Discoveries at RumFest 2013

The 7th Annual UK RumFest took place recently and BarLifeUK popped along to see what was going on in the world of rum.

As always with RumFest there were plenty of familiar faces, vast amounts of rum, some amazing smelling food and plenty of talks and tastings to expand the mind. There were also plenty of familiar and welcome brands to wake up the pallet in the form of El Dorado, Plantation, Diplomatico, Pusser’s and Ron Zacapa alongside the 400 rums on offer.

Tom sampling some Diplomatico Single Vintage 2000

It was however the new brands on show that really got us excited.

We had attended an event a couple of days earlier for the launch of Diplomatico Single Vintage 2000 but it was darn tasty so this seemed like a mighty fine excuse to have some more.  The year 2000 was a particularly special year for sugar cane harvest in Venezuela due to some rare climatic conditions. For this reason the Single Vintage 2000 is a combination of carefully selected reserves laid down at Destilerias Unidas in 2000.

To mark the occasion Master Blender Tito Cordero was in town and said ‘It´s a truly unique limited edition, a vintage that we are really proud of at Ron Diplomático, having let a specific harvest shine naturally and develop its own personality.’

We then popped into the Connoisseurs Cove (a new area this year for the more top end brands) to try Ron Cubay. This is a new rum to UK shores but has been around in its home of Cuba since 1964. In actual fact it was only available domestically in Cuba until three years ago when it was allowed to be exported for the first time.

The distillery is located in the centre of the island and (as is law in Cuba) uses 100% Cuban molasses which is distilled in a Column Still before being aged on the same site in American White Oak pre-used Bourbon barrels . The UK is welcoming 3 expressions – 3 year old Cubay Carta Dorada (38% abv), 7 year old Cubay Anejo (38%) and 10 year old Cubay Reserva Especial 10 Anos (40%).

Check out their website and get a try inside you.

There was more than rum to enjoy though with 10 Saints beer on offer and a collaboration between Wadsworth and Pusser’s rum to celebrate the centenary of Naval aviation. Swordfish, named after the WWII bi-plane, is a traditional ale with the added boost of Pusser’s rum in the mix.

Also in the Connoisseurs Cove was a rum many of you will be familiar with if you have visited RumFest over the previous couple of years. Don Q has been seen in a few bars across the UK however Puerto Rico’s number one rum, which has been around since 1865, is soon to be much more widely available. We were reliably informed that come early 2014 a UK distributor will be announced and you’ll be able to get your sweaty little rummy hands on it.

We were lucky enough to try the Don Q Crystal, Anejo and Gran Anejo before we headed to the main stage to get our judging boots on. Don Q were holding a competition which we were judging alongside one of RumFest’s international guests Martin Cates from Smugglers Cove in San Francisco.

It was Hannah Naughton who took out the top prize and a trip for two to Puerto Rico. Strong work.

Chatting to various people whilst enjoying a drink at one of the El Dorado stands, being run by Lyndon and the Liars Club crew (with special guest Alex Proudfoot), it seemed that people had thoroughly enjoyed the show. It was a lot calmer than previous years we have attended and as a result was a lot more enjoyable for us.

The seminars and tastings also seemed to be well received so it appears Ian Burrell has nailed it once again. No doubt the show will be back next year and if you didn’t get down this time we strongly suggest you make a bigger effort next year.