The Rum Show 2022: c/o The Whisky Exchange
After two years of Covid nonsense destroying events and hospitality, 2022 is the year when shows and events make a full and proper comeback.
Organised by UK company The Whisky Exchange, The Rum Show 2022 was hosted in Glaziers Hall at London Bridge. I attended the Trade Session on Friday July 22nd from 12-4pm. This was a short session to fit in a lot of rum (over 200 were available to try) so apologies to those that I missed or do not mention here. I tried to focus on rums that I had not had (at all or often) rather than going over old ground and trying the same rums over and over again. I also avoided sweetened rums and cocktails – I was there to taste rum, not sugar lol.
And, wow, what a treat it was! I discovered some real gems at the show and met some wonderful people – some old familiar faces and some new ones, but everyone at the event was amazing and the brand ambassadors/hosts took me through some fantastic tastings and experiences.
Below are my highlights. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it will give you a flavour of what I felt were some of the highlights of the show.
An indie bottler from Holland, focusing on unique barrel selections that represent the distillery from where they originate. Big thanks to brand owner Benjamin Boothe for a sublime tasting session. The Tamosi Sawaku Bielle Premium 2009 at 52.5% was a particular favourite of mine. A Guadeloupe agricole that would be an excellent introduction for molasses-rum drinkers to become accustomed with the grassy agricole flavours. It retails at £125. The almost equally stunning Tamosi Hiali Pere Labat 2013 impressed with its Calvados-cask influenced subtle fruity nuances. Presented at 57.5%, this retails at £195. They also featured a divisive Port Mourant “Tamosi Karaya Rum” presented at 61.1% and aged for 22 years. Top quality and punchy, but overall, not quite to my palate. And a coming soon moment of note – a fantastic Venezuelan rum, free from the Diplomático additives. Watch this space!
Thanks to Billy Abbott of The Whisky Exchange for his info and tastings of Watt Rum, a new brand for me.
“Watt Rum is owned by Kate & Mark Watt, better known for their Whisky“.
They had two expressions for tasting, both of which were top quality, though quite oaky in nature. First up was a 16 year old Clarendon – a 2004 Jamaican rum at 57.1%, limited to 288 bottles and retailing at £115. Very heavily oaked and woody, a superb tot showing liquorice and dried fruit notes aplenty. Second is another fine offering from Venezuela, once again, free from the sugary additives usually associated with the country’s rums. The CADC SA 2005 is 57.1% and is also aged for 16 years. It retails at £81.95 and just 262 bottles have been produced. It has bright fruity notes and is very approachable and dare I say, easy to drink.
A Devon-based blender of rum with transparency of rum sourcing, creating unique blends from 25 different distilleries. Their rums are free of additives and are B Corp certified, too – the first UK rum brand to boast this achievement. I had a great and informative chat with Philip who explained all things Hattiers-rum-blending-based. Certainly a blender to watch as they build on the current portfolio. I tried their three blends, all of which are tasty tots.
Hattiers Egremont Premium Reserve Rum retails at £37.95 and is at an entry level 40%. Philip himself admitted that the rum would be better at a higher ABV but then it would miss its target market of entry level rum drinkers. The rum is blended from distillates hailing from Barbados, Panama, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic producing something light and caramel-based with subtle dried fruit notes.
Hattiers Eminence Aged White Rum is 42%, a clear/white filtered rum, aimed at Daiquiri cocktails. Distillates from Australia, Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica are used in this blend, retailing at £33.95 it has a profile of tropical fruits and vanilla.
Hattiers Resolute Navy Strength Rum is priced at £50.95 and is 54.5% ABV. This robust blend of rums from around the globe is full of tropical fruits on the palate – I think it would pair up nicely in a rum and coke.
Philip revealed plans to create a blend of British rums in the future. Given the current success coming from British rums, this should be another exciting blend.
S.B.S. 1423 SINGLE BARREL SELECTION
Some really stunning rums to be found at the show here by Danish-based S.B.S.
Big shout out to Jazz, Kris and the team for their passion and enthusiasm, which they exude in barrel-loads (pardon the pun).
This is reflected in the superb rums available to taste and buy.
Standout rums for me were the Brazil 2013/2017 Oloroso Cask Finish – a 45% ABV blend of Brazilian rums limited to 282 bottles. Expect to pay £100 plus if you can find a bottle.
Also the Antigua 2015, presented at 64.9% and limited to 257 bottles was a superb find. Again, expect to pay north of £100 if you can find a bottle.
Rhum agricole from Guadeloupe had some fine offerings. Damoiseau XO, a six year old rum at 42% ABV is great value at £59.25. But their standout bottle was the Damoiseau Millésime 2009. Although it retails at £110, it is a whopping 66.9% ABV and full of robust, but well-aged fruity notes – an absolute stunner! Yes, I bought a bottle of this ro bring home with me!
BLACK TOT RUM
Most theatrical stand of the event has to go to Black Tot with their comprehensive tasting session comprising their range of blends, an opportunity to try each individual component with Mitch Wilson, followed by your chance to become the Master Blender and create your own blend.
Great theatre but also an interesting taste experience. The Master Blender’s Reserve 2021 retails at £123 and is a blend of aged rums from Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and Australia combined with their 50th Anniversary edition. There was also a sneak preview of the 2022 blend offered at 54.5% showcasing plenty of rich tropical and dried fruit notes. Full disclosure of the composition of the blend will be revealed on Black Tot Day, 31st July 2022. The rums included are from Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados and a perpetual Reserve blend
I did get to blend my own version – I chose the following composition:
Barbados 5 yo (Foursquare Distillery): 50%
Guyana Unaged (Diamond Distillery): 10%
Guyana 3-5 yo (Diamond Distillery): 15%
Jamaica 3 yo (Worthy Park Distillery): 25%
I am going to wait a while for the flavours to marry prior to trying my blend.
All of which was expertly mixed by Oliver Chilton, the Master Blender.
FOURSQUARE / DOORLY’S
No rum show would be complete with a visit to the innovative and amazing Foursquare from Barbados. As always, Peter Holland of Floating Rum Shack fame, who today, was wearing his Foursquare/Doorly’s Brand Ambassador hat (he wears many different hats) to showcase some of Barbados’s best rums. Highlights included the impending release [in the UK] of Sovereignty – edition XIX (19) in the Exceptional Cask Selection (ECS) and due to hit UK stores on July 29th, 2022, it should retail at £73. I was fortunate to visit Barbados and Foursquare in April 2022 and so managed to sneak a couple of bottles home with me. Click HERE to read my review. Peter also had a sneak preview of ECS XX (20) Isonomy due for a UK-release in September 2022. This is a 17 year old Single Blended rum at 58% ABV.
Obviously, the stand was awash with stunning rums including the full Doorly’s range and several Exceptional Cask Selections. I feel like I could have spent all day here.
Big thanks to Peter for a sample of Isonomy – a review will be forthcoming.
COMPAGNIE DES INDES
One of my favourite Indie brands, CdI always have something interesting to try and this was no exception. A Port cask-finished rum from Trinidad was first up – retailing at £59.95 and exclusive to the UK-market, this nine year old rum is limited to 425 bottles and is a very fruity expression from Trinidad Distillers Limited.
Priced at £34.95, the CdI Caraibes features a blend of rums from Guyana, Barbados and Trinidad. Also available to try was an interesting Latino five year old. This retails at £38.95 and features a blend comprising 60% Guatemala along with rums from Guyana, Trinidad and Barbados. This rum is a great way to bridge the gap between sweetened Guatemalan rums and real, natural ones.
Rum from the Seychelles. I could not remember if I had tried this before or not, so I jumped right in and sampled a few tots. The Takamaka Overproof Rum is ideal for a high strength Daiquiri, retailing at £35.95. The Extra Noir Rum at £32.95 is a great entry into their new St. André Series. But the jewel in the crown is the Grankaz Rum. Retailing at £46.75, this ageing in ex-Bourbon and French virgin oak casks and has some lovely vanilla and soft caramel notes. The latter two rums are also blended with some Foursquare rum from Barbados!
Two rums worthy of a mention:
LEFT BELOW: Saint Benevolence from Haiti (showcased by Indy Singh) retails at £42.95 – a grassy, but quite challenging-to-enjoy Clairin with 100% of the profits donated to Haitian charities.
RIGHT BELOW: William George (showcased by Andrew Nicholls) – A blend of Jamaican pot still and Trinidadian column rums priced at £43.45.
In addition to the brands I have highlighted, many of the usual suspects of the rum world were present, notably Appleton Estate, Brugal, Chairman’s Reserve/Admiral Rodney, Don Q, El Dorado, Gosling’s, La Hechicera, Mount Gay, Pusser’s, Ron Abuelo, a fine selection of the Scottish brands, St. Nicholas Abbey, Tanduay and Worthy Park to name a few. But with time limited to a four hour trade session, I didn’t get to visit these stands. As I said at the start, I was avoiding re-trying rums, rum brands with which I am already very familiar or rums presented in a sweetened style.
Apologies to any brands I have neglected to mention.
Links / Notes:
Official website for The Rum Show 2022.
Official web site for The Whisky Exchange, where you can find a great selection of rums to buy. Big thanks to their team for organising and hosting such a great event. Roll on 2023!
Thank you for reading and for your support.
Review No: 175
P Denotes the rum contains POT still distillate.
C Denotes the rum contains traditional/Coffey COLUMN still distillate.
B Denotes the rum contains a BLEND of POT and COLUMN still distillate.
M Denotes the rum contains MULTI-COLUMN still distillate or is a MODERN rum.
A Denotes the rum is an AGRICOLE i.e. from Cane Juice.
S Denotes the rum is presented in a SWEETENED style.
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