I’ve never cared much for advent calendars, but when they are filled with rum it becomes a whole different story! The guys and girls from 1423.dk, the same people behind the great SBS bottlings, asked me if I was interested in reviewing one. Since this seemed like an interesting product, I said yes….while adding the fair warning that I’d write whatever I want about it. Confident people they are, they accepted.
The one I’m looking at is the US version. It contains 24 sample bottles of rum, 2 tasting glasses and 2 small booklets for tasting notes. The glasses and booklets are a very nice touch and make it a much better gift, especially for people who are new to rum drinking. An advent calendar without them just isn’t complete in my opinion.
SBS is known for good packaging, this calendar is no different. It looks classy and once you open it you really have to hold yourself not to open all 24 “doors” and find out what’s behind them. The unfortunate thing about the US version is that all the rums are mentioned on the side of the box. Apparently, this is because of US regulations. It takes the element of surprise away somewhat.
The combination of rum curiosity and lack of patience made me open quite a few of the “doors”. It’s a wide variety of rum and rhum. I won’t mention them yet, except for the first, to not spoil the surprise. The custom labels for each bottle are very nice and can’t have been cheap. I don’t care much about packaging, but these are nice details I can appreciate.
I don’t know who came up with the idea for a rum advent calendar, but it’s quite brilliant for 3 reasons.
1. Education. Everyone has had moments where you think “should I buy this bottle of rum, will I actually like it?” It’s a 50/50 chance when you buy it blindly. I’ve bought lemons this way many times. A possible solution is to ask other rum enthusiasts online or read reviews. But, that only works if your palate aligns with the person giving the advice. You could also go to a good rum bar and hope to find the rums you are interested in. That way you don’t have to buy a bottle right away. Another solution is…..buying this advent calendar. Sure, you can’t pinpoint one particular rum, but I would find it very surprising if there weren’t at least a handful of rums in there you never tried before.
2. Many people talk about certain rums being a gateway. I disagree with that theory somewhat, as you can read here. This calendar can act as a gateway though. It presents a new rum drinker with a nice insight into different rum styles. In that sense it’s a great start to the journey. The only thing missing to make people better understand the rum is a small booklet with some information on them. That would make it the ultimate educational rum gift for beginning drinkers.
3. There is no easier way to make rum a very nice gift for a variety of people. From rum beginners to the advanced drinker, to the snob. Well, perhaps not the snob. I would personally buy this for a lot of my clients, simply because it’s a nice and original gift. Might convert a few of them to rum in the process.
I’m an rum calendar virgin. Simple reason for this is that they aren’t for sale in Canada, which is no surprise. Hopefully we will have these available to us next year. I’m going to go through some of the rums in the next few weeks and see what they taste like. I will report my findings here. To be continued…..