As you may or may not know, rum is getting big here in the UK – very big in fact. Rum was once only associated with salty sailors and plundering pirates, a tired cliche of a bygone era when the British Empire controlled vast swathes of the known world. Those days are long gone but the image of rum only being drank by sailors persisted (the British navy actually stopped giving sailors rations of rum in the late sixties). Recently, we have seen rum explode onto the scene and its popularity is showing no signs of waning. No longer do you have to have a constitution of iron to enjoy rum as a plethora of spiced and sweet sipping rums have now become the norm. If they are still too much for you, then there is a host of rum based liqueurs available that leave no discernible burn at all.
So, you want to dip your toe into the raging waters of the world of rum – but where do you start? Rumfest UK is the premiere rum event here in the UK that occurs annually in London and boasts over 400 different rums for you to try. The events organisers explain it as being “The ultimate rum experience for rum drinkers, rum aficionados and rum lovers that have traveled to the tropics to sample the music, the food, the partying and people associated with drinking rum.” It stands to reason then that these guys know their rum pretty well! The Rumfest Boutique is the trade only part of the event where new rum makers have the opportunity to pitch their products to European and US markets; this is something that many of them would find very hard to do as a substantial number of the world’s great rums have limited marketing budgets or are based within the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. It is no coincidence that the event is hosted around the time of London Cocktail week and many industry professionals that are already in the area attend the Rumfest Boutique.
So, which rum stole the show and is worthy of what could quite possibly be your first foray into the resurgent spirit? The winner of the Boutique Rum 2013 award was Virgin Gorda British Caribbean Rum from the Poshmakers, the company that you may be more familiar with for creating -ish London Dry Gin. Their vision for this rum was to encapsulate the spirit of adventure and the rums name links back to 1493 and Christopher Columbus’s discovery of The Virgin Islands, an area of extreme tropical beauty and pirate activity (damn those cliches!). This is how Poshmakers describe their product;
“Virgin Gorda is a golden rum, blended from rums from the British Caribbean islands; Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica, produced by the distillation of fermented sugar cane, in pot-stills. After distillation, the rums go through a natural aging process in old, American Oak Bourbon barrels. Achieving an average age of 7 years, with 20% of 8 year old rum included in the blend.”
What I really like about Virgin Gorda is its insistence to be as authentic as possible and use all natural ingredients. No unnatural additives or flavourings are added at all and this is quite a rarity in modern rum production. The result is a rum that exudes natural vanilla notes mixed with the enjoyable scent of creamy toffee. When sipped, this rum really comes to life in the mouth with an initial sweetness that turns to bourbon/vanilla notes that linger with a smooth and long finish. Being made from a blend of different Caribbean rums, this is the re-birth of rum in the birthplace of rum!
Here at Drinkfinder we have long been championing rum (even before its recent comeback) and are proud to stock this award winning product. What are you waiting for then? Grab your bottle here before the pirates get it all (sorry, couldn’t resist it!).