Top Beverages – Double Distilled, Mocha and Spiced rums

Long one here.

I get quite a lot of emails about Press Releases and samples and most of the time it’s not something I progress as that’s not really what this blog is about. I review what I buy (generally speaking) and it’s a hobby, not a job. Every now and then though something comes up that piques my interest, in this case it was a new batch of rums from a “craft” company; a white rum (double distilled), a Mocha rum and a Spiced rum – not rums I’d normally entertain. So why did I accept the samples and why am I reviewing them? Well, they are CBD spirits, that is, spirits that are combined with CBD (Cannabidiol) and it’s a trend that is taking the food and drink industry by storm, people are combining it with bloody everything, I’m sure at some point the government will start putting it in bread like they do with folic acid! CBD is being touted as somewhat of a wonderdrug. Now I’m not a doctor, or a pharmacist, or a scientist, so I can’t really go into it too much or with any form of authority, but in short it’s a non-psychotropic active ingredient in Canabis (you don’t get high from it) and it has a huge number of benefits in what it treats; anxiety, depression, cognitive issues, movement problems, chronic pain, just to name a few, and the side effects (in normal dose levels) are virtually nil – if you want to understand more about CBD then please read up on it and please don’t rely on me, it is a drug and should be looked into carefully.

So does CBD have a place in distilled beverages? Well Top Beverages are a craft company that think so, they combine it with gin, vodka and rum. You can read more about them at their website: https://top-beverages.com

Recently, they have launched the 3 rums already mentioned above, which are all combined with premium, full spectrum CBD and I’ve kindly been given some (rather large) samples to try out. I’ve tried them, so I’ll review them.

In terms of the rums, all 3 are based on the same distilled spirit and as you’d expect from a craft distillery they were very open and complete when I asked them about their method, so geek hats on:

The rum is distilled in Arbroath, Scotland, from molasses. Distillation takes place by combining 650 litres of molasses with water where it is fermented for 3 weeks, creating a Wash of around 10% abv. The Wash is then distilled in a 500 litre and 200 litre hybrid still which uses 3 copper plates to produce around 150 litres of rum at 50% abv, the first run off is then distilled a 2nd time (double distilled) in the 200 litre still, using 1 copper plate. Cuts are made which produces around 65 litres of rum at 78% abv. The rum is then left for 3-5 days to mellow out, at which point it’s reduced to 60% abv. Here is when the spices are added to the Mocha and Spiced rums, for 24 hours to infused, before filtering. It’s reduced again to a bottling strength of 54.4% abv.

Cool.

These rums are all natural colour, not chill filtered, bottled at 54.5% abv and do not contain any sugar or other nasties other than the natural spices where stated. They are in 500ml bottles with 50mg of CBD.

Top Beverages Double Distilled white rum:

Nose: Very grassy at first, some white stone fruit, green grape maybe and white pepper. Starts to get phenolic with brine, green olive and sea shell. Some floral notes appear part way through, a touch of brioche and a little vanilla.

Palate: Sharp and quite astringent. Some fruity mango, white pepper and brine. There’s a cardboard note part way that’s not too great but it does soon go. A little vanilla, pears and some nail polish.

Finish: Short. Clean, green apples, white pepper heat, the sweetness of thinned honey and sugar dusted lemons.

 

Top Beverages Mocha rum:

Double Distlled white rum infused with organic cacao husks and South American cold brewed coffee.

Nose: Woah, coffee. Chocolate. You need to like coffee and chocolate to like this, luckily I like both. Yeah, lots of chocolate, real stuff though, actual cocoa beans and fresh roasted coffee, There is a touch of salinity under it that gives it a fudge note, some fried banana, a little light toffee and hot buttered crumpets.

Palate: Hot and sharp again at first. Not like the nose……which is a shame. Fizzy cola bottle sweets, nail polish, white pepper and sharp mango again, or nectarine.

Finish: Short. Ah, back to the nose we go with fudge, chocolate, salted caramel and a really good milky coffee.

 

Top Beverages Spiced rum:

Double Distilled white rum infused with cassia bark, orange peel, ginger and Indian vanilla pods.

Nose: Well, this is pungent. Loads of ginger, cinnamon, almost a Chinese 5 spice note, a touch of vanilla, some dark chocolate and a brine/salty tang. Some light liquorice and spiced vanilla pop up as the ginger dies down.

Palate: Hot, but ginger hot. Cloves, ginger root, chillies, cinnamon powder and dry – yes, a dry spiced rum, thank god! No sugary sweet stuff here. A little anise, hint of chocolate, mango, apple and pear.

Finish: Medium. Lots of ginger again, cinnamon and anise. Vanilla shows up here, guess it could finally get out from behind the heat and spices from the palate, and some orange zest.

 

Thoughts in general? I find the white rum too rough. I buy my rum to sip and I don’t think it’s really a sipping rum, none of them really area. There is a nice sharp fruit that runs through it and a salty note that balances things out, and what I do like is that these notes filter through to all 3 of the rums, so you can see that they are all based on the same thing. I think the white would be very good in any fruity cocktail, it’s a strong enough flavour that you’d pick it out and it’d compliment the mixing ingredients well, but as a sipper…..no. Pass.

The Mocha rum smells amazing and finishes well, but the smells are not translated into the drinking really, I think it needs longer with it’s infusions. Again would go very well in a more robust cocktail, something where the rum needs to have more strength to it. As a sipper, I’d drink it, but I’d probably just end up with my nose in the glass most of the time.

The Spiced rum is very good. It’s too heavy on the ginger and too hot there, needs to be toned down, but I could happily drink it neat. To be fair I like ginger a lot…..outside of that it’d be a great winter warmer in a punch or hot toddy, or even in a hot chocolate.

Would I buy any of these rums with my own money? In honesty, no. They’re not what I’m after in my journey and they are bloody expensive (500ml bottle for £39.95), and whilst I understand that craft distilling is very small batch and has higher costs, and the ingredients are absolutely top quality, the target for these are going to be people with deep pockets who are looking for ultra-premium mixing rums.

What I’d be very interested in seeing, is if they age some of the rum. Bang it into some small quarter casks and give it time with oak. There are some good notes in the base rum that’d age well and transform with that ageing.

Depaz Rum – Official UK launch

As a blogger, I occasionally get asked to post Press Releases for various things, from new rums to festivals. As this blog is a personal blog, purely based on my own opinions and reviews (almost exclusively from rums I buy, swap or get samples from friends), I don’t publish a lot of them. Sometimes though, there are certain festivals (RumFest being one) and certain rums that I feel should be publicised. This is one of those times.

Depaz is a rum brand from Martinique and carries the AOC (appellation d’origine controlee) classification. For those that don’t know, this is a very strict set of rules around production and bottling methods that must be adhered to – the same way that Cognac does and Scotch Whisky, very (very!) basically it; indicates a rum made from sugar cane cultivated in strictly authorised areas on the island, with limited yields and agricultural practices that protect the land and the quality of the crops. 100 per cent sugar cane juice must be used in production, distillation is made through columns or continuous stills, alcohol levels must not be lower than 40% ABV and colouring must be natural from ageing only in oak casks. There are only seven AOC accredited distilleries on Martinique. Just 3 per cent of the world’s rum holds the AOC Agricole Rum mark. It goes on and on to include the brix level (sugar content) of the juice, fermentation times allowed, level of organic volatiles for each grade, minimum maturation periods etc…..

Now we don’t tend to see a lot of Agricole rum in the UK and even less with AOC classification, so the fact that an official UK launch is being done by such a brand is exciting news. Agricole rums are an area that I’ve not had much chance to venture into so far and something that I’m planning to change – if only I could get the bottles I want at the right price! One of the main reasons I’m publishing this is that the regulations in the UK on what can be sold as rum are a farce, and the likes of AOC is a perfect example of the type of thing we need more exposure to. As a consumer, knowing how my rum is made and to what standards would give me far more confidence in my purchases.

For transparency purposes, I’ve been sent a sample kit by Depaz which contains the 4 rums mentioned in the Press Release. I was hoping they would be good, as I wouldn’t be prepared to post this for rum that I didn’t like. I’ve tried them, and will be reviewing them separately with my own notes – and as such won’t publish their “official” notes, but they are very good.

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Depaz, one of the world’s oldest and most exceptional rums, has announced its official launch in the UK this autumn, bringing a taste of its lush Martinique home in the French West Indies to British drinkers.

One of the few rums to hold ‘AOC Rum Agricole’ status (‘appellation d’origine controlee’) – a mark exclusive to Martinique, denoting production in a small designated geographical area – Depaz is one of the island’s finest terroir spirits; a traditionally crafted rum of exquisite quality and flavour, the perfect embodiment of its place and the perseverance of its people over 350 years.

The Depaz team will launch a portfolio of four 700ml expressions in the UK market, all perfect for sipping and savouring: Depaz Plantation Rum, Depaz VSOP Reserve Speciale, Depaz Grand Reserve XO and Depaz Port Cask Finish. Launch events and tastings are planned for Rumfest on 20th and 21st October and The Spirit Show 22nd and 23rd November (both in London), with limited stocks then available at specialist spirits retailers and bars around the UK. The range will have an RRP of £35 – £55.

From cane to cask, every drop of Depaz Rum is produced at the Depaz Estate and Distillery on Martinique’s rugged north west coast, nestled in the shadow of the island’s highest mountain, volcanic Mont Peleé.

This terroir is at the heart of the rum. The rich volcanic soil surrounding Mont Peleé, and the shelter it provides from rain clouds brought to Martinique on the eastern trade winds, cultivate the estate’s high quality blue sugar cane. Harvested each spring amid celebrations, its juices result in a rum of unique character and superb depth of flavour.

Depaz is also defined by its history, which stretches back to 1651 when ‘Chateau Depaz Estate’ was founded; and the resilience of the Depaz family in the face of enormous tragedy. A catastrophic eruption of Mount Peleé in 1902 claimed the lives of 30,000 islanders and destroyed the entire Depaz Distillery. Just one member of the Depaz family survived, with a resolve to rebuild the estate and restart rum production for future generations.

Unlike standard rums which are made with syrups and molasses, Depaz is crafted using only the pressed juice of freshly cut sugar cane. Each expression is smooth, flavourful and perfectly balanced, with different styles and finishes to suit different tastes.

Commenting on the launch, Ruaridh Paterson, Key Account Manager for Depaz Rum said: ‘We are very much looking forward to bringing Depaz to the UK, and to sharing the extraordinary taste of our rums and the fascinating story of our Martinique heritage with British drinkers. We are seeing a growing interest in spirits that are more premium and crafted, offering interesting new flavours, distinctive provenance and an authentic story. As an agricole rum with centuries of island heritage, Depaz is rich in all of these areas and is already highly acclaimed and sought after in our existing markets. We look forward to sharing these exceptional rums with drinkers over the coming months.’

www.depazrhum.com

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RumFest 2018 and London Rum Week

So you’re reading this blog because you’re either into rum or you want to know more about rum, in which case you need to know (if you don’t already) about RumFest; this is the biggest rum festival in the world and runs in October each year down in the Big Smoke. This year they have stepped things up a bit for a week long party and celebration of rum with London Rum Week, where there will be loads of good stuff taking place from masterclasses to rum launches.

Unfortunately due to work commitments I won’t be attending this year, but ya know, got a mortgage to pay, kids to feed, rum to buy, and all that. Now I wouldn’t normally promote or endorse such an event that I wasn’t attending, but c’mon, this is RumFest we’re talking about! I’ve been asked if I’d put out a Press Release and because of what this festival is, what it celebrates for rum and does for the industry I’m more than happy to do so – and honoured for even being asked! So here it is:

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LONDON RUM WEEK LAUNCHES THIS OCTOBER

From the makers of RumFest, London Rum Week is a week-long celebration of rum across bars all over the capital, ahead of RumFest 2018

London Rum Week
15th – 21st October

RumFest
Saturday 20th & 21st October 2018
London’s Earl’s Court
ILEC Conference Centre
rumfest.co.uk

RumFest tickets start from £44.55 and can be purchased here.

Bigger and better than ever before, RumFest is launching London Rum Week to prolong the celebrations of one of the nations favourite tipples. With an abundance of events taking place from rum launches and Tiki Thursday to rum masterclasses, rum-lovers from across the capital will have endless opportunities to get involved.

RumFest, the world’s premier festival of rum, will also return to London this autumn to host an abundance of tastings, masterclasses and delicious food all under one roof. Taking place 20th-21st October, over 400 world-class rum brands, mixologists, master blenders and specialists will jet in from around the world, to celebrate their passion for all things rum, taking visitors on a rum pilgrimage to explore the exquisite and unique. For more information on Rum Week and RumFest, visit the website.


RumFest is the lead event in the newly launched London Rum Week this October. Kicking off on Monday 15th, rum-focused activities will take place across the capital for the first five days, including the launch of Hampden Rum from one of Jamaica’s oldest distilleries at Usain Bolt’s new London bar Tracks & Records, a Q&A with Bailey Pryor, the five-time Emmy Award-Winning Director and Producer, a showcase of rare rums & cigars at La Casa del Habano with award-winning rum maker Richard Seale and much more.

Also part of London Rum week is The 6th Golden Rum Barrel Awards & Dinner, to be held at The Holiday Inn Kensington Forum, on Sunday 21st October. This star studded night will see awards given to best in the rum industry including the Best Rums of 2018, Best Rum Master, Best Rum Bar, Best Rum Brand Ambassador and Rum Influencer of the Year .

Running as the highlight event, RumFest – the worlds finest festival of rum, opens its doors on the Saturday 20th – Sunday 21st October. With over 400 rum brands united together under one roof, guests will be able to enjoy exclusive tastings and pairings, take part in a variety of masterclasses and learn the art of perfecting a rum cocktail from leading mixologists.

New for this year, Ian Burrell, renowned Global Rum Ambassador and RumFest Founder, will be leading a one-off tasting on the Saturday and Sunday, showcasing five rare and expensive rums with a combined retail value of £1500. Tickets for all masterclasses (except those stated) are included within the entry ticket, however, places are limited and must to be booked in advance.

Sponsoring the main stage this year is London’s newest tropical escape bar Laki Kane. Co-founded by award-winning mixologist Georgi Radev, the bar produces innovative cocktails and is the first bar in the world to make all syrups in-house without using refined sugars. Using the finest rums, sugar cane syrups and a hand-picked selection of rare and exotic ingredients, Laki Kane will be showcasing their mixology expertise.

Speaking about this year’s events, founder and Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell;
“RumFest is a fantastic chance to get the inside track on the next big thing in rum as well as try some hidden gems on the market. Last year proved once again that this is THE event for anyone in the business of rum, with the worlds best brands, master blenders, distilleries and aficionados from across the globe. 2018 promises to raise the bar again with a few more surprises!”

A variety of additional masterclass sessions will take place across the course of the weekend. All sessions will involve tutored rum and cocktail tasting by spirit experts. 

Saturday Masterclasses:
–        Angostura
–        La Hechicera
–        Velier Masterclasses with Luca Gargano
–        Canadian Rums
–        Appleton Rum
–        Flor de Caña
Sunday Masterclasses:
–        Real McCoy
–        Foursquare class with Richard Seale
–        Appleton Rum
–        Velier Masterclasses

For rum connoisseurs, the RumFest Golden Tot Tokens will give you the opportunity to taste limited edition and premium rums, retailing from £80-250.

In addition, Saturday guests will be able to place their bids at the Rum Auction, with premium rums priced from £500 – £2000. There will also be a host of chef demos throughout the weekend from Shivi Ramoutar, The Modern Caribbean Chef & Hassan de Four. 

Global Rum Ambassador and RumFest founder Ian Burrell at RumFest 2017

RumFest tickets are now on sale from £44.55 per day, which includes tastings of over 400 rums, complimentary invites to all masterclasses and seminars (except those stated) and rum experience tasting glass. For full information on RumFest and to buy tickets, head to rumfest.co.uk.

A full itinerary for London Rum Week can be found on http://www.londonrumweek.com. Activities across the week include Hampden Rum launch at Usain Bolt’s new London bar, a showcase of rare rums and cigars at La Casa del Habano plus much more to be announced. For more information regarding London Rum Week or to get involved contact info@rumfest.co.uk.

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