I believe a great way to describe Steve would be as a leading rum activist who is pushing for the rum category to have more transparency. Also Steve is organising a “Rum Geek Barbados Takeover 2018” trip. This is going to be in April and he has already arranged a huge amount of rum based activities. Current timeline includes a an informal chat with Richard Seale and Luca Gargano, Lunch tours at the Foursquare distillery, an event at St. Nicholas Abbey and plenty of meet-ups with some other rum enthusiasts who are making the journey as well. We believe this trip to Barbados is one not to be missed!
Because there is a tie for first place in the list of the three most impressive rums released in 2017 my list contains four. Criterion and Triptych tied for first while the Navy from Velier and the JOY from Appleton rounded out the list.
A blend of column and pot still rums aged in ex-bourbon and ex-Madeira casks. Bottled at 56%, 112 proof. Balanced deep and complex with the Madeira and woody bourbon notes playing nice together. Great mouth feel and subtle flavours reward contemplative sipping.
A blend of three vintages aged in three different oaks. Ex-bourbon, ex-Madeira and virgin casks. Bottled at 56%, 112 proof. Bottled in late 2016 it wasn’t to be found until well into 2017 so I’m counting this as a 2017 release. A click softer but nonetheless balanced, complex, deep and rewarding bottle. If you take the time to listen this one has lots to say.
Velier Royal Navy Very Old Rum
A blend of rums from Trinidad, Guyana and Jamaica aged from more than 11 to more than 20yrs. Bottled at 59% 118 proof. A bit unbalanced, kick ass funky and sharp with a marvellously entertaining almost endless finish. Not a beginners pour and not for everyone. As idiosyncratic as the man who blended and bottled it. This is as entertaining a ride as you are going to find in today’s rum market.
Appleton Estate Joy
A blend of rums aged from 25 to 35 years from both column and pot stills. Created by Joy Spence to celebrate her 20th anniversary as Master Blender. Bottled at 45% 90 proof. This is a masterpiece of blending. Marvellous balance with flavourful complexity. She describes this as the rum she wants to sip as she watches the sun set in Jamaica. A beautiful thought even if some of us might be hoping for a bit more proof in future releases.
From what I’m hearing there is a lot to look forward to in 2018. Drink well and enjoy the spirit!