RumFest 2014 – review

It felt like a long wait for RumFest 2014, but last weekend that wait was finally over. When we arrived at 12.00 for the doors to open we found ourselves queuing with a number of die-hard rum fans. A trio of pirates were dressed as ‘Guybrush Threepwood’ from the old school puzzle game ‘Monkey Island’, and as ‘Jack Sparrow’ from ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. This was their fifth RumFest and they seemed delighted to have seen the event grow in size and popularity.


The exhibition space was a decent size, allowing the individual vendors to display their rums in creative ways without things being too cluttered or too spaced out. After opening, all available space between stalls was soon filled with people of all ages and backgrounds, united by the love of rum.

RumFest9In an effort to keep some journalistic integrity in the face of a good deal of rum bibbing, we kept a tasting record detailing the fifteen rums we were able to get through in the course of the day.

There were many more rums to try, but every stall-holder had an interesting story to tell and it was genuinely fascinating to learn about the background of each rum. We learnt a lot about the various distillation and ageing processes and were quite surprised to find some small family distilleries are based here in the UK.

Our favourite sipping rum was the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva from Venezuela. Having spoken to some other RumFest-goers we found this was a popular choice. At £39 a bottle this is really a special occasion rum and probably not intended for mixing. Warm, Christmassy flavours and more than a hint of sticky toffee pudding suited our sweet tooth very well indeed and we will definitely be getting a bottle in for the cold winter nights to come.

Particular highlights of the day were the Rococo Chocolates and Rum seminar, cocktail making lessons at the Don Q stall and the Christies bottle auction later in the afternoon.

We left quite late in the day, a little unsteady on our feet, but with big smiles on our faces. If you didn’t manage to make it down to RumFest this year then why not buy a bottle or two of something new and get yourself into the vibe for RumFest 2015?  We will see you there!

Here are our Rum tasting comments:                                                                  

1.) Mount Gay – ‘Black Barrel’ – Warm, with oak/honey finish.                      

2.) Mezan – ‘Panama’ – Not too sweet. Smoky and whisky-like.

3.) Mezan – ‘Trinidad’ – Too sharp on the nose and not to our taste.

4.) Dimlomatico Reserva Exclusiva – Sweet, sticky toffee pudding. Very warm.

5.) Duppy Share – Sipping taste not for us, but worked in a cocktail.

6.) Goslings – Tried neat and w/ ginger beer to make a ‘Dark and Stormy’. Caramel/treacle toffee flavours.

7,8,9.) El Dorado 8yr, 12yr & 15 yr – All excellent – 8yr was ‘2014 Rum of the Year’. 8yr better than 12yr, but 15yr best of all with Cognac-like finish.

10.) Don Papa – Sweet with lots of vanilla – vanilla used in stills distillation really comes through.

11.) Leblon Caipirinhas – Very green stand! A white rum which we didn’t enjoy neat.

12.) O.V.D. – Same distiller as Woods rum. Treacle toffee with strong Demerara qualities. Great neat and with coke.

13.) Botran – Reserva -15yr – Intense flavour, not really for us though.

14.) St Aubin Rhum – Vanilla – Nice vanilla flavours. Again, best in a cocktail.

15.) The Glorious Revolution – White rum, flavours quite close to dark. Distilled by boutique brewery in the UK.

Words and photography by Joe Hitchmough

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