Jamaican rum loses out to competitors

Published: Sunday | December 29, 2013 Comments 0
Appleton Estate, St Elizabeth, part of the holdings of the Lascelles deMercado Group, is valued for its rums, said to be number four in the world. - File
Appleton Estate, St Elizabeth, part of the holdings of the Lascelles deMercado Group, is valued for its rums, said to be number four in the world. - File

Jamaican rum lost out to competitors from across the region and even from Florida, United States, in this year's Rum Awards 2013.

The competition is a production of the Caribbean Journal, a website founded in 2011 with a focus on news and views from the Caribbean region.

The winners were selected from 130 brands of rum from around the Caribbean and elsewhere.

The top 'Rum of the Year' award went to a spirit produced by Bacardi from Puerto Rico, called Bacardi Facundo Collection Exquisito, according to Caribbean Journal.

The two other finalists were Zacapa XO from Guatemala and El Dorado 15 Year from Guyana.

The Exquisito rum is named after Barcardi's founder and sales only started in November 2013. It is considered a new level of premium rum making for the company which is better known for its mass produced white rum. This rum is a blend of spirits which are between seven and 23 years old and finished in sherry casks. It sells for US$90 (J$9,550) per bottle.

The award for 'Best New Rum of the Year' went to Papa's Pilar Dark. The rum is named after famed US writer Ernest Hemingway and his fishing boat, The Pilar.

Hemmingway, who lived in Cuba for several years before the Revolution in 1959, has been strongly linked with the creation of the daiquiri cocktail as well as for his fondness for another Cuban cocktail, the mojito.

Selected sources

The rum is made from spirits from throughout the Caribbean, Florida and Central America, according to the Papa's Pilar website.

"We use multiple rums from carefully selected sources based on ages and character and fractionally blend them through our unique solera process" says the website.

The website doesn't say where exactly it sources its rum. According to Caribbean Journal, "some rums are sourced from Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Florida." It is currently blended in Kentucky, United States "although there are plans to eventually move the process to Florida," says the Caribbean Journal.

The three rum agricole categories were won by rums from the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe. Those rums are made from sugar cane juice rather than molasses and tend to be dominant in the French-speaking islands including Haiti.

Jamaican rum came up for mention in the category for overproof rum. "There are a few natural contenders in this category, mostly out of Jamaica - J. Wray & Nephew and last year's winner, Rum Fire," said the Caribbean Journal. But this year, the award for best overproof went to Sunset Very Strong Rum from St Vincent.

The award for best flavoured rum went to Miami-based Uncle Luke's passion fruit flavoured rum which is made in Grenada. The new brand is named after Luke Campbell, a well-known American rap star and producer. Special consideration was also given to Hawaii's Koloa Coconut rum and Pango rum, produced by Haiti's Barbancourt.

The award for best spiced rum went to Florida-based Siesta Key. The rum, which is made in Sarasota, also won the award last year.

The award for best value rum went to Angostura Single Barrel Reserve which sells for US$18 (J$1,900) per bottle. The rum is currently only available in Trinidad. Angostura is a Trinidadian brand owned by CL Financial, the Trinidadian company which owned majority shares in Lascelles deMercado until it was sold to Campari in 2012.

The award for best white rum went to Brugal Especial Extra Dry White Rum out of the Dominican Republic. Best bottle design went to RL Seale from Barbados.

richard.browne@gleanerjm.com

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