Drinks

Published on October 23rd, 2015 | by Gavin

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Rum Experience Week 2015 Roundup

Last week saw London’s first ever week dedicated to my favourite spirit, rum (and it’s about time too). Gin, whisky, and vodka all have a mainstream following but for some unknown reason, rum has been relegated to the occasional mojito or lethal naval strength grog on a boozy night out in Tiger Tiger. The week was dedicated to raising the profile of the sugar based spirit and was typified by Tiki, tastings, and even a university. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t attend every event but here are my highlights:

Rum Week Launch Party

It wouldn’t be a rum week without a rum fuelled launch party, and this was extra special because it was also the launch of Alfred Lamb’s limited edition single cask rum. Lamb’s Navy Rum is one of the most recognisable brands in the UK and has over 160 years of rum distilling history behind them. So if anyone is going to create something special, it was going to be them, and the smooth, golden liquid did not disappoint.

The first batch only contains 154 bottles, so it was a privilege to be one of the first people in the world to give it a try. Watch this space for our exclusive bottle giveaway next week!

Lamb Single Cask

Appleton Rum Twitter Tasting

The rum: Appleton Estate Signature Blend, Rare Blend, and 21 year old. The place: your house. For one night only, Jamaica’s Appleton Estate rum sent 400 lucky rum lovers samples of their finest products to take part in a live Twitter tasting hosted by rum ambassador Ian Burrell and Appleton Senior Blender David Morrison.

The event was also streamed live to the web from the Appleton UK HQ in the Shard, and I was lucky enough to get an invitation. As well as the tasting, guests were invited to watch the finals of the Appleton rum bartender competition with mixologists from all over the country competing to become the next Appleton brand ambassador. Fierce competition (and plenty of laughs) ensued with Chelsie Bailey of Red Light Bristol coming out on top with a unique take on the classic Negroni.

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Tiki on the Thames

A party on a boat with cocktails made by Mr Rumfest himself, Ian Burrell- need I say more? Donning our best multi-coloured Hawaiian shirts, I joined my fellow rum fanatics on a boozy afternoon cruising up and down the Thames dancing to Soca (Caribbean music), and sipping Mai Tais- there are worse ways to spend a Thursday!

Rumfest

So after five days of sipping, revelling, and partying, we reach the icing on top of the already calorie laden rum cake- Rumfest 2015. Now into its ninth year, Rumfest has grown from strength to strength with two sold out days of molasses filled action with guests sampling over 400 rums, taking part in masterclasses, and a rum auction that raised over £5000 for charity.

Every year I like to highlight some of the best new rums that I discovered from the show:

Matugga Rum

Matugga (UK/Uganda)

An upstart created earlier this year by delightful husband and wife duo Paul and Jacine Rutasikwa, Matugga is blended in the UK using molasses sourced from Uganda, where Paul originally hails from.  I’ve often found first time rum producers to create an overly caramelised liquid to mask the underlying inadequacies, but Matugga is different. Bold and punchy, the characteristics are unmistakeable; a brave move, but it’s certainly one that pays off.

They have also created a spiced rum which manages not to kill the flavour with vanilla and nutmeg, so you can still get an essence of the base spirit. This is a rum I’ll be keeping a close eye on for the foreseeable future.

Matugga is available to buy through their website priced £39.99 (70cl) https://www.matuggarum.com/

Rum Bar overproof rum

Rum Bar (Jamaica)

The second most popular rum brand in Jamaica, Rum Bar has finally taken steps to crash the UK market.  The Worthy Park Estate in St. Catherine has been producing cane and distilling since 1720 but decided to brand their own produce in 2007. The over proof white rum is lethal at 65% ABV but manages to retain plenty of character and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better base for rum punch. However the real star is Rum Bar Gold, an inexpensive blended rum that is equally good sipping neat or in a mixer. The only negative is that it’s near impossible to find in the UK at the moment.

Rum Bar white rum is available to buy at selected Tesco stores priced £9.50 (20cl) or online at http://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=285132816

Wild Tiger India Rum

Wild Tiger (India)

India isn’t known for its rum heritage; however the good people from Wild Tiger are trying to change that with this distinctly packaged product. Apart from the bottle, the other unique feature is that after leaving the barrel, they add cane juice spirit to give a unusual flavour. I have a feeling this will be a marmite rum, but I for one loved it.

Wild Tiger is not yet available to buy, but follow their progress at www.facebook.com/wildtigerrum

Nine Leaves Japan Rum

Nine Leaves (Japan)

Nine Leaves was created in a micro distillery in the Japanese town of Otsu by Yoshiharu Takeuchi. Yoshiharu comes from a family of successful car gearbox manufacturers, but decided to branch out to test his ingenuity. And we’re glad he did, as Nine Leaves Clear is a superb 50% ABV white rum; crisp and clean, it was the stand out white rum of the festival.  Be wary though, having loved the Clear I was enthused to sample their aged offerings, however the experience was far less exhilarating…

For more information, visit http://www.nine-leaves.com/. Nine Leaves is available to buy from The Whisky Exchange

 New Dawn Rum

New Dawn (Dominican Republic)

This rum is more about the story than the actual product. New Dawn Traders are a company dedicated to conscious fair trade, and part of that philosophy involves sailing to the Dominican Republic via traditional wind power to bring back some fine local rum. The best thing about New Dawn though is that they only ship a limited number of barrels, so you can almost guarantee no one will ever taste anything like your bottle again. They also import some amazing dark chocolate, but only in small quantities, so catch it if you can. We can’t think of a better way to spread the message of fair trade than with rum and chocolate!

You can still buy the 2014 New Dawn Rum from http://www.newdawntraders.com/ but be quick because numbers are dwindling

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About the Author

Born and raised in Croydon, South London, Gavin is a lover of cocktails, a passionate foodie, and a self-proclaimed ‘dancing god’. A (relatively) normal guy that decided to start blogging about his experiences around the city he loves.



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