Rum Revelations – Ivar De Laat


Ivar’s rum exploration began in Holland in the early 2000’s, turning into a major passion after moving to Canada in 2007. From there he started increasing his knowledge by diving into online rum groups, researching articles and books and later attending rum festivals and visiting distilleries around the world. He’s been sharing this passion through social media for many years and founded in 2019, where he writes rum articles, interviews important rum industry members and posts educational videos. All through the eye of the consumer.

To help build a Canadian rum community, he founded the Rum Club Canada group on Facebook in 2017. This has resulted in many Canadians connecting and exchanging passion, knowledge, rum samples and bottles. Additionally it’s helped promote educational visits of major rum industry players to the beautiful city of Toronto and increase the local rum awareness.

Ivar has a full time job outside of the rum universe. The rum work is purely a passion project for him.


2020 has of course been a strange and challenging year for many. One surprising challenge I ran into has to do with staying in touch with the latest rum releases. I acquire a lot of my rum through travel. Since I live in Canada, in a province that has a government liquor monopoly, I can’t just order rum from abroad. The travel ban stopped the flow of rum to me almost completely. Frustrating when you want to write about rum. Nevertheless, I’ve tasted plenty of good rum in 2020. Top 3 is in random order.

Appleton Hearts Collection

What an event and what a rum. Three pot still releases at cask strength, never been done before. Luca Gargano and Joy Spence turn out to be an impressive team in selecting and presenting rum. The Zoom presentation to press/enthusiasts/influencers/retailers was fun, educational and professional. Some of the sessions lasted for hours. I think every guest was enthusiastic and thankful for being invited. I sure was. The rums themselves are an interesting look into what Appleton is capable of. All three flavourful and pungent while being quite different. The complexity and easy drinking experience made the 94 my winner, just in front of the fruity 95. The 99 is another good rum, but doesn’t shine as much to me as the other two. I hope more of this type of rum will enter the market, so that a larger group of people can enjoy it and won’t just end up in the dark cabinets of collectors.


Hampden HLCF/DOK

For me this was the best rum of UK Rumfest 2019. A blend of two Hampden marks, blended in the barrel. Another top pick from Luca Gargano. It takes you on a flavour journey that is hard to match. One of the impressive parts is how the DOK component of the blend has been tamed by the (larger) HLCF component, making it a rather balanced blend. Balance is sometimes hard to find in high ester rums, but this one’s got it. It’s an even harder to find bottle than Appleton Hearts, which is a real shame. I believe this could easily sell in fairly high (enthusiast) numbers.


Foursquare 2008

When Foursquare 2005 entered the market I was really impressed by it’s flavour and value for money. I didn’t think it could be improved much. Then they produced 2007. Wow, massive step up imho. So sweet, spicy and flavourful. Surely, this couldn’t get any better. Then 2008…..which took me a few blind tasting sessions vs 2007 to pick a winner. In the end 2008 came out on top, just. I prefer it over another very popular Foursquare release, Nobiliary. Every time one of these limited releases comes on the market I feel it’s a shame that it isn’t part of the regular lineup of Foursquare. But, that feeling disappears quickly when every subsequent release is an improvement. Richard Seale and his team seem to be able to push the flavour boundaries further out with each release. It shows the skill and creativity of the creators. Besides, there is always Doorly’s 14.


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