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Top 10 award-winning rums

As rum continues to grow in popularity, producers are innovating in the category with high-quality bottlings and on-trend flavours. SB presents top-scoring expressions from its latest blind-tasting.

SB presents award-winning rums from its latest blind-tasting

The Spirits Business held its annual Rum Masters last month, where an experienced panel of judges uncovered some of the category’s best expressions available on the global market.

Looking across multiple categories, from overproof to premium, flavoured to agricole, with expressions from producers of all scales, the competition saw a number of rum brands awarded medals for their superior quality.

While the individual scores of each entrant are not disclosed, these are 10 of the Master medalists recognised in the competition, listed in no particular order.

Click through the following pages to view the top 10 award-winning rums of 2020.

La Hechicera Reserva Familiar

Price: £46 (US$58.80)

Colombian rum La Hechicera Reserva Familiar scooped a Master medal in the Dark Rum – Ultra Premium flight.

The nose was said to have aromas of “marmalade and lemon zest”, contrasting with “cloves” on the finish.

La Hechicera rum was founded in 2012 to encapsulate the spirit of Colombia and tell the nation’s story to the world. Its name translates as ‘The Enchantress’ in Spanish, and its bottle is adorned with images of local flora and fauna.

Charles Merser & Co

Price: £38 (US$47)

In a flight of super‐premium gold rums, a Master medal was bestowed upon Hayman Group’s Charles Merser & Co, described as “elegant and grassy”, and “oak‐dominant”.

The expression is the first rum from London-based gin producer Hayman’s.

It is made by sourcing aged component rums from Barbados, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Panama. The rums are blended together and left to rest in a marrying cask in London for a further period of six months before being bottled.

Plantation Original Dark

Price: £23 (US$29.40)

A flight of premium dark rums saw a Master medal go to Plantation Original Dark.

On the nose, judges picked out hints of “caramelised fruit” and “oak”, leading to hints of “guava” and “warm ginger” on the palate.

Produced by Maison Ferrand, Plantation Original Dark is a blend of rums from Barbados and Jamaica, and has been designed to be more approachable and suitable for use in cocktails.

Five Hundred Cuts Botanical Rum

Price: £24 (US$30)

The spiced rums round saw BrewDog Distlling Co secure a Master for its Five Hundred Cuts Botanical Rum.

The expression delivered an impressive hit of “warm coffee and nutmeg, hints of Parma Violet and spiced lavender” with “black pepper and cardamom”.

The rum is made using sugar cane molasses that has been fermented using red wine yeast. The spirit is double-distilled using the BrewDog Distlling Co’s copper pot stills and is infused with whole botanicals to produce a rum that tastes like “like Christmas cake in a glass”.

Rum-Bar Rum Cream

Price: £20 (US$25.50)

During the Rum Liqueurs round, Worthy Park Estate took home a Master for its Rum‐Bar Rum Cream expression, described as “perfection”.

“Exactly what you’d dream of in a rum cream liqueur,” said one judge. “Natural cream flavour and a gorgeous finish. Very, very drinkable.”

The 15% ABV expression blends cream and white overproof rum and is recommend served chilled on its own.

Penny Blue VSOP

Price: £25.50 (US$32.60)

Onto the Gold Rum – Premium flight, and a Master medal was awarded to Penny Blue VSOP for its “oily, waxy nose with wood smoke, a little generic tropical fruit” and “dry vanilla pod”.

One judge said of this rum: “The palate has a lovely smoothness to it and a rich mouthfeel. The flavours match the nose with rich vanilla pod, tropical fruits and waxy mouthfeel. Very nice.”

The VSOP aged rum was launched through the Indian Ocean Rum Company, a joint venture between Berry Bros & Rudd and Medine Distillery.

Created from single estate sugar cane, the liquid has been matured in ex-Cognac (75%), Bourbon (15%) and whisky (10%) barrels before being blended by master distiller, Jean-Francois Koenig, and Berry Bros & Rudd’s spirit buyer, Doug McIvor.

Rhum Depaz – Très Vieux Rhum Agricole VSOP

Price: £55 (US$70)

Bardinet’s Rhum Depaz – Très Vieux Rhum Agricole VSOP walked away with a Master medal in the Rhum Agricole Aged flight.

The judges found flavours of “baked lemon tart” and “brioche”, as well as “sour cherries and mandarin syrup”.

The 45% ABV rum was distilled in Martinique and matured in ex-Bourbon and ex-Cognac oak barrels.

Naud Ron 15 Years Old Panama

Price: £38 (US$48.50)

In the Dark Rum – Super Premium contingent, Famille Naud stormed to success with its Master-winning Naud Ron 15 Years Old Panama.

The panel found this rum to be “gorgeous, creamy” with “dark sugars, fruit and banana cream”.

The expression is a 15-­year-­old rum that is aged in Panama before being finished in Cognac casks in Famille Naud’s Charentais cellars.

Rum Sixty Six Family Reserve 12 Year Old Rum

Price: £40 (US$51)

In the Dark Rum – Aged 7 to 12 Years round, the top award went to Rum Sixty Six Family Reserve 12 Years Old Rum, said to have a “gorgeous, classic nose” filled with aromas of “raisins, caramel, oak and some grassiness”.

The 40% ABV rum is a blend of pot and column still rums ‘tropically aged’ for a minimum of 12 years in American oak barrels. It is made at the Foursquare Distillery in Barbados.

The expression also secured the top title of Taste Master, following a re-taste of the Master-winning rums during the competition.

Trois Rivières Cuvée de l’Océan

Price: £24 (US$30.60)

Looking across a flight of Agricole Rhums, it was Trois Rivières – Cuvée de l’Océan that nabbed a Master medal.

The judging panel found this to be “full on raspberry, crème brûlée, fresh and delicious, and balanced”.

Agricole originates from the French Caribbean islands, and uses pressed sugarcane juice rather than molasses.

Wild Turkey owner Campari Group snapped up French firm Rhumantilles SAS, owner of the Trois Rivières and Maison La Mauny agricole rum brands, last year.

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