|Show organizer Robert Burr and RumXP judges announcing winners|
|Rums of Puerto Rico booth with RumXP medals|
|Plantation Rum shows off their RumXP medals|
|Lost Spirits Prometheus sample|
|Richard Seale (Foursquare) and Bryan Davis, Lost Spirits booth|
|The Floating Rum Shack visits the Lost Spirits booth|
|Cocktail Wonk & Phil Prichard|
|Richard Seale at his presentation|
|Slide from the Richard Seale presentation|
|Toby Tyler, Cocktail Wonk, Joe Farrell at the Afrohead booth|
Having reviewedthe Afrohead Seven-year rum recently, I was happy to have a long conversation with Afrohead’s founders, Toby Tyler and Joe Farrell from Harbor Island in the Bahamas. It’s clear that Afrohead is spending some serious marketing money to make an entrance into the rum category, including hosting a breakfast for the RumXP judges. Their booth included large images of the distinctive Afrohead logo, each highlighting a hidden symbol within the design. Among the fun moments of our conversation was when Toby showed me photos on his phone from his trip to the Angostura distillery blending room, where he works on Afrohead’s blends. We talked primarily about the 15 year which I hope to review here soon.
|Heaven Hill booth|
|John Barrett, Bristol Classic Rums|
|Master blender “Don Pancho” Fernandez with family, Ron Duran booth|
|Authentic Caribbean Rum booth|
Nearby was the Authentic Caribbean Rum (ACR) table. ACR is an alliance of rum producers who have strict standards about the quality of their rums. The table was lined with many top-notch rums I recognized–some by personal experience, other by extensive reading of rum blogs. Among the ACR table highlights for me was the St. Nicholas Abbey 5-year, the first aged expression created entirely at the distillery in Barbados. I own the St. Nicholas Abbey 10 and 15 as a result of visiting the distilleryin 2013; the 10- and 15-year were distilled by Foursquare and then sold to St. Nicholas Abbey, where they underwent additional aging. I found the St. Nicholas Abbey Five to be very smooth, with fewer acetone notes than I get from the 10 and 15 year. Other ACR highlights included the Hampden Gold and Monymusk (love my Jamaican funk!) and the Foursquare port cask-finished.
|Skotlander Rum booth|
|Nine Leaves Rum booth|
The Trade Expo area also featured much newer rum producers. Skotlander rum from Denmark showed several of their offerings, including an unaged (“raw”) white, an aged (“cask”) rum, and a sea buckthorn-infused rum (a berry-like fruit); I came away with 50ml bottles of the raw and sea buckthorn rum to noodle on later. With its beautiful bottles, the Nine Leaves rum from Japan caught my eye. They have an unaged white rum, as well as a number of different lightly aged versions, one using a California wine cask. I wish I could tell you more about how the Nine Leaves tasted, but my palate was fried by this point in the day-more news to come on those tastings.
|Tito Cordero, Master Blender for Diplomatico|
Something that surprised me as I circulated through the booths was the absence of certain really big players. Bacardi was not in attendance, notwithstanding a small presence in the “Rums of Puerto Rico” booth. Also missing were big dogs Appleton and Captain Morgan. However, without giant players dominating attention, the lesser known brands could shine – there were big, splashy booths from Plantation, Bayou, Afrohead, Rums of Puerto Rico, and others.
|Boy Drinks World Bitters booth|
|Plantation VP Guillaume Lamy at the Plantation booth|