First of all I would like to thank the RUMCASK Team for asking me again to present my Top 3 rums of the past year 2020! They also asked me last year and I’m glad they thought of me again now. I think this kind of annual review is really great!
For those who don’t know me yet: I’m Flo and a passionate rum lover since about 2010 when I was 22 years old. My favorite styles of rums are independent bottled Demerara & Caroni (by Velier) and those from Jamaica, the Bajan Rockley Style or Gardel (by RA, Cadenhead, Silver Seal and others). In 2012, I started “Barrel Aged Thoughts (BAT)”, which was one of the very first blogs ever that presented such independent rum bottlings without any additives in cask strength and also researched the various marks on the barrels. Since 2013 I am supporting the german IB The Whisky Cask (with its label “The Rum Cask”) with my knowledge and since last year I do something similar with Old Man Spirits (Flensburg Rum Company). Furthermore I’ve been friendly connected with Heinz Eggert GmbH (Rum Artesanal). But all of these engagements are non-profit. It’s just my hobby and my only ambition is to help increase the quantity of very high quality rum bottlings. In addition I am currently help some people by their exciting projects, which we will hear from in the near future, for example an awesome book about Caroni by Steffen Mayer (Stefano Caroni).
Barrel Aged Thoughts Social Media:
1. The Return of some Old, Legendary Continental Aged Demerara Styles:
It was the comeback of the year! Whether the 1989 Uitvlugt/ PM from Silver Seal, the 1991 Enmore/ KFM from Old Man Spirits (Flensburg Rum Company) or of course the 1994 Enmore/ REV from Heinz Eggert GmBH (Rum Artesanal): 2020 brought back some of the very best continental aged Demerara rum batches ever! But the special thing about it is not only their extremely high quality. It is the fact that after many years they were the first of their batches to come back on the market. I hadn’t expected that anymore, so it was a big surprise. And on top, all three mentioned rums were really, really excellent! That made up for a lot this year!
2. Velier’s 3rd and 4th Caroni Employee Series:
With Velier’s Caroni rums and the annual reviews, it’s like Messi and Ronaldo in football/soccer: it’s almost a bit boring now and after all these years, but as long as they’re in the game they have to be mentioned when we talk about the best of the past year. And yes, as Messi and CR7 are in the fall of their careers, I think that Velier’s Caroni will be over soon. When the last four Employees are bottled, we will probably never be able to buy 0.7 liter Velier Caroni bottles again. It’s too bad, but all good things come to an end at some point and this is getting very close. So, how tremendously great is it to have some of the last bottlings, that bring such quality to the glass once again? I especially liked the entire third series with “Vijay“, “Buju” and “Nitz“, as well as the “Dicky” and the “Yunkoo” from the fourth series. Only “Brigade” was less of what I like, but that’s just a question of my personal taste, not a question of quality. Well done again, Luca!
3. The rise of Rum Artesanal (RA) to the international top label for continental aged rum:
If we talk about Rum Artesanal, first we have talk about the Heinz Eggert GmbH in Bad Bevensen (Germany), the company behind RA and about Dominik Marwede, the head of the RA label! Because it was Dominik who took up the company’s rum history in 2015 and started bottling exceptional rums under the RA label. In 2020 then, the barrel selection was so good that we can speak rightly about the year of RA! You need examples? The already mentioned Enmore REV Demerara 1994 was outstanding, absolutely breathtaking! Definitely one of the best continental aged Demeraras of the last years. Then the tropical aged New Yarmouth Jamaica Rum 1994 with its amazing Appleton & Demerara profile. Never seen something like this before! Oh, and of course the two New Yarmouth 2009 high ester rums, the Hampden 1998 or the tropical aged T.D.L. Trinidad Rum with Caroni memories. And yes, IBs like Cadenhead or Silver Seal still have a bigger past, but I’m sure: from now on and in the future, everyone will speak of RA as the best label of continental aged rum!
To name just three rums in 2020 was impossible, to name three highlights also still very hard for me, because there were so many very good bottlings last year. There were some really great Silver Seal bottlings, the Rockley 1986 and the Uitvlugt 1989. We also aren’t allowed to forget the 1994/1995/1999 bottlings of Appleton in cooperation with Velier. And last but not least, let’s take a look on some funky Hampden bottlings, especially the 30 YO The Rum Cask Hampden 1990 with C<>H mark! Anyway, it was a year of many C<>H mark Hampdens. Just think about the 10 YO Habitation Velier 2010 or the 12 YO Flensburg Rum Company 2007. After all, still my favorite mark of this extraordinary distillery!
What do I expect in 2021? I think, we will experience Germany as one of the epicentres for independent bottled high end rum! With Heinz Eggert GmbH (Rum Artesanal), Old Man Spirits (Flensburg Rum Company) and The Whisky Cask (The Rum Cask) we have three outstanding IBs in our country that will make a splash! Furthermore, I expect we will see the end of the regular Caroni-era, after the last four Employees are filled! Yes, there are still the single casks, I know. But if there are still all the 10 cl samples of every Caroni single cask in the VSGB Club, there are maybe 100 bottles remaining per bottling and we all know how realistic it is to get a hand on such a rare Velier Caroni. But as I said: all good things come to an end and if the club still allows us to taste the last Caronis over 10 cl, I’m very happy after all!
And finally, I’d like to thank all you people out there around the world for following and reading my Barrel Aged Thoughts and greetings to all of you I haven’t seen on fairs last year. Hope to see you in 2021!