Rum Shop Boy – Simon Johnson
Simon doesn’t work in the spirit’s industry and is not endorsed by anybody. He writes to help to elevate the category and in particular the pure rums. Simon has a large list of reviews on some independent bottlers which haven’t been tried elsewhere. We especially enjoyed his Paddington Bear’s First Sip review.
Number one and two were easy as they were the two standout rums of 2017, but picking the third was a challenge as I could have picked so many…..Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) had half a dozen, St Lucia Distiller’s Sixth Edition, Foursquare Criterion, Don Q’s 2007 and several other independent bottles.
1 Foursquare Triptych
Comfortably, my favourite rum of 2017 and one of the best drinks, of any kind, that I have ever tasted. Rum innovation from Master Blender/Distiller manager Richard coupled with centuries of rum-making tradition have produced a stunning tipple full of evolving aromas and flavours. Close your eyes and you could be drinking Armagnac…open them and you realise that Rum has arrived as the greatest spirit in the world.
2 Appleton Estate Joy
I grew up with Appleton rum and so will always have a soft spot for it. The blending skill required for this rum is a real tribute to one of the rum industry’s leading figures, Appleton’s Joy Spence. At a minimum of 25 years old, “Joy” balances oak ageing with classic Appleton orange peel and a hint of sweetness.
3 SMWS R9.2 “Paddington Bear’s First Sip”
I love trying single cask rums as they are a true expression of the rum maker’s art and offer an insight into the local terroir. We are fortunate in the UK to have many great independent bottlers – Kill Devil, Mezan, Bristol and Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) for example. SMWS have recently produced many fine single cask expressions that I thoroughly enjoyed – one of my favourites is the SMWS R9.2 “Paddington Bear’s First Sip”. This demonstrates that not all Spanish-style “ron” is full of additives or is overly sweet. This expression is fruity and smoky and very drinkable, even at 62.0%.