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Posts Tagged ‘Rum Awards’

Top 30 Rums Countdown # 18 – Dictador 20 Year Solera

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 7, 2012

Top 30

Dictador_20yearsAccording to the Dictador website, the Dictador 20 Year Old Solera Rum is the result of the fermentation of a mixture of virgin sugar cane honey which has been distilled in part from alembic copper pot stills and in part from continuous column stills. This is a solera aged rum with the oldest rum in the bottle being at least 20 years of age. It is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume in a stylish black 700 ml bottle. The Dictador website explains that the rum is produced in Colombia, more exactly, on the Caribbean coast of Colombia at Cartagena de Indias City, and  is named for Arango Y Ferro who was nicknamed ‘Dictador’ by the local population of Cartagena de Indias as he rose to prominence in the trade and commerce between the Spanish Colonies and Spain (sometime after 1751).

This is the second rum from Dictador which has ended up on my Countdown list placing itself at number 18:

# 18 – Dictador 20 Year Solera

“… The aroma from the glass is heavily tainted with oak and baking spice.  I smell dark brown sugars and toffee which grows stronger and deeper as the glass decants.  A hint of maple sits in the breezes. And accents of cinnamon, nutmeg as well as a firm dash of vanilla rise up to complement the strong oak aroma…”

The Dictador 20 year Old Solera Blend is a suave, yet rich rum experience!

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

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

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 2

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 20, 2010

Yesterday I began to bestow my first ever Rom Howler Awards for Rum and Whisky. These awards are based upon my peculiar palate, and my peculiar way of enjoying these rums and whiskies. (Although to be honest I do not think that I am that far off of the norm when it comes to rum and whisky.) I had an award for the best rum in a Daiquiri, and the best whisky in a Horses Neck.  And an award for the best overall White Rum, and the best overall Blended Whisky.  I wrapped up Part 1 of my awards with an award for the best spiced/flavoured rum and the best Single Grain Whisky. I think I deviated a bit from how others hand out their awards by choosing in each case to mix some cocktails as part of the judging system. That’s because it is my belief that is exactly how most person’s actually enjoy those particular spirits.  I also sipped most of the spirits neat, again as part of the judging. I think for the most part, everything worked out rather well.

So it is today that I am going to continue my awards.  I plan to concentrate on regional distinctions between various rums, and therefore my awards today will be bestowed in a regional manner.  I must apologize at the outset, as I cannot represent every region equitably, nor even fairly. My experience is just too limited. But I can do my best, and that is what I shall do.

Unlike yesterday judging for the regional categories did not include any cocktail construction.  All nominated rums were sipped at room temperature with no ice in side by side comparisons.

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Central American Rum goes to:

Flor de Caña 12 Year old Rum

Honourable mention to Zafra Master Reserve.

In all I sampled five rums which I thought were worthy contenders for the best rum of Central America, but in the end it was a two-horse race between the Zafra Master Reserve and the Flor de Cana 12.  And it was the consistent excellence of the Flor de Cana from start to finish which left me no choice but to declare it the winner. (I must apologize for being unable to place the Ron Zacapa XO 25 into the mix, as alas I had no left over rum from that particular bottle.)

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The Rum Howler Award for Best South American Rum:

Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva

Honourable mention to Juan Santos 21 Yr Old.

It was difficult to know where to start when choosing the best rum of  South America. The El Dorado Rums were obvious contenders, as were the rums from Diplomatico . In the end I sampled four rums from Venezuela, two rums from Guyana,  and one rum from Colombia. The Colombian Rum (Juan Santos 21) was the big surprise taking Diplomatico Exclusiva to the limit and almost winning.  For those interested the Colombian Rum is sold as Ron Santero 21 in other markets and is well worth looking into.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Caribbean Island Rum:

Cubaney 25 Solera

Honourable mention to Appleton Estate Master Blender’s Legacy, Havana Club Barrel Proof, and Bermudez Anniversario.

There was so much to choose from! The Appletons from Jamaica, Havana Club and Legendario from Cuba,   Doorly’s from Barbados, and so many more. In the end it was a little known rum from the Dominican Republic that stole the show. I thought perhaps it was because I had so recently reviewed the rum that I was still in love with it. So I had a few friends help me out…. I should not have worried, the palates of my friends confirmed my impressions and the result was unanimous, Cubaney Ron Tesero Grand Reserve was the best.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Non Caribbean/South American Rum:

Renegade Panama 1997

Honourable mention to Old Port Deluxe (Amrut).

Those Renegade Rums made my life difficult. Do I classify them based upon the country of origin, or based upon the country where they are aged and bottled? In the end I decide they were a product of the United Kingdom and that decision pretty much ensured the victory for the Don Jose Panama Rum in this category.  The Old Port from Amrut gave it a small challenge and a Mexican Rum called Macombo was in the mix briefly as well. But the Port enhanced wonder from the Renegade Rum Company could not be denied.

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And there you have it, the next four Rum Howler Awards!

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Central American Rum, Flor de Caña 12 Year old Rum.

The Rum Howler Award for Best South American Rum, Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva.

The Rum Howler Award for Best Caribbean Island Rum, Cubaney 25 Solera.

The Rum Howler Award for Best Non Caribbean/South American Rum, Renegade Panama 1997.

Tomorrow I tackle Regional Whiskies.

Posted in Dark Rums, Howls, Rum | 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

 
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