Oct 242016

Photo shamelessly cribbed from and copyrighted to Henrik Kristoffersen of

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 ].


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 him for samples to save me buying them, and he was prepared to gift me the whole bottle except that his luggage was already full of stuff he was bringing to Berlin (for me).  And just to see if its claim to being a “premium aged small batch rum” held up, I tried the Don Papa 7 year old (and its brother the ten year old) four  times: once with a flight of eight Jamaicans, then with a flight of seven Demeraras, a third time with a raft of agricoles and then with yet another one of nine Bajans.  

Lord Almighty, this thing was annoying. I don’t think I’ve been this irritated with a rum since the Pyrat’s 1623. It’s appalling lack of profile compared to the comparators is only matched by its self evident desire to emulate a soda pop. When I think of the elegant construction of something like the FourSquare 2006 and its years of development, I want to rend my robes, gnash my teeth and weep bitter tears of despair for the future of the rumiverse. It may be the bees knees in the Phillipines, where different rules for rum production are in force and different palates and tastes rule – but maybe it should stay there and not afflict real rums.

Think I’m being unjust?  Unseemly vicious? That I jest?  Not at all.  The 40%, American-oak-aged amber rum reeked — that’s the only word I can come up with that describes the cloying, thick aroma of yoghurt emanating from the glass, a sort of sour cream and curds kind of smell, leavened with some raspberries and cherries.  It makes the A.H. Riise Navy Rum seem like a masterpiece of blending assembly. And then there was the overdone saccharine citrus smell of fanta, bubble gum, vanilla (gobs of that), and sprite and cream soda…what the hell, maybe they tossed some coke in there too. Rum? I dunno – it smelled like a mixing agent to which one adds rum.

And it was on the palate that its true adulterated nature became fully apparent.  The mouthfeel is where it started – it literally felt like a soda, complete with the slight scrape of what could charitably be called bite but which I’ll call chamberpot-brewed rubbing alcohol.  Again that yoghurt taste was there, this time without the creaminess, the raspberries being replaced by a peach or two…and the vanilla and sprite and coke were still there in abundance, finishing the job of ruining what had been an unremarkable, unprepossessing liquid that wasted too much of my time.  There was no finish to speak of, which was unsurprising, given how dosed and choked up this thing is with so much that isn’t rum.  Even Pyrat’s XO would probably shudder at what the company did here (while taking notes).

This is the kind of rum which drives reviewers into transports of rage, because it gives all rum a bad name, and frankly, with all due respect to the nation of origin which makes the much better Tanduay 12 year old, it’s barely a rum at all.  And yet it sells briskly, calmly backstroking around in the great toilet bowl of low-to-mid-level adulterated rum sales, which just goes to show that spice and sugar will always move product.  What most of those don’t do is slap lipstick on a pig with quite the abandon and disdain for quality this one does. It truly has to be drunk to be believed, and trust me, unless you love your dentist, that’s not something I would recommend.


Other notes

I might have been less snarky if they had simply labelled it as a spiced rum (which it is) instead of some kind of aged artisinal product (which it isn’t).

Cyril at DuRhum had this run through a lab test and that evaluated it with 29g/L sugar, 2.4 g/L glycerol and a massive 359 mg/L of vanilla.

Who makes this? Well, the Bleeding Heart Rum Company, to be exact, and this link will answer most other questions about the product. BHRC is in turn a subsidiary of Kanlaon Limited a small single-director, 100-share company registered in a business village in Middlesex, listing Mr. Stephen Carroll as the man in charge, and he apparently worked for Remy Cointreau for some years before striking out on his own (he has other directorships in companies involved in film and video production).  Since I don’t trust much of anything the website says, I won’t rehash its blurbs here.

Oct 102016


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, Fest tickets, check, transport cards are a roger.  Pens, notebook, backpack, laptop, cameras, maps, addresses, everything from that perspective is a go.  She has no internet access in her place, so I’m sorry to report that updates will cease until I can find both the sobriety and a wired cafe somewhere, to let you know how things went.

Not sure I mentioned this but the ‘Caner AfterParty will have around eighty rums in it. About half of those are from last year which the boys did not get a chance to sample or share.  The other half are all new, ordered online or passed on by friends who wanted to share, didn’t like them, or just wanted to apprise me of something unusual and hopefully original.  A few are samples, some are purchases, and there’s a couple that are outright thefts.  Did I mention the Caputo 1973 from the Heisenberg distillery? No?  Better not, then. Forget I brought it up.

You’ll forgive me for being so childishly enthusiastic about all this, but if you’re stuck in DryLand for months at a stretch and can’t regularly taste the Liquid Candy of the Lord, well, I think you’d be pretty peppy yourself at the thought of meeting friends, tasting the hooch and wandering around with the beautiful Mrs. Caner next to you, not a respectful three steps behind. And (gasp!) being able to hold her hand, look into her eyes, and maybe steal a kiss in public.

See you all soon, and wish me a good trip and a great experience.

Oct 092016


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.


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 that I was the guy who had pestered him with no end of emails about his previous offering, his face split into a grin, and he carefully ran me through the entire history and lineup of the Ron Aldeas rums.

The Caña Pura — “pure cane” to you non-Spanish speaking folk reading this — is a white rum,  bottled at a rather timid 42%, unaged and in this case limited 1794 bottles (for a reason I’m still researching). All of the Aldea rums are rhums, true agricoles, distilled from fermented cane juice to 62% in a double column copper still made by the French firm Egrott, which Santiago helpfully informed me is 150 years old and powered with a wood-fed fire in the Canary Islands.

“Clear”, “white” or “silver” rums are gaining in popularity as people realize the same old industrially filtered milquetoast we all grew up on is not all there is to the uncoloured rumiverse. Haitian clairins, Cape Verde “grogue” and just about every bathtub distilled moonshine with a label slapped on that’s ever been made are leading the charge with the word “artisan” and “natural” being bandied about as major selling points, and full proof versions of such rums sell briskly.

aldea-cana-pura-2Unfortunately, this rhum isn’t part of that revolutionary vanguard of the peasants charging the barricades or assaulting the Bastille.  It’s more like a timorous, vacillating, middle-class bystander hoping not to get creamed in the chaos. Part of that is the strength, which at 42% doesn’t give much – the nose, for example, was quite weak, sharp on the initial sniff, with flashes of flavour peeking through….salt, olives and wax in the beginning, melding into sugar water and tree sap with some very light fruit after a while, mostly white guavas, a pear or two, and some vanilla.

While I liked the palate more than the aromas, I felt it was still too harsh and sharp (and a little dry, oddly enough).  The flavours opened up quite a bit more here: sweet sugar water, lemon zest, more briny olives, followed by cucumbers, pears, and there was some watermelon in there somewhere, hiding and refusing to be isolated, preferring (if I can extend the metaphor) to hide behind the other bystanders.   The finish: short, sweet, watery, more of the same.

Overall, this is not a narcissistic halo rum meant to laugh in the face of the musketry while joyously singing the “Arrorró” (so look it up).  It lacks the huevos for that kind of thing, and feels more like something tossed off to round out the portfolio (but if that’s the case, why the limited edition of 1794 bottles?). One could argue that an unaged white isn’t going to provide much so why write so much about it, but I dispute that, having had some crazy barking-mad hooch in my time – they were never top scorers, and never will be,  but man, they sure had character.  That’s what’s missing here.

In the main, then, the Caña Pura is more for the curious who would like to try something in between the more forceful French island blancs and the wussy mixers of the North American market.  Personally I believe the rhum could – and should – be left at the initially distilled and torqued-up 62% which would certainly make an emphatic statement in today’s world. Even at 42% it’s too tame and too quiescent, nervously peeping over the fullproof fence without every taking the chance to go there. That doesn’t make it a bad white mixing rhum, but it does leave us wondering what it could have been.


Company bio

The company itself, Distilerias Aldea S.I., is a 4th generation family-run outfit, founded in 1936 by Don Manuel Quevedo German, who was born in 1872 in Arucas, a small northern village of Grand Canary, and whose family seemed to have some energizer bunny in the gene pool, surviving the closure of just about every sugar operation with which they were associated over nearly sixty years. Don Manuel moved to Cuba and Santo Domingo as a young man and apprenticed in sugar mills in both places before returning to Gran Canaria, where he worked with his father an uncle in the Bañaderos sugar factory.  This facility was closed and shipped to Madeira in the sugar slump of the ‘teens and by 1920 all the main sugar concerns in the Canaries were out of business. After the factory in Madeira in turn got shuttered  in 1934, Quevado returned to the Canaries and took his accumulated experience to open his own operation…which also went belly-up in 1960 for various economic reasons, but which his sons restarted in La Palma in 1969 and has kept going ever since.

Other notes

In the 2016 Berlin Rum Fest, Aldea is hosting a masterclass which I’ll attend to see what other info I can get about the lineup.

I don’t know if it is filtered or not, or added to. I’ve heard that some mark it down for a certain sweetness and too little originality.  I’ll update this review when I find out.

Oct 072016

Part 4October 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 about.

It’s hard to make a list of the booths I want to visit, when the website shows so few of them…so far.  A day or two later more exhibitors will likely show up than are listed…Rum Nation and the Compagnie both just wrote to tell me they’ll be there, as will Nine Leaves and some others I know from past visits.

I’m specifically looking for the obscure this time around.  Small distilleries, small companies, new independent bottlers.  Delicana and Severin Simon made no great splash in the world since I first ran into them in 2014, yet it was good to go off the beaten track a bit, away from more common fare (even if no-one reads the reviews).  And cachacas, always need more of those.  They’re a niche market of a niche market, one might say, yet, like with Tanduay and Old Monk, in their own part of the world they are well nigh unbeatable on sales (not necessarily quality), so why aren’t more people trying to write about them?

FInalized the AfterParty attendance, Grandma Caner is arranging glasses, itinerary is set, and Mrs. Caner has started sleuthing out sales and mapping shopping areas with potential. Little Caner is dreaming of a week off school. I’m dreaming of rums and hoping I can taste ‘em all.

Oct 052016

graphic (c)

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 can’t taste that fast, I don’t want to taste that fast, and the pleasant ritual of leisurely going through ten rums (max) a day, cross checking, cross tasting, bringing up a reference rhum from the stash to compare, doing it all over many hours with no hurry, is much more my style. I usually complain and whine about my mother’s place not having internet access (or a TV), but there’s no question that the lack of distraction does focus the mind on the task at hand quite handsomely.

This has nothing to do with me judging, but I feel that until every single festival in the world adheres to the same classification criteria for rums that vie for an award, the medals are valueless because they are not comparable.  Since the same rums are never in competition in all festivals, what good is it to say a 4 year old agricole wins its spot in Festival A (under “Agricoles less than five years old” category), when it can only be entered in Festival B in the category of “agricoles between four and eight years”? (I’m stretching the point for effect, but you see the problem).  

I started an essay on the subject last year but it’s still a work in progress since I have no better solutions of my own to offer aside from standardizing, and look how well that’s gone over with classifying rum to begin with. And then the Cocktail Wonk goes this morning and does a better job. His essay on classification is really worth a read.

Oct 042016


A light, easygoing, tasty three year old that’s better than average.  


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.  Like many other likker outfits that are big in their own country (DDL comes to mind) they also produces liqueurs, brandies, gins, wines, and vodka, mostly for the local market.

Given that I enjoyed the other rums made by them, it’s odd how long this Belizean hooch escaped my grubby little paws and maybe says something for my purchasing priorities, or where I’ve been buying.  It’s the mid-range companion to the quite interesting 1-Barrel and 5-Barrel expressions (the numbers refer to the years of ageing), which may not have scored in the stratosphere, but were tasty, workmanlike rums by any standard. If I had to stratify them, I’d say they were a kind of mix of the softer Bajan and Spanish styles, but that’s just me.

travellers-3-barrel-1The 3 barrel also evinces a peculiarity of the Traveller’s design philosophy – every one of their three products sports a different label, this one with that “parrot” moniker on it which was absent in the other two, and the five even went with a different bottle shape entirely. It doesn’t really matter, not does it impact my enjoyment, it’s just a curious divergence from the norm of consistency, and I wonder whether it’s deliberate.

Anyway, moving right along: a light orange-gold rum aged three years, distilled at 40% for the North American market (I’ve not seen any Europeans review it, which suggests it’s either attracting zero attention there or simply not available). A quick sharp jab of turpentine and wax flared briefly on the nose, and then was gone, followed by wood, sawdust, salted caramel, Haagen-Dasz toffee ice cream and vanilla.  Only barely could some light fruity notes be discerned, maybe cherries, maybe apricots — in either case they were overripe.  It was an interesting smell, overall, especially in how it developed, but admittedly somewhat schizophrenic between sweet and salt and fruity.

The rum was medium bodied in the mouth, a little sharp, because the ageing had been brief enough to just take some of the edges off a rawer, more jagged profile, not all. In a peculiar reversal of the way flavours usually develop, it started off with large, dominant flavours of butterscotch, caramel, crushed walnuts and toffee, plus a minor key of cinnamon, apricots and faint citrus, maybe orange peel…and crushed apples bleeding juice before being made into cider.  The finish was perhaps the oddest part of my experience with this rum – it was short and the initial smells that I noted did an Alcatraz at the beginning, were back here: wax, paraffin, some turpentine and furniture polish, as well as sweeter, shyer notes of fruits, more caramel, more butterscotch…there really was too much of this.

On balance, the Parrot 3 Barrel showcased rather more potential than actuality.  Digging out my initial tasting notes for the 1 and 5 barrel, it’s clear this falls right in the middle, the tastes of the  former being tamed a little and being more developed, while not quite at the level of the latter. Something about the overall dominance of the toffee and caramel and vanillas was vaguely off-putting, and didn’t allow the subtler flavours to come through as well as they might have.

So although it’s a well made drink, I think it’s a bit of a yawn-through — still not in the ballpark of either the 5-Barrel or the Don Omario’s 15 year old, and yet lacking the 1-Barrel’s unashamed, almost joyous assertiveness and youth. Like a middle child not knowing which one of the siblings to hang out with, this rum uneasily tries to bridge the divide while balancing precariously in the centre.  That it succeeds at all (and it does, more or less) and provides an enjoyable experience, is quite a feat under such circumstances



Oct 032016

All logos taken from


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, but looking at the sample set, I don’t think it’s worth it for me – tried too may already over the years. I’m a damned snob sometimes, sorry. I’d recommend it to others, though, without hesitation, if you want to know how rums from Ago taste like and have the cash.

I want to say hello to colleagues in the rumworld from the Producer’s side…Yoshi from Nine Leaves, Bert Ostermann from Delicana (wonder what Brazilian craziness he has this year?), Florent from CDI (think he might bring the Danish series of fullprooofs with him?…we can hope), perhaps Simon Warren from St. Nick’s – if he has the 18 year old around this year, try keeping me away from that.  Maybe I’ll make some new acquaintances…I hope Daniel from Ekte will be there, heard good things about his juice.  Same with Christian Nagel of Our Rum and Spirits. It’s always a fluid set of people at these things, old ones not coming and new ones popping up. Oh, and I should say hello and introduce myself to Dirk Becker, the owner of the Rum Depot, which has put up this fest for the sixth year in a row. Maybe not – I don’t do much self-promotion which is why I’ll be poor all my life. It’s a personal opinion of mine that if you have to announce “I am this-or-that High Muckety Muck King Turd of Stink Hill” in order to gain respect, you’ve already lost. It’s like being the mouse that roared, y’know?

Mrs. Caner and I (or just me) usually walk around by ourselves and I’m more or less unrecognizable in my low-class tatty peasant attire, and I’ve never done the grand “I’m the Caner” spiel, as if that means something.  Two years and a hundred rums ago, Rob Burr didn’t give me a second look, which was great.

Still, I’m not sure how long my “I’m jes’ plain ole folks” act will work before my face is known and anonymity is a thing of the past. When that happens, I can just see the distributors scatter in horror for the exits — “Hide the shite rum! The friggin’ Caner just walked in!” Or (and I like this one more) — “Oh my God, is that Mrs. Caner?! Quick, polish the bottles, clean the booth, make space for the lady.  Pour a shot of the good stuff. And somebody get her a sandwich!

Oct 022016


Not quite on the level of either of the 2012 editions



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 minutiae of single-barrel rums issued in the same year by different independent bottlers, assessing the various barrels from, say, 1988, but I lack this kind of laser-focus, and it’s good enough for me to pick up a few bottles from a given outfit, and see if any general conclusions can be drawn from them.

rrl-2010-2The basic facts are clear enough for the Liberation: one of the first (if not the first) double-distilled rhum to roll off the line of the new distillery next to Bielle which began its operation around mid 2007, aged a smidgen under three years, bottled at a robust 45% (note that the 2012 editions were 45% for the standard 2012 and 59.8% for the Integrale), coloured a dark orange-gold.  The labelling continues – or originates – the practice of showing the picture of an animal utterly unrelated to rum, which I have been informed is a suggested meal pairing if one was to have the two together (but about which, here, I have my doubts).

The nose was quite nice, with all the subtle complexity and depth I had been led to expect from the Rhum Rhum line. Dusty, dry, some citrus peel (orange), watermelon, even some grass.  It smelled clear and smooth and clean, with just a hint of pot still lurking grumblingly in the background but staying firmly there.  Like with the others, waiting for it to open up rewards the patient, eventually giving up further notes of some light caramel, coconut shavings and brine, all integrating quite well.

The palate evinced a discombobulated richness that indicates the evolution these rhums continue to go through, and which suggests a product profile still not firmly fixed in the maker’s mind.  It was like a cross between a crisp white agricole and a finished whisky (perhaps a Glendronach, what with their sherry finishes), to the benefit of neither.  There were perfumed aromas and tastes of frangipani and hibiscus, which barely missed being cloying; coconut shavings, some brine and olives (though the rhum was not tequila-ish in the slightest), more vegetals and wet grasses, but little of that delicate sugar water sweetness which I sensed in the nose (or vanilla, or caramel).  To say that I was nonplussed might be understating the matter – I’m no stranger to divergent noses and palates, but usually the latter is more demonstrative, more emphatic than the former….here the reverse was the case.  Still, it finished well, being nice and long and aromatic – the florals dialled themselves down, there was a lesser briny note here, and the vanilla and faint caramel were delicately evident once again, accompanied by a very nice touch of honey.  So it was a very nice sipping-quality rum, just outdone by its peers from later years.

Earlier I mentioned points of difference.  I thought this rhum had a better opening nose than the 2012, but was a little thinner on the palate, was slightly less rich, less enjoyably complex.  Honestly, there’s little major difference between the two (though the Integrale exceeds them both)…yet if I were to chose I think the 2012 has my vote, not this one.  Here Signores Capovilla and Gargano were still in the experimental phase, maybe, still testing the variations and developing the overall philosophy of the line.  I’ve heard the 2015 is not on the level of the 2012, and the 2010 isn’t quite there.  So far, then, the 2012 editions seem to be the markers of the brand, and Integrale is still the one to buy.



Sep 302016

The selection from last year….

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 quite tiny, and my experience with the Liquorature crew suggests that any group of more than seven people harbours the danger of side conversations derailing our discussions (and tastings).  So far I know that the Danish contingent will come for sure; the agricole boyos are a maybe; one Italian might make it and there’s a German or three in the offing; too bad none of the Brits are coming but they have their own party a week later so that’s understandable.  The Fair Lady of Sweden has to be checked with (later she tells me that alas, she can’t make Berlin this year). Others have already said no for timing reasons. I love modern social media.  There is no way I could get in touch with these people all at once back in the day, short of writing a telegram. Now it’s a matter of minutes.

Reviewing the list of rums (not samples, but real bottles) is daunting.  Have I really bought this much?  I cast a guilty look around, but Mrs. Caner is busy looking around the Louis Vuitton website for (you guessed it) more purses.  But it’s a great selection (rums, not purses) — it’s from all over the world, from unaged bathtub white lightning to 1970s era cask strength mastodons (and I have no idea what the Chums are bringing).  Martinique, Guyana, Barbados, Jamaica, Japan….Nothing quite as impressive as last year when I had the Black Tot and Chantal Comte rums, plus Trois Rivieres, Veliers, Bristol Spirits and so many others, but I’m not complaining this year either – even among all the good stuff, I have something special waiting for them.  I just shudder at the effort that will be required to schlepp them all out of the basement, and up four flights of stairs.  And glassware, need to get that organized too. I’ll get Oma Caner cracking on that, she helped out big time last year (and was generous with her sampling too which is why some of my bottles are suspiciously low right now).

Sep 292016

masterclass-002September 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; and if Luca was to ever show up, prepare for a rock-star level riot in the aisles) and therefore there will sometimes be more interest than available places.

However, on this occasion 50% of the seats will be sold online for €5 each, while the other 50% will still be available at the door for nothing.  Since I’m a firm believer that one of the purposes of money (if and when you have it) is to buy back one’s time (which otherwise would be wastefully spent standing too damned long in a line waiting for a freebie or a sale, or squeezing into a cheap airline seat at risk to both blood pressure and patience), I decide to take the hit and shrug it off as the price of my peace of mind. And given the legendary bad tempers of the Caner Clan (or so the sweet and demure Mrs. Caner says) that’s probably a wise investment on my part.

The question is, which ones? Here’s the list in no order: the full listing by day can be found on the ‘Fest website

  • The two “Rarities” tastings which I’ve already decided (not without some regrets) to skip
  • Nine Leaves with Yoshiharu Tkeuchi
  • The Real McCoy with Bailey Pryor
  • Santa Teresa & Soleras with master ronero Nestor Ortega
  • “How to taste like a professional” and “Rum Versus Whisky” run by Bernhard Schäfer
  • Don Q with Roberto Serrallés
  • Tres Hombres with Andres Lackner
  • Rhum Agricole “The Other Style” with Benoît Baile
  • Rums of Venezuela
  • Ron Origines with Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez
  • Ron Botucal with Gilberto Briceno
  • The Art of Artisan Rum production in Europe with Santi Bronchales
  • Ron Brugal with Tanja Bempreiksz
  • Rum’s Place in the spirit’s World with Richard Seale
  • Five “rum and cigars” pairing sessions over the two days

Well, there’s no question but that I have to go to Seale’s session, and with my current interest in agricoles, missing Benoît’s makes no sense. I have detailed notes and unpublished essays on Aldea rums, so Bronchales’s class tickles my fancy. I’ve written a bio on Nine Leaves and always say hello to Yoshi-san whenever I see him, and will be content with that. Rums of Venezuela and the Origines and Botucal classes are tougher to decide on.  I’ll think about those. Actually, I’ll buy the ones I want and make up my mind about the others when I walk in — and that includes the Rarities, which I cannot entirely dismiss; and that, my friends, is how I get snookered into buying some very expensive rums indeed, from time to time.

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