Rum is one of my favourite spirits, and it’s one that I have a keen interest in. The rich, sweet flavours coupled with the intense spiced notes can be a match made in heaven when done right. I have wanted to do a rum tasting with the club for a long time, with the idea first coming up in 2020. Due to the pandemic, it took two years to finally come to fruition. This was also a first for the club, as I’ve never had more than one spirit in a single tasting. Before this, I’ve had whiskey, rum and Calvados in my tastings but only as a single sample and never as the focus of the tasting. I knew I wanted a wide range of different rums to showcase some of the main styles, but I really had a hard time picking which to go for. After a long elimination process, I settled on four completely different products that I was extremely happy with.
The Eldorado 3 year white rum was first up, hailing from Guyana. Produced by Demerara Distillers, this distiller is the sole remaining distiller on the banks of the Demerara River, down from around 300 in its heyday. This rum was aged in oak barrels for at least three years before being double filtered through natural charcoal to remove the colour. This was the least popular of the rums, as it was perceived to be lacking in character and taste. It was also the cheapest rum we tried in the tasting, coming in at 295kr for a bottle. I thought this was a well-made light rum, but more of a rum to be mixed into cocktails rather than sipped on its own. It was also a bit unfair to compare this to other rums that are in higher price brackets, but we needed to try a light rum, so it got the job.
Next up was the Ron Zacapa Negra Edicion. Hailing from Guatamala, this dark rum is made of a blend of rums between 6 and 24 years old and aged in select barrels, including double charred American oak casks. Zacapa rum was created in 1976 to commemorate the 100th anniversary celebration of the foundation of the city of Zacapa, located approximately 112 km from Guatemala City. The name Zacapa derives from Nahuatl (Aztec) language, and it means “on the river of grass”. Zacapa rum is made using the first press of virgin sugar cane instead of molasses, thus making the rum sweeter and smoother. This was the most expensive rum we tried on the night, with a price tag of 749kr a bottle. This was very popular, with some gorgeous toffee, smoke and cinnamon notes on the tongue combining to produce a delicious rum that many voted as their favourite of the night.
Next up was the Ron Colón Salvadoreño High Proof. Coming in at 55.5%, this was by far the strongest rum we tried on the night. Created in 2019 and hailing from El Salvador, this rum has been aged in American oak barrels. This rum has the same ABV as Navy strength rum (54 – 57%), named after the half pint daily ration given to sailors in the British Navy after the successful invasion of Jamaica in 1655. Navy officers would test the strength of the rum by mixing it with gunpowder. If the gunpowder ignited, they knew the rum was “proof.” Notes of grass and tropical fruit were found upon sipping, but the high alcohol content was just a bit much for most of our guests with this rum. This costs 499kr a bottle, and that’s understandable considering the higher alcohol content.
The final rum of the tasting was Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple rum. Hailing from Barbados, this product was named after a character created by Charles Dickens in the Pickwick Papers, Reverend Stiggins, whose favourite drink was “pineapple rum”. The barks of Victoria pineapples are infused in Plantation 3 Stars rum, which is then further distilled. Separately, the pineapple fruit is infused in Plantation Original Dark rum. Both distillate and fruit infusion are finally blended together to create this. This rum was also very popular with the guests, with the pineapple truly coming to the forefront of both aroma and taste. Smooth with hints of vanilla and caramel, this went down very well to end the night on. This was competitively priced, coming in at just 399kr per bottle.
So which was voted the favourite on the night by the guests? It was a straight split between the Zacapa and the Plantation rums with both shining, but in very different ways. If you like your rums more smokey, dark and intense, then Zacapa is the ideal candidate for you. If you like your rums to have that tropical edge, you can’t go wrong with a bottle of the Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy. The choice is yours!