Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Rum Collective's 10th Meeting: A Review

Ron Arehucas Carta Oro & Ron Miel
Tango's Rooftop Terrace
Sun-filled blue skies, a rooftop terrace above the city and copious amounts of Rum made for a perfect setting at our 10th meeting. Set above Tango, one of Seattle's coolest Spanish Restaurants, we gathered to welcome the full line of rums from the Spanish Canary Islands - Ron Arehucas. The meeting offered attendees craft cocktails, tapas and a formal tasting experience of some fantastic rums. Here is how it went down...

Greeting Cocktail
A greeting cocktail is not only good social etiquette, but a meeting ritual. On a hot day, the garden fresh aromas of mint, rum and chilled bubbly do it right. Check out this refreshing cocktail with Ron Arehucas Carta Oro.

Greeting Cocktail
by Connor O'Brien

1.75oz Ron Arehucas Carta Oro
0.5oz pineapple syrup
0.5oz lime juice (fresh pressed)
10 Mint leaves
Topped with Champagne

A quick photo-op of our lovely hosts...

Kate Perry & Connor O'Brien

Let the tasting begin!

The Islas Canaries are located almost 100 miles off the Northwest coast of Africa. Although Ron Arehucas's entrance into the US market is recent news, the history of sugar and rum making on Gran Canaria, the largest island, is not. In fact, these islands have a signifcant place in the history of rum making overall. Christopher Colombus on his 2nd voyage in 1493, brought with him sugar cane samplings from the islands of Madeira, Canary and Azores to plant in Brazil and Hispaniola. Shortly after the Caribbean was a sugar cane growing mecca. Sugar cane and its uses continued to flourish in the Canary Islands and on August 9th, 1884, La Fabrica opened. Less than a decade later, on July 4th, 1892, Queen Maria Christina of Austria bestowed on them the title, "Provider of the Royal Family" due to the quality and fame of their products. This, of course included, sugar and sugar cane spirits. It wasn't until the year 1940, when founder, Alfredo Martin Reyes, began making the Rum, at Destlleria Arucas, that we now know today as Ron Arehucas.

Carta Blanco, Carta Oro and Ron Miel
Ron Arehucas
We started the first half of the tasting with Ron Arehucas Blanco,  followed by the Carta Oro and finished with the Ron Miel.

Jason Montgomery
President of Copa Spirits
A special guest and President of Copa Spirits,
Jason Montgomery, was present to lead us through the first three expressions. Not only did he give us some insight about the brand, the present importation of Ron Arehucas and his future plans, he brought some great rum! Jason informs us all of these rums are made from sugar cane juice. The Carta Blanco and Oro are slightly lower strengths (37.5% ABV) than each of the aged expressions (40% ABV) and give an expected performance with a few comments. Overall, they were light, mixable with a characteristic flavor. However, when our lips reached the final glass full of Ron Miel, a blend of Ron Arehucas 7yr and honey, the flavor pay load was tremendous. Jason tells us it contains 2% bee's honey. Someone said, "tall, dark and sweet", is how I like'em and at 20% ABV it's attractive for sure! Yum!!

Bring out the Madrid Platters!

Spanish style tapas are a must at Tango, not bad with Spanish Rum either...

7 Select and 12yr Reserva Especial
Ron Arehucas
The second half of the tasting commenced with much interest. Three aged expressions from Ron Arehucas not yet available in the country, let alone Seattle. We begin the tasting with the 7 Select Rum. The charm of the old world bottle styles with spirits increasing in complexity created a romantic sunset experience. Very few reviews exist on the aged rums, however, there is a solid review on Rum Gallery, discussing the Reserva Especial. Tastings including multiple different aged expressions offer comparative learning. By tasting each sequentially, a better understanding of how the age differences (interacting with American Oak) affect the aromas, flavors and finish can be appreciated.

What we have all been waiting for...Capitan KIDD!

Capitan KIDD 20yr
Ron Arehucas

A ceramic bottle with a black satin finish makes its way around. It's short, stout and wide bottom fit in your hand like it was made to pour straight from the hip. The top of the hard wood closure above the cork is embellished with a metal inlay displaying the image of the famous pirate/privateer Captain KIDD. This isn't meant to be a formal review, but its aromas, seemingly infinite layers of flavor nuances and goodbye forever finish leave no doubt in my mind why people spend their lives perfecting a blend or creating a piece of art. Rumlove!

The party on the roof continues with some rather dreamy cocktail artistry courtesy of Connor O'Brien.

Closing Cocktail
by Connor O'Brien

Closing Cocktail
by Connor O'Brien

0.5oz Ron Miel
1 dash of Angostura Bitters
Lemon twist garnish

Cocktails are served and look beautiful!

Closing Cocktail
(Joanna Schwartzkopf in background)

A big thank you to Jason Montgomery for his support!

Cheers to Kate Perry, Connor O'Brien and the staff at Tango for their hospitality!!

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