Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

20 Years of Barrel Aging in Just Six Days?

Bryan Davis
     Aging without spending the time and money of storing the spirits would be a real boom forA breakthrough came in 2010, when Davis says he finally figured out how to force 'oak catalyzed esterification,' a key part of the maturation process."   

the spirits industry.  Just think, if my rum could attain the smoothness and flavor of a 20 year old rum in just six days.   What he has done is to identify the components and chemistry of aging and applying the science of it to young spirits.   "
    The booze industry has been looking for shortcuts to the aging process virtually since its inception, ranging from dumping extra oak chips into barrels of whiskey to artificially heating and cooling them to rapidly simulate the passing of seasons. While some of these tools have had modest levels of success, many have been complete failures. In fact, even Jesus weighed in on the dangers of trying to hasten the processes of nature when he said, "No one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined." (Luke 5:37) 

     If Bryan Davis has his way, that's all about to be totally upended, sacrilege or not.   Davis has come up with a method of producing spirits that taste like they've been aging in the barrel for 20 years, but his process only takes six days. Davis doesn't accelerate the aging process like so many of the methods that have been tried in the past. Rather, he shortcuts it by taking new distillate and running it through his proprietary chemical reactor. Davis's device forces the creation of the same key chemical compounds that give a well-aged spirit its unique character. Give him a week, and Davis says he can create a booze that tastes decades old.
     I have some reservations about this, but if it is true, the world of spirits might be changed forever.   Yes the mystique of aging in wood would be lost along with the "angel's share", that is so costly to the industry.  Also lost will be the enormous expense of storing a product for 20 years before it can be sold.   I don't see this transformation happening really soon, but if what Bryan Davis has discovered is truly correct, things will really be different in the future.   ;o)

Monday, April 20, 2015



     KINGSTON, JAMAICA (April 14, 2015)Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum today unveiled its re-envisioned line-up of its premium rum range.  While making no changes to the award-winning liquid, Appleton Estate announced a new naming classification and packaging design for their core range that conveys the quality, care and passion that goes into producing these premium rums and emphasises the crafted blends that fill each bottle. 

     Notes Richard Black, Global Integration Director for Rums at Gruppo Campari:  “Appleton Estate has been producing premium, quality Jamaican Rum for more than 265 years.  While the liquid in the bottle remains exactly the same, we decided to bring a consistent and coherent naming structure to help consumers appreciate the differences among our three core variants as well as the hierarchy between the new variants. 

    “We feel that the new naming classification is unique to the rum category and to Appleton Estate and, more importantly, celebrates the art of blending which is so integral to the rum industry and is what makes our Appleton Estate rums so rich, complex and flavorful.”  

     Under the new naming structure Appleton Estate Signature Blend is the new name for Appleton Estate V/X, Appleton Estate Reserve Blend is the new name for Appleton Estate Reserve and Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12 Year Old is the new name for Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old.  
      Appleton Estate’s Master Blender Joy Spence, the first female to be appointed Master Blender in the industry notes: “We wanted the new packaging to capture the craftsmanship and exceptional quality of our range and celebrate the uniqueness of the Appleton Estate including our heritage, our land, our process and our people.  

     “Although the names and packaging for our three core variants have changed, the award winning liquid inside the bottle remains the same.  In addition, we have not changed the names, packaging or liquid for our luxury brands, Appleton Estate 21 Year Old Jamaica Rum or Appleton Estate 50 Year Old Jamaica Rum.” 

The New Packaging:  

·         Bottle:            Appleton Estate’s iconic bottle, which has been a hallmark of the brand since it was first launched, has been retained to provide consumers with a familiar visual cue. 

·         Closure: The cap now includes the signature of Master Blender Joy Spence to reinforce Appleton Estate’s crafted approach to producing rum and ‘Estate Distilled’ & ‘Jamaica Rum’, are repeated at the base of the closure to highlight the brand’s Estate and Jamaican provenance

·         Cartouche: The name of the variants have been moved from the cartouche to the main label and Appleton Estate’s rich heritage as a rum producing establishment since 1749 is now highlighted on the cartouche.

·         Label: The new label now features the lush landscape of the Appleton Estate and Jamaica’s world famous Cockpit Country where the Estate is located.   

     The Appleton Estate logo has been updated and the words “Crafted in the heart of Jamaica” have been placed under the logo to speak to the care and passion that goes into making Appleton Estate rum as well as the geographical location of the Appleton Estate in the heart of Jamaica.   

     The historic medals, which date back to the 1800’s, are featured on the bottom left of the label and the Appleton Estate heart icon appears as a watermark on the bottom right of the label.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Saturday Grand Tasting

   Saturday is filled with the public and a collection of some of the finest rums in the world.   An arena filled with so many award winning rums that it is unbelievable.   You can spend the day wandering the rows of booths and enjoying a sip of so many rums that it isn't even funny.  In many cases a single booth will have four, six or even more expressions for you to sample.

Tito Cordero
     The arena gives you an opportunity to talk with the people that produce the rums and learn just a ton of information about how it is produced and what gives it the flavors that you are tasting.  This is a very unique opportunity to talk with such famous rum masters as Don Pancho Fernandez, Richard Seale, Tito Cordero, and Frederico Shultz.   All of these people are very interesting to talk to and are the producers of some of the finest rums in the world.

     If you missed this year, don't fret, it will be back again next year and I am sure that you won't miss the opportunity again if you have any desire for fine expressions of rum.  I have had a wonderful week here in Miami  for the festival and will be headed back home to Key West in the afternoon.  I hope that I have peaked your interest enough to be able to meet you here next year.  ;)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

2015 RumXP Best in Class and Gold Medal Winners

2015 Judging Room
     The 2015 RumXP International Panel of Judges include Dirk Becker of Germany, Javier Herrera of Spain, Leonardo Pinto of Italy, Bernhard Schäfer of Germany, Forrest Cokely of California, Tatu Kaarlas of Australia, "Bahama Bob" Leonard of Key West, Paul Senft of Georgia, Juan del Busto of Miami, John Gibbons of Sweden, Rene van Hoven of Holland and Ingvar Thomsen of Denmark all spent six session totaling many hours in the judging rooms to give you these very fair and unbiased results for the RumXP Competition.
Here are the final results for each of the Catagories
White Rum
Best in Class Gold: Skotlander White
Gold Awards went to: Blue Chair Bay White, Carta Vieja Silver, Brugal White Extra Dry

Premium White Rum
Best in Class Gold: Fwaygo White
Gold Awards went to: Plantation 3 Star, Nine Leaves Clear, Skotlander Rum III

Gold Rum
Best in Class Gold: Bacardi Gold
Gold Awards went to: Brugal Anejo, Ron Carta Vieja Gold, Don Barrilito 2 star

Aged Rum
Best in Class Gold: Plantation Original Dark
Gold Awards went to: Ron del Barrilito 3 star, Pusser's British Navy, Bundaberg Small Batch 4

Premium Aged Rum
Best in Class Gold: Cartavio XO
Gold Awards went to: Plantation 20th Anniversary, Mezan XO, Brugal 1888

Aged Rum 5-8 Years
Best in Class Gold: Cartavio 5
Gold Awards went to: Plantation Barbados 5, Bacardi 8, Real McCoy 5

Aged Rum 12-15 years
Best in Class Gold: Pusser's 15
Gold Awards went to: Yolo 10, Don Q Gran Anejo, Real McCoy 12

Aged Rum 18-25 years
Best in Class Gold: Opthimus 25
Gold Awards went to: Opthimus 21, Opthimus 18, Carta Vieja 18

Aged Rum - Special Cask
Best in Class Gold: Plantation Jamaica 2001
Gold Awards went to: Plantation Guyana 2005, Opthimus Malt Tomatin Whiskey Barrels 25 yr, Opthimus Oporto Barrels 25

Spiced Rum
Best in Class Gold: Siesta Key Spiced Limited Edition
Gold Awards went to: Siesta Key Distillers Reserve, Siesta Key Spiced, Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced, Bayou Spiced, Blue Water Caribbean Gold Premium Spiced

Flavored Rum
Best in Class Gold: Plantation Pineapple
Gold Awards went to: Bayou Satsuma, Blue Chair Bay Banana, Caray Cafe

Overproof Rum
Best in Class Gold: Plantation Overproof Original Dark
Gold Awards went to: Don Q 151, Lost Spirits Colonial American Inspired Rum, Wicked Dolphin Strawberry RumShine 100 Proof, Stroh 80

Rhum Agricole Blanc
Best in Class Gold: Trois Rivieres Rhum Blanc Agricole 55%
Gold Awards went to: -- Trois Rivieres Cuvee Speciale 40%, Trois Rivieres Rhum Blanc Agricole 40%, Trois Rivieres Rhum Blanc Agricole 50%

Rhum Agricole View
Best in Class Gold: Trois Rivieres Rhum Vieux VSOP
Gold Awards went to: Trois Rivieres Rhum Ambre 40%, La Mauny Rhum Vieux X.O. 40%, Trois Rivieres Rhum Vieux Martinique 12yr

Consumer Rum Jury

For 2015, a new edition of the competition was introduced: The Consumer Rum Jury was comprised of 20 enthusiastic rum collectors and experienced consumers, offering the perspective of the active and engaged rum buyer in their evaluations.

Best in Class Gold
Ron Cartavio XO

Gold Awards went to: Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, Opthimus Ron Artesanal Solera 25 Anos, Siesta Key Distillers Reserve Solera Spiced Rum

You can learn more about the RumXP's online at

Plantaton Breakfast and the Trade Show Today

Plantation Poolside Breakfast
Guillaime Lamy
   What a great morning as usual with Guillaume Lamy and Plantation Rums.  Guillaime always seems to come up with so many new expressions that are coming from the mind of Alexander Gabriel and the magic of the barrels they have to work with.   Today we were taken through the process that gave us the new pineapple rum.  I really can't call this a flavored rum, because some of the ingredients are a distillation of the skins of the pineapple that were macerated, fermented and distilled to provide a 40% alcohol essence of pineapple.  The flesh is then placed in the 75% alcohol to infuse the flavor of the pineapple into the base.  The essence is then added and the entire mix is cut and laid into the cognac barrels before bottling.  The flavor of the rum is not covered over by the flavor of the pineapple, but instead the two are complementing each other.

     During the down time between the breakfast and the show, I was able to wander through the 
convention center and watch the rum people setting up their booths.  I find this to be fun and it is a good chance to have a conversation with the rum producers and learn what they have been up to during the past year.

Don Pancho and Family
Serralles Booth
     Show time is upon us and fun of the show gets underway.   Tasting of all of the rums and 
especially the new expressions to the show as well as some of the old favorites.   I love to get to know so many new producers and expressions on this day when there are only people that work in the trade here at the show.

And the Winners Are...
Winners Celebrate
When the show shuts down for the night at six pm, the attention turns to the center stage where the announcement of the winners of the RumXP Competition is announced.  Each category will be awarded the medals and the producers will pick up their awards.  The Award presentations wet off well with a large number of really happy rum producers.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Day Three is just like the Second and Really Great

Afrohead XO  and Seven Year Old
     Up and at 'em with breakfast with Joe Farrell and Isaac Grillo from Afrohead Rum.  Fun presentation and a great breakfast after an appetizer of two really good rums.  The Afrohead Seven Year and the XO were the perfect start to another fun day of rum judging and rum presentations.

Joe Farrell
     Afrohead, the brain child of Toby Tyler and Joe Farrell, both residents of Harbour Island in the Bahamas.  The have very special access to the rums of Angostura and an uncanny vision of what they want their rums to be.  These rums were made exclusively for  the Landing Guest House and Restaurant on the island, but the demand for the rums outside of Harbour Island lead to the forming of the company and making the rum available in many new area, including Florida.

     The fifth session of judging was white rums and our next to the last session.  The job seems glamorous, but to taste 20 plus expressions per session, for six sessions in three days, this is really work to do it right.

Erik Vonk
Richland Rum the Only Expression
     Richland Distillery Georgia Rum was the host for lunch.  Erik Vonk presented a very interesting story of how the rum only contains two ingredients, Georgia sugarcane and Georgia aquifer water.   Richland Distillery grows the sugarcane, harvests, presses and boils the juice preparing it for fermentation.  They distill the wash in their 1000 liter pot still keeping only the hearts of the distillation and putting it directly from the still into the virgin American Oak barrels.  The will spend the next three years in the barrels and then bottled and sold.   This is a very special and flavorful rum that for now is only available in Georgia, but if you happen to be in the area of Richland, Georgia, you might want to stop by and visit the distillery and buy a bottle of the fine rum across the street,

The final set-up ready
     The sixth and final session followed the lunch.  This session was the flavored and overproof overproof for last after the tasting is complete, the palate and throat is seriously finished.
rums.  It is a good thing they save the

Cartavio Rums
Frederico Schultz
     Cartavio is back in the United States after many years of absence.  The company is really pleased to be back in the US, and has brought their fabulous Caratavio XO and the new Cartavio Solera expressions for our enjoyment.   Master Blender and Distiller Frederico Schultz talked to us about the ultra modern distillery and how they are producing the rum these days yielding a great flavor.  It is nice to have the Cartavio line of rums from Peru back here in the US.

The New Bayou Select
     From the frying pan into the fire and we are off to the pool area for another presentation of fine rums from the Bayou people from Louisiana.   They ask you to "taste the spirit of Louisiana" when you try their rums.  They have several new expressions to introduce to the judges and they didn't disappoint at all.
Bayou Line of Rums

     Guess what?  Now we are off the Broken Shaker for another night of fun and sharing of more fine cocktails.  ;o)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lots Happenining at the Miami Rum Festival Today

Don Q 151
     The day got underway with a breakfast with Roberto Serralles and his Don Q team.   We were off next to the judging room for the third session of judging, evaluating spiced and some of the better no age statement rums..  Lunch brought us a wonderful presentation by the folks from Atlantico.  After lunch and a short nap it was back to the judging room for the fourth session of rum tasting.  

Alexander Britell Publisher of Caribbean Journal
    This session featured 10 to 15 Year, Special Cask and 18 to 25 year expressions.  It is always a pleasure to sip the older and well aged and blended rums.  Tomorrow will be the final two sessions of the rum judging.

Steven Gubb
Gubba Gold and Silver Rum
    First of the five pm presentations was from Gubba Rums one of the
Massachusetts rum producers  They introduced us to their silver and gold expressions.   Distilled in Colorado, this handcrafted artisanal rum is naturally organic and is now known as Gubba Gold Rum and Gubba Silver Rum. Gubba Gold contains natural vanilla and Gubba Silver contains natural coconut which are both unfiltered. It’s normal for the infusion of natural ingredients to settle in the bottle.  Simply shake and enjoy!   Steven Gubb is rightfully proud of the expression and he is looking forward to it being available soon in Florida and other parts of the world.

    The late evening is at the legendary "Broken Shaker" as the guest of Rhum Barbancourt.  ;o)