Friday, February 28, 2014

Ron Ocumare Anejo Especial - Golden Reserve

     Ocumare is a Venezuelan rum produced by Distilerias Unidas S. A. (DUSA).  The home of many very fine rums coming this fine facility in La Meir.     Ocumare Anejo Especial - Golden Reserve is only one of a long line of rums.  Names like Cacique Ron Añejo, Cacique Ron Añejo 500, Cacique Silver Premium Rum, Diplomatico Single Vintage 2000, Diplomático Ambassador, Diplomático Añejo, Diplomático Reserva, Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva, Diplomático Rum Blanco, Hacienda Saruro, Ocumare Añejo Especial, Pampero Anniversario and Pampero Ron Añejo Especial.  Although it started in Caracus in 1938, using a pot still, today the rum is produced by master blender, Andres Colmenares in a modern facility in Ocumare de Tuy.

     Today we are talking about Ocumare Anejo Especial - Golden Reserve.  This is a bold deep mahogany colored rum with strong and sweet aromas of caramel, sugar, nutty, oaken and earthy hints.  This rum comes across with a flavor of its own, not a lot of distinct tastes, but rather a naturally sweet uncomplicated flavor.  This viscous full bodied rum follows with a big finish that lingers with a well blended flavors of caramel and a hint of licorice.   Overall, just a bit sweeter that I expected, but I feel this  will be a very well received expression here in America.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Kaniche` Rums

     One of the Extra Aged winners at the Rum Bahamas Festival last weekend was Kaniche XO
Double Wood.   This is a rum that is distilled in Barbados, aged in Bourbon casks then shipped to Cognac, France and finished in Cognac casks.

Alexandre Gabriel`
     It, I assume is another  of the fine creations of Alexandre Gabriel`.   Gabriel` was the youngest to
be asked to be the master blender of any of the major wine family's in the Cognac region of France in 1989.
     "I met a small Cognac producer who needed help selling his products to finish off his stock. This was Cognac Ferrand. I fell in love with the product and with the region. It all reminded me of what I grew up around. So when I was invited to become a partner and told that no one was going to continue if I didn’t, I just said….yes.”

     His work with the Plantation Rums fro Cognac Ferrand is legendary, and it seems that Kaniche` XO is following in the footsteps of the rest of the rums that are being finished by Cognac Ferrand.

     Though I have not gotten my hands on a bottle of this rum as of yet,  I am passing on information from colleagues that I trust the opinions of.


$120.00 in the 700ml size


Kaniché rums come from Barbados, one of the most representative rum centers in the Caribbean. The Barbados style is very specific, the rums are round, smooth and powerful. Distilled in Barbados, Kaniché XO has been aged in bourbon casks and finished in Cognac casks in order to reach an optimum refinement.


Showing many exotic notes of sugarcane, oaky vanilla, coconut and cocoa, this rum develops an exceptionally  round palate.


Barbados  then France
     I hope this answers the questions that I have been getting in reference to what looks to be a really fine rum expression.   ;o)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rum Bahamas Festival Medals Announced.

    The results of the first Rum Bahamas Festival Competition are in.  This is the first festival for the Bahamas and a very fine one it was.   There were 50 rum expressions entered and  they were judged based on aroma, appearance, taste and overall impression in a blind tasting by the ten judges from the Bahamas and the United States.

     These are the results for each category.    See where some of your favorite rums finished in the First ever Bahamas rum competition.

Flavored Rum:
Gold – Calico Jack Key Lime
Silver – Kingston Brand Coconut
Bronze – Bambarra Coconut

White Rum:
Gold – Plantation 3 Star
Silver – John Watling’s Pale Rum
Bronze – Naked Turtle White Rum

Gold – Rhum JM 2001
Silver – Clement VSOP
Bronze – Rhum JM VSOP

Gold / Dark Rum:
Gold – Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum
Silver – Bambarra Reserve
Bronze – Gosling’s Black Seal

Extra Aged:
Gold – El Dorado 12
Silver – Plantation 20th Anniversary Rum
Bronze – Kaniche XO
There were a lot of fine rums entered for the competition, and these are the best of the best for the First Rum Bahamas Rum Awards for 2014.   ;o)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Caribbean Rum Journal's 2013 Rum Awards

     The Caribbean Journal's Rum journal has announced the winners of the 2013 Rum Awards.  The popularity of rum is continuing to grow world wide and so is the quality of the rums.   There are new expressions being introduced from around the world.   Today in emphasis is on quality and the growth of the category and the winners this year reflect that commitment.

The 2013 Rum of the Year is a prime example of how the long standing rum companies are stepping up for quality.  Bacardi introduced a new line of ultra premium rums called Rum Facundo for the founder of the of the company, Don Facundo Bacardi Masso.  Exquisito is a blend of fine rums between seven and twenty-three years old that have been rested in sherry barrels.

Rhum Agricole of the Year:  Rhum Clement 6 Year Grand Reserve from Martinique

Rhum Agricole White of the Year: Bologne Blanc from Guadeloupe

Best New Agricole: Damoiseau VSOP  from Guadeloupe poised to hit the US Market.

Best New Rum: Papa's Pilar Dark, a rum that is linked with the family of Ernest Hemingway and soon to be produced and aged here in Key West. 

Best White Rum:  Brugal Especial Extra Dry White Rum from the Dominican Republic. This is an excellent replacement for vodka in many premium cocktails.

Best Overproof Rum: Sunset Very Strong Rum from St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Best Flavored Rum: Uncle Luke's Rum from Grenada via Miami. Featuring a passion fruit flavoring and released by a Miami hip - hop legend.

Best Spiced Rum: Siesta Key Spiced Rum from my friend Troy Roberts of Sarasota, Florida This rum was a hit from the start and continues to grow in popularity.

Best Value Rum:  Angostura Single Barrel Reserve from Trinidad.  This is one of the rums that really took me by surprise when I first tasted it in Trinidad a little over a year ago.  It is a really nice go to rum for enjoyable sipping.

Best Bottle Design:  This is the one and only R.L. Seale Rum from the Foursquare Distillery of Barbados.  Richard Seale introduced the bottle a couple of years ago to make sure you could get a good grip on it and there would not be any dripping as you lowered the bottle.  Did I mention that the rum inside of the bottle is very good as well.

     This year produced some great rums for the best of the year in all categories.  I'll be looking
forward to seeing what comes up for 2014.  ;o)

Monday, February 24, 2014

How Can I Really Experience Rums ?

     With nearly 5,000 or more rums being produced in the world today, how can I really get to know the category?  This is an issue even for those of us in the business of rum and have the opportunity to taste many of these wonderful expressions.

     One way is to see if a place that you are visiting offers a "flight of rum".  This is usually a half shot of each of several rums that you will be given the opportunity to sample. Most of the time without spending "an arm and a leg" finding out which ones fit your palate and which ones do not.  This idea works whether you are at a bar or even at the tasting room of a distillery.  You can be afforded this opportunity in many places offering a wide variety of rums.  The real good news is if you share these rums with some friends, you will sill be able to walk out and remember the experience.

The "Black Boat" Rum Runner's Vessel
     At the Rum Bar in Key West we offer this experience as a "Rum Run," drawn from the history of the bar as a "Speakeasy" during prohibition and that Raul Vasquez, the owner, and his history as a "rum runner".  You can choose 5 rums from our collection of 240 and taste them.   Most find this to be a very fun experience and return several time during their visit to Key West to experience more of the expressions that we offer.

     If you come across a location that has a really fine selection of rums, no matter where you are, see if you can partake in one of these tasting experiences.  ;o)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Beauty of the Mountains of Venezuela

With all of the strife happening in Venezuela these days here is what the beauty and tranquility of the mountains can look like.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Habitation Clement Holds a Celebration of the Works of Aime Cesaire, Pablo Picasso and Wilfredo Lam

     It never seems to surprise me what all goes on at the distilleries around the world besides making rum.  At the Clement Distillery it seems that they held an art showing featuring Aime Cesaire, Pablo Picasso and Wilfredo Lam.     Habitation Clement said "the exhibition was one of “unprecedented scale” in Martinique".    Here is the story that I found in the Caribbean Journal.

By Alexander Britell

It’s not the first place you’d expect to see a Picasso exhibition — but the Habitation Clement rum distillery in Martinique is putting on a celebration of the work of Aime Cesaire, Pablo Picasso and Wilfredo Lam.

The exhibition, which began earlier this month, will last until Feb. 16, 2014,

It’s not new for Habitation Clement, however, which is one of the more forward-thinking distilleries in the Caribbean, and which has had its own art gallery for some time.

The show, “We Found Ourselves,” which is being held in partnership with the Martinique Regional Council, several French national museums and the Clement Foundation, includes a total of 60 works, including an oil painting by Picasso, 10 paintings and numerous drawings by Lam and a portfolio of works by Aime Cesaire.

This year, Martinique has been celebrating the centennial of the birth of Cesaire, one of the towering figures of the island’s history.


Cesaire and Picasso actually met during their lifetimes, for the first time at the Peace Congress in Poland in 1948, and one of Picasso’s pieces actually refers to the image of Cesaire.

Lam himself came to Martinique during World War II, where he was interned along with Andre Breton and Claude Levi-Strauss. It was in Martinique that Lam quickly forged what would become a long-lasting friendship with Cesaire.


“‘We Found Ourselves’ plunges us into the wealth of friendly and fruitful encounters between these three men,” Habitation Clement said in a release. “The exhibition includes paintings, prints, sculptures and many documents that highlight the artistic and intellectual depth of their trade.”


What a great exhibit, and I feel that it would have been enjoyed at any venue around the world. ;o)


Friday, February 21, 2014

Concern for my Friends in Venezuela

Barquisimeto Country Side
    The current out break of violence in Venezuela gives me cause for concern for my friends that live and work there.   I have visited the beautiful cities of Barquisimeto and La Victoria, it would be a shame to have their local beauty destroyed by the civil violence.   I have a very warm feeling for so many of the people there that I have met during my visit in 2012.   I am praying for their safety during the current strife.  

Barquisimeto Protests
     My Friend Alfonso Castillo G and Tito Cordero, who are living in Barquisimeto, I have some real concerns for them.  Alfonso sent some pictures of the violence there in Barquisimeto on Facebook the other day.    Like so many of us here in the United States, this kind of violence is always worry some. 

     Not to far from Barquisimeto is the little town of La Miel, the home of DUSA and the Diplomatico line of rums.   I would hate to see the loss of any jobs and the sesation of production of the fine rums coming from there to the current strife.   In La Victoria, Venezuela is just outside of Caracas is the home of Santa Teresa Rums.  This is another place that we have friends that I am concerned about.

   Members of the Caribbean Community are also very concerned about the problems and have
Caracas Violence
spoken out about them.  CARICOM said,"No democratic society can reasonably pursue disorder or any unwarranted subversion of democratic institutions
."    The Government of Grenada also made it clear on their views of the situation in Venezuela.  “Any attempts, from whichever side of the political spectrum, to stir unrest and chaos must be condemned in the strongest possible terms,” the government said. “It must be noted that there were two national elections within the last year in Venezuela — Presidential and Local government — and the people through democratic means expressed their support for the leadership of President Nicolas Maduro".

     This is not a good thing, violence is rarely the cure to problems, the decision of the majority of the people has to be adhered to when things are not right.  The use of the diplomatic channels can hopefully solve the problems that Venezuela is currently having to deal with and life can get back to a calm again.




Thursday, February 20, 2014

Back in Key West and a Work Day at the Rum Bar

     Three days up on Lake Norman was busy with work and visiting friends that I have not seen in quite some time.   The business side of the visit was way to busy, and the fun side was way to short.  It was the "so little to do and so much time" routine.  

     Got back to Key West around 5pm yesterday escaping all of the bleakness of winter in the north just brought a smile to my face and some warmth all over.  Everything is grey or brown this time of year, no leaves on the trees, no flowers just drab.   Getting off of the plane so see green and colorful flowers in the middle of February is a really wonderful thing.  The best part was the 70 plus degrees last night and being back in shorts and t shirts again.

     I just really love it here and the atmosphere that all of the people bring to it as well as the year round living colors of the plants and the water to keep a smile on my face.  I just wish all of my friends up north could enjoy the year round warmth of the keys.  ;o)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Good Friends Back up on the Lake

Old Home Snowed Over
    I am up here in the Mooresville, North Carolina area on business, but the evenings mean that I have a chance to get together with some friends again.  Many of these friends I haven't seen in about 5 years, but it is great to get back together again with them.  This place has always been a special place, the lake offers much of the fun things that the waters around Key West do.

My Bartender Friend Dorothy
    Going back to some of the old watering holes and seeing that some of them have really changed, and others are still the same place that I hung out just like before.  On the Roxx, Rusty Rudder and Lake Town Tavern, all fun places here on the lake.  The only thing the lake lacks is RUM.    I can get by without all of my favorites for a couple of days, it is all about the friends that make it happen and so much fun when I'm up here that are important.  Until my next visit I must bid my friends up here adieu.
My Friend Holly

     Anyway, it has been a busy few days back up here again, but the work and the play is nearly completed, now it is time to pack back up and get ready to return to Key West this afternoon.  I really can not miss Karaoke at the Hurricane Hole tonight, that just really would not be right.  ;o)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Venerable Rum Punch

     What is so good about most of the rum punch?   No matter where you travel in the Caribbean you are going to find a rum punch.  They are all a bit different, loaded with fruit juices and rums of all styles and nature.  As I have traveled around the Caribbean I find many versions of this venerable cocktail

      The Rum Punch was first brought to England by the British East Indies Company in the early 17 th century and would later spread from England throughout Europe in the following years.    These cocktails would usually be served in wide bowls with a ladle that would be later known as “punch bowls”.  Typically red in color, but often found to be a burnt orange color as well.

     Sporting names like “Planter’s Punch”, “Jamaica Rum Punch”, or just “Rum Punch”, all are very different in their ingredients and flavor.  Most of these are either extremely strong or very benine, but either way, very flavorful.
Planter's Punch
  • 1 1/2 oz. Dark Rum
  • 1/4 oz. Grenadine
  • 1/2 oz. Lime Juice
  • 1/4 oz. Simple Sugar Syrup
  • 1 oz. Pineapple Juice
  • 1 oz. Orange or Passion Fruit Juice
Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake until chilled.  Garnish with orange wheel and cherry.
Jamaican Rum Punch
  • 20z. Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum
  • 1 oz. Myer's Rum
  • 1/2 oz. Coconut Rum
  • 4oz. Pineapple Juice
  • 4 oz. Orange Juice
  • 1/2 oz. Lime Juice
  • 1/4 oz. Grenadine
Mix all ingredients and put into a "Punch Bowl" filled with ice and orange wheels.
Bahama Bob's All Purpose Rum Punch
·         1 oz. Dark Rum
·         1 oz. Coconut Rum
·         1 oz. Crème de Banana
·         ½ oz. Crème de Cocoa
·         1 oz. Mango Liqueur
·         1 oz. Pineapple Juice
·         1 oz. Grapefruit Juice
Place all ingredients in a pint glass filled with ice and shake.     Garnish with a lime wheel and a cherry.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Waking Up in the Freezing North

     Today instead of waking up in the warmth of Key West, it is Mooresville, North Carolina where it is freezing cold.   Just a short business trip to take care of some pressing things, and it is back to Paradise.  

     It is not all bad, it has been nearly 5 years since I was last here, the place keeps getting more and more crowded.  It is good to see many of my old friends again and even tip a rum or two in the North.   The fun up here hasn't changed much it is still all about the boats the lake and the good conversation with the friends.

     I'll be showing you some of the fun that I am having and some of my old haunts as I roam around lake Norman and get back with my old friends.  ;o)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Windy Sunday In Key West Reminds Me of Regatta Time

     Today is still windy and it always reminds me of regatta days down here.  The big boats with spinnakers filled and close in racing making the day exciting in the wind blown waters off of Key West.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Key West's Rum Bar at the Speakeasy Inn Among the Best for 2014

The Speakeasy Inn and Rum Bar on Duval Street in Key West
     The folks at the Rum Journal have made The Rum Bar at the Speakeasy Inn in Key West to be one of the Top 15 rum bars in the world for 2014.   This is an honor for all of us involved.   A lot of work and effort has gone into the bar in the past five years since Anne Perina  has taken over as owner of the Speakeasy Inn and Rum Bar.  She and her mother Barbara Perina, General Manager, have given us all the where with all and the financial backing to accumulate the fine collection of 240 different rums that we now carry.  They have helped us to spread the word about the qualities of fine rums and how to enjoy them.

     The Rum Journal has set the standards as to what constitutes a rum bar and what makes it a great one.  "What is a rum bar? It’s not a beach bar. It’s not a pub. It’s not a tiki bar. It’s not a rum shop. The way we see it, a rum bar is a bar dedicated to the glory of rum, with a list of rums large enough to do justice to the Noble Spirit and a relaxed but adventurous atmosphere that lives up to all of its natural romance. Rum must be the soul of the bar. And as the gospel of rum continues to spread across the globe, we thought we’d do something rather ambitious — put together a list of the world’s best rum bars, including both the best of the Caribbean and the wider world."

Martin Cates  of Smuggler's Cove San Francisco
The Rum Journal's Top     15 Rum Bars in the World

  • 1. Papa Zouk - Antigua
  • 2. Lebensstern - Berlin
  • 3. Smuggler's Cove - San Francisco
  • 4. Rum House - New York City
  • 5. La Rhummerie - Paris
  • 6 Rumba - Seattle
  • 7. Fish D'vine - Australia
  • 8. Tafia - Tokyo
  • 9. Cubaocho - Miami
  • 10. Trailer Happiness - London
  • 11. Cana Rum Bar - Los Angeles
  • 12. Rum Bar  - Key West
  • 13. Q's Rummeria - Rome
  • 14. La Rhummerie _Guadeloupe
  • 15. Rum Bar - Key Biscayne

The Rum Bar at the Speakeasy Inn - Key West
     The Rum Bar is a place that is dedicated to fun first, then to the education and enjoyment
of some of the finest rums available to us here in Florida.   It is a real honor to be considered among such well known group of bars such as "Smuggler's Cover" in San Francisco and "Trailer Happiness" in London.   We tap every distributor we can find to provide some of the new and unusual rums from around the world.   Providing the knowledge about the rums in order to match the palate of the customers to a rum that will give them an interesting new experience.   It is working with those that are interested in learning about rum and trying something new in their lives.   According to the Rum Journal.  "Set at the Speakeasy Inn on Duval Street in Key West, the Rum Bar is led by “Bahama Bob” Leonard, one of the world’s leading experts on rum. It’s a classic in the heart of a town that loves the spirit."

     Should you get the opportunity to come to Key West, stop by and get to know us and our superb collection of rums.  You will not be disappointed I'm sure.  ;o)


Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Cocktail

Valentine's Day is always a dilemma as to the right cocktail for the occasion.   It is a tough one to try and create as well, but with a little bit of effort, and some creative juices flowing, generally rum. I've come up with one for this year.

     This year I've created an idea based on a El Floridita Daiquiri and just getting a little bit girly girl added.   This will be a fun sit down on the veranda or some place warm if you are north of Key Largo and enjoy cocktail for the special evening.  

Bahama Bob's Valentine's Day Daiquiri

  • Juice of 1/2 Lime
  • 1/2 oz. Agave Nectar
  • 2 1/2 oz. Premium White Rum ( Diplomatico Blanco or Matusalem Platino)
  • 1/2 oz. DeKuyper Pomegranate  Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. Pineapple Juice
Place all ingredients in a blender with ice and blend until silky smooth.  Pour into a Martini Glass and garnish with an orange zest.

     This will put the love in the air and some relaxed fun into the evening.  ;o)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

St. Kitt's Own Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rums

St Kitts
   The beautiful Caribbean Island of St. Kitts is the home to Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rums.  These are
a cut above the rest when it comes to flavored rums.   They have the flavor and the punch that most of the others left behind.  

  The cannons on Brimstone Hill protected St. Kitts and her precious sugar cane from invaders for hundreds of years.   Many a ship fell to her demise in Frigate Bay over the years as St. Kitts would be under attack by British and European raiders.

     Robert and Zackary Brinley founded the St. Kitts Rum Company in the early1990's.   Their mission was to blend and create some of the best flavored rums anywhere.   Their rums are aged in American whiskey and bourbon barrels for four years.   The boy would flavor and spice these rums and take them around to markets, bars and restaurants to introduce them to the public.   Their work and drive to get people to try the rums has paid off, they are recipients of several awards from the International Rum Festival, Ministry of Rum Tasting Competition and have received several other awards for their expressions of flavored rums.

      Their Spiced, Coffee, Mango, Vanilla, Lime  and Coconut flavors are all made with the finest flavors and spices available.   The rums flavor, aroma and finish show the quality of their efforts.  The rum maintains a 72 proof unlike most of the other flavored rums low proofs.  The fine quality of the rum to start with just adds to the expressions shippable flavors.

     The Brinley Brothers introduced a Spiced rum in 2011 dedicated to the British Troop Ship sunk in Frigate Bay in 1782.   Brinley Gold Shipwreck Spiced Rum is made with Madagascar vanilla, oranges, nutmeg, clove and other unusual Caribbean island spices.  This rum is arguably the finest tasting spiced rum that you will ever taste.

     These rums make for a great mixed cocktail boasting flavors to make your creations among the most memorable ever.  

     Try this quick mix when you are ready for a good coffee flavored cocktail.

Chilled Coffee Latte
  • 1 1/2 oz. Brinley Gold Coffee Rum
  • 1/4 oz. Amaretto
  • 1 oz. Half and Half
Shake all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice until it is chilled and strain into a Irish coffee glass and top with fresh ground nutmeg and whipped cream dollop.

    The entire line of Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rums got a face lift in 2012 revealing the "shipwreck" name in all of the Brinley Gold expressions.  The same quality rum with a new and exciting image for the shelves.  This is the "top shelf" of the flavored and spiced rums and is well deserving of the finest tasting spiced rum they are claiming.

    No matter which of these rums that you try I feel you will be surprised by the great flavors and quality of the rum itself.   ;o)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Savor the Adventure of Channel Marker 43

    With Havana still on my mind from Monday, I got thinking about a new cocktail with Hemingway's fishing yacht in mind.   Pilar Dark Rum came immediately to mind with its dark full bodied flavor and staying with a nautical mood.   I was looking aft toward the channel behind the marina and the red channel marker lit up and idea for the new cocktail.

     I came up with a new idea for a new cocktail born form the sea.   This had to be a simple three item cocktail with a bold and sophisticate taste that would be fitting to the rum and the man.   It needed the style of his writing and the bravado of his adventurous lifestyle to fulfill the expectations of the cocktail.   Set your mind off to an adventure sitting of the aft deck of Pilar hauling in huge sailfish and savor the flavor of this cocktail.

Channel Marker 43

  • 2 oz. Pilar Dark Rum
  • 1/2 oz. Liqueur 43
  • 2 oz. Barritt's Ginger Beer
Place the Pilar and the Liqueur 43 in a 12 oz. glass with ice, stir and top up with Barritt's Ginger Beer.   Optional garnish with a lime wedge or wheel.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

2014 Rum Renaissance Festival is Fast Approaching

     The 2014 Rum Renaissance Festival is fast approaching, now is the time to get your tickets and room reservations.  The Doubletree by Hilton Miami Airport Convention Center is where it is going to be happening again this year and a great place to stay to be a part of all that is going on.

There are a lot of events that will take place during the week and tickets and more information is available at    The web site has all the information you will need to get your tickets and hotel reservations.

     I will be there all week long again and will be looking forward to getting together with my friends again this year enjoying all of the fine spirits of the Sugar Cane.    I'm going to be a part of the judging panel and there to help you get any information that you will need during the show, but realistically just there to have fun along with all the rest of my friends and fellow rum lover.   I will be in the Ask a Rum Expert Booth again to answer your questions or just chat and enjoy a nice rum.

      There are so many of my friends from the industry going to be there and you will have the chance to meet many of them as well.  Rum producers, distillers, master blenders and so many others.  This is an event that you really don't want to miss out on.  ;o)