the ages!

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The Winners

The 2013 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum bottled in North America: Kirk and Sweeney 12 Year Rum

The 2013 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum bottled in Central America: Flor De Cana Centenario 21 Commemorative Edition

The 2013 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum bottled in South America: El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve Rum

The 2013 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum bottled in the Caribbean Islands: Reimonenq Vieux 9 Year Old Rhum (Distilled 1999)

The 2013 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum bottled in Europe: Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum

The 2013 Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum bottled in Asia, India and the Australia:
Old Monk Gold Reserve Rum (12 Years Blended)

The 2013 Rum Howler Award for 2013 Rum of the Year: Flor De Cana Centenario 21 Commemorative Edition

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The Runner-Ups

The 2013 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for the Best Rum bottled in North America: Famous Newfoundland Screech Rum

The 2013 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for the Best Rum bottled in Central America: Panamonte Reserva XXV – 25 Year Old Rum

The 2013 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for the Best Rum bottled in South America: Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva

The 2013 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for the Best Rum bottled in the Caribbean Islands: Appleton Estate 12 Year Old Rum

The 2013 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for the Best Rum bottled in Europe:
Rum Nation Demerara 23 Year Old

The 2013 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for the Best Rum bottled in Asia, India and Australia:
Amrut Old Port Deluxe

The 2013 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for 2013 Rum of the Year: El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve Rum

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The Honourable Mentions

The 2013 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Award for the Best Rum  North America: Lemon Hart Demerara Original British 100 Proof Rum

The 2013 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Award for the Best Rum bottled in Central America: Flor de Caña Centenario 12 Year Old Rum

The 2013 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for the Best Rum bottled in South America: El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum and Juan Santos 21 Yr Antigua Reserva Rum

The 2013 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Award for the Best Rum bottled in the Caribbean Islands: Havana Club Selección de Maestros Rum

The 2013 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Award for the Best Rum bottled in Europe: Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum

The 2013 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Award for the Best Rum bottled in Asia, India and Australia: Old Monk Very Old Vatted XXX Rum (7 Years Old Blended)

The 2013 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Award for 2013 Rum of the Year: Reimonenq Vieux 9 Year Old Rhum (Distilled 1999)

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2 Responses to “The 2013 Rum Howler Awards for Rum (The Regional Awards)”

  1. gtt55 said

    For Best Rum bottled in South America, why is Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva, with a score of 97 rated 2nd to El Dorado 21 year old which has a score of 95?

    • Because the Awards are not based upon my reviews (which may have been written in a previous year), they are based upon a side by side tasting done at the end of each year.

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