Thursday, September 29, 2011

Summer in Seattle Brings a Climate of Rum - Part 2

Summer Rum Arrivals
 Lake Union and the Seattle skyline (background)
Summer's shadow is receding as the season ends revealing a bright bouquet of rums new in Seattle! Seasonal blue skies and sun-filled waterways were late arriving this year, but the bounty of better rums accompanying it has created a summer to remember. Quality, not quantity, right? And now on special order shelves at select WSLCB locations, quality rum there is! Northwest rum enthusiasts, take note, for the endless days of hoping for a diverse selection of fantastic rums are no longer.

Ron Atlantico Private Cask: The bottle is smartly dressed and attractive. Its taste has won awards. Originating from the Dominican Republic, Ron Atlantico is a blend of small batch rums aged in a solera style, some of which are 20 years old. The blend includes rums that were made from both molasses and sugar cane juice providing for a refreshingly sweet, yet balanced flavor profile. The rum is versatile and can be enjoyed in many ways; chilled on ice, with ginger ale and lime or in a classic cocktail. I have always found rum drinking pairs well with Latin music. This rum did so in a big way, recently partnering with Enrique Iglesias. At a price of $37.45, it will not disappoint, so turn up some Enrique, pour yourself a glass and find out.

Lemon Hart 151: It's back and its about time! The bottle labeling looks a little different. Okay, so what? Well, it is often rumoured that for many rums, labeling changes disguise formulation changes and thus a somewhat different tasting rum. For the new Lemon Hart 151, the verdict is out. No need to worry Tikiphiles, the rum inside is the same. Period. Martin Cate (Smuggler's Cove) and Ed Hamilton (Ministry of Rum) give it to you here straight...well, perhaps over a little 151 and some exceptionally crafted Tiki cocktails at Martin's award winning bar. Oh yeah! This high octane demerara rum is the float of choice for many a rum cocktail. Guaranteed to make your next fruity concoction taste tropically better. Don't let this $33.95 deal pass you by.

Angostura 7yr: Think Trinidad and Tobago. Beautiful beaches full of dark skin against white sand. Now, picture an age-old five column continuous still, a blend of light, medium and heavier rums aged up to 7 years in once used bourbon (oak) barrels. Now go back and repeat. Welcome to Rum Therapy! From the House of Angostura comes another rum "kissed by a butterfly". Its tastes surprisingly rich of smoke with oak and chocolate notes despite it being filtered after the aging process. Give it time to breathe, open it up with a little water and sip it as the leaves begin to fall outside. It recently took Gold at the 2011 SIP Awards. If you like Angostura 1824 or 1919, it is worth a try for $40.55.

Dos Maderas P.X.: This elegant rum deserves your undivided attention. It begins as a blend of rums from Barbados and Guyana aged for five years in the Caribbean. Then it is shipped to the Sherry Bodegas of Williams & Humbert in Spain to be finished in two different sherry casks over another five years. See our previous meeting post for more details. Its flavor profile is sweet and complex, but its charm is simple. Not surprisingly it took "Best Premium Gold Rum" aged up to 12 years at one of the largest rum events in the world. Highly recommended at $44.25 a bottle.

Smith & Cross: This rum's pot stilled Jamaican, mouthful of funky flavor drops the bomb on you like the Gap Band. It is a rum for cocktails that have an underlying theme of awesome! Let me share this 114 proof idea by offering a few examples; Heaven's Dog in San Francisco uses this spirit well. Several of their featured cocktails call for it including a memorable (actually slightly fuzzy to be accurate) "Bumble Bee". A Seattle cocktail blogger, Courtney Randall, has recently depicted its merits in several posts. I will also mention a cocktail titled "Jamaican Cockfight" which I created for a dedication to my brilliant friend and highly spirited spirits guru Forrest Cokely. Smith & Cross is priced right for a night to remember or at least try to at $35.40!

Ron Botran Reserva: From volcanic, sun-baked soils in southern Guatemala this rum's story begins. The first press of sugar cane to the solera style aging process in three different barrels (in the order of American Whiskey, Sherry and then Port) brings forth an intriguing rum. Historically Guatemala is known for producing quality rum and this is no different. Full bodied and fun to sip, you will need a few moments alone with this one. Take your time and do it in style with a Ron Old Fashioned cocktail! This rum won't break the budget either at $26.80.

Ron Barceló Imperial: This brand of Dominican Rum needs little introduction. A unique and elegant decanter-like bottle sheathed in a tailored box suit. Suavemente! The rum inside is silky smooth, with enough flavors to spare. It was given a "Gold" at the 2011 SIP AWARDS International Spirits Competition. You may have heard the best things in life are free. You may have heard the rumor that, money can't buy you love. From the land where Bacchata and Merengue were born, Ron Barceló Imperial follows suit in arousing the senses. I will argue that, at $29.60, it's not free, it's downright stealing.

Rhum J.M. 1997: Sourced from select sugarcane grown on Mount Pelée's volcanic slopes; its origin story can be read on the bottle. It was distilled in 1997, aged in oak casks for a minimum of 10 years and bottled at the distillery in Macouba, Martinique. Rhum Agricole doesn't get much better than this folks! Its aromas hold you captive with suspense. You contemplate trying a sip, but recall Yoda's wisdom, "Do or do not; there is no try" Upon sipping it, this luxuriously mature liquid carefully spills out herbal and earthy botanical garden notes while coating your palate. The finish is long enough to allow you to stop time briefly and appreciate each flower, fruit, or spice you come across. This Rhum is fit for special occasions,  makes a perfect gift for a rum connoisseur or when sacrifices are needed to please the Rhum Gods. Sipping it after a fine meal at Boat Street Cafe is highly recommended (see previous post). For many, once this Rhum has been tasted, the price of $128.05 is no longer difficult to digest.

Cheers to the Washington State Liquor Stores that stock and appreciate a diverse selection of quality rums!


  1. Excellent reviews. Looking forward to trying a few of these, and I will certainly be picking up some Leon Hart 151 this weekend.

  2. This elegant rum deserves your undivided attention and a high place in the rating of . It begins as a blend of rums from Barbados and Guyana aged for five years in the Caribbean. Then it is shipped to the Sherry Bodegas of Williams & Humbert in Spain to be finished in two different sherry casks over another five years. See our previous meeting post for more details. Its flavor profile is sweet and complex, but its charm is simple.