Ivar De Laat


I’m a Dutch Canadian rum enthusiast. I love acquiring and sharing rum knowledge.  Rum isn’t very popular in my area yet and the government monopoly liquor stores make our rum lives miserable. But, a few local rum enthusiasts in Ontario and Quebec have been screaming in the desert for a while. I started the Rum Club Canada to provide an additional podium for us. Things are changing slowly, we’ve had some amazing rum events in Toronto lately. Let’s hope the powers to be start seeing the rum potential soon.

Selecting a 2018 rum top 3 is a difficult task for multiple reasons. First issue…2018. Did these enter the market in 2018 or enter my house in 2018?! Not sure about the first one but definitely sure about the second. I hope they overlap.

Foursquare 2005

First time I tried this was in Barbados during the geek trip, next to Dominus and Premise. My first impression was that I liked 2005 the best of these 3. But when you are having dinner with a few rum vips, focusing on tasting isn’t a priority. So I ended up buying a bottle of each at the distillery to take home. Just for fun I added another Dominus at the airport. When opening them at home I quickly came to the realization I should have bought a 2nd 2005…and a 3rd. Boy oh boy, what an excellent rum.

For me it can go hand in hand with Triptych, 2006 and Criterion. This supports the statement Richard’s made about the Velier Foursquares not necessarily being better than the others, just more limited. This is a rum for true rum lovers and is not available in Canada of course. Therefore I’d have to get some from outside the country if I want this romance to continue. I definitely will, as this story is way too good to end after 1 chapter.

Mhoba French Cask

I had never heard of Mhoba before going to UK Rumfest this year. The first day I was in London I got invited to a rum tasting that was organized by the good guys from RumCask. The setting on the Golden Hinde was gorgeous. Walking around the ship I met several rum brands and people for the first time, which I always enjoy.

This included Mhoba. They had a beautiful display with all their different rums on it. Staff was super nice and they let me try all their expressions. I started with a couple of white rums, including the red label with an abv in the high 70’s. I couldn’t believe the combination of earthy, grassy notes with a boatload of funk. It’s like an agricole gentleman finding a gorgeous Jamaican lady and having a baby together.

Then came the “French Cask”. Bingo! Beautiful balance of that funk and the wood. I spoke to its creator, Robert Greaves, right after. I mentioned liking the white rums very much and that I wasn’t a fan of the “American Oak Aged Rum” expression….but that I loved the “French Cask”. His response: ”The French Cask is my baby”. Lucky me, I didn’t insult his baby.

Apart from loving this rum I’m also a fan of their transparency and honesty. They do everything in house. Their own cane, pot still, no additives etc. I’m looking forward to future releases and really hope more distributors around the world will start picking this up so more people can enjoy this unique rum.

Velier – Forsyths 2006 WPM

I love this rum from Worthy Park. It’s got plenty of funk and complexity which is very well balanced. I could drink bottle after bottle without getting bored and without feeling I’m drinking something that’s too extreme. WP and Zan really deserve a lot of credit for what they’ve accomplished in a relatively short time.

It did have competition. I recently acquired a bottle of SBS Hamden DOK that’s been aged in PX Cask for 6 months in Denmark. If you’ve never had DOK before, it’s an extremely funky rum that’s mainly created as a flavouring agent, not for drinking. However, the 6 months in PX cask tames the beast a little and makes it a very interesting and more complex rum. It’s an experiment by the SBS (Single Barrel Selection) guys that’s worked out very well.

The decision to pick the WP as the winner of the two is that it’s more complex and better balanced. The DOK is extremer and great for rum enthusiasts, while the WP will speak to a much larger audience.

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