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
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
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
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
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: 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
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
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!
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
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
Ivar: I got really bad burps going on after all this
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
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
#1: Matusalem 10yr Clasico Solera
#2: Havana Club 3yr
#3: Brugal Leyenda
#1: Flying Dutchman OL 6 yr
#2: Millonario XO
#3: Boyaca 3yr
#1: Mount Gay Eclipse
#2: Pyrat Pistol
#3: Plantation Barbados 2000
#1: Abuelo Centuria
#2: Bumbu XO
#3: Protection Island Rum (Long Table Distillery - Canada)