I am a rum lover based in Amsterdam. In 2017 I founded Rum Symposium Amsterdam which focuses on rum education, product training and event planning to increase rum awareness in the Netherlands, for both industry and consumers. I also write rum reviews whenever I have time to sit down and really dig in to what I have in my glass. While I do appreciate all styles of rum for their own uniqueness, I must confess to being a lover of all things funky and often a little bit dirty. I like to be shocked by what I have in my glass. Drinking a rum should take you on a journey. While I do sometimes I enjoy a “well balanced, rounded, relaxing-by-the-fire with jazz music” type juice in my glass, I often find myself craving a “Wild and edgy, uncomfortably exciting, sort of WTF have I gotten myself in to?” type sip.
2019 definitely provided a number of such rums, which made picking just 3 not an easy task – but here are 3 that stood out for me.
Saint James Coeur De Chauffe Rhum Blanc Agricole
This was a beast of a white rum. All things I love about pungent, grassy white Agricoles mixed with the dirty, fruity, oiliness one can get from Alembic pot still distillation. Salty sea water meets a tropical fruit juice with a dash of paint thinner. How could I not love this rum?! Also considering it’s 60% abv, this rum was quite approachable with the funky flavour profile easily dominating the alcohol heat. Can’t wait to make myself a daiquiri with this one!
Rum Nation 18yr Port Mourant
Tasted this one blind at Berlin Rum Fest this year and immediately knew I was dealing with a solid PM. Plastic and new rubber meet overripe mangos, pineapples and apricots. Also a certain briny-meatiness that I often find with a lot of PMs. The baking spices also sang through, which wasn’t a surprise considering the 18yrs on oak. The woodiness was incredibly well integrated though, leaving the rum funky fruit forward, with a nice wooden roundness to mellow out the powerful 57.6%. Incredibly elegant rum that packs a flavourful punch!
The Duchess 28yr Guyana – Enmore
Who doesn’t love a hefty pour of burnt rubber? The nose of this one was surprisingly fruity. Full of green pear and candied apples topped with a good amount of cinnamon and cloves. The wood is heavy, but not to the point that it’s over-oaked – but any longer and it could have been. Light rubber notes give you a hint of what you’re getting yourself in to. Then you sip it and BOOM! Burnt rubber bomb! Dried tropical fruits. Floral. Woody and spicy. This rum is exactly why I love Enmore – and for me this was the best example from 2019.