With the popularity (and quality) of rum rising, the Ministry of Rum continues its mission of exposing the world to great rums and rum cocktails. Recently I had the opportunity to sample numerous hard-to-find, new, and very old rums at the Ministry’s event in Alameda. Ratings and some brief thoughts on everything tasted follow.
Bear in mind notes are based on only a couple of sips and should not be considered on par with our usual canonical, full reviews.
Ministry of Rum Festival – San Francisco Bay Area – August 2010
Cruzan Blackstrap Rum / A- / extremely intense molasses character; easy to see why this is so beloved
Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum / B- / funky finish
Cruzan Aged Dark Rum / B+
Cruzan Single Barrel Rum / B+ / tough woodsy finish
Don Q Anejo Rum / B / good cocktail rum choice
Don Q Gran Anejo Rum / B+
Bacardi Solera 1893 Rum / C / off, rubber character
Bacardi 8 Rum / B- / better, but quite green
Diplomatico Reserva Rum / B / on the harsh side
Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum / A / rich and lush, night and day vs. the standard Reserva, a special rum
El Dorado 5 Year Old Cask Aged Demerara Rum / A- / long finish, great value, nice herbs and flowers character
El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Demerara Rum / A / sweeter but not overly complex; lovely
Flor de Cana Grand Reserve 7 Year Old Rum / B+ / oaky
Santa Teresa 1796 Rum / A+ / a Venezuelan rarity, amazing rich caramel notes, gorgeous and hard to put down; perfect
Smith & Cross Rum / B- / overproof, tough and green
The Scarlet Ibis Rum / B- / hard edged
Black Tot Rum / ??? / this ultra-rarity, an old “discovered” rum that sells for $1,000 a bottle, was served in half-an-eyedropper portions so absurdly small I couldn’t taste much of anything except alcohol… a pity!
Coeur de Rhum La Favorite Vieux / A-
Duquesne Eleve Sous Bois Rum / B+
Neisson Eleve Sous Bois Rhum / B+ / herbal, quite strong (100 proof)
Neisson Reserve Speciale Rhum / A- / easier and sweeter, better balance
Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum / B / so clove-heavy it burned my eyes
Zacapa XO Rum / A- / intense, sweet tea notes; more tart than other XO rums here
Many thanks to Barrie Lynn of The Cheese Impresario for extending the invitation and pairing cheeses with the rums on offer!