RumFest 2016: SATURDAY

London’s tenth RumFest in 2016 was showcasing the most diverse and generally misunderstood spirit/drink in the world..rum!
Over 400 rums were being exhibited at the world’s largest rum festival!

Having spent the previous day at the Rum University and Boutique RumFest, I was already warmed-up rum-wise for Saturday – day two of three.

From past experience visiting RumFest the Saturday is the busiest day of the Weekend. With that in mind and with the superb line-up of seminars and masterclasses planned for Saturday, I decided to take advantage and I visited four seminars/tastings, whilst squeezing in some tastings and chats around the main hall in between sessions.

So, doors opened at 12pm, what do we do first? Go and buy some Foursquare Velier 2006 – the rum of the show with only a handful available to buy at the show. Next, into the main arena and the first stand I visited was Banks to try their 5 and 7 islands rums.

Banks Rum


The Real McCoy 12yo Madeira and Bourbon Cask


Next was a visit to an old favourite – The Real McCoy.

There was a real treat here as they were showcasing the new 46% 12yo aged in Madeira and Bourbon casks – sumptuous stuff. I look forward to getting my hands on a bottle of this when (if) it is released in the UK.




Máximo Extra Añejo

Next stop was a visit to the Havana Club stand. Let me be honest, I am not usually a fan of Havana Club so my comment to the lovely Michael Foster, UK Brand Ambassador for Havana Club, was “Can you convince me I am wrong about not liking Havana Club?”
Well, Michael was exceptionally persuasive in showing off Havana’s rums…we tasted the £50 / bottle Selección de Maestros, which is very dry, oakey and slightly spicy. Michael went on to explain how the various expressions are produced and we sampled the base spirits used by Havana to create the blends…..

A very interesting experience.

Finally, we also shared a tasting of the £1,200 / bottle Máximo Extra Añejo. Packaged in a beautiful crystal decanter, this is made up of Havana Club‘s oldest and finest reserves of rums. The rum has a balanced sweet-dry profile throughout with lots of oak and hints of vanilla present. A really fine rum. How could I not like Havana Club now?

So, next up is the first of my four Saturday seminars!

1 Rare Rums Hosted by Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell.

The “Rare Rums” tasting was held on Jamaican time as Ian started about 15 minutes late. It was well worth waiting for as we tasted six rare rums.

Rare Rums Hosted by Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell

From left to right, we tasted:

  1. Havana Club from the 1980’s
  2. Mount Gay Tricentennial
  3. Rhum Mana (1860’s bottling)
  4. Appleton Master Blender’s Legacy
  5. San Cristobal de la Habana
  6. Foursquare Velier 2006 (RumFest 2016 rum of the show)


  • The 1980’s Havana and 1860’s Mana were both interesting, but to be honest, beyond the novelty value of tasting something incredibly rare and unique, neither were especially great/memorable rums.
  • The Mount Gay Tricentennial was superb – aged 27 years, just 300 bottles were released in 2003 to celebrate Mount Gay‘s tricentennial (300th anniversary). Lots of lovely oak and vanilla flavours and silky smooth.
  • I am very familiar with Appleton Master Blenders’ Legacy – one of my favourite rums of all times.
    You can find my review HERE.
  • I have to admit I knew little or nothing about San Cristobal, so Googled the following info: From “The number 480 on the label signifies the rum was created in 1999 to commemorate the founding of the royal town (Sp: real villa) of San Cristobal de La Habana 480 years ago in 1519. In 1519 the villa San Cristobal de La Habana was relocated to its current site of Havana and the original city there (Carenas) was renamed. The name is a combination of “San Cristobal” after the European discoverer and famous navigator Christopher Columbus, and “Havana”, which is the native’s word for the geographic area.”
    This was quite sweet, a new experience for me with Havana Club rums. It was exceptionally smooth, too.
  • The final tasting was the Foursquare 2006. 2016’s rum of the show, which had a total number of 2,400 bottles released worldwide and had sold out within hours of its release. So, to have some available at RumFest was a real bonus. At 62% this has a real kick to it. Flavours of oak and toffee and built-in central-heating. I will review this fully at some point as I bought a couple of bottles at the show 🙂

Thanks Ian…..very tasty!

So, back into the main hall and a visit to Grenadian rum Westerhall for a great tasting and chat about their range of 3, 5, 7 and 10yo rums. I think the 7yo was my favourite – lovely spicy flavours.

Westerhall Estate Rums

Next up was a Velier tasting session with the enigmatic Luca Gargano.

Please click HERE to read my live blog from the session.

Luca Gargano & RumShopBoy

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Next up was a fantastic tasting session of Don Q rums with Master Distiller Roberto Serralles.
Please click HERE for my review/tasting, live from RumFest.

Roberto Serralles & RumShopBoy

Time for tasting session number 3 – Mount Gay Rum Masterclass with Master Blender Allen Smith.
Please click HERE for my review/tasting, live from RumFest.

Allen Smith & RumShopBoy

Next up was a visit to the Marussia Beverages stand to try some Doorly’s and Foursquare. It was a bonus to have a taste of the forthcoming R. L. Seale’s 10yo rum at the higher 46% ABV – delicious stuff.
I also had some great Mezan tastings including a fantastic Panama 2006 one.

R. L. Seale’s 10yo – 46% ABV
Ian Burrell with the charity auction

Final stop for the day was the El Dorado Rum Masterclass with Master Distiller Shaun Caleb. Having met Shaun the previous day at the Rum University, I had an idea of what to expect. As a big fan of El Dorado rums, it was another chance to taste some of their portfolio.
Please click HERE for my review/tasting, live from RumFest.

As the El Dorado tasting came to an end, the RumFest carnival finale was already in progress, so there was no time for further tastings. So, it was off to dinner with some fellow rum friends to talk about rum and look forward to Sunday.

1 RUM SHOP BOY @ Rum University (Friday October 21st, 2016)
2 RUM SHOP BOY @ Boutique RumFest (Friday October 21st, 2016)
RUM SHOP BOY @ RumFest SATURDAY (October 22nd, 2016)
RUM SHOP BOY @ RumFest SUNDAY (October 23rd, 2016)




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