Celebrating ten years, the Rum Renaissance Festival is poised to be bigger and better than ever with a new location on the water in Ft. Lauderdale.
The move from Miami-Dade County to Broward County offers a more convenient centralized location for residents of the eighth-most populated metropolitan area in the nation, currently surpassing six million people.
South Florida is the number one rum market in the world. It’s also the gateway to the Caribbean, Central and South American regions, where more than 90% of the rum available in the United States is produced.
From one of the oldest rum producers in the world comes one of the finest rare aged rums ever bottled, Mount Gay 1703 Master Select.
Derived from double copper pot and single column still distillates, this spirit is a blend of 10 to 30 year old aged rums. 1703 Master Select is a deliciously complex and concentrated nectar reflecting the life-long mastery of blender Allen Smith. Continue reading
The annual celebration of cane spirits and global gathering of rum experts in South Florida — Miami Rum Fest and Trade Expo — returns to the DoubleTree Miami Airport Hotel and Convention Center for the weekend of April 22-23, 2017 from 1 to 6pm. Continue reading
Miami Rum Festival is once again host to the 2016 RumXP Awards international tasting competition with several dozen esteemed rum judges precipitating in the premiere rum competition, presenting prestigious rum awards to the best scoring products.
The event brought together a vast selection of rums from Sweden and Denmark, India, Reunion Island, Madagascar, Puerto Rico, Peru, Barbados, Mexico, Florida, Colorado, Louisiana, Texas, Hawaii, Trinidad, Guyana, Jamaica, Belize, Panama, St. Lucia, Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia, Antigua, St. Kitts, Haiti, Dominican Republic, The Bahamas and many more rum making countries, as well as Rhums Agricoles from Martinique and Cachaças from Brazil.
The distinguished panel of RumXP judges were sequestered for three days of blind tasting sessions carefully organized by the experienced competition staff before being analyzed and compiled by a veteran team of statisticians.
In addition to the professional RumXP judges, the Consumer Rum Jury, consisting of serious rum enthusiasts from across America and around the world, convened to sample and evaluate many fine rums for their own awards based on consumer preferences.
“You only live once” is the motto of a person who enjoys a sociable and luxurious lifestyle — and it’s the theme behind this delicious Yolo Gold aged rum.
Produced in Panama by master of rum Don “Pancho” Fernandez, Yolo Gold aged rum rests for ten years in charred oak bourbon barrels, developing a complexity of flavor and a deep mahogany color.
Yolo Gold is a ten year old dark mahogany colored aged rum created by master of rum Don Pancho Fernandez in Panama.
Philip Guerin’s enthusiasm for rum lead him to establish the brand along with his wife Jessica. With a lifetime of experience in marketing and brand development, they assimilated their talents, their passion and love for quality rum into this savvy Colorado-based brand.
This dark amber aged rum offers aromas of charred wood and toffee before a hint of burnt sugar balanced by a vegetal sweetness over cigar box. On the palate, cinnamon brûlée leads then fades to reveal a cognac-like wet wood into the long dry vanilla finish, well balanced between sweet and dry, offering a subtle hint of raw cocoa in the aftertaste.
From the fertile valley of Cartavio in northern Peru, a modern distillery produces pot still and column still rums from local sugar cane, aged in a variety of woods to create a number of award-winning expressions. This is Ron Cartavio aged rum.
Ron Cartavio aged rums from Peru are imported in the USA by Jim Driscoll of Ekeko Wine and Spirits in Houston, Texas.
Although Peru is not generally known for producing some of the world’s best rums, U.S. importer Jim Driscoll of Ekeko Fine Wines and Spirits is hoping to change that perception and help Ron Cartavio aged rum earn the reputation he believes it deserves.
Ekeko has been importing pisco and wine from Peru for the past three years. On a recent trip to Lima, he and his wife Carole were amazed to discover the quality of this local Peruvian brand of rum.
“We first time we tasted Ron Cartavio aged rum, we knew we had to share this with our friends in the U.S.A.,” said Jim. He went to work right away promoting the Cartavio Selecto five year old aged rum and the Solera 12 year old. But Jim believed the one rum that would surely turn heads — that would truly amaze rum enthusiasts — was the 18 year old Ron Cartavio XO, a special aged blend created by Master Distiller Federico Schulz to celebrate the company’s 80th anniversary back in 2009.
One of Jim’s first major presentations was at the Miami Rum Festival and Trade Expo. Thousands of consumers and members of the trade tasted the rum that weekend in April, with excellent results.
In the International Rum Expert Panel (RumXP) tasting competition, Ron Cartavio XO earned the Best In Class Gold Medal in the premium rum category. And Ron Cartavio XO also took a Best In Class Gold Medal in the Consumer Rum Jury awards.
“For a rum to win both the rum expert’s top award and the consumer jury’s top award was unprecedented,” said Jim. “These accolades and recognition — along with the great feedback we received from the people of Miami and the rum experts — reinforced our belief that Ron Cartavio XO is certainly one of the best rums in the world, even if few people knew about it yet. I could see I had a big job cut out for me.”
Parlaying on their recent success, Ekeko has begun opening up distribution for Ron Cartavio aged rum all over the United States, starting in Florida, Texas, California, New York and Illinois. They also added accessible silver and black expressions to their line of rums imported in the country.
Now, with more than 20 awards and greatly increased visibility, Ekeko will bring Ron Cartavio to the California Rum Festival in San Francisco in September. Festivities will continue with exotic cocktails and educated rum tastings at Longitude in Oakland, a bar that specializes in rum and cocktails.
To say that Jim Driscoll is optimistic about the success of Ron Cartavio aged rums is an understatement. “We expect to begin distributing Ron Cartavio in Georgia, the Carolinas and Washington state within the next few months.”
With undaunted entrepreneurial spirit, genuine passion and a love for these Peruvian discoveries, Ekeko is working hard to earn Ron Cartvio a coveted place on the menus of fine bars and restaurants, as well as the shelves of liquor stores across the country.
Initially distributed in California and Nevada, SelvaRey has grown its network of distributors to include Southern Wine and Spirits in Florida, Hawaii and South Carolina; Savannah Distributing in Georgia; Fedway Associates in New Jersey; Empire Merchants in New York; Lipman Brothers in Tennessee; and Washington Wholesale in the nation’s capital. Availability in Ontario, Canada is scheduled for the fall season.
Selvarey White Rum offers a medium viscosity, suggesting it’s been well aged (up to five years) and filtered to remove most of the color. The nose reveals subtle hints of vanilla and mineral water with soft sweetness, buttered toast and a touch of fresh cane. The palate finds a delicate balance of grassy cane, vanilla and spices leading to a medium dry finish. At 80 proof, this is an exceptional white rum for fine cocktails and plays well as a sipper. SelvaRey’s aged white rum was a 2015 Double Gold Medal Winner and named best white rum by TheFiftyBest.com.
The cacao rum is a well-crafted five year old Bourbon cask blend, one of the few flavored rums that drinks like a sipping rum. On the rocks, Selvarey Cacao rum opens up with accentuated tones of creamy vanilla and toasted oak under semi-sweet chocolate. SelvaRey Cacao rum won the 2014 Chairman’s Trophy at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge in New York City and the Gold Medal at the 2014 Miami RumFest.
In addition, the rums were rated 94 and 95 respectively by The Tasting Panel Magazine, the highest ratings ever in their categories in the magazine’s history.
Selvarey rums are created by Master Distiller Don Pancho Fernandez in Panama using his antique copper stills. The rums are bottled and imported by Pacific Plate Spirits of California. The suggested list price of the white rum is $24.99 for the 750ml bottle; $28.99 for the cacao.
Blue Water Beverage Brands recently launched their first two products at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival and Trade Expo — Blue Water Ultra Premium white rum and Blue Water Caribbean Gold Premium Spiced Rum.
Blue Water Rum has recently released a premium white rum and an aged gold spiced rum, made in the Dominican Republic, which won a 2015 Gold RumXP Award.
The new brand, based in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, expects to deliver a full line of white, spiced, aged, flavored and specialty rums in the near future.
Behind this private label brand is boutique rum manufacturer Oliver & Oliver International of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Originally from Cuba, Omar Vicente Ramirez is the Maestro Ronero who supervises the development of Blue Water’s rums. Blue Water chose Omar for his decades of experience and worldly knowledge of rum.
Blue Water Ultra Premium Rum is a white 40% ABV distilled using a column still, then rested in a stainless steel vat leaving its color as pure as the blue waters of the Caribbean.
On the nose we find light alcohol with accents of sweet marshmallow and creamy vanilla over mineral water with vague cinnamon and aguardiente notes. On the palate, a very smooth entry builds up warmth in mid-palate, offering slightly sweet creamy vanilla marshmallow before building some warmth with echoes of fresh cane in the finish.
Blue Water Caribbean Gold Rum is a multi award-winning spiced rum of 35% ABV. This rum gets its color from aging in American Oak barrels for three years before being delicately infused with fruits and spices. It makes great cocktail and also plays well as a sipper on the rocks.
On the nose, we find zesty orange slice candy with baking spice leading to a hint of egg custard over sweet vanilla, with a suggestion of orange blossom water and double-bubble gum. A whiff of cinnamon is detected. On the palate, a medium sweet entry with bright orange and vanilla over baking spices dries out mid-palate, leading to an astringent note of anise which balances the sweet component.
The signature cocktail they have created with the spiced rum is “96 degrees,” named after the 96 Degrees In The Shade song from world famous recording reggae artists Third World.
2 oz Blue Water Caribbean Gold Spiced Rum
1 oz Old Jamaica Ginger Beer
several slices of fresh cucumber
method: Shake the rum with the cucumber slices and ice. Strain in a highball glass with fresh ice, top with ginger beer. Garnish with cucumber.
Blue Water rums are presently available for purchase in St. Maarten, Dutch West Indies and Anguilla, British West Indies. Blue Water is expanding these brands into neighboring islands, including the exclusive and influential St. Barth’s, French West Indies and St. Kitts and Nevis. Blue Water intends to continue expanding these brands throughout the Caribbean Region and, ultimately, export them into the United States as early as 2016.
On Tuesday, May 19, the Brugal brand of rum, an iconic spirit of the Dominican Republic, announced Brugal wins three Gold Medals from the RumXP International Tasting Competition held at the annual Miami Rum Renaissance Festival.
Brugal rum, the leading brand from the Dominican Republic, was awarded three new gold medals from the RumXP competition held at the recent Miami Rum Renaissance Festival.
RumXP Gold Awards went to Brugal White Extra Dry in the white rum category, to Brugal Añejo in the gold rum category and to Brugal 1888 in the premium aged rum category. Brugal XV was also awarded a bronze medal from the Consumer Rum Jury at the same time.
The annual RumXP Tasting Competition forms part of the Rum Renaissance festival and is among the most prestigious events of its type in the world, bringing together an experienced panel of 12 rum judges who conducted blind taste tests to evaluate the finest cane spirits from every region, every style and every category of the rum world.
Assistant brand manager Sarah Knowles said: “Last year, at Rum Renaissance 2014, Brugal won the Ultra Premium Reserve Rum ‘Best In Class’ RumXP award for Brugal Papa Andres Family Reserve, starting an award trend.
“This year’s RumXP awards continue to add prestigious accolades for our other expressions, which are more readily accessible to a larger consumer base. Brugal has produced a family of high quality rums distilled, aged and bottled in the Dominican Republic since 1888. We are very excited to receive these RumXP acknowledgments and honoured to garner this respect from the rum community.”
With a current ad campaign promoting “Respeto!” Brugal certainly is gaining the respect of rum professionals and consumer worldwide. The company has been making fine rums in the Dominican Republic for more than 135 years. In 1920, the company’s first warehouses were built for the ageing of rum in oak barrels.
The company sells more than 80% of all rum in the Dominican Republic, is a leading brand in the Caribbean region and ranks one of the top selling rum brands in the United States. The Edrington Group took a majority stake in the brand in February, 2008.
Other notable Brugal luxury expressions include Siglo de Oro family reserve and Papa Andres Ultra Premium aged rum.
It has been another banner year for Plantation Rums, based in Cognac, France. The company announced today that their products were awarded four Gold and four Best In Category awards from the International Rum Expert Panel judges at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival.
Master Blender Alexandre Gabriel announced his Plantation Rum expressions recently won the most RumXP awards at the international tasting competition held at the Miami Rum Festival.
Receiving RumXP Best In Category awards were Plantation Original Dark, Plantation Original Dark Overproof, Plantation Jamaica 2001 and Plantation Pineapple. RumXP Gold awards went to Plantation 3 Stars White, Plantation 20th Anniversary XO, Plantation 5 Year Old Grande Reserve and Plantation Guyana 2005.
Consumer Rum Jury Impressed
The Plantation 20th Anniversary XO aged rum also won a Gold award from the new Consumer Rum Jury in their premiere tasting competition, comprised of 20 well qualified rum enthusiast consumers, collectors and experienced rum travelers, offering the perspective of the active and engaged rum buyer in their evaluations.
Plantation Rums have a unique identity
This unique brand of rums is produced in France, headed by Alexandre Gabriel, Proprietor of Maison Ferrand and Master Blender for Plantation Rum. For the past two decades, Alexandre has been traveling to the Caribbean’s best distilleries to acquire rums that he believes will benefit from further aging in Cognac barrels at his facility in France.
Each rum in the Plantation Rum portfolio is made according to its country’s traditional technique and expresses the rum characteristics and flavor of its country of origin. While the rums are born in the traditional fashion, produced in rum distilleries and aged in barrels in the tropical sun, they undergo a unique aging process not used by any other rum producer in the industry — the rums are plucked from their country of origin at just the right moment and brought to the Ferrand estate in France where they are refined for several more months in small French oak Ferrand barrels. These special Plantation Rums that make up the portfolio are either blends or vintages and come from Barbados, Guadeloupe, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama and Trinidad.
Some of these special vintage bottles are considered by rum enthusiasts around the world to be highly collectable items.
“It’s such an honor that our rums would be considered among the very best in the world by this esteemed group of RumXP judges,” said Alexandre Gabriel. “The Plantation brand is enjoying steady growth in North America thanks to our team of seasoned professionals, a growing appreciation of our expanding range of unique aged rums and this type of consistent recognition by leading rum experts of the world.”
Louisiana Spirits of Lacassine, Louisiana recently debuted their new Bayou Select Limited Edition Barrel Reserve at the Miami Rum Festival to great acclaim, earning a gold award from the Consumer Rum Jury. This new addition to their award-winning offerings is the first aged rum expression bottled under the Bayou brand.
Louisiana Spirits, producers of the new Bayou Limited Edition Select Barrel Reserve aged rum, was awarded a gold medal by the Consumer Rum Jury at the recent Miami Rum Renaissance Festival.
We tasted batch 1501, the first bottling (2015). The golden amber color of Bayou Select limited edition reserve is enticing. With initial aromas of buttery praline, rustic cinnamon and creamy vanilla, the nose leads to crisp apple over bread pudding with nuts, buttery croissant and toasted oak. First on the palate is cinnamon sugar and butter, building warmth in mid-palate as charred wood, maple and dark fruit notes develop before a warm finish with long lingering notes of dark wood.
Bayou Select Rum is another fine expression of these unique Louisiana sugarcane rums born from the rich soils of the mighty Mississippi river delta. Fermented with cane yeast, distilled in American copper pot stills and rested in American oak in the Louisiana heat, this flavorful dark rum is sure to be a favorite among those that appreciate sweet, delicious rums.
Each bottle is signed and numbered by the distiller and blender. The 750ml bottle of Bayou Limited Edition Select Barrel Reserve aged rum retails for $33.99.
This Bayou Select Limited Edition Select Barrel Reserve is handmade in the largest privately-owned rum distillery in the USA, utilizing traditional methods with state-of-the-art technology for all four steps: fermentation, distillation, maturation, and bottling.
Their 18,000 square foot distilling facility in Lacassine, Louisiana features a gallery celebrating the state’s historic role as a sugar cane producer and rum distiller, a 109 year-old restored farmhouse and modern production facilities located on 22 naturally-set acres, complete with ponds, cypress trees and a sugar cane field. The beautiful facility offers distillery tours, rum tasting bar and a first-class gift shop shop experience for those who visit the home of Bayou Rum.
Tim Litel, Skip Cortese and Trey Litel founded Louisiana Spirits in 2011. The Litel brothers are from the Lake Charles area and teamed with Skip Cortese, of Baton Rouge, for the venture. Tim and Skip have worked together for more than a dozen years to build and sell environmental service companies. Tim brings his environmental expertise with specialties in operations, compliance and general management. Skip is a successful entrepreneur with an environmental engineering background and specializes in construction and startup management. Trey brings over 25 years of sales and marketing expertise, with over 10 years in the distilled spirits and beverages industries.
The up and coming rum brand The Real McCoy recently announced a strategic partnership with Davos Brands, an importer and marketer of luxury wines and spirits. Davos seeks to develop The Real McCoy brand nationally, focusing on building sales, distribution and marketing of its premium portfolio.
The Real McCoy Rum brand has recently partnered with Davos Brands to expand distribution of their acclaimed premium rum from Barbados, inspired by prohibition rum runner Bill McCoy (known as the Real McCoy).
The quickly growing Davos Brands, which launched in July 2014 with Ty Ku Sake and Zyr Russian Vodka, partners with up-and-coming best in class wine and spirit brands to develop and execute innovative sales and marketing strategies under the leadership of the Company’s Vice Chairman, Guillaume Cuvelier, founder and former CEO of Svedka Vodka.
The Real McCoy Rum Story
Created by Bailey Pryor, an Emmy award winning filmmaker, The Real McCoy Rum was developed when Pryor was working on a documentary film based on famed Prohibition-era rum runner, Bill McCoy. The pioneer runner shipped the purest rum from Barbados to New York while remaining in international waters, three miles from the coast. McCoy’s high quality rum was never cut with impurities like impersonator runners, and became known around the world as “The Real McCoy.”
Intrigued and inspired by McCoy’s story, Pryor set out to bring the original fabled rum back to the market. After securing the trademark for The Real McCoy, Pryor partnered with famed Master Distiller, Richard Seale from the Foursquare distillery in Barbados. Evidence suggests this is the same family-run distillery used by McCoy himself back in 1920, thus launching The Real McCoy Rum in the US inspired by the original recipes of 3, 5, and 12 year aged rums.
“The McCoy story is an amazing component of American history, and we are proud to bring this product to the marketplace after so many years of research and development. We wanted to make sure that The Real McCoy rum was authentically made and lived up to McCoy’s standards as the ultimate super-premium rum, totally unadulterated and hand-crafted in the original Prohibition Tradition. We look forward to working with Davos Brands to expand our business and claim the top position in Super-Premium rum,” says Bailey Pryor.
“The Real McCoy is a captivating true story that Bailey’s five-Emmy award winning documentary presents masterfully [currently on PBS]. Creating a connection between a brand name that everyone is familiar with and a great piece of American history in the rum category is simply brilliant. We are incredibly excited and proud to represent The Real McCoy,” says Guillaume Cuvelier.
Real McCoy Rum Awards
Since debuting at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival in 2013, The Real McCoy Rum products have won numerous awards at global competitions, including the International Rum Expert Panel (RumXP) Gold and Best In Class awards.