The spring is here in full force and people are beginning to shed their clothes and finding their way to the sunny terraces of the bars as the summer approaches and the weather gets warmer.
This is the perfect time to enjoy refreshing cocktails such as the Caipirinha, Brazil's national cocktail. An authentic Caipirinha can of course only be made with authentic Cachaça, a spirit that can only be made in Brazil and must be made from fresh-pressed sugar cane juice and distilled to no higher than 54% abv and bottled between 38% and 48% abv.
Trying to decide which shore excursions to take on a cruise can be a mind boggling thing. Well, on a recent cruise which included Jamaica, it was easy for me. While my family was off getting freezing cold walking up the Dunn river falls, I went on the Appleton Estate Rum Tour.
I boarded my van with other passengers from our ship. We traveled the route winding through the lush greenery and little villages until we entered the valley where the distillery resides. Upon entering the gates, we all could smell the sweet smell of molasses wafting through the open window.
Emerging from the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, the coral island of Barbados has symbolized luxury, glamour and revelry for centuries.
This haven of white sand, sun-drenched fields of sugar cane and cascades of the purest crystalline water is also the birthplace of rum. Mount Gay Rum, the finest, oldest brand of rum in existence, has been produced on Barbados with passion and unparalleled excellence since 1703.
Expertly fashioned from rich sugar cane and with the pristine, coral-filtered water native to the island, Mount Gay Rum is a sumptuous, inimitable expression of the Barbadian art of living.
Silviano S. Samaroli is an independent Italian based bottler, known for his Malt Scotch Whisky and more recently for his rum bottlings as well. All of these are limited edition products from single casks that cannot be reproduced, which makes them quite special.
In the past Samaroli visited the main rum distilleries on all of the tropical sites and got familiarised perfectly with the distilleries in Jamaica, Guyana, Martinique, Trinidad, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mauritius, Reunion South Africa et cetera.
His first limited edition rum bottling was the 1948 West Indies Dark Rum which became very successful.
Everyone who talks about Havana Club (and knows his Rum history) can’t help but to think of that other brand that originates from Cuba: Bacardi. These two names are linked through history. When Fidel Castro got power in Cuba in 1959, he shortly after that confiscated all companies on Cuban soil.
Bacardi was already known outside Cuba and had copyrighted their brand and logo, which is why Castro was not able to sell his Bacardi Rum outside Cuba. To make things a little bit easier, Castro changed the name into Havana Club, a name formerly owned by the Arechabala family.
The Brugal Rum Factory is located on the Avenida Luis Ginebra on the outskirts of the city of Puerto Plata on the Atlantic Coast of the Dominican Republic.
The plant is a factory and not a distillery. The rum is distilled elsewhere in the country and trucked to Puerto Plata for aging, blending, and bottling. Brugal bottles a light rum under the Carta Blanca label and produces under the Brugal label a light rum as well as multiple grades of dark rum; Carta Dorado, Añejo, Extra Viejo and the limited edition Siglo de Oro. In addition, they produce a rum cream that is very tasty indeed.
XM Royal Extra Mature Demerara Rum is another rum, in addition to Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, that I purchased from the UK Rum Fest last year due to the positive reviews it has been receiving.
If in the review of Diplomatico I said I've always had a thing for Venezuelan rums, then I could say I've had, for a long time, a secret love affair with Demerara rums, which are known for their incredibly rich flavour profiles.
XM Royal Extra Mature Demerara Rum is a product of Banks DIH or the Banks Demerara Ice House, formerly known as D'Aguiar Bros. Ltd, a Guyanese company started by Jose Gomes D'Aguiar in 1840, which expanded to include a cocoa and chocolate factory as well as a schooner shipping agency that would import ice from Canada, which explains the name 'Demerara Ice House'.
On Wednesday, January 28 I met Federico Hernandez, the organizer of the upcoming Puerto Rico Food and Rum Festival along with MOR member Rumelier. We had scheduled a tour of the Ron del Barrilito facility as well as the Bacardi plant. Here is an account of the Barrilito tour.
We arrived just after 10 AM. Federico drove right up to the production building. The doors were open and we walked into the bottling room where workers were busy boxing up a recent bottling run. Federico asked if Don Fernando Fernandez, the third generation family owner was available.
London as a travel destination does not necessarily conjure up images of whisky immediately to most of us. There are, of course, no distilleries as such to visit in town and even the Young's Brewery, situated in Wandsworth for hundreds of years has moved onwards out of greater London.
But a multitude of fantastic whisky shops combined with great old pubs where to relax and down a fine dram make London a well worthy place for a whisky aficionado to visit, if you ask me. This is why myself and a fellow whisky aficionado "Smoke on the Water" travelled to UK in February, with a set goal of visiting every worthy whisky shop in town in the brief time of two days.