Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Festival Rum Bahamas 2015: All The Rum

Center: Captain Jack (aka Rick Martinez)
Bottom Right: Pepin Argamasilla
The second year of any rum festival is often telling. Idealists, scoffers and onlookers alike may wonder, either she'll float and sail onward, or raise the white flag. Festival Rum Bahamas left little to wonder as they once again took over Fort Charlotte; this time further grasping the imagination. For me, the anchor dropped when my eyes met those of Captain Jack. Needless to say, the search for my next rum delayed...at least for a moment. Honestly, I did a double take and questioned my senses. I had just tasted 50 Rums in the Tasting Competition, (oh, and a pair of refreshing Sands Beers over lunch) but nothing irresponsible. I looked again, could it actually be Cap'n Jack Sparrow!? Well, I wasn't seeing things. I was in the Bahamas, a home to many a pirate and by the looks of the Fort's decor, they weren't straying far from their history. In fact, after meeting him, his walk and talk were simply amazing, point on with the character played by Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. Friendly and full of spirit (pun intended), Cap'n Jack, aka Rick Martinez, was the type of top notch entertainer, and literally, one of many, each visitor would have the pleasure to watch and interact with at the Festival. Awesome! So I filled my cup with the local swashbuckling John Watling's Amber Rum and as day became night, my understanding became clear, Festival Rum Bahamas was not going anywhere, but rather they meant for the world of rum lovers to learn about and come to them. Some may recall my recent article, talking up the promise of last year's Festival; this year that promise was rendered.

Dead men tell no tales and I've returned from Nassau with some highlights of this epic three day Festival. Feel free to grab a glass of your favorite rum, open another browser window and turn up the volume on the short video below for those pirates at heart!

Rum was well-mixed, but far from hidden at Festival Rum Bahamas. To find the next potation, one only had to choose whether to go left or right, up or down. There were rum & food lectures at the lookout up top and blind rum tastings in the dungeon below. I doubt Captain Jack had to say, "Why is the Rum Gone?" and mean it at this party. Let's take a look at a small sample of the rum booths where one could find quality cocktails and generous samples. Try it and if you like, you could buy a bottle to take home before you leave! Rumtastic!!

AFROHEAD Rum 7 year

AFROHEAD Rum, is a relatively new brand from Harbour Island, Bahamas, and with its impressive new logo and charming character, generated much attention. Crowds gathered around this conversation starter and everyone wanted to get a taste of their two aged expressions. If you don't know it yet, you will soon...

Let's head south to Panama. How about a little taste of Ron Abuelo?

Yes, please!!

In a prime location, the local John Watling's Rum was offering their full line of rums and more. John Watling's Rum Distillery is also nearby and definitely worth a visit.

John Watling's Rum Booth

The Plantation Rum stand never disappoints. 

They proudly display their well-deserved medals and a beautiful line-up of unique blends and vintages. 


The judges of the Tasting Competition held public educational tastings deep inside the Fort. Guests could walk in and learn about each of the rums entered into the competition among many others, join in for a blind tasting or simply cool off from the outside sun. Rum tasting in the dungeon!

The charming Mike Streeter (Rum Connection and International Rum Council co-founder) brought out the smiles of quite a few on their rum education journey (see photo above & right).

In addition to the public educational tasting, each of the brands that entered the competition were on display with their medals.

Here's a few to note for your next shopping trip.

Ron Abuelo 7yr, Ron de Jeremy, Plantation Nicaragua 2003
Congratulations to all the winners! 

Ron Abuelo 12yr, Plantation 20th Annivesary, El Dorado 15yr

For more on the tasting competition and results, Rum Connection has the details.

Bacardi, with its rich history in the Bahamas, could not be missed. 

Tucked away and relaxed, enter Ron Zacapa...

At the end of the day (or beginning), if you could find a table or a few inches of elbow room at the bar, Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros was in full effect.


Stay tuned for the next article of the series, Festival Rum Bahamas 2015: The Food



  1. We started off in the downstairs pub area and then moved to the upper level of LA event venues, many tables were already reserved there but we commandeered some sitting space in front of a fireplace that was just the right size for our group of happy campers.

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