Top Rum Revelations Of 2020

What a year. A very challenging one for many. I have a lot of good things in my life, so I don’t and won’t complain much. I do see a lot of people around me struggling to various degrees and I’m really hoping 2021 will bring some relief for everyone.


This article is not just a top 5 rum thing. It also covers some of my personal thoughts and feelings when it comes to my rum blogging and Covid 19. If you’ve had enough of Covid related stories, please skip to the rum top 5 of 2020.


Covid & rum blogging in Canada


Something I’ve learned through this pandemic when it comes to rum blogging in Canada is that travel is essential for being able to stay in touch with the latest releases somewhat. Since I live in a province that has a strict government liquor monopoly, the selection is average and I can’t just order rum from abroad. In regular times I travel a couple of times a year and typically host a few visitors from outside Canada. Each of those happenings are opportunities to acquire new rum. The Covid travel ban put a stop to that completely.


This in itself is not the end of the world of course. Among many other things, not being able to travel to see my family back home is worse. However, by November I started feeling annoyed and somewhat envious of quite a few people around the world who were able to continue buying new release after release. That is an odd feeling for me. Whenever someone has an amazing car, massive house or a thousand bottle rum collection, my feeling and response is always the same, namely:”that’s great!”. I never envy people for their possessions. I did now.


Next to that I started feeling like an alien in Zoom rum chats, saying all the wrong things. I started getting irritated by negative vibes in FB rum groups and even with some of the positivity. What’s wrong with me?! So I pressed the stop button. Deactivated my social media for a while, as I realized I wasn’t myself and needed a reset.


I think the reason why it became difficult is that regular social life is no longer there to compensate. When you have constant real life interactions, it is much easier to put social media communication into perspective. In that situation, social media takes the back seat and isn’t that important. But when Zoom and social media are basically all that’s left, it becomes challenging…..at least for me. I’m not good at dealing with the unreal and fake nature of 78% of the online world and need to unplug from the matrix on a regular basis and have some real life interactions.


Missing out on rum festivals is another thing that came to the surface. They are such a great opportunity to taste and get to know a myriad of different rums, especially because they aren’t available in my home market. It’s almost an essential tool when you live where I live and want to be knowledgeable about rum. The same can be said for distillery visits and the people you meet at all these events. Swapping rum knowledge, stories and samples is so much better in person.


Speed blogging


My speed of writing articles is rather low, more slug like. There are several reasons for this. Most importantly is my ADD brain (my mind is always all over the place), in combination with my regular job that never stops and often times covers 7 days a week. When I started Rum Revelations I thought I could write two articles a week. It turns out that was highly optimistic. I’ve settled on about two a month now. This is not good for my visitor numbers of course, but while high visitor numbers and popularity are motivational, it’s never been a goal for me to become the biggest/bestest. It simply isn’t possible with the way I do things.


In that light I’m amazed by the speed of some other bloggers. The amount of material produced by them is quite staggering. Alexandru at the Rum Barrel for example. Even more impressive is Wes at the Fat Rum Pirate. Not only does he write a lot, he’s also been doing that consistently for many years. A recipe for success. I hope they’ll be able to continue this good work. What I’m also hoping is that Steven at Rum Diaries Blog gets back to writing regularly, since he’s about my favourite rum blogger.


Rum Revelations in numbers


I’ve written about 44 rums in 2020. Did interviews with Joy Spence, Ben Jones, Raphaël Grisoni and Zan Kong. Four awesome rum people. Had one daiquiri challenge and produced one video.


44 rums is decent for me, but I still hope to increase that number a little for 2021. The daiquiri challenges completely depend on the Covid 19 situation. Since we always do them with a group of people, we need to be virus free. I can’t wait for that, as I always love doing them. When it comes to videos I will promise to double my efforts. Two videos in 2021 should be doable :)


Best thing is that website visitor numbers have doubled compared to 2019, which is a sign that more people are enjoying what I do. This gives me a good feeling and I want to thank everyone who’s taken the time to read my articles and who’ve given feedback. It is much appreciated.


Rum top 5 of 2020


After all that rambling it’s time for my rum top 5 of 2020. These aren’t all necessarily 2020 releases, but I’ve tasted and written about them in that year. They are in alphabetical order.


Appleton Hearts Collection



What an event and what a rum. Three Appleton pot still releases at cask strength, never been done before. Luca Gargano and Joy Spence turn out to be an impressive team in selecting and presenting rum.


Excerpt from the article:

I heart these rums and wish I had full size bottles to enjoy them much longer. As it is, I’m so happy and thankful I could taste a part of important Jamaican rum history, because that’s what it is. It might not be as big an occasion as Hampden bottling their first distillery aged rum in history, but it’s up there. I think sales have proven there is more than a market for products like these. More please Joy!


Click here for the full article.


Foursquare 2008



Every time one of these great limited releases comes on the market I feel it’s a shame that it isn’t part of the regular Foursquare lineup. But, that feeling disappears quickly when every subsequent release is an improvement. Richard Seale and his team seem to be able to push the flavour boundaries further out with each release. It shows the skill and creativity of the creators.


Excerpt from the article:

It’s round, fat, sweet and bold. I’m in love! The flavour gap between 2005 and 2007 is definitely larger than 2007 vs 2008. So don’t expect a major change in this case. That’s ok for me, as I’d love to be stranded with a case of Foursquare 2007….or 2008 for that matter. The more the merrier. I feel Foursquare 2007 is one of the best rums on the market when you look at price and quality level. With 2008 it has a very worthy successor.


Click here for the full article.


Hamilton St Lucia 2005 - 9 year Cask Strength



I love St Lucian rums. So many quality rums have rolled out of the distillery there. None better than the ones released by Ed Hamilton. We need more of this.


Excerpt from the article:

To me these rums can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best Foursquare expressions and even Velier’s Demeraras. I can’t stop myself from wondering how much this rum would have costed if Velier had bottled it. As it is, I’m very happy and thankful that Ed Hamilton has put these rums on the market at a reasonable price. It showcases the immense potential of St Lucia Distillers.


Click here for the full article.


Velier Hampden HLCF/DOK 2010



For me this was the best rum of UK Rumfest 2019. A blend of two Hampden marks, blended in the barrel. Another top pick from Luca Gargano. It takes you on a flavour journey that is hard to match.


Excerpt from the article:

The HLCF/DOK 2010 has more traits from HLCF than from DOK, which is a good thing imho. It strikes a very nice balance between the two. Balancing anything with DOK surely is a challenge, but this HLCF managed to tame it. I absolutely love this rum and hope Hampden will start experimenting more with blends like this, as this fluke is hitting bulls eye for me.


Click here for the full article.


Holmes Cay Belize 2005




Independent bottler Holmes Cay has made quite the impressive start. Good release after good release. This being the best so far imho.


Excerpt from the article:

I like rums that slap you in the face with bold flavours. This is definitely one of those. Total flavour bomb. Much more expressive than any other Belize rum I’ve tried so far. I like this rum very much. I wish I had a bottle of it. I’d sip some of it on a regular basis. Best Belize rum for me so far. Great pick! More please!


Click here for the full article.


Happy new year everyone. May the 2nd half of 2021 make up for a year and a half of challenges!


Ivar

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