Ten years after its launch, the Papa’s Pilar rum brand continues to explode with the addition of a fourth permanent expression to the lineup. It’s probably the oddest rum in the lineup, finishing the brand’s Dark Rum (a solera blend of rums from Barbados, Dominican Republic, Panama, Venezuela, and Florida) with once-used straight rye whiskey barrels made from heavily charred white oak.
This might make a bit more sense if you consider the recent launch of Hemingway Rye, which is from the same team, and which uses some rum-seasoned barrels in its production. Perhaps we’re seeing some cross-pollination with those whiskey barrels finding their way back to the rum-blending operation.
Like the unfinished Papa’s Pilar Dark Rum, this expression leans into its sweeter qualities from the get-go, the nose evoking a heavy punch of vanilla, chocolate sauce, some mint, and ample cola syrup. Some barrel char elements provide a break from the dessert menu, a light layer of gunpowder doing most of the spice-focused work, though it’s not for long. There’s also an allspice kick that emerges with some time in glass.
Give it airtime and the palate evokes a citrus quality to the point where I thought some sherry influence might be at play. That aside, the rum remains very sweet, with notes of maple syrup, Orange Julius, and Vanilla Coke, to the point where it’s almost saccharine at times, overblown well into its lingering, sugary, and inevitably syrupy finish.
Is there an influence of rye whiskey here? Not much of one, though I found myself hoping it would emerge. As it stands, this rum feels impossibly overblown and in need of a considerable level of tempering — or, at least, a judicious approach to mixing.
B / $51 / papaspilar.com