Oct 242016
Don Papa 7 Year Old Rum - Review

Caner’s Rum Quality Inverse Square Conjecture: quality of rum is inversely proportional to the square of the sum of [ glitziness of website plus design of the label ]. #311 The presentation and advertising and marketing of this rum is all about fancy bottle and label design, gorgeous visuals, and words to make you giddy with anticipation.  It nails all aspects of those. Everything else is secondary, except the rum itself, which is tertiary.   Just to set the stage: I honestly thought my amigo Henrik, in his savage takedown of the rum, was exaggerating his despite. However, intrigued, I begged [Click here for the full review…]

Oct 102016
Berlin RumFest 2016 - Update #11

October 10th, 2016 Last post before bailing tomorrow morning. Direct flight to Frankfurt and then ICE train to Berlin.  Yes, I could fly but, like Sheldon Cooper, I love trains.  More space, bigger windows, better view, less common, no airport hassles.  I’ve been moving through international airports since I was a kid in the early 1970s and the changes are not all for the better – they’ve become impersonal and overcrowded zoos without a decent bar in sight.  Nothing to do with rums, just thought I’d mention it. Grandma Caner has all in readiness. Sample bottles check, tasting glasses check, [Click here for the full review…]

Oct 092016
Ron Aldea Caña Pura White Rum - Review

The confusion as to what this white is meant for – a soft mixing rum, or an intro to individualistic macho – makes it, paradoxically enough, falter at both. #310 You can imagine my surprise when I ran through the Ron Aldea line of rums from the Canary Islands last year, and after talking to the genial guy at the booth at my usual inordinate length, realized with astonishment that here was Santiago Bronchales, who previously was deeply involved with Ocean’s Atlantic, a rum I had thought was perhaps too overambitious for its own good, if reasonably drinkable.  Once he realized [Click here for the full review…]

Oct 072016
Berlin RumFest 2016 Update #10

October 7th 2016 Got sidetracked last time.  So…who’s exhibiting this time around?  Velier is still a miss (I think they lack a distributor in Germany or something).  JM…J. Bally…Real McCoy…RumFire….By the Dutch and their arrack; there’s an amusingly named new one from Mauritius called Lazy Dodo, along with Gold of Mauritius; I think all the old stalwarts are likely to be there, including Mount Gay and Rum Nation and the Compagnie. Plus the Dominican Republic and the Panamanians. I really have to take a look at the Origines series. I intend to see what the fuss about Don Papa is [Click here for the full review…]

Oct 052016
Berlin RumFest 2016 - Update #9

October 4th, 2016 Was tempted to apply to be one of the judges, then changed my mind.  Last year I spoke to one of them after he came tottering out of the tasting room, listing sharply to port like a sailor doing a hornpipe, crossed eyes dull and glazed (well…I exaggerate a little), and he remarked rather incoherently that perhaps tasting 60 or more rums in two days was a tad excessive. Matt Pietrek wrote about his judging experiences in Miami and what that was like, and re-reading his article makes me say to myself, “Better skip the idea.”  I [Click here for the full review…]

Oct 042016
Traveller's "Parrot" 3-Barrel Rum - Review

A light, easygoing, tasty three year old that’s better than average.   #309 Located in Belmopan (capital of Belize), Travellers is a distillery which traces its origins to 1953 when Master Blender Senor Omario Jaime Pedomo opened a bar he named Traveller’s as a nod to the rum sales made to people travelling to and from Belize City. The company currently uses molasses with natural fermentation (both source of the former and duration of the latter are unknown to me at this time) and double distills the result in a triple column continuous still, for a supposedly smoother, lighter taste. [Click here for the full review…]

Oct 032016
Berlin RumFest 2016 Update #8

*** October 3rd 2016 Spending some time perusing the Berlin Rum Fest website for distributors in 2016. I never get to see them all, and the last two years I’ve passed over Havana Club and Mount Gay and Pancho’s Panamanian stuff (it’s always too crowded around there).  The Jamaicans – Worthy Park and Hampden – are coming on strong and gaining a lot of street cred. Maybe I should try those.  Benoit is doing an agricole session, that looks to be something I could do.  There are two “rarities” sessions for an extra €90 (each) on both Saturday and Sunday, [Click here for the full review…]

Oct 022016
Rhum Rhum Libération 2010 Vieux Agricole - Review

Not quite on the level of either of the 2012 editions #308 *** When trying many rums of similar antecedents – year, maker, style – what we are doing is examining all the ways they are similar, or not. The underlying structure is always the same, and we search for points of difference, positive or negative, much in the way we review wines, or James Bond movies.  Velier’s own Caronis and Demeraras are examples of this, as is this collaboration with Gianni Capovilla from Bielle on Marie Galante (Guadeloupe). Some reviewers take this to the extremes of delving into the [Click here for the full review…]

Sep 302016
Berlin RumFest 2016 Update #7

September 30th, 2016 Having settled the masterclasses and being in a lull right now, it’s time to start making serious arrangements for the so-called Caner AfterParty.  This is just a get-together of a few rum chums, people I correspond with and am happy to call friends – though admittedly, friends or not, they would stampede through a wall and over my spine if they knew I had a Velier Caputo 1973 in stock, and ensure they got their sample before I even cracked the only bottle in existence. The list of friends has to remain small, because the place is [Click here for the full review…]

Sep 292016
Berlin RumFest 2016 Update #6

September 23rd, 2016 The Berlin Rumfest list of master classes is out.  Looks like they listened to some of the complaints from last and prior years. Previously, attendance to masterclasses could only be registered (for free) on the day of the fest itself. This created a long lineup every year, right by the entrance, and – not unnaturally – a lot of people who sauntered in late were s.o.l. because the early birds got all the seats.  I doubt that the issue will ever go away entirely because certain presenters will always be sought after (like Richard Seale, for example; [Click here for the full review…]

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