Belvoir Fruit Farms

Belvoir Fruit Farms

I enquired about a brand that, I don’t know about you, I’ve seen a fair bit of lately, cropping up in bars and restaurants all over Manchester. Not one to miss out on a drinking sensation, I spoke to the team at Belvoir Fruit Farms to see what all the fuss is about. You see, Belvoir Fruit Farms are not an alcohol producer, but a cordial and pressé manufacturer with an array of flavours to add a touch of summer to your long drinks.

Before we hit onto their range and see what we can get from each, lets take a look at who, what and how Belvoir Fruit Farms have got themselves such a sturdy reputation.

Belvoir (pronounced ‘beever’) is located within the Lincolnshire countryside on the Belvoir Castle estate close to Grantham. The location has a rich history, dating back to the time of William the Conqueror in the 11th century. Robert de Todeni, Standard Bearer to William the Conqueror, built the first castle and named it ‘Bel voir’, the French term for ‘beautiful view’.  A couple of re-builds have happened since then, mainly after the Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War, but the current version is alive and well, occupied by the Duke and Duchess of Rutland and open to the public.

Belvoir the brand came about around 1984, when for many years before that, Belvoir Fruit Farm was literally a fruit farm. The wife of the Lord of the castle at the time, Lord John Manner, began making elderflower cordial for her family, using the flowers she picked from the hedgerows around the farm. Mary Manner expanded to a few cases from small hand-made batches once friends and neighbours caught wind of her creation, ultimately becoming available to purchase within the local shop.

By the late 1980’s, Lord John was producing a range of cordials from the fruits around his farm, all pressed using an antique French wine press. The spring of 1995 saw them go organic with the introduction of planting 90 acres of organic elderflowers, ultimately harvested in 1998. These days, the business is run by Peveral Manners, son of the founders, who has over time expanded the range available, and the fruits that the farm produces. He’s kept everything on site too, with all fruits and flowers squeezed, crushed, pressed, cooked or infused.

So, a farm based company, still in the family, and creating award-winning cordials. Not a bad start at all, but how do they all fair? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on the range I’ve experienced so far –

Belvoir Fruit FarmsBelvoir Fruit Farms Elderflower Pressé – 0%

Made from organic elderflowers, fresh organic lemon juice, organic sugar and sparkling water from the Belvoir springs.
Light with fresh hints of lemon on the nose. Delicate elderflower with hints of natural sweetness come through. Slightly sharp with the citrus on the palate, but mellows into a smooth elderflower offering. A little dry on the finish, with a low carbonation throughout.

Belvoir Fruit Farms Elderflower Pressé Light – 0%

30% less sugar than the original Elderflower Pressé. Fresh elderflower on the nose, natural scents with a wild flower feel to the aromas. Elderflower dominates initially on the palate, but the fresh citrus rounds out the experience and creates a short offering. A little dryer, and noticeably less sugar than its original.

Belvoir Fruit Farms Raspberry Lemonade – 0%

Created using pressed raspberry and lemon juices and blended with Belvoir sparkling spring water.
Sweet, bold raspberry notes on the nose, following nicely onto the palate. A little sharp once the citrus hits, but doesn’t take away the main expected flavour of raspberry. Short, sweet and refreshing.

Belvoir Fruit Farms Elderflower Cordial – 0%

Fresh elderflowers and squeezed fresh lemons blended together with sugar and water.
Bold hit of elderflower on the nose, ripe aromas with a hint of natural honey sweetness. Sharp on the palate, but mellows quickly into a very sweet finish. Short, fresh with a  lively base.

Belvoir Fruit Farms Raspberry & Rose Cordial – 0%

Fresh pressed raspberries blended with Turkish rose petal extract. Smooth velvet tones on the nose of raspberry,  with a slight Turkish Delight aroma coming through. Lighter than expected on the palate, with fresh raspberry being rounded off with the Turkish rose petal. Naturally sweet, delicate and long.

Belvoir Fruit Farms Raspberry & Lemon Cordial – 0%

Pressed raspberries blended with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Fresh lemon dominates the nose, with hints of acidic sweetness from the raspberries lingering on the finish. Very sharp on the palate, with the natural sweetness bursting through to counterbalance. Fresh, bold and long.

A cracking range, and with many a recipe to enjoy –

Long Raspberry Cosmo
Long Raspberry Cosmo

Long Raspberry Cosmo

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients – 

25 ml Ketel One Citrus
15 ml Cointreau
10 ml Lime juice
2 dashed Orange bitters
125 ml Raspberry Lemonade Pressé

Method – 

Shake ingredients and strain into hi-ball glass with cubed ice. Top with Raspberry Lemonade, garnish with flamed orange zest.

or perhaps

Elderflower Mojito
Elderflower Mojito

Elderflower Mojito

Glass –

Highball

Ingredients –

35 ml Havana Club 3yr
6-8 Mint leaves
2 Lime wedges
1 tsp Sugar
75 ml Elderflower Pressé

Method – 

Squeeze limes into high-ball glass and add mint leaves and sugar. Churn, add rum and fill with crushed ice. Churn again, add more crushed ice and top with Elderflower Pressé. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Two great choices, and indeed not the only options for you. The Elderflower Pressé or Raspberry Lemonade goes very well as a mixer for gin or vodka, whilst the Raspberry and Rose cordial can jazz up a sparkling wine and the Elderflower cordial is great within a gin and tonic. But it’s not only drinks that the  Belvoir Fruit Farms range are good for –

Belvoir Marinade for Lamb
Belvoir Marinade for Lamb

Belvoir Marinade for Lamb

Serves 6

Ingredients –

4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Belvoir Blueberry & Blackcurrant Cordial
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp of fresh rosemary, chopped
Salt & pepper

Method – 

1. Mix all the ingredients together.
2. Place the lamb in a large Zip Lock bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag. This makes it easier to keep it in the fridge and the lamb is better covered by the marinade than leaving it sitting in a bowl.

NOTES:

If barbecuing, pour some of the marinade over the meat as it is cooking. If roasting, do the same but, after cooking and removing the lamb, make a sauce by pouring some stock and red wine into the roasting tray. Reduce this down and add some crème fraiche. Season to taste.

Quite a versatile range to enjoy! As mentioned before, Belvoir Fruit Farms can boast some awards too, with The Great Taste panel awarding last year 2 gold stars to the Elderflower & Rose Pressé and further single 1 star awards each for Apple, Plum & Cinnamon, Blueberry & Blackberry and Honey, Lemon & Ginger cordials. The original Elderflower cordial still racks up the accolades too, being awarded a Great Taste Award as well as a Gold Award from the Taste of Britain 2005, run by Sainsbury’s and The Daily Telegraph.

There’s many more within the range to explore, including flavours such as blackcurrant and cox apple, lime and lemongrass as well as ginger cordials, elderflower and rose alongside ginger beer pressés, and even coconut and lime pressés within a can. Going off what I have been lucky enough to try so far, all are worthy of being experienced, and I can see why not only bartenders are interested in playing around with the natural, fresh flavours, but also chefs being given the opportunity to add a dash of colour and uniqueness to any dish.

‘Naturally delicious’ they say. I couldn’t agree more.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Advertisements

Double Award Sucess For Black Bottle

Black Bottle

The distinctive new look of Black Bottle, Burn Stewart Distillers’ premium blended Scotch whisky, has won the ‘World’s Best Relaunch’ category at the World Whisky Design Awards. The award was announced at a ceremony in London on 20th March – just a few days later, Black Bottle gained further recognition for its recently relaunched whisky with a Bronze Medal win at the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Recognising excellence in bottle, label and pack design, the World Whisky Design Awards are judged by an international panel of design experts who also consider factors such as breakthrough in category, inspiration, confidence, craft skills and insight. The San Francisco World Spirits Competition is considered the most respected spirits competition in the world, with over 1,400 spirits blind-tasted by a selection of the industry’s leading spirits experts.

Commenting on Black Bottle’s distinctive black glass bottle, which replaced the previous standard green bottle, the World Whisky Design Awards judges described it as: “A beautiful, superbly crafted bottle, that is a real move on from the existing design and which picks up on the brand’s heritage to present a compelling and authentic looking product.”

Black Bottle, a premium blended Scotch Whisky acquired by Burn Stewart in 2003, was re-launched in October 2013 with a new look and new liquid, both of which were inspired by the original vision of Gordon Graham dating back to 1879 when he used his tea blending skills to create his first whisky, initially only for close friends and family. This new look is a modern interpretation of the iconic black glass bottle, which gave rise to the Black Bottle name over a century ago and of which only a few intact examples still exist today.

The new liquid that earned Bronze at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition was created by Burn Stewart Master Distiller, Ian MacMillan, who took inspiration from the original recipe of Black Bottle and re-introduced a richness to balance the smokiness of the blend. The result is a curiously rich and slightly smoky whisky that maintains the distinctiveness of Black Bottle but adds another layer of depth to the liquid.

Marco Di Ciacca, Global Marketing Manager for Black Bottle, said: “We are thrilled to win these awards for Black Bottle and are particularly proud of the new design as it has real stand-out when compared to other brands in what is a fairly traditional category. It is also a significant departure from the previous design and we believe this award is further evidence that we have taken the brand in the right direction.”

Robinsons’ Ginger Tom Named The ‘Worlds Best Herb And Spice Beer’

old tom ginger

Robinsons Brewery, based in Stockport, has achieved the coveted Gold mark at the World Beer Awards 2013 for its Ginger Tom ale.

After winning the regional heat held in Europe, Ginger Tom – a richly flavoured dark oak coloured ale with distinctive aromas of peppery spice and sweet ginger – has beaten strong competition from beers across the globe to take the title ‘The World’s Best Herb & Spice Beer 2013’.

Following four rounds of judging, over 600 entries – from more than 30 countries all over the world including the US, Canada, Germany, France and Japan – were blind-tasted by a panel of carefully selected judges under the guidance of respected beer writer and journalist Roger Protz in the annual World Beer Awards.

First held in 2007, this International tasting competition continues to draw worldwide recognition from the beer industry, attracting an extraordinary number of high calibre entries from all over the planet. Organised by http://www.tastingbeers.com, the World Beer Awards is the pre-eminent showcase which tastes, selects, awards and promotes the ‘Best Beers in the World’ to consumers throughout the world.

The award tops off a very busy and successful year for the brewery, now in its 175th year of trade.

Oliver Robinson, Managing Director (Beer Division) of Robinsons Brewery, said: “To think that a speciality ale, brewed by a family brewery from the small market town of Stockport, can beat competition from all over the world is incredible.”

“The brewery has been very busy and it is a great pat on the back for the whole team and something we can all be very proud of,” continued Oliver.

Competing with the best beers in the world, Robinsons’ Ginger Tom – a hybrid of Old Tom (100 year old which gained worldwide recognition in 2009 as ‘The World’s Best beer’) and Fentiman’s award-winning Ginger Beer – is being lapped up internationally by Russia, Denmark, France, Lithuania, Japan, Italy, Sweden, South Africa, America.

Specially brewed using an infusion of Chinese bruised ginger root and botanical extracts, this warming speciality ale has a pronounced ginger and spiced herb palate complemented by a sweet roasted malt dryness and wonderful ginger after-burn.

Brewed since 2008, Ginger Tom is a lively 6.0% abv breed available in bottle. A subtle snap of ginger creates lovely purring warmth for those cold winter nights, or a refreshing summer beverage when served over ice.

The beer has been recognised before; gaining a bronze in the International Beer Challenge 2011, being named as Europe’s Best Herb & Spice Flavoured Beer 2013, and Ginger Tom has also recently received 60 new store listings in Tesco.

Miodula Presidential Blend Tasting Notes

Miodula

Miodula is a Polish brand that comes under the honey liqueur category, with vodka as its base. There’s many a honey flavour out in the market at the moment, with the resurgence of bourbon based brands including Jack Daniel’s and Wild Turkey taking over more established names like Krupnik. But Miodula has come straight from Toorank Distillers in Holland with force, and looks to bring back the days of original recipes.

Its based upon a 1772 Polish recipe, and represents Poland’s answer to fine cognac. Produced from honey gathered from the mountain area of southern Poland, the honey is then blended with Polish rye vodka, distilled in the Wisla region of Poland alongside natural vanilla, herbs and Wisla mountain spring water. It is then aged in Polish oak casks for one year. Only 4000 bottles of Miodula are produced each year, with 500 of these set-aside for the Polish President to use as diplomatic gifts (hence the presidential blend name). Miodula is not only hand-bottled, but also individually numbered by hand stating the cask number and year cask and bottle were filled.

So it seems a lot of care and attention has been put into re-creating this 241 year old recipe, but how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Miodula Presidential Blend – 40%

Very sweet on the nose, with a rich aroma of both toffee and vanilla, with a long scent of honey following. Very rich on the palate too, with flavours of honey and subtle herbs blending well, and oak creating a short and dry finish.

Miodula is great on its own or over ice, especially if you have a sweet tooth like me. It is, however, recommended to be served warm – cupped within a brandy glass in your hand. If you choose to enjoy Miodula, you’ll be happy to know that is has been awarded the Teraz Polska Award for quality – the only spirit brand ever to have been awarded this highest of Polish accolades. It was awarded by the Polish President on behalf of the Polish Government and is awarded only to products of the highest quality (Toorank is one of only 70 companies ever to have received this award in Teraz Polska’s history). Miodula was also awarded a Silver Medal ‘Best in Class’ in the IWSC 2010 awards and also a Gold Medal in the The Spirits Business Vodka Masters 2010.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Wild Turkey Scores Big Wins at 2013 International Spirits Challenge

Wild Turkey 81 Win Portrait

Gruppo Campari’s Wild Turkey has won two prestigious awards at the 2013 International Spirits Challenge. The new kid on the block, Wild Turkey 81 Kentucky Straight Bourbon won the accolade of Gold – Best in Class, while the original Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky Straight Bourbon was presented with Silver. These wins for Wild Turkey 81 and 101 follow the announcement of Wild Turkey American Honey’s Silver award at the ISC earlier this year.

Wild Turkey 81 is a blend of 6-8 year old bourbons, making it older than most of its competitors in the category. Deep amber in colour, with a rich nose of vanilla, oak and hint of orange and toffee, and a palate exploding with honey, brown sugar and tobacco, Wild Turkey 81 delivers a long and smooth finish making this bourbon perfect enjoyed with ice and coke. The flagship bourbon from the brand, Wild Turkey 101 is a unique marriage of 6, 8 and 12 year old bourbons. This long, rich and full bodied bourbon is best served neat or over ice or in a classic cocktail such as a Manhattan. Strong flavours, true of American bourbon, shine through with caramel and vanilla, and notes of honey and orange. Both variants feature the famed Wild Turkey high-rye mash, delivering a spicy kick synonymous with the brand.

Masterfully crafted in original Bourbon country, Kentucky, USA, Wild Turkey 81 and 101 are products of the passion of Master Distiller Jimmy Russell and his son, Associate Master Distiller Eddie Russell.

The ISC, widely regarded as one of the most authoritative, respected and influential competitions in the world, conducts a series of scrupulous blind tastings over a period of 7 days. The panel of judges consists of 50 of the industry’s most respected and experienced professionals, who award scores based on aroma, appearance, taste and finish.

With over 1,000 entries from almost 70 countries worldwide, these wins are a celebration of Wild Turkey’s authentic Kentucky heritage and are testament to the commitment and extraordinary knowledge, passion and skill of the team behind Wild Turkey. Christophe Schaillee, Regional Director Europe for Gruppo Campari said “It is an incredible honour to have both Wild Turkey 81 and Wild Turkey 101 receive awards at this most prestigious international celebration of sprits. We work hard to ensure our products are unique and created with the utmost attention to detail and craftsmanship. We are very proud of our product and of course these wins are the perfect way to toast the achievements of all involved in making the Wild Turkey brand a success.”

Wild Turkey 81 (40.5% ABV) and Wild Turkey 101 (50.5% ABV) are products of the Wild Turkey Distillery, which is owned by Gruppo Campari. Wild Turkey 81 is available at select Tesco stores across the UK, RRP £22.99. Wild Turkey 101 is available online from specialist drinks retailers including http://www.thewhiskyexchange.com and http://www.thedrinkshop.com.

RedLeg Tasting Notes

RedLeg

Everyone loves trying a new product, and I’m no exception. I’m not fussy or picky to what I try, and I’ll always keep an open mind to a brand that offers unusual ingredients, but one that has stood out recently is a new Caribbean spiced rum named RedLeg.

Launched in the summer of last year in Brighton, RedLeg has set its sight as being the number one premium spiced rum brand available. Becoming involved in events such as the Kemptown Carnival and Pride in Brighton, Playgroup Festival and Crystal Palace outdoor festival in London has meant that many of you may have already had a try of this award-winning brand.

Yes award-winning already! Less than a year old and RedLeg has already won Double Gold at the San Francisco spirit awards this year.

As you can imagine, this has caught the eye worldwide and RedLeg will be available as far away as Australia very soon. Of course the liquid would have swayed them to spread the word, but the bottle itself catches the eye. RedLeg incorporates the motif of the RedLeg Hermit Crab which is native to the Caribbean. Famed for its bright legs, it’s said to ‘capture the spirit of Island culture being laid back with an “Irie” attitude. The RedLeg Hermit Crab is always at home, no matter where he is!’. 

RedLeg itself is infused with Jamaican vanilla, ginger and spices and then left to rest in old oak barrels. But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

RedLeg – 37.5%

Soft ginger on the nose with hints of spice and toffee. Developing sweetness mixes with dry spice, cinnamon seemingly ever present. A light finish with lingering spices that freshens.

A great tot to enjoy neat or over ice, or maybe with one of these –

Apple Shack

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients – 

25 ml RedLeg rum
25 ml Apple Juice
Dash Cinnamon sugar syrup
Splash of Ginger Beer
Lime wedge

Method – 

Build into an ice filled glass, finishing with the splash of ginger beer.

Simple and refreshing! Even though it’s a baby in the spiced rum category, it’s widely available in and around Brighton, London, the Midlands and Scotland. Of course you may want to grab yourself a bottle quickly, your drinks cabinet is looking a bit empty.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tomintoul Tasting Notes

Tomintoul

When you think of whisky you think of old. Distilleries built in the late 19th Century, generations of families and plenty of master distillers. But not all names can be called old, take for example Tomintoul.

Tomintoul Distillery was built in 1964 under the ownership of Hay & Macleod and W & S Strong in the village of the same name, which itself is one of the highest villages in Scotland at an altitude of 345m. The distillery is located in the Glenlivet Estate at Ballantruan on the east side of the River Avon. Located here after a quest to find the purest of water sources for use in the malt whisky making process. The search located the Ballantruan Spring and Tomintoul Distillery was built close to it.

Tomintoul is created by master distiller Robert Fleming, whose family has been making whisky in the Speyside Glenlivet region for four generations. Inspired by tradition, he has produced a single malt of unique quality, which is now available in six expressions. I picked up a bottle of the 16yr on my last trip to the ‘whisky capital of the world’ Dufftown, and recently tried their 10yr, so below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Tomintoul 10yr – 40%

A light nose of vanilla, oak and malt lingers onto the palate. A warm flavour of sugar, honey and toffee blend well on, with a touch of spice on the short finish.

Tomintoul 16yr – 40%

Aromas of light hazelnut on the nose with a whisp of dried grass. Incredibly smooth on the palate with a developing spice after a dose of light nut. Lingers into a warming finish.

A 12, 14 and 21yr are also available, with some coming in smaller 35cl bottles, perfect for gifts or if you want to grab the full range quicker! If you treat yourself to a 16yr, you also treating yourself to an award-winning dram – Gold Medal, International Wine & Spirit Competition London – 2010, Gold Medal, International Spirit Challenge London – 2010, Gold Medal – San Francisco World Spirit Competition, USA – 2003, “Exceptional” – USA Beverage Tasting Institute – 2004, Silver Medal – International Wines & Spirits Competition, London – 2005, Distinction Award – Scottish Field Whisky Merchants-2006, Gold Medal – China International Wine & Spirits Challenge – 2006, Silver Medal- The International Wine & Spirit Competition, London – 2006, Gold Medal – Prodexpo Competition, Russia – 2007, Silver Medal – Internationaler Spirituosen Wettbewerb, Neustadt, Germany – 2007 and Bronze Medal – The International Wine & Spirit Competition, London – 2007.

Quite an impressive feat for a whisky that’s say not as well-known as others in the Highland range.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Excellia Tasting Notes

Excellia

One category that I’ve been enjoying a lot of lately is tequila. I’ve been surrounded by many brands lately and I’ve never once complained. Excellia is one of them.

Excellia is the result of a partnership between two men – Jean-Sebastien Robicquet, founder of EWG Spirits & Wine, ground-breaking brand creator and producer (G’Vine gin and Esprit de June liqueur) and Carlos Camarena, precursor and award-winning tequila master-distiller (Tapatio and El Tesoro tequilas) and the origin of the “Extra-Anejo” category. To create something different, the two gentleman brought together three different regions – 

Los Altos (Jalisco, Mexico) – A hot and dry climate followed by a heavy rainy season and the rich red clay soil rich in minerals of the highlands generate sweet, soft and fruity agaves.

Sauternes region (France) – A micro-climate with foggy mornings, sunny afternoons by the river and botrytis create the Grand Cru of dessert wine with delicate notes of dried fruits and flowers and a perfect balance between acidity and sugar.

Cognac region (France) – A lot of sun with the right amount of rain, mild temperatures all year-long thanks to the ocean’s influence and the region’s chalky soil contribute to the finest brandy and its so specific rancio character.

Jalisco is also the region where Excellia is handcrafted and made using 100% agave Tequilana Weber Blue that is cut by hand after 8-10 years of maturity. Once the agave is considered ripe and ready (showcased by red marks on the piña), the long leaves are cut and separate the piñas (the core of the agave) from the plant. The piñas are then transported to the distillery La Alteña and cut into quarters. It’s steam cooked slowly for 36 hours using traditional bricks and stone ovens, being shredded and crushed straight after and then fermented in wooden vats for 7 to 10 days before being distilled twice within copper stills. Once distilled, the tequila is aged within Grand Cru Sauternes wine casks and in Cognac barrels. The Sauternes wine casks have been used to produce only one vintage, meaning two or three years. It is then aged within Cognac casks that have been used for more than 20 years to age renowned cognacs. Once aged, the master blender marries the two different aged tequilas and creates the different recipes for the Blanco, Reposado and Añejo,

The three strong portfolio is the result, with each below named alongside my tasting notes –

Excellia Blanco – 40%

Rested a few weeks in Grand Cru Sauternes wine casks and Cognac barrels. Light notes of oak and cloves, with a developing spice on the palate. Slight vanilla and ripe fruit blend well and create a lingering finish with a slight warmth.

Exellia Reposado – 40%

Nine months ageing in Grand Cru Sauternes wine casks and Cognac barrels. Plenty of dried herbs on the nose with a slight honey aroma. Rich, ripe fruits on the palate with a slight honey and caramel feel, followed by a long, slightly spicy finish that becomes a little dry.

Excellia Añejo – 40%

Aged eighteen months. Light apricot and grape aromas on the nose with a slight oak scent. A bold flavour of fresh wood and sweetness on the palate, developing into a mellow finish of soft spice.

A fantastic range, with the Reposado going fantastic with this –

Mexpresso Martini
Mexpresso Martini

Mexpresso Martini

Glass – 

Martini

Ingredients – 

40 ml Excellia Reposado
25 ml Coffee liqueur
45 ml Espresso coffee
5 ml Sugar syrup

Method –

Shake the ingredients hard with ice. Strain into a frozen Martini glass. Garnish with three coffee beans.

A great twist, and it makes it that little bit better knowing that the Reposado is also an award-winner, winning Double Gold in the Best Reposado Tequila category at the San Francisco International World Spirits Competition 2011. The Blanco too also won a Gold medal at the same awards, with the Añejo winning Double Gold as well.

A great range on offer, versatile within cocktails and on its own. Grab a bottle and marvel at the Mexican / French relationship.

Check out the rest of the photos, taken at The Circle 360, via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Chairman’s Reserve Tasting Notes

Chairmans Reserve

Everyone loves something that’s award-winning, and there are many out there that can call themselves that. But to win at three of the major award ceremonies in the world, ‘Best in Class’ in the 2008 IWSC awards, Gold in the 2007 Drinks International Rum Challenge and Double Gold at the 2008 San Francisco Worlds Spirits Competition, as well as the distillery itself being recognised as a nominee in the category of ‘Excellence in Craftmanship’, you know your onto a winner (pun fully intended). That’s the story of Chairman’s Reserve. The golden rum that set the bartending world alight when it was introduced back in 1999, but how did it all come about? Well lets take a look –

Chairman’s Reserve hails from St. Lucia in the West Indies and created by the St. Lucia Distillers within the walls of the Roseau Valley Distillery. Crafted using naturally filtered rainforest water, six rums are individually aged in ex bourbon barrels including Jim Beam, Jack Daniel’s and Buffalo Trace for 5 years, and then, using artesian distillation techniques, the rum is triple distilled using a Coffey Column Still, John Dore Copper Pot Still and a Kentucky Bourbon Vendome Pot Still. After the final distillation, the individual distilled rums are married together and then reintroduced to oak barrels for a further six to nine months.

So a rather unique craft to create the Chairman’s Reserve, but how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Chairmans ReserveChairman’s Reserve – 40%

A vanilla and honey nose with ripe exotic fruits pushing their way through. On the palate it gives off subtle sweet characteristics of spice with the vanilla being slightly more potent. Slight kick follows, but it leaves a mellow after-taste soon after.

Chairman’s Reserve White Label – 40%

A blend of three to four year rums, gently filtered to remove colour. Subtle citrus and raisin notes on the nose, with a smooth offering that turns into a developing pepper spice on the palate. Sweet notes of vanilla come through, a creamy texture is present and a fresh citrus finish completes. Hints of dry spice lingers.

Chairman’s Reserve Spiced – 40%

Contains local spices and fruits including cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, vanilla, coconut, all spice, lemon and orange.Also has Richeria Grandis – known locally as “Bois Bande” – a bark renowned in the Caribbean as a potent aphrodisiac to give an added kick to the rum.
Dry spice on the nose, with the orange and nutmeg coming through. Reminds me of rich Christmas pudding. Very smooth on the palate, with a a smooth offering of spice and sweet flavours. Orange dominates to the long finish. A little dry.

Chairman’s Reserve Forgotten Casks – 40%

On May 2nd 2007 St. Lucia Distillers was struck by a major fire and suffered great problems with storage space for their casks. In the melee that followed the cellar master, Mr. Cyril Mangal, was forced to find space for ageing casks in the most unusual places. Having done so, the cellar team had a memory lapse and forgot the casks that had been laid down and were only recently discovered. A blend of rums ranging from seven to twelve years in age.
Intense nose of coffee, raisins and vanilla on the nose, blending well. Rich spice on the palate, with sweet honey, toffee, glazed fruits and hints of coffee all present. Well-balanced, with a great finish of raisin.

Some great sipping rums, with instant realisation of why this brand has won awards. Bartenders love it too, creating recipes such as this –

Chairman's Mojito
Chairman’s Mojito

Chairman’s Mojto

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients – 

60 ml Chairman’s Reserve
25 ml Fresh lime juice
25 ml Simple syrup
5/6 Mint leaves
Soda

Method –

Gently muddle the mint leaves with the simple syrup and lime juice in the bottom of the glass. Add Chairman’s Reserve rum and ice and top with soda. Stir and garnish with a mint sprig.

Simple and refreshing, two words you wish to hear when it comes to a rum based cocktail. A great addition to any night out, or indeed your own night in. Oh, and it’s award-winning too. Chairman’s Reserve received the Rum Trophy at the International Spirits Challenge this year and, with 4 gold medals out of 6 rums entered, was also awarded the trophy for best individual distillery – ahead of all the malt whiskies, cognacs etc. And to cap it off, at Ian Burrell’s Golden Rum Barrel Awards 2013, Laurie Barnard, the eponymous chairman who sadly passed away last year, was elected to the Hall of Fame. Raise a glass.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Bacardí

Bacardí

Bacardí is one of the biggest brands in the world, yet I can not believe that I am yet to feature it in any way shape or form. So in response to this, lets take a look at how Bacardí is the name of rum, and why it is enjoyed in nearly every country *.

1814 heralded the birth of Don Facundo Bacardí Massó, the founder and mastermind behind the Bacardí rum. In the late 1800’s, Cuban’s were becoming tired of the usual pirate rum found on the island, which Don Facundo Bacardí Massó realised, and set out to pioneer a new distilling process. After experimenting with several techniques he hit upon filtering the rum through charcoal, which removed impurities. In addition to this, Don Facundo aged the rum in white oak barrels, which had the effect of “mellowing” the drink. The final product was the first clear, or “white” rum in the world.
He opened his first distillery and planted a coconut palm at its entrance. it survived earthquakes, wars and distillery fires, leading to the prophecy that the company would survive Cuba as long as ‘El Coco’ lived. Not surprising then that when the Bacardí family were exiled from Cuba, El Coco died. To this day, a coconut palm is planted at every Bacardí Company facility.

Another well-known sign is the bat. In the early years of the Bacardí production, Doña Amalia Moreau, Don Facundo Bacardi’s wife, discovered a colony of fruit bats living in the rafters of their distillery. In both Spanish and local folklore, the bat had long since been associated with good health, fortune and family unity, which Doña Amalia Moreau convinced her husband to use the symbol on every bottle that was produced.

In 1876, Bacardí won itself its first international award at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition for product quality and innovation. Its first of many as Bacardí is now recognised as the worlds most awarded rum. A year later, Emilio Bacardí took over as President as Don Facundo retired. The awards didn’t stop coming though, after being awarded a gold medal for product quality at the Barcelona Exhibition of 1888, the Queen Regent of Spain Maria Cristina named Bacardí as Purveyors of the Spanish Royal Household. Bacardí Rum became known as the ‘King of Rums and the Rum of Kings’.

1898 saw the beginning of a classic cocktail named the Daiquiri. Hailing from the mining town of Daiquirí, Cuba, an American mining engineer named Jennings Stockton Cox invented a cocktail using Bacardí, fresh lime, sugar and ice. After success with his friends, he named it ‘Ron BACARDÍ a la Daiquirí’. Another cocktail that Bacardí can be proud of is the Cuba Libra. Invented at the time of Cuba’s independence following the Spanish American War some time in the early 1900’s, a small Havana bar and a group of soldiers mixed Bacardí, cola and lime and toasted ‘por Cuba libre!’ or ‘to a free Cuba’.

When Prohibition was declared in the USA, 60,000 cases of Bacardí could not be sold or exported. Refusing to destroy the precious rum, Don Facundo’s son-in-law, Enrique Schueg, chose instead to give it away through an innovative share scheme. He issued 60,000 shares in Bacardi’s US Bottling Company and the very next day closed the company down, giving away one case of Bacardí as compensation for every share.

In the 1960’s, just prior to Bacardi’s 100th Anniversary, the Cuban administration confiscated all private businesses in Cuba without any compensation. Bacardí production was forced to stop and the Bacardí family lost its distilleries, breweries, offices, warehouses, ageing rum stocks and even their family homes. But thanks to Bacardí President Pepín Bosch, having transferred all company patents out of Cuba in 1958, and the company having established two distilleries in Puerto Rico and Mexico many years prior, Bacardí were able to rebuild itself in exile. In record time a new distillery opened in Brazil to support the existing distilleries and by 1979 Bacardí had become the world’s number one international spirit.

So a rather stella history, having built Bacardí effectively twice in there lifetime. Bacardí have a strong portfolio of rums, and I’ve been lucky enough to experience the odd one and write for you some tasting notes –

Bacardí Carta Fuego
Bacardí Carta Fuego

Bacardí Carta Blanca – 37.5%

What used to be named as ‘Superior’, this is a blend of rums aged separately within lightly charred ex-bourbon barrels for 12 to 24 months.
Whisps of tropical fruits and almonds on the nose followed by a little spice, but with vanilla dominating the palate. A rather smooth offering, but does develop into a dry finish with a hint of spice.

Bacardí Oakheart – 35%

Fermented in charred oak bourbon barrels. Rich oak aromas on the nose with a spice of cinnamon lingering. Hints of dried fruit on the palate mixed in with vanilla flavours and subtle smoke.

Bacardí Carta Fuego – 40%

Aged for at least on year with added spices. Rich, bold and smooth on the nose, with creamy vanilla, butter and caramel notes dominating. Smooth upon the palate, with the rich spices coming through giving of some heat. A warm finish combined with toffee and caramel creates a thin yet sharp experience.

Ron Bacardi de Maestros de Ron, Vintage, MMXII
Ron Bacardi de Maestros de Ron, Vintage, MMXII

I’ve also been very fortunate to experience an incredibly rare expression from Bacardí – Ron Bacardí de Maestros de Ron, Vintage, MMXII. For 30 years, José Sanchez Gavito was the Master Blender, becoming the first non Cuban and first non family member to be appointed the role. Upon his retirement, he was invited to be one of the eight family members to craft this expression, bringing together the best rums from the Bacardí cellar. The rum was then laid to rest in American oak barrels for 20 years and then swapped into 60-year-old Cognac barrels to age. Once the process was complete, the eight Maestros de Ron were left with 4 different rums to choose from. Over three days, they deliberated to find the perfect one that they could bottle within a glass decanter, ultimately giving it as a present to the Bacardí family.

Ron Bacardi de Maestros de Ron, Vintage, MMXII – 43%

Slight dried fruits of raisin and fig on the nose, with plenty of dried woods coming through and balancing nicely. The palate enjoyed a strong flavour of wood, interacting with sharp cherry, then softening with honey notes that created a very long finish. Utterly superb.

I mentioned previously that the Daiquiri and Cuba Libra first made its name in Cuba using Bacardí Superior, but it’s not the only cocktail you can have –

Sidecar
Sidecar

Bacardi Sidecar

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients – 

25 ml Bacardí Carta Blanca
25 ml Triple Sec
25 ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/5 part Sugar syrup (Optional)

Method – 

Pour all the ingredients into a shaker. Add the ice and shake. Add sugar if necessary. Double strain into a chilled glass.

or perhaps,

Bacardi Daiquiri
Bacardi Daiquiri

Daiquiri – created by Bacardí UK Brand Ambassador Shervene Shahbazkhani 

Glass – 

Coupette

Ingredients – 

2 Heaped Tsp Caster Sugar
25 ml Fresh Lime
50 ml Bacardí Carta Blanca

Method – 

Shake all the ingredients over ice and double strain into a coupette glass. No garnish required.

Simple, easy, enjoyable. Love or hate Bacardí, you can’t fault its legacy at all. Treat yourself.

*History taken from the Bacardí website. Subtle changes have been made for narrative purposes.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.