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Archive for the ‘White Rums’ Category

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.


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.


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.


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 on The Rum Howler Awards – The Rum Wrap Up

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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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 on The Rum Howler Awards – Part 1

An Evening with Legendario

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 23, 2010

A few weeks ago I received an email from Owen Fieldberg of götchya pröducktos Inc. inviting me to a special industry tasting of the Legendario line-up of Rums. The tasting was set for September 21, at one of my favourite stores Aligra Wine and Spirits.  All of the local Venders  who sold the Legendario Elixir de Cuba were invited, and it was basically a sneak peek into the new Legendario Rum line-up.  Here is what we tasted:

Legendario  Elixir de Cuba 34% – 2 – 4 Year

Legendario Añejo 38% – 1 to 6 year

Legendario El Dorado 38 % – aged  Gold

Legendario Blanco 40% – aged White

Photo Courtesy

The highlight of the evening was meeting Jesus Lester Pomo the Export Manager from the Legendario headquarters in Spain. Mr. Pomo is a Cuban National (living in Spain) who is responsible for the world-wide export of the Legendario Rums.  Mr. Pomo spoke briefly about each rum and then poured generous samples for all of us to try.  He even showed me a trick for sampling and tasting I had never seen before.  When he poured my sample of the Anejo, he also poured a tiny bit on my wrist.  I was asked to spread it around a little and then to take a nice deep wiff.  Nice!  The warmth from my wrist carried the aroma upwards and gave me a delicious invitation to sample the glass.

I have already reviewed the Legendario Elixer de Cuba here on my blog, but I would feel remiss if I didn’t also give a little indication of each of the other spirits:

The Lengendario El Dorado and Legendario Blanco each exhibited a bevy of character and aroma in the glass. I found the white rum (Legendario Blanco) carried much more flavour in the mouth than many of these new well aged whites which have recently entered the market.  The Gold rum (Legendario El Dorado) was even more flavourful, and each of these rums had a satisfying ‘kick’ to impart to my tonsils.

The Legendario Anejo was silky smooth and suave with excellent favours of rummy caramel and oak spice. It was easily my favourite spirit of the afternoon.  The rum was very well-balanced and at 38 % alcohol strength the Anejo satisfied at all levels.  I am looking forward to mid November when this rum should enter the Alberta marketplace.

I plan to obtain a sample bottle so that I can share a review.

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

Review: Montanya Platino Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 9, 2010

The Montanya Tasting Room (Photo Courtesy of Montanya Distillers)

Up in the San Juan mountains of Colorado, in the heart of the High Country, 9318 feet above sea level, there sits an anomaly upon the landscape of world of rum. In this unlikely locale, far removed from the tropical climes of the Caribbean, the Montanya Distillery is open for business making their award-winning rum. I mention award-winning, because this year the distillery captured major awards at two of the most prestigious rum tasting competitions in the USA. At both the San Fransisco Worlds Spirits Competition in San Fransisco and at the Rum Renaissance – RumXP Tasting Competition in Miami, the Montanya Platino captured Gold Medals!

Photo Courtesy Montanya Distillers

Fortunately I was in Miami acting as a judge at the RumXP Tasting Competition (for those who do not know XP stands for Expert Panel), and I was able to acquire a sample bottle of the Montanya Platino rum to review on my blog.

I did a little research and discovered that all of the rum produced by Montanya Distillers is made on a small copper pot still. It is a small batch distillation which produces roughly 10 gallons of rum in each batch. When enough rum has been distilled to fill a reused whisky barrel. It is then set down to age at altitude in the small town of Silverton, Colorado for roughly 6 weeks.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“Montanya Platino begins with a combination of honeyed caramel, bourbon vanilla and mild anise flavours on the initial palate. There is a little softness in the mouth which seems to give legs to a somewhat dank vanilla thread that runs through the rum. A touch of corn whisky stemming no doubt from the brief time in the whiskey barrels leaves a vague imprint in the rum’s flavour profile…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Montanya Platino Rum

Enjoy the review and please remember to drink responsibly.

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Montanya Platino Rum

Review: Kōloa Kaua`i White Hawaiian Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 2, 2010


Olokele Sugar Mill on the Gay & Robinson Plantation: Photo Courtesy Jeanne Toulon (Kōloa Rum Company)

Kōloa Kaua`i White Hawaiian Rum is a white rum produced fresh from a 1210 gallon copper pot still with no barrel aging.  The actual base material for the distillation is not molasses, but rather the Gay and Robinson Plantation crystallized sugar.  I am told that the sugar has a higher than normal molasses content, and having been given a sample of the raw sugar, indeed it carries forward a wonderful molasses aroma.  From this distillate, and using the vintage copper pot still, all of the Kōloa Rum is made in a batch style.  The resulting white rum is about as pure as rum can be,  bottled fresh with no barrel aging.

This style of rum is unusual for me to taste and sample as most white rums I have reviewed here on my blog are aged rums which have been filtered clear. The fact that this rum is bottled fresh means that we are getting a glimpse into the unaged and unaltered structure of Kōloa Rums.

Here is an Excerpt from my review:

“…I taste a pleasing combination of light peppery spice and the vegetal tones one gets from a spirit bottled fresh from the still. Banana peel, a ribbon of mild anise,  and lime accents swim in the currents of a very light honeyed rummy caramel…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Kōloa Kaua`i White Hawaiian Rum

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Kōloa Kaua`i White Hawaiian Rum

Introducing Kōloa Kaua`i Hawaiian Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 3, 2010

It was at the Rum Renaissance in Miami Florida this past May that I was first introduced to Kōloa Kaua`i Hawaiian Rum. The Kōloa Rum Company had been ‘up and rumming’ for approximately one year, and in spite of the competition from much more experienced rum companies, the Kōloa Kaua`i Dark Hawaiian Rum garnered one of prestigious gold medals at the Rumxp Tasting Competition which was in held conjunction with the event. This was a remarkable feat considering that the license to distill alcohol had been issued only one year previous, on April 1, 2009.

So I decided I had better get to know this company a little better, and after I emailed my information request, I was contacted by Jeanne Toulon, Director of Public Relations, for the Kōloa Rum Company.  Jeanne was only too happy to help me out and soon deluged me with news clippings, a cool video and as much information as she could stuff into the large brown envelope that she sent my way.  I was even given a small sample of the crystallized brown sugar from the Gay and Robinson Plantation which is the basic raw material from which all of the Kōloa Rum is distilled.  (I should add that her generosity also extended to the delivery of three bottles of the Company’s, Kōloa Kaua`i Hawaiian Rum, so that I could sample and review them at my leisure here on my blog.)

In case you are wondering, the Kōloa Rums are made using a vintage 1210 gallon vintage copper pot still imported from Kentucky.  This copper still was first shipped by train to the west coast and then by boat to the Islands of Hawaii.  Constructed just after World War II, the still was previously used to distill Kentucky whiskey.

The actual base material for the distillation is not molasses, but rather the Gay and Robinson Plantation crystallized sugar.  I am told that the sugar has a higher than normal molasses content and indeed it carries a wonderful molasses aroma.  From this distillate, and using the vintage copper pot still, all of the Kōloa Rum is made in a batch style.  The resulting white rum is about as pure as rum can be,  bottled fresh with no barrel aging.  The gold rum is just as fresh as the white, with the gold colour stemming from the addition of caramelized Gay and Robinson Plantation crystal sugar.  And finally, the dark rum, which also uses fresh rum, is enhanced with the same caramelized sugar as well as a secret recipe of spices to give it the dark rich colour and flavour which resulted in the Gold Medal at Rum Renaissance.  In a way these are throwback rums made in the manner and style of the past when it was entirely the blender’s mastery that was needed to sooth the spirit rather than the use of oak barrel aging.

The The Kōloa Rum Company has already broken new ground being the first company to legally produce rum on the Island of Kaua`i.  They have also recently established a Plantation style tasting room for visitors to the distillery to enjoy their rums, and they have won a Gold medal at Rum Renaissance.  All of this after merely one year of operation! I think it is obvious to see why I was excited to learn more.

So over the next several weeks I will be embarking on a Hawaiian odyssey of sorts. I will review each bottle of Kōloa rum, putting them through the rigors of my tasting methodology.  What the results of my reviews will be, I cannot say at this point, but what I can say is that based upon the accolades they have already earned, and based how hard they have worked in their first year of operation, I am entering upon my Hawaiian odyssey with a very positive outlook.  You can look forward to the reviews over the next several weeks.

Posted in Dark Rums, Flavouerd Rums, Howls, Rum, White Rums | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Introducing Kōloa Kaua`i Hawaiian Rum

Rum Review: Bermudez Ron Viejo Blanco

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 29, 2010


This is the fourth review I am publishing with respect to the rums of Ron Bermudez. I previously reviewed the Ron Anejo Bermudez 5 Anos; the Bermudez Don Armando; and the Bermudez Anniversario upon my blog using sample bottles provided to my by J. Ernesto Orozco of  Biwest Imports Ltd.  My sample bottle of the Bermudez Ron Viejo Blanco rum was also supplied by Biwest Imports Ltd., as they are introducing the Bermudez rums into my home Province of Alberta.

The Bermudez Distillery is the oldest commercial rum distillery in the Dominican Republic.  The words on the bottle  ‘Viejo Blanco’ translate from Spanish to English as ‘Old White’, indicating to me that the Bermudez rum is an aged clear rum.  Exactly how old I am not sure, but I expect, based upon the particular wording used here, that the rum is aged anywhere from 1/2 year to 3 years.

I found the Bermudez Ron Viejo Blanco  to be a surprisingly high quality ‘white’ rum.  Here is an excerpt from my review:

” …The Bermudez Ron Viejo is very similar in taste profile to the Bermudez Don Armando which I reviewed earlier.  It is not quite as suave and smooth as the 10-year-old, but is it perhaps one of the smoothest ‘blanco’ rums I have encountered to date.  It is slightly sweet in the mouth, but still carries enough spice to warm the tonsils…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Bermudez Ron Viejo Blanco

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Review: Bermudez Ron Viejo Blanco

Rum Review: Santiago de Cuba Ron Carta Blanca

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 15, 2010


Pictured to the left is a bottle of Santiago de Cuba Ron Carta Blanca, an authentic Cuban rum which was provided for me to sample by a good friend, who just returned from the Caribbean. He asked me to take the bottle home with me,  try as much as I needed to and place the review on my Blog.   (Some of my friends think it is really cool to see the rums they love reviewed on my blog. whereas, I think it is really cool to have friends who think like that.)

I have very little information on the rum, other than what I can decipher from the label and the smattering of information on the internet where it is sold by some internet dealers as a standard Cuban white rum.

Here is an excerpt from the review:

“…The caramel flavour of the rum is soft, and I also taste light minty candy flavours. Flashes of vanilla present themselves, but I catch no nutty flavours at all. Some Banana peel and citrus elements appear, but they are mellowed rather than too sharp….”
You may read the full review here

Rum Review: Santiago de Cuba Ron Carta Blanca

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Review: Santiago de Cuba Ron Carta Blanca

Rum Review: Downslope Distilling White Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 1, 2010

Photo courtesy of Downslope Distilling

DownSlope Distilling, Inc. of Centennial, Colorado was incorporated in May of 2008 and began production about a year later after they received their Federal Basic Permit to produce distilled spirits.  Their sugar cane vodka and  white rum hit the market in August of 2009.

Pictured to the right is the Double Diamond Pot Still which is used to produce  Downslope Distilling’s White Rum.   The still was made by Copper Moonshine Stills in Arkansas, by Colonel Vaughn Wilson.

The white rum produced at DownSlope is made from dried Maui cane juice rather than molasses.  The cane juice is fermented in 300 gallon tanks and distilled twice in 220 gallon batches. Production from cane juice results in a drier, less sweet rum than would be produced from molasses.  After two runs through the still, the distillate is filtered through an instrument called the Lichtenstein.  This is a device designed by Master Distiller Mitch Abate who is responsible for the entire distillation, filtering, and cellaring process.

Here is an excerpt from the review:

“…The cachaca style continues into the mouth as the rum carries light caramel and no apparent oakiness.  I taste banana peel and orange zest.  Sipping it straight is not really preferred.  This is not meant to be a criticism, rather it is a straight forward assessment as very few white rums are meant to be enjoyed neat.

In tasting this rum over several days I discovered that it mixes quite well in most traditional rum drinks…”

You may read the full review here:

Rum Review: Downslope Distilling White Rum

I have included a cocktail recipe for your enjoyment.


Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Review: Downslope Distilling White Rum

Rum Review: Ron Matusalem Platino

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 14, 2009

On October 21, 2009 I first began to taste the Ron Matusalem Platino Rum  I found the rum to be shy and subdued with a mild pleasant, but extremely laid back flavour.  I have visited this bottle several times since then and have now completed my full review.

Ron Matusalem PlatinoThe Ron Matusalem company has a fascinating history dating back to 1872, when the brand was established by Benjamin and Eduardo Camp and Evaristo Alvarez.  A marriage between Evaristo Álvarez daughter, and the son of Eduardo Camp, at the turn of the next century begat a family tradition of the original founders that has through five generations controlled the company.   The family fled Cuba in the 1960s and reestablish the company on U.S. soil in the state of Florida.  The reestablished company produces their Cuban style rum which is now blended in the Dominican Republic.

You can check out the Ron Matusalem history here.

You can check out my full review of Ron Matusalem Platino here:

Review: Ron Matusalem Platino

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Review: Ron Matusalem Platino


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