• Ivar

Rum Club Canada's Worst Rum Challenge

Something different, something fun. Apart from Rum Revelations, I also started a Canadian rum Facebook group, almost 5 years ago, called Rum Club Canada. We are currently running that with a group of 5 people, when we did this challenge it was 4. As we are living in different parts of a very large country, it's difficult to see each other in person, so I figured it would be nice for us to do a fun Zoom session. We decided to send each other 3 blind rum samples. Not the logical choice here though. Instead of the best ones, everyone had to pick the worst rums from their collection.


The format is pretty simple. Sniff and taste all of them, give comments, laugh a lot, vote for the worst of the worst and then reveal what's what. I decided to publish this in big daiquiri challenge style. The difference is that there I'm sitting with several people in a room, rating daiquiris, while this time it's on Zoom. What's the same is that I'm writing out the entire conversation as is. Well....I attempt to....as it's impossible to get every word and sentence from everyone. Plus I've taken out all the f-bombs.


This was a 2 hour session that I've also compressed into a 15 minute video. So you can read the long version below and or watch the summary in the video, where you get a better idea of the atmosphere. Definitely don't watch the video if you are sensitive to bad language.


I've started the video with an explanation of what we are doing and why, including a perspective of the types of rum we all like. Which is mostly higher abv, non flavoured, non sugared stuff. Without that perspective we might look like a tipsy bunch of snobs.


The people involved are Shawna, who brought her husband Braeden for moral support, Rob and Karl, who's also known for being an independent bottler (Bira).


Ivar's Rum #1


Rob: Smells terrible

Ivar: I smell rice cakes, ugh

Braeden: Did you buy this from somebody on a street corner? That’s nasty stuff

Rob: Did they carry it around in their shoe?

Rob: Tastes like woody water

Shawna: Super super bitter

Karl: It’s like sugar water

Rob: Yeah it’s sugar water aged in oak

Rob: Tastes better than it smells

Brae: They let it ferment in a shoe?

Shaw: It has an aftertaste of gunpowder

Ivar: I’ve never tasted gunpowder

Karl: Matches

Ivar: Yes! To me it’s sulphur. Like when you light fireworks

Brae: Yup, straight up sulphur

Shaw: It looks really oily on the glass


Ivar's Rum #2


Rob: I smell baking spices

Rob: Tastes like one of those boxed cake mixes

Ivar: To me it smells like baby vomit

Shaw: Smells like baby powder

Brae: Tastes like baby powder too

Karl: Not as cloying as the first one

Brae: Wow. This is rum I’ve never tasted in my life

Rob: Nor do you want to

Shaw: It’s literally sticking to my teeth

Shaw: Super sweet. There is a type of candy note in there

Ivar: Doesn’t taste like rum to me

Shaw: Cough syrup

Shaw: Cherry cough syrup with some peppermint at the end

Ivar: Caramel, a lot of vanilla and sweetness

Shaw: I don’t even know if I want to put that in the infinity bottle


Ivar's Rum #3


Rob: Bubblegum that’s been on your shoe and you’ve walked on it all week

Ivar: Very boozy and young

Brae: Rob, you nailed it. On a shoe for a week

Karl: it’s really light

Karl: Was the previous one 47% or so?

Ivar: Lol, no

Shaw: Raspberries candy

Ivar: Agree, it’s a bit candy like

Shaw: There is no finish at all

Ivar: There is no finish whatsoever, it’s just water

Karl: Rum 1 was the worst one of these

Brae: Rum 3 was the easiest to deal with because it’s light

Ivar: Because it has no flavour?!


Karl's Rum #1

Ivar: What the hell is this Karl?!

Ivar: This is absolutely horrible

Brae: Tastes like grass

Ivar: It’s very woody. It’s got nothing. It doesn’t grab you at all, there is no finish. Ugh

Karl: This one cost a lot of money

Brae: Tastes like moss?

Shaw: Reminds me of Scotch

Ivar: That would be pretty bad Scotch

Shaw: I would definitely not reach for this

Ivar: Mid palate is kind of sweet

Rob: Yes!

Ivar: Thanks Karl!


Karl's Rum #2


Ivar: Is this vodka? Flavoured vodka?

Rob: There is no smell to it

Ivar: No, there is nothing

Brae: Nothing at all

Ivar: Is this a premium ron?

Brae: It’s very chocy

Shaw: It has a hint of orange

Ivar: It’s very synthetic

Brae: Actually no, it’s not chocy

Shaw: Mineraly maybe?

Rob: I don’t get any minerals

Ivar: No, minerals can be really nice. This is not nice

Rob: Terrible!

Shaw: Taste like the tails. Not the good cut!

Shaw: I don’t think this is aged at all. I think it’s just flavouring

Ivar: Maybe wood chips


Karl's Rum #3


Rob: I get baby vomit and bubble gum

Ivar: Exactly! That’s confected like you will not believe

Brae: Aaaawwww my gawd!

Shaw: I’m scared!

Ivar: The term doctored rum…..it’s this

Shaw: I literally just cleaned that up a couple of weeks ago. I know that smell exactly

Rob: It’s going to be hard to choose between one of Ivar’s and that one for the worst rum

Brae: It’s like you are at a carnival and you are walking by the trash cans on a hot day

Ivar: Karl, you gave us the biggest sample of that one.

Karl: I had to get rid of it

Brae: Doesn’t taste as bad as it smells. Just cover your nose and swallow it

Ivar: It smells as confected as Bumbu

Shaw: Can’t get past the smell. But even if you could, there is nothing to taste either

Rob: There is nothing there


Rob's Rum #1


Ivar: Vanilla dessert

Rob: It is! Very much vanilla

Ivar: That’s it though, there is nothing else

Rob: Nothing else but vanilla

Rob: When you taste it, it’s all vanilla too

Karl: Ooopphh…yup

Karl: Bananas

Ivar: So smooth, this must have been in a barrel for 12 years at least

Rob: 12 days maybe

Ivar: I’m not sure this has seen a barrel at all. Doesn’t taste like it

Shaw: Pure vanilla. It’s like vanilla extract.

Rob: You know, in the bottle it looks like vanilla extract too

Shaw: Bath & Body Works!

Shaw: I’m sure a lot of people will like this one

Karl: Yup

Karl: I don’t like when people use the word smooth. It’s not a good description

Ivar: The term is over used and typically they mean “sugary”

Shaw: It’s like a vanilla candle you buy at the store. One dimensional


Rob's Rum #2


Ivar: A white rum! It’s kind of sulphury on the nose too

Rob: It is

Brae: I’ve had this one before

Ivar: It smells bad, but definitely not as bad as the ones before

Rob: No, at least it smells a little bit of rum

Ivar: It’s not nice, but I think if you dump this in Coke it will be ok. Not that bad

Rob: I wouldn’t want to do a daiquiri with it though

Shaw: I’m getting those berry notes again

Ivar: You are being very kind

Shaw: it’s not the worst, but it’s got a weird burn. Harshness at the back

Ivar: maybe this is not unaged, maybe it’s filtered. I think it’s maybe aged and filtered

Karl: Yes, aged…..I think. Diplomatico Planas maybe?


Rob's Rum #3


Ivar: This one kind of smells like Leyenda. Woody water. Or as Steven in the UK would say “woody dish water”

Ivar: Sugary….that is Leyenda or something similar to that. Sugary woody water, ugh

Karl: The colour is lovely though

Ivar: Yes, you know how they do that

Shaw: That is a Dominican rum isn’t it

Karl: Somewhere from that region

Shaw: Reminds me of the Barcelo stuff we had on vacation

Ivar: If these are your worst rums, then I want to come visit you

Karl: Yes, these are drinkable….if you are desperate


Shawna's Rum #1


Rob: I smell some wood in there

Ivar: That doesn’t smell bad

Rob: Baking spices

Ivar: On the palate it’s nothing. Like drinking water

Rob: Very inoffensive

Brae: There you go, we don’t have the world’s worst rum, like you guys

Ivar: This is not bad to me, it’s just…nothing

Rob: Yeah!

Karl: Wow, this is nothing. Is this rum? In the grand scheme of things though, compared to what we’ve tasted, this is better than a lot of them

Ivar: That’s because it’s nothing. "Nothing" is better than those others


Shawna's Rum #2


Ivar: Aaaahh

Rob: Oh, it smells gross

Ivar: What the f is that?

Ivar: It’s like orangy, citrus, horrible. Is that Pyrat?

Rob: It smells like rotten citrus

Karl: What’s this? Is this rum? Did you make this? I think you made this.

Brae: No I did not!

Karl: Wow….ok

Ivar: I bet you that’s not rum. I mean, it’s called rum….but it isn’t. The smell alone is like some sort of orange pop with a little bit of ….ugh….that’s dreadful

Karl: It’s like Mama Juana

Karl: Bark! There is lots of bark in it. It’s like you are eating bark

Karl: Actually, this number 2 is not bad

Ivar: What? Number 2 is not bad?

Shaw: It’s like orange pop

Karl: For a spiced rum

Ivar: Now that you are saying it’s not bad, I got to go back to it. Thanks.

Karl: Go back

Shaw: Now that you mention orange pop, I got it

Ivar: Ugh....it's horrific


Shawna's Rum #3


Ivar: After #2 this doesn’t smell too bad

Rob: No

Karl: This must be Cuban

Rob: If you were new to rum, this would be good

Karl: Yes, I agree

Shaw: The orange pop destroyed this one. We really have to wash our glass well

Ivar: It doesn’t taste like much to me, very light, not offensive, not much to find

Ivar: That’s also because the previous one was really horrible

Rob: I actually spit that number 2 in this glass

Ivar: You dirty man

Brae: Last time we tried it, it was very sweet and sugary. But not that bad this time

Karl: Your rums are the best ones so far. Best of the worst.

Ivar: Come on, that number 2 is not drinkable

Rob: No, that number 2 is the worst of them all

Ivar: Karl, I’m not buying your next bottling….that’s for sure

Ivar: I just drank a lot of water, and now that number 3 is sugary. It’s a whole lot of nothing. Sugar water with some wood

Shaw: I got butter scotch the first time I tried it

Ivar: Yeah that’s horrible. I hope it wasn’t expensive

Brae: Nope

Ivar: I got really bad burps going on after all this


The vote


I asked everyone to give their top 3 worst rums before revealing which ones they are. Nobody could vote for their own rum. Interestingly, we all chose one rum of each person.


Rob: Shawna #2, Karl #3, Ivar #3

Karl: Ivar #3, Shawna #2, Ivar #1

Shawna: Karl #3, Ivar #2, Rob #1

Braeden: Karl #3, Ivar #1, Rob #3

Ivar: Karl #3, Shawna #2, Rob #3


Total:

Karl #3: 4 votes and thus the worst, the winner!

Shawna #2: 3 votes

Ivar #1: 2 votes

Rob #3: 2 votes

Ivar #3: 2 votes

Ivar #2: 1 vote

Rob #1: 1 vote


The reveal


Rob's Rum

#1: Matusalem 10yr Clasico Solera

#2: Havana Club 3yr

#3: Brugal Leyenda


Ivar's Rum

#1: Flying Dutchman OL 6 yr

#2: Millonario XO

#3: Boyaca 3yr


Shawna's Rum

#1: Mount Gay Eclipse

#2: Pyrat Pistol

#3: Plantation Barbados 2000


Karl's Rum

#1: Abuelo Centuria

#2: Bumbu XO

#3: Protection Island Rum (Long Table Distillery - Canada)


The Video



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