Tonight’s the Night
I will be concocting, communing and circumnavigating the rum world (figuratively speaking; I am a hopeless sailor after all) at tonight’s SupperClub at Upstairs restaurant.
#RareRumSupperClub

Tonight’s the Night

I will be concocting, communing and circumnavigating the rum world (figuratively speaking; I am a hopeless sailor after all) at tonight’s SupperClub at Upstairs restaurant.

#RareRumSupperClub

Lessons for the budding Rare Rum Buff: Part 1

So i decided there are enough of you whom i would consider a fellow fanatic of the fine spirit to share some basic techniques of rum appreciation, broken into parts.. We will begin with the practical methodology of tasting.

How To Taste your Tipple

There are several peculiar differences between a spirits tasting and a wine tasting. The first is how one actually tastes, and it’s important not to look odd, vigorously swirling the liquid in your glass with exquisite irrelevance to release aromas as if it were wine; you simply don’t want to agitate spirits so much. If you vigorously swirl a rare rum, all you’re going to get is a face full and some peculiar looks from your fellow fanatics. Instead, delicately twirl the glass, allowing the liquor to coat its sides. Next, begin with a tiny sip that clears the palate. Follow up with a larger sip to coat the mouth. Fine spirits should have a long, pleasant, lingering finish, so there is every reason to retain the delightful liquid in your mouth. The key is: Don’t spit. You’re not a camel for heavens sake. 

Keep posted, for Part 2 next week.

KRAKEN Black Spiced Rum
Kraken Black Spiced Rum is a Caribbean 94 proof black rum. It is distributed in the United States by Proximo Spirits, and named after the mythical giant squid-like sea monster. It has been rumoured that a large shipment of dark, spiced rum was once taken down by a Kraken in the Caribbean Sea and the resulting rum barrels drifted far and wide. This exotic rum has been named in The Kraken’s honour and is made from naturally sweet molasses from sugar cane grown naturally on Virgin Island riverbanks. The distilleries are in Trinidad and Tobago. Aged in barrel for 24 months to impart classic dark rum flavours of cinnamon, ginger and clove. I love the packaging, but this rum has more than great branding. It is a fine product, and one of the few spiced rums I would allow in my cabinet.

KRAKEN Black Spiced Rum

Kraken Black Spiced Rum is a Caribbean 94 proof black rum. It is distributed in the United States by Proximo Spirits, and named after the mythical giant squid-like sea monster. It has been rumoured that a large shipment of dark, spiced rum was once taken down by a Kraken in the Caribbean Sea and the resulting rum barrels drifted far and wide. This exotic rum has been named in The Kraken’s honour and is made from naturally sweet molasses from sugar cane grown naturally on Virgin Island riverbanks. The distilleries are in Trinidad and Tobago. Aged in barrel for 24 months to impart classic dark rum flavours of cinnamon, ginger and clove. I love the packaging, but this rum has more than great branding. It is a fine product, and one of the few spiced rums I would allow in my cabinet.

Brugal Papa Andres - a noble needle in a proverbial haystack

Got the dreaded cold-call early Monday morning, a little harsh, I always think Monday mornings should be slid into nice and gently with coffee, read the online news app, check my emails, browse the twitter feed, that kind of introduction to the working week. I definitely do not enjoy starting the week with cold calling suppliers. Of course, I took the call, and after the standard pleasantries, I sat back and waited for the usual hard sell of what ever new product the drinking population just can’t live without.
Talking of which, - I digress, I apologize, but this needs to be mentioned - I came across 'Blue Ox ' last week, the latest emerging star of the Energy Drink market. Can this be right? Have the purchasing population become so disillusioned and desensitized that we are now expected to fall for such blatant plagiarism? As if navigating the minefield of highly caffeinated beverages is so difficult, that we may fall at the last hurdle, and endure an experience such as " whoops, oh I accidentally picked up a blue ox thinking it was a red bull."
Anyway, back to Monday morning, there is was, just as crass. The Papa Andres was offered, no, sold to me, very unceremoniously. No big search, no lengthy auction, no special introduction, just a quick call along the lines of “ hi, well you know you like rum, we have the only six bottle of Papa Andres in the Caribbean and thought you might like one." Thank you. Very much. And within 2 days, the Kaibo Upstairs Rare Rum Cabinet now displays the regally beautiful red leather box with shiny crystal bottle, neatly inscribed with 'Brugal Papa Andres', containing a rare and fine reputed elixir in the rum world. It literally did fall into my lap.
A little elaboration on the topic, for which you are probably reading this blog in the first place: The Brugal family has actually been making Papá Andrés for generations — the distillery is 125 years old. Every year, the Maestros Roneros take some of the best liquid from Brugal's casks and add it to the special Papá Andrés casks, named form the company's founder. After years of this process, Brugal has made a crazy complex, high-end rum. They have no idea how old the liquid is so there is no age stated on the bottle but the release contained the compelling statement of "The rum is taken from a private reserve of casks kept for more than 100 years in Brugal’s cellars in Puerto Plata, on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic." That doesn't automatically mean the rum is 100 years old! Rather, they use the solera method of drawing down old casks and replacing with other rums such that the old is constantly marrying with the new. (There may be some rum molecules of 100 years of age in the bottle!) The annual blend hand-crafted by Brugal’s Maestros Roneros, is said to each be different from the last. Each blend contains rums from three different casks: Spanish Oak seasoned with Oloroso Sherry that have been hand-selected by The Macallan’s Master of Wood, Spanish Oak seasoned with Pedro Ximenez Sherry and American Oak seasoned with Bourbon. Only 36 rare casks were hand-selected from Brugal inventory of over 250,000 by the Maestros Roneros to make the 2013 release of only 500 decanters and there are less than 50 decanters allocated to the US and only 6 allocated to the Caribbean. The crystal decanter designed by Tridimage and created by the world renowned crystal manufacturer, RCR in Sienna, Italy, feature an ornate metal neck collar which graces its slender neck and a metal face plaque which has been hand polished and finished with a sand blast engraving inspired by Dominican architecture and executed by the Glencairn Crystal Studio in Scotland.
I am very much of the mind set of drink the Papa Andres, it is difficult to wait for a special occasion, but the Papa Andres is so perfectly packaged it almost seems criminal to just open it for just a taste. So I am waiting for that occasion worthy of the newest bottle in the collection. That said, I may find the fitting occasion could just be next monday morning.
Somedays it is hard to decide which rum to pour.. today is just going to have to be a day of suggesting a few…

Somedays it is hard to decide which rum to pour.. today is just going to have to be a day of suggesting a few…

Bidding on #rarerum auction LIVE!

I am currently online as we speak, at the Bonham’s Whiskey, Cognac and Rare Spirit auction in New York,  waiting for my lot to come up so I can bid on a rare rum I have wanted for a long time…

And here’s why. The bottle with a red wax capsule and label with Presidential Seal reads: “This is the Fourth of Twelve bottles of Jamaican Rum of supreme quality and great age prepared especially to commemorate the visit to Jamaica by The President of the United States and Mrs. Reagan, April 7th, 1982.” The back label then reads: “In 1906, when the twenty-sixth President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt became the first American to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for his activities to improve international relations, a quantity of the finest rum from the Mona Estate in Jamaica was sealed in oak casks for ageing. The final parcel of this rum, now more than seventy-five years old, has been used in this unique blend, along with other fine Jamaica Rums, the youngest of which has been aged for over fourteen years.”

I was too young to meet Reagan, and born decades after Roosevelt died. But I am old enough to know that when a rare rum with great history arises, it belongs in my cabinet, Upstairs.

Sipping. Right. Now. #rarerum

My dodgy Colombian friend dropped me off a bottle - or should I say a taste - left in a bottle of the Ron Batron Solera 1893. Judging by the amount left in the bottle, he had enjoyed this rum. I have had a bottle of the Ron Batron Solera 1893 in my collection for some time, my bottle is the older style oval shape this bottle has since been rebranded from the oval shaped to a more contemporary looking broad-shouldered cylindrical shape. This Guatemalan rum seems to have been over shadowed by the recent aggressive marketing of the Ron Zacapa house. The spin off from the Zacapa marketing is the rise of interest in the central american rum producers. Ron Batron has been producing rum since 1939 when the five spanish born Botran brothers found the climate and altitude of Quetzaltenango was ideal for the slow aging of rum. All the sugar cane is harvested from the family estate in Retalhuleu in the south of Guatemala which provides the perfect conditions to grow sugar cane varieties that yield the highest sugar content. All Batron rums are made from the virgin sugar cane honey, aged in used american charred whiskey barrels and follow the solera aging system incorporating sherry and port barrels in the process. 

My Tasting Notes 
Excellent characteristics starting with a deep rich aroma with little presence of alcohol on the nose, tastes bring the tropical fruit and almond, baking spice, slight charred wood smoke. The well balanced complex body reminds me of sweet caramelized bananas, closing out with a long slight oak smokiness to the finish; although Ron Batron is not sweet it holds true to the sweeter western caribbean style rums. A fine example of another Guatemalan rum that can be over looked by it’s over powering well marketed neighbor. 

My dodgy Columbian friend knows a good rum when he tastes one.

My dodgy Colombian friend dropped me off a bottle - or should I say a taste - left in a bottle of the Ron Batron Solera 1893. Judging by the amount left in the bottle, he had enjoyed this rum. I have had a bottle of the Ron Batron Solera 1893 in my collection for some time, my bottle is the older style oval shape this bottle has since been rebranded from the oval shaped to a more contemporary looking broad-shouldered cylindrical shape. This Guatemalan rum seems to have been over shadowed by the recent aggressive marketing of the Ron Zacapa house. The spin off from the Zacapa marketing is the rise of interest in the central american rum producers. Ron Batron has been producing rum since 1939 when the five spanish born Botran brothers found the climate and altitude of Quetzaltenango was ideal for the slow aging of rum. All the sugar cane is harvested from the family estate in Retalhuleu in the south of Guatemala which provides the perfect conditions to grow sugar cane varieties that yield the highest sugar content. All Batron rums are made from the virgin sugar cane honey, aged in used american charred whiskey barrels and follow the solera aging system incorporating sherry and port barrels in the process. 

My Tasting Notes 
Excellent characteristics starting with a deep rich aroma with little presence of alcohol on the nose, tastes bring the tropical fruit and almond, baking spice, slight charred wood smoke. The well balanced complex body reminds me of sweet caramelized bananas, closing out with a long slight oak smokiness to the finish; although Ron Batron is not sweet it holds true to the sweeter western caribbean style rums. A fine example of another Guatemalan rum that can be over looked by it’s over powering well marketed neighbor. 
My dodgy Columbian friend knows a good rum when he tastes one.
Don Papa. Philippines Rum. Tasting notes:
Light and fruity on the nose whilst smooth and delicate on the palate, the light amber coloured Don Papa has a long, rich-textured finish and offers flavors of vanilla, honey and candied fruits. A perfect end of dinner palate pleaser.
Don Papa is a premium aged small batch rum from the isle of Negros Occidental, the Philippines. Distilled from some of the finest sugar cane in the world, Don Papa is first aged 7 years in oak barrels in the foothills of Mount Kanlaon before being blended to perfection. Negros Occidental is and has always been the sugar capital of the Philippines. Due to the perfect combination of climate, geography and the rich volcanic soil on the island, Negros is ideally suited for sugar cane production.
"And, where there is sugar you will find rum.Where there is rum, you will find Don Papa.”

Don Papa. Philippines Rum. Tasting notes:

Light and fruity on the nose whilst smooth and delicate on the palate, the light amber coloured Don Papa has a long, rich-textured finish and offers flavors of vanilla, honey and candied fruits. A perfect end of dinner palate pleaser.

Don Papa is a premium aged small batch rum from the isle of Negros Occidental, the Philippines. Distilled from some of the finest sugar cane in the world, Don Papa is first aged 7 years in oak barrels in the foothills of Mount Kanlaon before being blended to perfection. Negros Occidental is and has always been the sugar capital of the Philippines. Due to the perfect combination of climate, geography and the rich volcanic soil on the island, Negros is ideally suited for sugar cane production.

"And, where there is sugar you will find rum.
Where there is rum, you will find Don Papa.”