It’s that time of the year where a lot of people reflect on what’s happened to them over the past 12 months. At least, that’s what I hear a lot. It might just be another marketing thing. In my case it’s a decent way of starting this article.
The birth of Rum Revelations
Rum Revelations was born in 2019. I’d been writing plenty of opinions about rum in Facebook rum groups before I created the site. However, I never felt I had something to add that was interesting enough to warrant a website. I didn’t want to be that person who starts writing about something that he/she doesn’t know enough about to be remotely interesting. When I created the site I didn’t feel I was exactly at that point yet, but realized it would accelerate my learning if I started writing.
It’s been an interesting journey so far. The responses I’ve gotten have been mostly positive, which is encouraging. The negative ones are something you simply have to deal with. Sometimes they are helpful and lead to small changes, other times I just ignore them.
What I’m proud of are some of the very important rum people who dedicated time to be interviewed and be part of the creation of an article on Rum Revelations. These are all people who are spending an incredible amount of time and energy in communicating and educating us rum enthusiasts. We should all be thankful for what they do. I am very much so. In this case I’m talking about Richard, Maggie, Robert, Karen, Andrew and Dan. But also those who support me by giving tons of information. Zan Kong of Worthy Park, Joshua Singh from 1423.dk and Michael Speakman from St Lucia Distillers come to mind first….but there are plenty others. Thank you all.
I can’t forget the support I’ve been getting from fellow writers like Steven, Wes, Paul and Lance. It’s great to hear from the leading rum writers, the ones who’ve been there and done that for years, who constantly seem to be able to come up with something worthwhile. It is much appreciated. One day I’ll be up there with you, hopefully.
When I think about my biggest rum revelations the past year, a lot goes through my mind. I’ve tried plenty of rum, met and talked to a lot of rum producers, ambassadors and enthusiasts and visited two rumfests….Chicago and London.
When it comes to rumfests, there are two components that are most important to me, education and meeting people. Meeting people is something I spend most time on, as I love talking about rum and hearing other people’s experiences. The education part comes in the form of seminars and tasting tons of different rums. After all, you can’t really have a solid opinion on a rum if you haven’t tried it.
UK rumfest was definitely one of my major rum highlights of the year. So many great people to meet, fun activities to do, plenty of rum to taste and too many good seminars to choose from. This was my second time there, but first time since starting the website. It’s definitely made it a different experience. First of all, the rum enthusiasts and bartenders coming up to me out of the blue saying “Are you that rum revelations guy? Please continue what you are doing, I love it”. A nice gesture like that really humbles me and is motivating. I genuinely don’t expect these kind of things to happen.
Then there are the responses from industry people. Positive ones like “You are really making a name for yourself, I enjoy following your progress”, or “Keep up the good fight”, “Keep doing what you are doing”, “I like your writing style”…..it’s all great to hear. Of course, there is also criticism:”You should only write about products you like” (Nope, I write for the consumer, not the seller), “You can destroy brands and the people behind it” (I don’t have such power), “I don’t understand the point of all you bloggers, writing down what something tastes like while it’s not even clear if you have a good palate” (It’s done to offer the consumer an opinion that’s not coming from a sales rep), “Just because you don’t like something, doesn’t mean it’s a bad rum” (Correct, it’s simply my personal opinion), “I disagree with everything you write about us” (That’s ok, really).
I don’t receive a lot of these types of comments and I’m ok with them. They give me a better insight into the workings of the rum community and the personalities within. It’s interesting to see how industry people, rum enthusiasts and bloggers are trying to communicate and reach their own goals, which are all different, but originate from the same passion.
Top 3 rum revelations of 2019
I’ve been thinking about a top 3 of rums of the year for me. Question is, what has surprised me or gave me the most enjoyment? Nearly mission impossible, but I’ll give it a try.
When I was at Chicago rumfest I had my first taste of Worthy Park’s 12 year old Single Estate 2006. I was impressed immediately. But, it’s hard to judge something from a few sips at a rumfest. Luckily, Zan allowed me to take a sample home. That led to this review and me buying a bottle. Not cheap, but so worth it. What impressed me most about this rum was the complexity on the nose and palate, how mild it is for a 56% rum and how Jamaican it is without a high level of esters. It’s incredibly balanced and beautiful.
Next up is another Worthy Park, although this time under the Velier banner. Velier Forsyths 2006 WPM. I bought this more than a year ago, but didn’t give it the attention it deserved until recently. With a ‘95’ it’s got the highest score of any rum on my site. Does this mean it’s the best rum? Perhaps. It depends on the day. My scoring isn’t very academic. It’s based on the level of enjoyment a rum has given me compared to all the others and the level of deceit from the producer. Ratings change over time, through new rums that I drink and the evolving of my palate. But I digress. I compared this one to the Single Estate 2006 in a blind tasting over here. It beat it fair and square. It’s a WPM, which has a slightly higher ester level than the WPL Single Estate. Is this the reason why I prefer it? I don’t know. But prefer it I do.
I feel Worthy Park really is moving up on the rum ladder at a rather fast pace. The 45% Estate Reserve, Single Estate 2006, Rum Bar Overproof, several Velier and SBS releases are all stunning. Perhaps not as many successful releases as Foursqare has had in recent years, but they are moving in the right direction.
Speaking about Foursquare, I couldn’t have a top 3 without one of their rums in it. The one that’s impressed me most this past year is 2007. Also happens to be the most read review on the site. First time I tried it was in a bar in Chicago at an informal tasting session during Chicago rumfest. I took a couple of sips, turned around and said to Richard:”How the heck do you do it?” It tasted like the excellent 2005 but fatter, with an added layer of sweetness. I was in love with 2005 and wasn’t sure it could be improved upon. My doubts were misplaced, as Richard and his team did it again. Not only does it taste great, it’s also very good value for money.
It’s incredible how many great rums Foursquare has released in the ECS series and under the Doorly’s banner with the excellent 14 year. They’ve set a new standard for affordable high quality rum in recent years. I hope they can keep it up as they have provided an incredible Barbados rum journey for many, from beginners (great gateway rum!) to experienced rum drinkers.
To summarize: my 2019 top 3 rum revelations is: Foursquare 2007, Worthy Park Single
Estate 2006 and Velier Forsyths 2006 WPM. These are in random order by the way.
Here’s where this article should end. However, I feel I need to mention a few things about the big daiquiri challenge chapter 1 and chapter 2. It’s a new way of enjoying rum for me, as I’m not much of a cocktail drinker. It’s so much fun to assess daiquiris with a small group of people. The three rums that got most of the plaudits were Mhoba French Cask from South Africa, Rhum Rhum PMG from Marie Galante and Clairin Sajous from Haiti. Quite the eclectic trio. There will be a chapter 3 in 2020, to challenge the current leaders.
It shows how much diversity rum has to offer. There are so many enjoyable varieties and ways of drinking it. This is why I say it’s nearly impossible for someone not to like rum…..they just haven’t found the right one yet.
Happy holidays with lots of love, warmth and rum!