The whole point of RumFest, for spirit connoisseurs, rum lovers and everyone in between is to spread awareness on brands we generally tend not to encounter in commercial environments.
Take Bacardi and Havana Club rum. You may not remember the specifics of a night out fuelled with these two brands. However, if you wanted to attempt reconstructing the cocktails that played a dominant role in elevating your mind to social ecstasy, Tescos would easily be a one stop shop for your DIY bartending needs.
What if you wanted to do things a bit differently for a memorable edge?
There is an infinite wealth of rums that aren’t as accessible as your Bacardis and Havanas that bear qualities worth experiencing over and over again. Rum Fest puts the best: established and boutique side by side for a sampling frenzy where one can make an informed decision on what works for you or, the occasion at hand.
All of the above considered the first stand attendees were faced with, well hut to be precise, was Bacardi. Once seated a duo of Bacardi Ocho laced cocktails and a shot to savour the subtle vanilla tones of this 8 year rum.
Usually when a brand has a multiple rums, one would assume that the one withstood the test of time in a barrel for the longest is bound to own the most superior taste.
In the case of Angostura rum my palette was attuned to the ‘1919’. Its sweet but smooth and hearty flavour spoke a language that I understood. While marvelling at its brilliance, three fellows, one being Damian Williams of Opium Soho sipped on the infamous ‘No. 1’. Each twiddling shot glasses between index finger and thumb nodding in agreed appreciation.
We all possess different palettes for which different flavours conjure different responses.
Havana Club trumpeted the launch of two new syrups that worked in tandem with my personal favourite: Havana Club 7 years. The best combination on the Havana Club bar top combined Havana Club 7, Island Fruit (one of two new additions to the Havana team) and honey essence, lime, sugar, triple sec and ginger ale.
The Don Q Cristal Colada was one of top rum cocktail combinations. There was something about this Cristal Colada that urged repeat trips to the Don Q stand. The minds successfully strings together engaging conversation to linger at the Don Q stand for as long as possible. With extended talks, mouths are on the receiving end of dryness and the Don Q Cristal Colada is a highly enjoyable remedy.
Gold of Mauritius had two very different rums to offer the Rum Experience taster glass. The Gold of Mauritius dark rum was light, full of depth from its dark chocolate tones, whilst the Mauritius Club rum I found too overbearing in cherry tones.
Each to their own.
Duppy Share was pinned up on a priority list to sample purely on the basis of its name which conjures a giggle from me every time. A ‘duppy’ is an evil spirit or ghost that originates from Jamaica who are said to reside at the buttress of silk cotton trees, usually plotting on their next steal of the best rums in the Caribbean. Those that visited the Duppy Share stand will remember the rum punch being spooned into shooters, the gramophone perched to the right. Great neat, even better in a rum punch. Certainly a rum to be shared.
I finished my rounds with Old J, the spiced variety made the perfect main ingredient for the cocktail being served up on their stand. It’s no coincidence that this was the same stand that sat directly opposite the area where spontaneous dancing took off.
It started with some vigorous foot taps and at the last pour people were moving in sync to ‘Candy’. The perfect way to round up a day of rum sipping.
Here are some other shots from the last day of #RumFest.
Photography & Words by N.O.W.