Feb 012023
 
Key Rums of the World - Bacardi Reserva "Ocho" 8 YO Rum (Puerto Rico / Global)

Bacardi hardly needs an introduction.  It’s a company of ancient vintage (in rum years), one of the first and remaining big guns of the entire sector, with a storied past from the 19th century, involving the rise of an immigrant family, ruthless business practises, revolution, heartbreak, loss, global expansion and emergence at the other end as one of the great spirits conglomerates in the world. In so doing it has carved a reputation for itself so enormous that one hardly needs to say rum after its name, it is so synonymous and clearly identified with that one single drink. And [Click here for the full review…]


Jan 262023
 
Taking Some Long Time Off

* Many of you are aware that for the last decade my family and I have been living and working in the Middle East.  This has been a fascinating and enormously interesting experience on many levels – for example, the Little Caner (now the Big Caner) has spent a large part of his life in the region; and Mrs. Caner and I have seen much more of the world than we ever thought we would. That I managed to turn the haphazard writing of the Caner’s early years into a serious rum-facing review site is in no small part due [Click here for the full review…]


Jan 242023
 
Renaissance Distillery 2018 2½ YO Taiwan Rum (Fino Cask) - Review

Taiwan is not known for rums, but then, it was not known for whisky either, and look what Kavalan has managed to accomplish.  So, sooner or later, I had to come here, where an expatriate Frenchman named Oliver Caen and his Taiwanese wife Linya Chiou, have created one of the most interesting new distilling companies out there: interesting for their location, interesting for their labelling, interesting for their rums, and interesting because so few people have tried any — yet everyone knows of them, and everyone is curious to check them out. Word of mouth like that is priceless. I’ll [Click here for the full review…]


Jan 192023
 
Montanya "Exclusiva" 3YO Rum - Review

  Developments over the last few years suggest that the American rum world may slowly be shaking off its lethargy and race to the cheap bottom, and embracing a more serious rum loving ethos. Rum clubs are starting up all over the place, American spirits enthusiasts are posting reviews on social media left right and centre, more and more distilleries are making rum — and with the sterling efforts of the Old Guard like Richland, St. George’s, Prichard’s, Balcones, Maggie’s Farm and others, it is now possible for you to speak about American Rum (with caps) without somebody just pityingly [Click here for the full review…]


Jan 162023
 
Isautier "L'Elise" Millésime 2006 15 YO Rhum (Reunion) - Review

In all the excitement about the latest releases from the Reunion distillery of Savanna, it’s always good to keep in mind that there are two other distilleries on the island making some pretty good rhum – Rivière-du-Mât and Isautier. I’d suggest that the former is probably the lesser known, but Isautier is gaining some traction of late, because there have been quite a few neat rhums emerging from the distillery in recent years that are making some waves and exciting serious attention. So let’s forego any long introductory perambulations and get right down to the facts at hand. This is [Click here for the full review…]


Jan 122023
 
Samaroli Demerara 1990 26YO Guyana Rum - Review

Samaroli was one of the first of the modern Italian independents, and focused primarily on whiskies, which remains the core of its indie bottling business to this day. The reputation of the company began in 1968 when Sylvano Samaroli began bottling for the Italian market — the first non-UK bottler to deal seriously in that obscure Scottish tipple — and eventually started issuing rums as well. The most famous of all his rum selections, and reputedly his own favourite, was probably also the first: the 1991-bottled unicorn rum of the West Indies Dark Rum from 1948. The next rum bottlings [Click here for the full review…]


Jan 092023
 
Fortress Canadian Rum - Review

The rum we are looking at today is named simply “Fortress rum”, after the Fortress of Louisburg on Île Royale, now Cape Breton Island, in Nova Scotia, where the barrels of rum were aged. . The back label says the rum is made in Canada from domestic and imported ingredients (no further qualification), the website talks about “select Caribbean rums” (no further elaboration) aged in “oak barrels” (no further info on what kind) and the company of origin is Authentic Seacoast Distilling Co. Ltd which has its fingers in all sorts of pies: beer, vodka, coffee, rumcake, hand sanitizers and [Click here for the full review…]


Jan 042023
 
Fryns Hasselt Haiti Old Rhum (1980s)

Rumaniacs Review #143 | R-0963 All sorts of little mysteries attend this rum.  First of all, what we know: a Haitian rhum bottled by a Belgian outfit named Fryns Hasselt in the 1980s, at 40%. What we don’t know: cane juice or molasses, type of still, which estate or brand, where it was aged and in what kind of barrels – though I think it’s a fair bet it’s Barbancourt, it came from a column still, and the ageing was around five years, likely in Europe. A bottle – perhaps even the same one flipped several times –  appeared on [Click here for the full review…]


Jan 022023
 
Engenhos do Norte Rum 970 2015 6 Year Old Single Cask Edition - Review

Having now looked at a few standard strength agricola rums from Madeira, it’s clear that for their own “standard line” company bottlings, many remain wedded to mass-audience standards that still appeal – for price and availability and approachability reasons, no doubt – to the general public. There’s nothing at all wrong with that, except that they don’t always provide that intensity of taste, that serious jolt of flavour, that something of a more robust strength provides. A good example of the potential of moving beyond G-Rated crowd-pleasers is this six year old 2015-distilled Engenhos do Norte rum agricola, which was [Click here for the full review…]


Dec 292022
 
Rewinding 2022: The Year in Rum

Although 2020 and 2021 were deserts of activities and opportunities to meet, share, drink, talk and socialise, the rumworld never really stopped ticking over, and while RumCask’s annual three-rum top of the year invitational roundup took a nosedive, many of us kept churning out product and adding to the literature, tasting new rums, and keeping the flag of geekdom fluttering. In late 2021 some rum expos timidly cracked their doors, and 2022 was when the world finally opened up and the entrances were flung wide for a resumption of the festival season. The COVID period, for all its many tragedies [Click here for the full review…]


Dec 262022
 
Secret Treasures Gardel Distillery 1989 13 Year Old Guadeloupe Rhum - Review

The clear, light, and distinct nose on this Guadeloupe agricole is really quite sumptuous, and hearkens back to a time before more formal rules were put into place (even on Guadeloupe) as to how cane juice rhums were put together.  It has a clean sweetness to it, quite crisp, redolent of grapes, green apples and a touch of vanilla and caramel to start.  Sweet and sour chicken with tons of vegetables, sweet soya. And it develops into more complex territory after that – leather, freshly mown hay, citrus peel, cumin and pomegranates and was that oregano I smelled there? It [Click here for the full review…]


Dec 222022
 
Engenhos do Norte Rum North "Natural" Rum Agricola da Madeira - Review

So here we are again with another rum agricola from Engenhos do Norte, the biggest distillery in Madeira, and another in their line of starter rums from cane juice, column stills and bottled at an inoffensive 40%.  These are rums that any cask strength aficionado would be well advised to try neat and first thing in the session, because they have, so far, proved to be relatively light and are easily shredded by the addition of water, a mix or the slightest hint of harsh language.  Say “damn!” in front of the “Natural”, and it’ll vanish in a puff of [Click here for the full review…]


Dec 192022
 
Hampden "Pagos"  Sherry-Aged Jamaican Rum - Review

The “Pagos” rum from Hampden — all 1200 bottles of the release — is another one of that storied estate’s experiments involving Luca Gargano, whose company has distribution rights to their rums, and who is known for tweaking things in odd directions just to see what comes out at the other end (and if you doubt that, just visit the NRJ quartet or the EMB rums which are about as non-commercial as it’s possible to get). Unusually for Hampden, this isn’t a multi-bottle series, but a one-off release of a single type, though it is my understanding that there may [Click here for the full review…]


Dec 122022
 
Engenhos do Norte Rum North "Barrica Nova" Rum Agricola da Madeira - Review

Today we’ll continue with another rum from the island of Madeira and the company of Engenos do Norte, which, as its name suggests, is located in the north of Madeira Island.  The company was founded in 1928 by the merging of some fifty sugar factories at a time when it was simply not economical for individual small mills to operate. While they had been making rums on the island for centuries, it had a lesser importance to sugar, and most of the local rum was either consumed domestically or in Portugal (wine was actually much more popular and commonly made). [Click here for the full review…]


Dec 082022
 
Cadenhead's Green Label Demerara 10 Year Old Rum (Late 1990s)

Rumaniacs Review #142 | 0957 As noted before (and repeated below for the curious), Cadenhead has three different bottle ranges, each of which has progressively less information than the one before it: the Dated Distillations, the Green Labels and the Caribbean blends.  The Green Label releases are always 46% and issued on no schedule; their labels and the company website provides so little information on past releases that one has to take some stuff on faith — in this case, my friend Sascha Junkert (the sample originator) noted it was a 10 YO bottled in 2000, although even the best [Click here for the full review…]


Dec 062022
 
2023 Rum Festival Schedule

ON THE SIDEBAR While 2021 showed a scattering of timid rum festival openings after the ravages of COVID, it was 2022 that showed that the world had reopened with a bang. By the time the year drew to a close, my initial post for that year listed 60+ festivals around the world which either focused exclusively on rum, or had it as a major component of the show – and it’s a fair bet I was undercounting smaller regional festivals which only received local exposure and weren’t widely advertised. These rum expos ranged from the cricket club party atmosphere with [Click here for the full review…]


Dec 052022
 
Saint James "Fleur de Canne" Rhum Blanc Agricole - Review

By now Saint James needs little introduction.  It is one of the premiere rum makers on Martinique, has a long and proud history, and isn’t particularly nervous about straying off the reservation from time to time.  They have made rhums in their illustrious history that are among the best, the most original or the most storied (not always at the same time, of course) – such as the legendary 1885, the pot still blanc, and most recently, the stunning Magnum series entry of the 2006 15 Year Old with which I was so enthralled. However, in between all these top [Click here for the full review…]


Dec 012022
 
Engenhos do Norte Rum Agrícola Beneficiado 980 Madeira - Review

Every year, especially as the Madeira rumfest comes around, there is a flurry of posts and interest about rums from the islands of that Portuguese Autonomous Region (it’s one of two such regions – the other is the Azores). The better known rums originating there are from the distilleries of O Reizinho, Engenho Novo (which makes William Hinton rums) and Engenhos do Norte, and these three rub shoulders with yet others like Abel Fernandes, Vinha Alta and Engenhos da Calheta. Not surprisingly, there are occasional independent releases as well, such as those from Rum Nation and That Boutique-y Rum Co. [Click here for the full review…]


Nov 272022
 
L'Esprit "A Jamaican Distillery" 2019 "Still Strength" White Rum - Review

I view L’Esprit’s unaged still-strength white rums the way I regard Mrs. Caner – with besotted love not unmixed with a little dread.  Treat her right and there’s no end of the amazing wonders and complexities that will be provided; drink carelessly and you’ll be belted into next week.  Seeing the stats, is clear to see why: the rum is distilled in 2019 in Jamaica, and taken at 85.6% as it dripped and smoked and frothed off the still, then released without any ageing into the wild, unfiltered and unadded-to, and completely, fiercely, joyously untamed. You get the nervous feeling [Click here for the full review…]


Nov 232022
 
Tuthilltown Distillery Roggen's Rum (2012)

Rumaniacs Review #141 | 0953 For a distillery whose founder had a not inconsiderable impact on craft distilling in the state of New York, it’s a shame they stuck with a product that has no end of local competition and is at best reviewed with occasional praise, mostly indifference and sometimes outright disdain: whiskey.  And yet they produced a rum or two at one time; and one of them, this rum, while no great shakes, suggested that they had potential and to spare had they stuck with it.  Maybe. This is a pot still, blackstrap molasses based rum (for what [Click here for the full review…]