Peter Holland is a lapsed blogger. TheFloatingRumShack.com lays dormant, awaiting a little love and attention, which is sad, but I guess our social channels are active enough. However, these days I’m a full-time Rum Category Advocate – if it’s rummy – I’m probably involved in some form or other. I’ve the honour of being the UK Brand Ambassador for Foursquare Distillery, and I’m also the proud Rum-Guy (possibly even the Ambassador) for indy-bottler That Boutique-y Rum Company. The rest of the time I’m writing for the trade, consulting and even finding time to sip a little as well.
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2018 continued to offer so many positives in the r(h)um world that it’s difficult to know which three to highlight. I’d certainly say that not everything coming to market right now is inspirational, or aspirational – some of it is downright dross and an afront to the category – but there’s so much good stuff that there really is no need to go anywhere near the bottom end. There’s a part of me that feels I should be recommending a selection of That Boutique-y Rum Company releases – but that feels like both too easy, and perhaps also too hard! Anyway, my choices revolve around innovation, as well as taste and so…
Bimber Classic London Rum
There are quite a few people producing some very good rum here in the UK at the moment, but my first notable rum is from Bimber. It stands out for me for a number of reasons – tastes great – but it’s also affordable and the key to the taste and affordability is the simple notion of blending both pot and continuous column still distillates. A simple plan – and one that’s been at the heart of rum production for a long, long time elsewhere, but I guess here in the UK there aren’t so many people producing continuous column rum distillates and so it’s innovative. A seriously, £25 a bottle? Brilliant. Unaged, and perhaps designed with cocktails in mind, but a damn-fine, well-made rum.
Rhum Depaz – 2000 Vintage Hors d’Âge Brut de Fût
My second rhum was enjoyed at the Paris RhumFest. Three days of drinking the most amazing rhums, and rums. In fact, I drunk so much good stuff I kinda felt like I’d gone to rhum-heaven! The one that stayed with me the most was from Rhum Depaz in the form of their 2000 Vintage Hors d’Âge Brut de Fût. A cask strength glass of loveliness that’s making my mouth water at the very thought of it. Although the batch might be long since gone, the good news is that Depaz are very much on their game right now and so the future looks bright! And let’s face it, Martinique is littered with excellent producers right now. The 2000 Brut de Fût offers all the lovely balance you’d expect from a Martinique Agricole, rich, complex and presented at the prefect strength. I wish I had a glass of it in front of me.
Hampden Estate Jamaican Rum (46% ABV)
My final rum has the touch of Velier about it and make no bones about it #TeamLuca has a knack of bringing good stuff to market. Is it the dreamy special edition Caroni that was exclusive to The Whisky Exchange? Was it the Tiger Shark, the 2nd release in the Navy Rum series?
Nope… It was the Hampden Estate 46% release that both raises the ceiling for general release rums and proves if the rum has a depth of flavour, the presentation strength doesn’t have to be high to compensate. The fact that the 60% (Overproof) release is also delicious is not to be overlooked as well – it’s obviously more expensive – but I kind of expected it to be amazing. The 46% comes in at £60 on The Whisky Exchange which is my personal cap for the more ‘everyday’ drinking rums. Drink it neat or mix it in a cocktail – the choice is yours. It’s amazingly flavoursome, it’s going to remind the world just how good Jamaican rum can be, it’s difficult to ignore, and it might not be for everyone – but no worries there – they will grow into it with time. It’s bloody lovely!