Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Judging the Rums

     Today is the first day of the three days of rum evaluation for the RumXP Competition.  We started the day with a good breakfast, an organizational meeting and then it was off to the judging chambers to score the first set of rums submitted for evaluation.   These are blind tastings, we score these rums first on appearance, (0 to 10 Points) aroma, (0 to 20 points) taste, (0 to 50 points) and finally finish (0 to 20 points).  The scores are then added up to give the final composite score that the rum was awarded.  In a way like scoring ice skating, different parts of the performance are given points and the composite is the important number.  This morning we were seated at a table with 20 glasses of rum sitting in front of us, 2 agricole rhums, 10 white rums and 8 gold rums.   That is three categories of rums, and the rums  are only scored against in the category that they are a part of.  

    It is 11 o'clock so let the tasting begin!   It will take between 25 and 45 minutes to sample all of the 20 rums we have before us.  It is necessary to cleanse the palate between each of the expressions in order to score each of the rums fairly.   You need to eat a piece of a very bland cracker and wash it down with water before moving on to the next expression.   Going through the process of first holding the rum up to the light to see if it is clear or cloudy, and if there is anything in the appearance that is particularly attractive to the eye.  Next the glass is swirled and you sniff the aroma emitted from the rum.  Now it is time to taste the expression and note how it appeals to you and how it finishes.

     Finally you total up the composite score for the expression and you are ready to move on to the next one.   This process is repeated for all 20 of the rums that were presented to us in the first round of the competition then again for each of the succeeding rounds. 

     Now comes the fun, we turn in our score sheets and get to see which rums are really appealing to our palates.  Sometimes you are really surprised when you go in for the reveal.   Good notes are taken and it is now time to play or just relax somewhere for a few hours until 3pm rolls around and it is time to begin round 2.   The process will be repeated for the next two days.  After three days of judging the rums and the data is scored,  Friday evening we will present the awards for each of the categories.