"Got Rum?" magazine- January 2015 issue.
January 2015- Rum in the News
Mike Kunetka shares with us the most recent and noteworthy headlines in the rum industry in the January 2015 issue of "Got Rum?" magazine.
January 2015- Rum in the News
These are the most recent and noteworthy headlines in the rum industry. If you want us to share your news with our readers, please send an email to Mike Kunetka at Mike@gotrum.com.
BLEEDING HEART RUM COMPANY
Last September, I wrote about Bleeding Heart’s Don Papa 7 Year Old rum. In December, they issued a limited release of a 10 Year Old rum, describing it as the darker, smoother older brother. “This batch was distilled in 2004, in extremely high temperature. The humidity causes much of the liquor to evaporate, leaving us with only 40 percent of the original product, which is stronger and more concentrated,” explained Don Papa’s Bleeding Heart Rum Company founder Stephen Carroll. Bottled at 43% ABV, the 10 Year Old is slightly stronger than its 7 Year Old sibling. However, the most striking difference is in the color of the rum, the older version has a dark amber, almost ebony color.
DIPLOMATICO WORLD TOURNAMENT
Last year, bartenders from fourteen countries competed in the first ever Diplomatico World Tournament. This year’s competition has been expanded to twenty-eight countries. U.S. qualifying rounds have been held in New York City, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami and those winners will meet this month to see who will represent the U.S. in the World Finals in April, in Venezuela. Winners so far have been Roberto Rosa in New York City, Sam Readway in Boston, Alex Renshaw in Chicago and Nick Meyer in Los Angeles.
Bundaberg Rum has signed an agreement with the International Cricket Council, making it the Official Rum served at this year’s Cricket World Cup. Adam Ballesty, Diageo’s Australian Marketing Director said “We are delighted to be partnering with the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and supporting Australia’s biggest summer of cricket with Australia’s favorite rum”. The agreement further allows Bundaberg Rum products to be served at a number of Cricket World Cup venues.
RUM JOURNAL’S RUM AWARDS FOR 2014
The Rum Journal, part of The Caribbean Journal, a website covering all things Caribbean, announced its Rum Awards for 2014. In 2012 they selected Gosling’s old Rum as the Rum of the Year. Last year they chose Bacardi’s Facundo Exquisito. This year the award went to Angostura No.1, a limit release of just 9,600 bottles from this Trinidad distillery. The Rum Journal chose Rhum Depaz Cuvee Prestige as the Rhum Agricole of the Year. The Best New Rum of 2014 Award went to Nicaragua’s Flor de Caña 25 Year and the Best New Rum Agricole went to HSE’s Black Sheriff. Best White Rum was Captain Morgan’s White, Best White Rhum Agricole was Clément’s Blue Cane Rhum and Best Gold Rum was Papa’s Pilar Blonde. Other award recipients included Siesta Key’s Distillers Reserve as Best Spiced Rum; Brinley Gold’s Shipwreck Vanilla Rum as Best Flavored Rum and Cockspur’s 130 as Best Overproof.
Regular readers of this column know that I am a big fan of Bryan Davis and the experimental work he is doing at Lost Spirits. First, there were the Navy Rums, one at 55% ABV and one at 68%. These rums were a big hit with the Tiki crowd. In a recent post on the Tiki Central website, Bryan described the Navy Rums this way: “These were inspired by watching Pirates of the Caribbean over and over again, while asking ourselves the question: what would that rum in the movie taste like if it were a real thing. We engineered these to have a significant wood smoke note to evoke the canon fire and gun smoke with a taresque quality reminiscent of wooden ships.” Then, there was the Polynesian Rum. Bryan’s description: “Here we asked the question, if Tiki was an actual place, what would the rum taste like?” Next came the Cuban Inspired 151, his idea of what Cuban rums tasted like 100 years ago. The rum is big and bolder than the rest, and now occupies that spot in my bar that once held Lemon Hart 151.
His latest offering, a joint project with Bounty Hunter Wines and Spirits of Napa, is Colonial Inspired American Rum. Coming in at 62% ABV, Bryan describes this new rum as “chocolate-dipped plums, rolled in expresso powder.” The label proudly states: “NOTE: this probably tasted a lot better than colonial rum did.” This is a small batch run, only 225 bottles, and is only available at Bounty Hunter Wines (www.bountyhunterwine.com). In his comments on Tiki Central, Bryan teases us with these comments: “So for this one, I actually used a prototype of a set of new techniques that I have been working on in the shop for a long time. I actually had to file patents before I could sell the bottles or give the buyers samples. Think of this one as a sneak preview of what’s to come.” I can’t wait!
Attendees at the recent UK Rumfest were treated to a new rum from Ron Cubay called Extra Viejo. This light colored rum is a mixture of white rums and extra-aged rum reserves. These are old Cuban rums that are aged between seven and thirteen years in white American Oak. Extra Viejo comes in individually numbered, clear decanter bottles in a leather-like gift box. Hopefully, we will see Ron Cubay in the US someday soon!
Our lucky brethren in the UK will have the opportunit y this month to purchase one of 642 bottles of this year’s Ron Zacapa Reserva Limitada. The 2014 version is a blend of several rums, aged between six and twenty-four years in both American White Oak and French Oak barrels. What makes this release different is where the barrels are aged. Unlike all other Zacapa rums that are aged in their warehouse, “ the House Above the Clouds”, this year’s Limitada is aged for two years in an herb garden at the facility. The garden contains more than 20 herbs, such as anise, tarragon, fennel and coriander, which fill the air with their wonderful aromas and subtly infuse the rum.
WEST INDIES RUM & SPIRITS PRODUCERS
Chairman of the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA) Dr. Frank Ward warns that the region’s rum industry is in grave danger as a result of subsidized rum from the United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico flooding the world markets. Ward feels that the current trade practices are simply “unfair” and that WIRSPA has been working with regional governments for the past two to three years to come up with a solution. “ I think the time has come, given the fact that some of our companies are now beginning to struggle, certainly in Barbados. We cannot wait much longer and I am urging the governments to start making concrete steps to engage with the US administration to effect a solution that is fair and reasonable,” he said. “We are supposed to be operating in an environment which promotes free and fair trade,” he added, pointing out that “subsidized product from wherever cannot be considered to be promoting free and fair trade. In our region we subscribe to the rule of democracy, the rule of law and property rights. We do almost everything that is expected of us as countries to participate effectively in the global system whether it is on the political or on an economic level. I therefore see no reason why we should not demand that the same consideration be given to us. It needs to be taken into account that we are small countries with very little policy space to maneuver.”