Rum Diaries Blog – Steven James


With a focus on honesty and a quest for clarity in the category, Rum Diaries Blog still offers an honest approach to Rum Reviewing. I also look after The UK Rum Club Facebook Group with Wes Burgin along with the Worthy Park Society Facebook Group. 2020 saw The UK Rum Club release our first collaborations. The first was the SBS x UK Rum Club High Ester Jamaican Charity Pack in collaboration with Skylark Spirits and the second was a Chairman’s Reserve Master Selection Vendome in collaboration with Royal Mile Whiskies.

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2020, although being an absolutely shocking year for most of us has seen some great rums released. We started to see some more long aged Clairins, there was the usual raft of Foursquare ECS releases along with Plenipotenziario and the first drops to come from Luca’s Providence Distillery in Haiti. SBS brought us some great and unusual Rums from Beenleigh in Australia and Le Galion in Martinique. I found a love of Charanda from Mexico and I discovered just how consistently good the output is from Depaz. Valinch & Mallet released a great Australian, a very good Fiji and some consistently excellent Worthy Park. Credit also has to go to the Appleton Hearts Collection and the new Appleton 8 blend. Mount Gay went from strength to strength with their new XO and Black Barrel Blends and finished on a high with their Port Cask release. Late on we saw the excellent Vidya The River Mumma New Yarmouth release, a European release of River Antoine and the Chairman’s Reserve Legacy. But onto the Rums that have made my top 3/4.

In no particular order…..

Foursquare Détente

About as drinkable as you can get. It has lots of sweet, ripe fruit. Coconut, very apparent well integrated oak. Vanilla. Those classic Foursquare peach vapours. Mixed fruit compote and heap of spice from the barrel. The finish goes on for days and the whole experience is built around sweet fruit and heavy barrel influence. It’s classically Foursquare and I love it.

SBS Fiji 2009

A very very good release from SPD in Fiji via SBS in Denmark. You get that familiar estery pear drop character that is backed up with oodles of tropical fruit. Syrup on sticky ginger cake mixes with a lot of that Worthy Park stewed black tea character. A touch of minerality. It’s a very rummy rum and as such is enjoyable from first pour to the last drops from the bottle. It is hands down one of the most complete and enjoyable rums that I’ve tried in recent times.

Rhum Bielle Brut de Fût 2012-2020

An exceptional cask strength Agricole from Bielle in Marie-Galante. A touch sharp initially before sweet, fragrant oak take over. Intensely floral, honeyed notes give way to citrus and caramel before ushering in herbal and spice qualities complete with menthol. The fruit, wood and cane just grow in intensity the longer you spend with the glass and it really is a fully rounded experience.




A little predictable I know, but if I had not been part of the selection process for it, the UK Rum Club Chairmans Reserve Vendome release would also be a part of this list. I’d also like to give a mention to some exceptional blends that have been released this year. Black Tot 50th Anniversary is quite frankly superb….and a late release this year, the Tamosi Port Cask was also an exceptional proposition.

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