March 26, 2006

International rums and cachaças

Bill Dowd photo

These are some excerpts from my tasting notebook compiled during the world's first International Cane Spirits Competition, held in 2006 in Tampa, FL. As one of the judges, my selections resulted in 12 gold medal votes, 19 silvers, 13 bronzes and 18 no-medal votes.

Flavored/Spiced/Cream Rums:

I agreed with one of the three golds, my tasting notes calling the St. Maarten Guavaberry Rum Liqueur "pleasing on all levels with a just-right hint of fruit."

White Rums:

I cast no gold medal votes but did cast a silver for eventual gold-medalist Starr African Rum from Mauritius which I regarded as "peppery; floral; and, with a long finish."


My gold vote matched that of the panel for the P51 Cachaça, my notes saying "olive-brine notes, nicely nuanced, good finish." The gold medal Água Luca I rated silver, noting it was "smooth; full-bodied with a hint of lemongrass."


I didn't rate anything better than a bronze. Overall, there was just one gold among four entries in the 100-150 proof range.

Dark Rums:

Nine of the 18 entries collected golds. I concurred with two of those, my notes saying of the One Barrel "complex nose; layered flavors; pleasantly lingering aftertaste" and of the Inner Circle Blue Dot said "very good throughout; heat and flavor balanced; long finish."

Premium Rums:

Eight of 17 entries took gold, with me agreeing with half of the golds. My notes said of the Ron Abuelo 7 Anos Reserva Superior "mild butterscotch-caramel, vanilla and peat; smooth, nicely balanced." Of the Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva, "pleasant molasses evident in the taste, finish; heady fragrance; rich mix." Of the Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 yo, "Irish whiskey style; very smooth; butterscotch notes." And, of the Prichard's Fine Rum, "pleasant aroma of candied fruit; initial taste echoes it."

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