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Archive for the ‘Rum Reviews’ Category

Rum Howler 2014 #21 Rum – Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 18 Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 4, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Ron Matusalem prides itself on being a Cuban style of rum with a history in Cuba they trace back to 1872 when two brothers, Benjamin and Eduardo Camp, together with a partner, Evaristo Álvarez opened a distillery in Santiago de Cuba. According to the information I found last April on the Matusalem website, the rum they were producing began to win acclaim by the first quarter of the 20th century. The distillery apparently operated until the 1960′s when due to the Cuban Revolution the Álvarez family was exiled, and the rum they made disappeared from the landscape.

Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 18 is aged according to the Matusalem company’s own style of solera aging process. According to the Matusalem website the average age of the rums (not the minimum age) which make up this Solera Blender is 18 years.

Ron Matusalem Rum Old fashioned

Ron Matusalem Old Fashioned

Here is a link to my recently written review which I wrote earlier this Year:

# 21 Rum – Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 18

” … The initial aroma carries a nice mixed aroma of caramel, oakspice and vanilla. The rich scent is complimented by dabs of marmalade and banana. As the glass sits, the oak spices build in the air, and the rum scents in the air are enriched by added impression of maple toffee, hints of cinnamon and cloves, some pipe tobacco and perhaps a bit of roasted walnut as well …”

This is a relaxing rum with just enough nuance to keep the glass interesting as you sip, but restrained enough that the sipping experience never becomes demanding. It also makes a tremendous Rum Old Fashioned!

Cheers everyone, enjoy my countdown of the World’s Best Rums!

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Rum Howler 2014 # 22 Rum – Havana Club Selección de Maestros

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 3, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Havana Club’s Selección de Maestros is an authentic Cuban rum that has replaced the Havana Club Barrel Proof in the portfolio of Havana Club Rums. It is my understanding that the Selección de Maestros is produced in the same manner as the discontinued Havana Club Barrel Proof, and any differences between the two rums are more a matter of normal variation in batch production than any real difference between the rums.

This Havana Club rum undergoes a rather unique maturation process where it is first aged in old white oak barrels, and when the final rum is blended, it is then finished in specially ‘selected’ younger finishing casks. I have heard of this ‘Double Barrel’ approach with whisky, but , the Selección de Maestros, is one of the first rums that I know of which uses older white oak maturation casks and then younger fresh oak finishing casks.

Selección de MaestrosHere is a link to my review:

# 22 Rum – Havana Club Selección de Maestros

” … The immediate nose is of sweet toffee, with a nice complement of cinnamon. Nutmeg and cloves work their way into the breezes along with a little oak, some hot orange peel and a touch of green tobacco. As the glass sits, the aroma of toffee intensifies making the rum seem very attractive, which of course leads me to steal a sip …”

The Havana Club Selección de Maestros really is a fine rum. It is a little spicier than most well aged rums in the market, but the spiciness (for me) works very well within the context of the overall flavour profile. The spirit is an excellent sipper, and if you wish to explore the cocktail rum just a bit, you will find the spiciness of this Cuban spirit works wonders in that realm as well. In fact I created a new cocktail recently, Cuban Style, which uses this Havana Club Rum’s spiciness to great effect.

Cheers everyone, enjoy my countdown of the World’s Best Rums!

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# 23 Rum – Dictador XO Perpetual

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 2, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Dictador is produced in Colombia on the Caribbean coast at Cartagena de Indias City. Rather than being produced from molasses, the rum is produced from the virgin honey of sugar cane which has been distilled upon a stainless steel alembic, and aged using Dicatador’s unique take on the solera-style aging system. Although the rum is produced upon a stainless steel alembic, the inner workings of this still contain more than enough copper such that it functions in basically the same manner as a copper pot still.

DictadorXOStatements on the Dictador website speak to a difference in the aging regimen used for their XO rums. Although the information is not specific, it appears that the major difference is in the oak selected. The intent seems to be to create a different rum flavour profile for the rum connoisseur.

This new rum flavour profile is (in my opinion) very appealing, and it has landed the Dictador XO Perpetual at the number 23 spot on my 2014 countdown:

Here is a link to my recently revised review I wrote for this outstanding rum:

# 23 Rum – Dictador XO Perpetual

” … I sense a wonderful butterscotch sweetness underneath a bouquet of oak and baking spices (vanilla, brown sugars, and cinnamon). Orange peel wells out of the glass, but if you are patient the orange peel soon melds with the butterscotch to give the air a lovely impression of marmalade …”

The Dictador XO Perpetual is a rum which carries a bit of flamboyance through its delivery. I found it especially good in an Old Fashioned cocktail the recipe of which is shared at the conclusion on my review.

Cheers everyone, enjoy my countdown of the World’s Best Rums!

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Rums in the World here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

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# 24 Rum – El Dorado 8 Year Old Cask Aged Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 1, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014According to the El Dorado Website, the El Dorado 8 Year old Cask Aged Rum is blended from selected stocks of rum which were produced from no less than four of Demerara Distillers’ traditional Heritage Stills including both the original Wooden Coffey Still which was rescued from the Enmore Estate and the Double Wooden Pot Still which was rescued from the Port Mourant Estate. Each of these stills is well over 200 years old and they represent the last of their kind operating in the world today. The use of these ancient stills ensures that the Demerara Rum produced at DDL’s Diamond Distillery is unlike anything produced anywhere else in the world. (For more information on the unique Heritage Stills in operation at the Diamond distillery you may read my first hand account here (Diamond Distillery Tour).

Rum Manhattan with El Dorado 8 Year Old Rum

Rum Manhattan with El Dorado 8 Year Old Rum

The new 8 Year Old Rum from El Dorado Rum was first released in Ontario, and has recently been made available here in Alberta too.

Here is a link to my recent review I wrote for this outstanding new rum from Demerara Distillers Limited:

#24 Rum – El Dorado 8 Year Old Cask Aged Rum

“… The immediate nose reveals a nice mixture of oak and coarse brown sugar as well as spicy scents of cinnamon and toffee, some luscious vanilla, and some not so subtle hints of orange marmalade …”

As good as this rum is to sip on its own, it is just as good when mixed in a classic cocktail. My  suggested recipe for the El Dorado 8 Year Old Rum is a Rum Manhattan.

Cheers everyone, enjoy my countdown of the World’s Best Rums!

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Rums in the World here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

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The Top 25 Rums of 2014

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 30, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Once again, I have prepared my annual listing of the best rums available in the world, this time for the year ending, 2014.

If you have followed any of my year-end countdown lists over the past few years you will have noticed that they are ever evolving as new spirits become available for me to taste each year, and as previously reviewed spirits disappear (for example: Appleton Estate 50 Year Old Jamaica Rum – Jamaica Independence Reserve) or become unavailable in my market for me to re-evaluate.

Another factor causing change in my rankings each year is the evolution of the various spirit brands which, contrary to popular opinion, do not necessarily remain consistent from year to year (or even from batch to batch). Within spirit companies, and within individual distilleries, philosophies and styles change as does the quality of the spirit produced from year to year (and from batch to batch).

download7_1680x1050My list as usual will be presented “Countdown Style” beginning on November 30th, and then through the month of December with the best rum of 2014 revealed on December 24, 2014 just in time for you to grab a bottle for Christmas and New Year’s cheer! As you return to this page each day (beginning November 30th), a new spirit will be revealed as we count down to the best rum I have personally tasted in 2014!

As so with no further ado, allow me to present my countdown list of

The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

And of course, allow me to present my choice as the 25th best rum in the World:

Flor de Caña Centenario 12

Note: I will be publishing two additional advent lists in the run up to Christmas, my 2nd annual Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014, and my newest review series, The 12 Cognacs of Christmas!

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Review: Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 25, 2014

Allie's Punch SAM_1366Fishbowl Spirits Llc. is a company wholly owned by Kenny Chesney, the well-known Country Music Singer from Knoxville, Tennessee. In May, 2013 Fishbowl Spirits launched Blue Chair Bay Rum, which features an assortment of rums which were apparently inspired by the relaxed island lifestyle of the county music star. The line-up includes an assortment of flavoured rums (a Coconut Rum, a Coconut Spiced Rum, a Banana Rum and a limited time only Coconut Spiced Rum Cream, as well as a standard White Rum. Although Blue Bay Chair Rum is based in Nashville, the assortment of rums they produce are distilled in Barbados and then bottled in Rochester NY by LiDestri Food & Beverage.

Three of these spirits, the Coconut and Coconut Spiced rums, as well as the White Rum have been brought into Alberta by Glazer’s Of Canada Llc, and they arranged for me to receive all three rums to review here on my website.

You may click the link below to read my full review of Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced Punch, which incidentally was awarded the highest score I have ever granted in the Spiced category!

Review: Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced Rum

“… The aroma seems mellow and relaxed with scents of sweetened coconut and light spices running through the breezes …”

At the conclusion of the review I share my newest cocktail recipe which mixes the Coconut Spiced Rum with delicious fresh squeezed fruit and ginger ale. I chose to coll the new mixed drink, Allie’s Cocktail.

Cheers Everyone!

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Review: Rum Nation Caroni 1998

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 6, 2014

Rum Nation Caroni 1998-2014The Caroni Distillery in Trinidad and Tobago was established in 1918, and was operated at near full capacity until 1993. Unfortunately, due to industry consolidation, rum production at the facility began to decline late in the 20th century and the distillery was closed in 2002. As a matter of interest, the consolidation of the rum industry during the last two centuries is amply illustrated in Trinidad and Tobago where there this small country featured 50 distilleries at the turn of the 19th century. One hundred and fifty years later (in 1950) only 8 had survived, and today there is but one, Angostura. It seems a pity that so much tradition and history has vanished. Although I guess we can count ourselves lucky that some of the rum barrels from the Caroni distillery are still finding their way into the market place.

The Rum Nation Caroni 1998 is one such offering from the folks at Rum Nation. This is an old-style heavy column still rum which was distilled in 1998 and aged for nine years in American Oak casks on the Caribbean Island of Trinidad. From this tropical locale, the rum was transported to Europe for further aging in refill American Oak (bourbon) casks which had been also previously used to age Rum Peruno (8YO). The resulting Rum Nation Caroni 1998 rum was bottled at cask strength (55 % alcohol by volume).

SAM_1336

The Caroni Cocktail

You may read my latest review by clicking on the following link:

Review: Rum Nation Caroni 1998

” … I left the glass to sit and breathe and noticed that the oak I had sensed in the breezes grew stronger demonstrating scents of freshly cut wooden planks which were dripping with wood sap. I could also sense fresh tar-like aromas, more dark licorice and light smells of camphor winding through the air … “

Although it may seem a sacrilege to some, I did a fair bit of experimentation in the cocktail realm with this particular spirit, and I found this Caroni Rum tasted extremely good when I poured a couple of ounces of the spirit over a few cubes of ice (in my rocks glass) and then added a small splash of cola and lime. A sipping Cuba Libre’ if you will. I added this Caroni Cocktail at the conclusion of my review for those who do not mind the occasional sacrilege of mixing great rum into an equally great bar drink.

Cheers Everyone!

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Review: 1 Barrel Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 9, 2014

Baron Bliss1 Barrel Rum is a product of Belize, the northernmost mainland country of Central America. A former British Colony, Belize lies just south of Mexico with the Caribbean Sea to the east and Guatemala to the west and south. Travellers Liquors Limited has been involved in the production of 1 Barrel Rum in Belize since the early 1960s originally working with independent distillers. In 1989, Tavellers acquired full control of their own distillery and has remained in full control of the brand ever since.

The 1 Barrel Rum is made from locally grown Belize sugar cane. According to the Travellers’ website, this cane is cut and crushed in a manner which retains its natural flavors, and the all of the rum is aged in Kentucky oak barrels for at least one year.

You may read my review of 1 Barrel Rum by clicking the following excerpt link:

Review: 1 Barrel Rum

“… The aroma from the glass is not overly complex; but it is nice with what I will call a laid back, lightly sweet quality. The initial scents and aromas I receive are very reminiscent of butterscotch and caramel, and I notice some subtle baking spices and a touch of tobacco appearing after I allow the glass to decant …”

Note: Included in the review is a nice tall cocktail (Baron Bliss) which pays homage to Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss, more commonly known as Baron Bliss. He was a British-born traveller who bequeathed approximately two million dollars ($US) to a trust fund for the benefit of the citizens of what was then (March 9, 1926) the colony of British Honduras. That colony of course is now known as Belize.

Please enjoy the review!

Posted in Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Review: El Dorado Spiced Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 30, 2014

ED Spiced-750-USA-cut-CMYKI was privileged recently when I received an invite to visit the facilities of  Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) in Guyana, South America two years ago. During this visit I was given a complete tour of the Diamond Distillery where DDL’s famous El Dorado Rums are produced. This included a tour of the old plant which houses the heritage stills (famous stills from various estates in Guyana some as old as 250 years, all working and still producing rum), and I saw DDL’s new high-capacity five-column distillation plant which is now in operation.

During this trip, I also was able to taste the entire line of El Dorado rums including the new El Dorado Spiced Rum. In fact at the guest house where I was staying, a full bottle of the El Dorado Spiced (and a few others as well) were left for our small Canadian group to enjoy each evening. I snapped a nice picture of the bottle while I was there and spent a little time gathering some tasting notes. At that time the Spiced rum was produced using lightly aged rum which had been produced at the old plant using the old heritage stills.

Georgetown Punch

However, two and a half years have passed and the transition of rum production (for El Dorado’s younger rums) has almost certainly been moved to the new plant and this rum is now entering into the North American Marketplace. I strongly suspect that the El Dorado Spiced rum is now a product of the new distillation plant rather than the old heritage plant, and I have decided to revisit and replace my original review with a more timely review from a current bottle.

You may click on the following excerpt link to read my full analysis:

Review: El Dorado Spiced Rum

“… The rum crosses the palate with sweet flavours of brown sugar melded into cloves and cinnamon with orange peel, nutmeg, and coriander adding additional spicy character. As before,strong notes of vanilla are evident and there is also a light dusting of oak woven into the flavour profile. The heat from the rum is more carefully melded into the firm butterscotch and brown sugar flavours …”

I hope you enjoy my fresh look at the El Dorado Spiced Rum which includes a nice punch style recipe, Georgetown Punch.

Cheers Everyone!

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Review: Dictador XO Insolent Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 23, 2014

Dictador Insolent SAM_1195This past May, I was invited by Thirsty Cellar Imports, to attend a Rum Master Class hosted by Hernan Parra Arango, Rum Master for Dictador Colombian Rum. At the event, the attendees were given the opportunity to taste the entire Dictador line-up which of course included not only the Dictador 12 Year and the Dictador 20 Year Solera Rums, but we also tasted and learned about the Dictador XO Perpetual and XO Insolent Rums.

At the Rum Master Class, I learned that for the Dictador XO Insolent in particular, the aging barrels used are pre-used oak barrels which have a significant percentage of oak obtained from Jerez Spain, as well as pre-used Port Wine Barrels. Near the end of the aging process, the barrels earmarked for the XO Insolent Rum are emptied (and the rum stored of course), and these barrels are subjected to an open flame process which caramelizes the rum soaked oak fibres on the interior of the barrel. These barrels are then refilled with the same rum allowing the spirit to draw the sweet caramelized flavours from the interior of the oak barrel. The final rum is blended and barreled at 40 % Alcohol by volume.

You may read my full review for the XO Insolent Rum by clicking on the following excerpt:

Review: Dictador XO Insolent Rum

“… luscious with sweet toffee smells rising from the glass tainted with impressions of butterscotch, vanilla, corn syrup, creme de brulee, maple syrup and peanut brittle. There is a backbone of firm oak sap and spice melded wonderfully into these sweeter butterscotch like aromas with delectable baking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves) and hints of milk chocolate …”

Please enjoy my latest review!

Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

 
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