Industry legend Sasha Petraske used to say he’d made up his mind whether he liked a bar 5 seconds after opening the door and it is widely agreed that music is the quickest and most important way to establish an instant atmosphere in a venue.
On Monday 9 April, Tales on Tour invites you to learn the secrets behind the best music policies in the business with a seminar on sound from Sly Augustin, owner of West London’s favourite community bar Trailer Happiness, Bacardi Brand Ambassador Metinee Kongsrivali and Moderator, Jacob Briars.
Better Bar Music
As anyone who has visited Trailer will attest, it can be a full-on house party, a laid-back lounge or an intimate date spot: transitioning seamlessly between those moods with a well-defined and non-generic music policy.
Central to this, is Sly Augustin and Trailer’s own passion for music and ethos around community; inviting guests to become part of its 15-year history both locally and internationally with a consistent soundtrack of hospitality. Offering insights into the latest technology, how to promote and manage your music offering and the best music to drink to, Augustin will demonstrate how to stimulate one of the most powerful of the 5 senses.
2018 has already been a busy year for Augustin who was awarded ‘Rum Champion of the Year 2018’ at the annual Think Rum round table, as well as Trailer Happiness being voted ‘Best Individual Bar’. This follows a successful year in 2017 when Trailer Happiness was awarded Imbibe’s ‘Rum list of the year’ and received ‘Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar’ at the Spirited Awards at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.
BACARDÍ® has today announced the launch of Sound of Rum Series, a four-part music documentary which explores the influence Caribbean music has on the world and the intrinsic link between rum, music and the cultures that have combined over time to create today’s the Sound of Rum. The series is the latest iteration of the BACARDÍ the Sound of Rum creative campaign which aims to connect the brand’s island roots to modern music.
The Sound of Rum is a diverse sound and unique concept born from the brand’s partnership with electro/moombahton trio Major Lazer, announced earlier this year. It draws influence from a collection of Caribbean genres including reggae, dancehall and afro beats and fuses them with modern day global influences from hip-hop, trap and grime to create something truly unique. Sound of Rum Series is released to further illustrate and explore this cultural and creative movement.
Sarah Doyle, Vice President of BACARDÍ for Europe, says: “It is important that we continue to create content and experiences that truly resonate with our audience. The Sound of Rum began as something to connect our brand’s island roots to modern music, but Sound of Rum Series goes deeper by clearly defining the concept whilst paying homage to the culture and traditions from which it was born. We are excited to have worked with so many inspiring and authentic artists on this project which, alongside the partnership with Major Lazer, enables BACARDÍ to bring theSound of Rum to life in so many unique ways.”
Each episode of Sound of Rum Series begins with the islands conveying how the Sound of Rum, though born in the Caribbean has traveled and developed throughout the world. Featuring stars such as Major Lazer, Sean Paul and Chase & Status, the series offers musical insights into the scene and reveals how the Sound of Rum has flourished in Europe.
Episode one of Sound of Rum Series can be seen below!
In the single most ambitious project to be held at London Cocktail Week since its inception in 2010, Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands and Patrón Tequila will bring 24 of the world’s best bartenders to London to host a 24-hour international bar clash and crown one city The World’s Best.
With a project that pits four of the world’s most exciting cocktail capitals against one another, spearheaded by the global elite of the bartending world, Bacardi Brown-Forman and Patrón Tequila cement their commitment to leading brand advocacy with bold and innovative brand activations.
Some of the most prestigious bars from New York, Paris, Singapore and London will be united under one roof for the first time to compete in 24hr Bar Build. The four city teams will be tasked with developing a cutting-edge new cocktail bar concept inspired by one of four world-renowned spirits; Patrón Tequila, GREY GOOSE® vodka, BACARDI® rum and BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin.
Led by some of the drinks industry’s most well-known talent, teams will take complete control of their bar concept: from designing the space to leading the physical build and inventing an inspiring new cocktail list. Teams will also be tasked with driving awareness on social media in the lead up to the event.
An expert team of judges will award marks for creative concept, quality of cocktail list and social media buzz, with consumers having the final say as each team vies to attract the most sales when bars open for one night only at London Cocktail Week on Saturday 10 October.
This innovative project is presented in partnership with London Cocktail Week.
4 cities. 24 bartenders. 4 teams. 24 hours. Which city will be crowned The World’s Best?
Bacardi’s recent launch of its new campaign has bought a wave of interest from both sides of the bar. For guest columnist Keeley Watts, a history lesson and a new love were the order of the day when the brand rolled into Manchester.
When asked what the most recognised rum brand in the world is, most people would be hard pushed not to think of Bacardi straight away. Love it or hate it the brand has been around for 150 years with the bat symbol instantly recognisable to most.
The Bacardi history is a colourful one with the brand still being family owned. To say they have been through a rough 150 years is an understatement. Their first distillery opened in Santiago de Cuba where they spent 10 years learning how to make rum. The discovery of fruit bats in their distillery could have been an issue but, instead, they embraced this using the symbol on their product forming their brand. As the brand grew in popularity the family opened their first distillery outside of Cuba deciding on Mexico as a new base. This was followed by their Puerto Rican distillery due to the climate being similar in the 3 countries.
Throughout their history the Bacardi family have faced some challenging times including the Cuban revolution, a devastating fire, an even more devastating earthquake not to mention prohibition. It would have been easy for the Bacardi family to decide fate wasn’t in their favour and to walk away from rum production. What actually happened is the opposite; they continued to pursue their passion, live large and not only survive but thrive against all odds.
Using this ‘survive and thrive’ attitude Bacardi bring you the launch of their untameable campaign. A £10 million investment launching this month across Glasgow, London and Manchester which started with the party to end all parties at the Albert Hall earlier this month. Industry professionals were treated to a sneak peek at the new brand, the untameable advert which is now a regular on your tv screens and the most motivational talk ever from Britain’s first triple amputee from the Afghanistan conflict. Mark echoes the untameable attitude having been told he would need a carer for life as well as never being able to walk again. He now travels the world spreading messages of positivity whilst being able to drive a regular car with no adaptations whatsoever. He’s also a business owner, an author as well as being a charity fundraiser doing some physical challenges most able bodied people wouldn’t consider yet alone be able to do. Someone you could call a true hero and someone who refused to give up the fight despite devastating circumstances.
Following the talk from Mark guests got to try the 150th anniversary blend of Bacardi which sells for £1200 trade price. The wonderfully sweet and aromatic vanilla flavours are rounded well with lots of oak to create a truly premium sipping rum. Other rums in the range include Bacardi Black, Ron Superior and their Reserva Limitada 16 year old bottle. To showcase the range guests were ushered out of the auditorium by prohibition era police officers, through an airport style check in desk into a bar where snacks were served alongside some beautiful cocktails including daiquiris and the more traditional serve cuba libres.
Prior to this tour of the Bacardi history I would have told you I wasn’t a fan of the ‘mass market’ brand. Learning the brand is still family owned and clearly passionate about their product, I’ll be at the bar lusting after their anniversary blend.
‘Definition of untamable in English: not capable of being controlled.’
It’s hard to imagine going through life as free as a bird and living as easy as one, two, three. There will always be obstacles, there will always be hard times and there will always be surprises that can alter your path and set you off in a different direction. It doesn’t matter what, or indeed who, you are, a life of an object will go on until it ceases to exist. Within the drinks world, the many brands of wine, beer, spirits and soft drinks can be counted into the thousands. Many new names come into the fold, replacing ones that been forced to shut, dipping sales or indeed just run its course. Some though, go through times of hardship, and battle through to win. With this, I welcome to you Bacardi.
Bacardi are highlighting over the next twenty years that despite the obstacles they faced since their opening year back in 1862, they have grown, adapted and can now be counted as the largest privately held, family owned spirits company in the world. Over the next few months, you’ll be seeing the result of a multimillion pound investment into the likes of TV commercials, a series of Bacardi Parties held in Manchester, Glasgow and London, as well as entwined events within your favourite bars and restaurants.
To kickstart the campaign, I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of the festivities in Manchester, and had the opportunity to speak to Lisa Jazwinski (UK Brand Director for Bacardi), Shervene Shahbazkhani (UK Brand Ambassador) and the now retired Master Blender of Bacardi José Sanchez Gavito. It was with these three that I learned the passion that Bacardi have had to power through, the determination to succeed and the joy that they all receive when walking into a bar and catching the famous bat symbol on each bottle. For José Sanchez Gavito, it could be relaxing with friends and enjoying a splash of Bacardi Superior with plenty of water. Shervene on the other hand is a true believer in one of the most famous cocktails to be created, the Daiquiri. Invented by an American mining engineer named Jennings Cox, who was in Cuba at the time of the Spanish-American War back in 1889, it was said that he enjoyed one at 8am everyday to start off his shift. Today, Shervene has perfected his recipe to the following –
2 Heaped Tsp Caster Sugar
25 ml Fresh Lime
50 ml Bacardi Superior
Shake all the ingredients over ice and double strain into a coupette glass. No garnish required.
To get to where Bacardi are today can be put down to the success of the portfolio that is produced. 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. To cap it off, he was head-hunted in the summer of 76 due to his work with the tequila arm of Bacardi at the time with the role of engineer. Not bad for a man who started out as applying for a job in Bacardi seen within a newspaper article. It’s with this gentleman that Bacardi has been able to enjoy such highlights as amassing over 1.2 million cases of Bacardi Solera, despite having a target of just 40,000 in the 1st year. Another example would be the release of the Ron Bacardi de Maestros de Ron, Vintage, MMXII. Invited to be one of the eight family members to craft this expression, they brought together the best rums from the Bacardi 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 Bacardi family. I myself have been very lucky to experience the blend, with my tastings notes below –
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.
It’s not all been highlights though, with plenty of heartache happening to the family since its inception. Earthquakes, fires, the verge of bankruptcy the Cuban revolution and exile from their home country have dealt major blows to Bacardi, but with the launch of the ‘Untameable Since 1862’ campaign, it shows to highlight that despite the obstacles thrown at them, they have managed to counter this with numerous award-winning expressions, and the belief that rum will carry on its popularity around the world.
China and India are two countries that they will be focusing on in the coming years, which according to Lisa, would attempt to capitalise on the growing trend within the two of acquiring rare expressions of rum alongside the already established whisky market. They may be interested to hear then that come April, four new expressions of the Bacardi range will be available to enjoy within your favourite bar as the likes of Bacardi Gold have upped their abv to 40% compared to 37.5% that you can purchase now, as well as Bacardi Black, the return of Bacardi 1909 and finally the Reserva Limitada.
With Bacardi throwing out all the stops over the coming years, and with the impressive performance I received in Manchester, I think a new-found love for the brand could be seen to consumers.
Just imagine, a hard, stressful day at work. You overcome your objections, the tasks set to you, and you win with a perfect Daiquiri, or Bacardi served in a cut glass tumbler.
Welcome to the way of the Bacardi family.
Check out the rest of the photos from the event via my Facebook page.
Havana Club is a brand that has a presence in nearly every bar in the world. Its versatility with its range can suit most tastes and palates, combined in a cocktail or drunk straight, and will never really be frowned upon if offered. So how do we, or I in particular, come to this conclusion? Lets find out –
Havana Club is produced in Santa Cruz del Norte in Cuba and has done so since José Arechabala created the brand in 1878. Following the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the Havana club brand and its distillery was nationalized by the government and Arechabala emigrated to Spain with his family, before finally moving to America. In 1994, the company was owned by a fifty-fifty partnership between the Cuban government and the drinks giant Pernod Ricard.
This is where it gets a bit confusing between Havana and Bacardi as Bacardi also produce a rum named Havana Club.
After the nationalisation by the Cuban government and the Arechabala family allowed the trademark of Havana Club to lapse in 1973. In 1994 Bacardi entered into an alliance with the Arechabalas, and in 1997 the Arechabalas sold their residual rights to Havana Club to Bacardi, which, among other things, included the recipe for the original Havana Club rum. During 1995 and 1996, Bacardi made a trial production of the rum in the Bahamas and was sold in the United States. However, the Havana Club trademark was in the hands of Havana Club International (the business entity formed by the Cuban Government owners, and Pernod Ricard) and owned the trademark in the United States through Inter-American Conventions.
After more than 10 years of legal struggles between the parties, on August 8, 2006, 5 days after the Cuban version of the trade mark was denied renewal (in the United States), Bacardi released their own version of Havana Club (produced in Puerto Rico). As of today, the trademark dispute has not been settled.
So with a rather rocky end to its back story, lets see how the range actually fare –
Havana Club Añejo Blanco– 37.5%
Aged for 18 months. Light vanilla scent on the nose leading to a well-rounded flavour of citrus and vanilla that develops a slight warmth near the long finish.
Havana Club Añejo Especial – 40%
Light aroma of vanilla on the nose, becoming more apparant on the palate. Sweet flavours of the vanilla mixed with slight citrus notes create a short yet snappy finish.
Havana Club Añejo 3yr – 40%
Deep ginger and marzipan blend on the nose with a slight sweetness on the palate. Citrus and oak mix to create a spicy finish that lingers.
Havana Club Añejo 7yr – 40%
A dry sweetness on the nose with soft fruit and notes of coffee. Very smooth on the palate with lots of rich wood flavours and dry spice on a long finish that mouth-waters.
Havana Club Añejo Reserva – 40%
Toasty aromas with plenty of caramel and vanilla mixing well on the nose. A slight sweetness too that carries over onto the palate. Fresh flavours of the caramel dominate, with a lingering yet bold finish.
Joining the range in 2016, Havana Club have released what they have termed as the ‘Havana Club Tributo Collection‘. As a tribute to the best that Cuban rum has to offer, Havana Club Maestro Ronero, Asbel Morales, has personally selected the finest aged bases from cellar reserves to create each release.
Havana Club Tributo Collection 2016 – 40%
Led by a base of rums aged in 80-year old casks.
Subtle banana notes upon the nose, rising to dried apricots and raisin. Intense banana leaf with bold tropical fruits are present on the palate. Dried kiwi and subtle tobacco notes also available, with a lingering, dry finish of cedar wood.
Havana Club also have what they call the Icónica Collection, containing some of the more prestige expressions available, including –
Havana Club Selección de Maestros – 45%
“In the first place, the Maestros Roneros select all together the finest aged rums that one by one had been put aside for their truly exceptional quality. Afterwards, they blend these rums and put them in specially selected barrels for a further ageing phase. Each barrel is chosen for the powerful and aromatic potential of its wood, in which the rum will develop character and intensity. Finally, the Maestros Roneros get together a second time to select the rums that have come to the perfect maturity to compose the final blend and bottle it straight from the barrel at 45% ABV.”
Soft peanut and dry fudge notes on the nose, with clotted cream and a slightly dry oak lingering. Vanilla flavoured cream with a high kick of butter and oak hit the palate, creating a thin, slightly stewed apple flavour on the long finish, which incidentally becomes bold with tart treacle notes.
Havana Club Añejo 15 Años – 40%
Only 58 barrels a year produced through a process of blending and ageing selected rums and aguardientes several times in old oak barrels, eventually housing within a bottle rum that is aged for at least 15 years.
Rich, ripe red apple, pomegranate and grape notes on the nose. Turns to a slight honey, prunes, almonds and raisin mix on the ending. A slight tartness to begin with on the palate, then wet oak and dry tannins come through. Thick, bold finish with plenty of spice .
Havana Club Unión – 40%
A collaboration between Havana Club’s maestro ronero Asbel Morales and cigar sommelier Fernando Fernandez.
Mango and banana leaf aromas are present on the nose, with, dried prunes with apple and pear scents coming through. Plenty of honey, rich dry spice, chocolate and soft pineapple sit nicely upon the palate, with a long oaked finish of fudge and caramac.
Havana Club Máximo Extra Añejo – 40%
Handcrafted by blending the finest and oldest rum reserves that have been left to age in Havana Club cellars and is a very limited edition of only 1000 bottles a year.
Plenty of molasses and light treacle notes, followed by deep red fruits and dry pine aromas. Rich yet a thin texture, with plenty of heavy oak and whispers of fudge and smoak. Lots of dried fruits, apricot, and honey on the incredibly long finish.
In October 2018, Havana Club released their first-ever range of Cuban rums developed with bartenders, exclusively for bartenders. Named the Havana Club Professional Edition range, each edition is small bath, designed to push boundaries and engage and inspire bartenders. The first in the series is Havana Club Professional Edition A, born from a collaboration with the Cuban Bartender Association (or Asociación de Cantineros de Cuba) as part of the 200th anniversary of the legendary Havana bar, El Floridita.
Havana Club Professional Edition A– unknown abv
A blend of three aged rum bases and a pure aguardiente, this has been matured in large, ancient oak barrels up to 4 years. It’s also been filtered using an innovative approach that retains the character whilst lightening the colour and palate.
Fresh earth notes on the nose, with a slight lemongrass and thin honey note coming through. Smooth, with a slight oily texture that brings out a bold, full-bodied twist of honeycomb, leather, milk chocolate and cream. A lingering finish too.
Havana Club Professional Edition B is the result of curiosity, arising from a delivery of heavily-peated Islay whisky barrels to Cuba by mistake. Not deterred, Havana Club partnered with bartender Nick Stangeway, resulting in the next edition in the range.
Havana Club Professional Edition B – unknown abv
A blend of Islay finished rum with three other Havana Club 7yr rum bases.
Soft and subtle sea breeze, with hints of 90% cocoa, heather and sea salt on the nose. Incredibly smooth, with wisps of soft smoke, butter, salted caramel and lemon peel to offer up a long finish.
A superbly balanced Iconica Collection, with them all grabbing attention through in certain ways. The Professional Editions are an interesting take on innovation, whilst the core range impresses, with the 7 year and Añejo Reserva the best for a sip, whilst the Blanco and 3yr are the best for mixing with cocktails like these –
Vanilla Cassis Mojito
20 ml Havana Club Añejo Blanco
10 ml Vanilla liqueur
10 ml Blackcurrant liqueur
20 ml Fresh lime juice
12 Fresh mint leaves
1tsp White sugar
Lightly muddle the mint leaves, lime juice and sugar. Add crushed ice. Pour the Havana Club Añejo Blanco, the vanilla liqueur and the cassis liqueur into a glass. Stir with a barspoon. Top with soda water.
If you ever get the chance to try the range, you will see why Havana Club is enjoyed in many a bar around the world. The 7yr is my personal favourite, one to stock up on for your own personal collection.
Last night was the first installment of the year in The Liquorists busy calendar, the aptly named ‘Return of the Rum Trail!’. Following the same concept of their previous trails, we were to be enjoying 5 different spirits, 5 different cocktails in 5 different bars accompanied by 5 different light bite appetizers. Always a daunting prospect, but challenge accepted!
Starting the night in Manchester’s Northern Quarter tiki bar, Keko Moku, we were joined by Barry, of Epernay fame, who would be our host for the evening. With around 15 of us for what The Liquorists call ‘more a gathering than a crowd’, Barry introduced to us the concept of rum, a little history and what this sugar cane drink we had in our hands was all about. No sooner had we nosed and tasted the tot of Bacardi 8yr and a piece of dark chocolate, which for me softened the edges a lil, Barry was handing out the rum classic Daiquiri complete with sugar rim. No sooner had we finished, we were hopping around the corner to our next venue, Hula Bar.
Appleton VX was the choice of spirit, and making our way to their underground haven via a wall tank of fish, we were greeted with both a tot of Appleton, and caramalised pineapple chunks. Whilst taking in the surroundings of what literally is a beach hut, another classic rum cocktail in the Mai Tai was being handed round as Barry explained the history of Appleton to the gathering.
Mojo’s was the next port of call, with their Rhum Room, a stunning upstairs bar with a backbar to die for, offering us the Venezuelan Santa Teresa rum to sip while their Venezuelan rum punch were being hand crafted for our pleasure. The rather long and refreshing cocktail was complimented well with dried figs, mango and pistachios.
From Venezuela back to Cuba, Bacardi and their spiced offering of the newly released Oakheart was next to showcase itself at The Liars Club, with an offering of a spiced Mojito being served while we munched on caramalised ginger pieces. All that was missing was the Hawaiin shirts! (still regretting not wearing my rather stylish bright yellow shirt, but there’s always next time).
Our last bar for the night was in one of Manchester’s tapas bars Sandinista. The Cuban Havana 3yr was sipped, while Espresso Martini cocktails were brought over to us amid stuffed peppers with cheese, platters of nachos with melted cheese, patatas bravas, olives, garlic bread and albondigas (meatballs).
A great night was had, with a round of applause given to Barry by all in attendance. And it truly was. Three friends joined me last night, one a veteran of the last two trails, just to experience something that I keep talking about long after.
With a busy year ahead for The Liquorists, you can expect to be hearing a lot more from me regarding this fantastic concept!
Check out The Liquorist’s Facebook page for more information and tickets.
Last night was the final installment of the year in The Liquorists busy calendar, the seasonal spirits trail! Following the same concept of their Vodka trail last month, we were to be enjoying 5 different spirits, 5 different cocktails in 5 different bars accompanied by 5 different light bite appetizers. Sound daunting? Challenge accepted!
Starting the night in the 5* Lowry Hotel and The River Bar & Restaurant in Manchester’s Chapel Wharf, we gathered in the bar’s Library, a quietly tucked away part of the bar which is perfect for events like this. Barry, of Epernay fame, would be our host for the evening, and after a brief introduction, explained to us why we had a shot of Bacardi in front of us. Whilst guiding us through the history of this well know rum, Pear and Cinnamon Martini’s were handed out along with soft vanilla cheesecake. No sooner had we finished the lychee in the bottom of the glass, we were hopping into a taxi to our next venue, Apotheca.
Southern Comfort was the choice of spirit and one of my personal favourites dating back to my teenage years! Making our way to their basement bar with some fantastic canvases of the Manchester skyline, we enjoyed a shot of Southern Comfort with pieces of 80% dark cocoa that blended well, but became truly amazing with the cocktail ‘Southern Jam’, made with apricot jam, lemon juice, Chinese five-spice, cranberry juice and a double helping of Southern Comfort.
24 Bar & Grill was the next port of call, with this stunning conversion of the previous namesake Obsidian, offering us the Dutch Ketel One Citron vodka to sip while their Christmas offering ‘Long Winters Night’ were being hand crafted for our pleasure. Lemon, cinnamon sugar syrup, cherry Cognac, Amaretto, sweet Vermouth and a dash of Bitters created a rather long and refreshing cocktail, all whilst munching on mince pies. From Barry’s homeland of Holland, to Cuba, Havana and their Barrell Proof was next to showcase themselves at Sandinista, with a Christmas classic Eggnog cocktail being served (mixed spice, cream, Havana Barrell Proof, sugar) while we munched on roasted chestnuts. All that was missing was a roaring fire!
Our last bar for the night was in one of Manchester’s pop-up bars and venue to the winter ice-rink, The Moose Bar. The French orange liqueur Grand Marnier was sipped, while Grand Tommy cocktails were brought over to us amid pea and ham soup, ham hock terrine, pheasant and beef stew and sausage, crouton and cheese fondue.
A great night was had, with a round of applause given to Barry by all in attendance. And it truly was. My friend came with me last night as a fan from the last trail, and he’s now raring to go back to all 5 bars again, with The Moose Bar and Sandinista his highlights. As for me, I’m already looking forward to January as The Liquorists announced their rum trails, with bars including Keko Moku, Hula, MOJO Rhum Room, The Liars Club and Sandinista on offer!
Check out The Liquorist’s website and Facebook page for more information and tickets.
Click on my Links page for links to all the bars and brands mentioned in this article
Unfortunately due to work commitments, I was unable to participate in the launch of Bacardi’s new spiced rum – Bacardi Oakheart. The event was hosted by the Manchester based ‘The Liquorists’ in the setting of the BlackDog Ballroom in Northern Quarter. My two friends, who I was to be attending with, went along and below are their reviews on how the night went on –
Free Spiced Rum Masterclass and Introduction to all things Rummy!!!
This event was based at the BlackDog Ballroom in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. The Drinks Enthusiast representatives were warmly greeted at the entrance of the bar by a member of The Liquorists who directed us to a private room where the rum tasting was to take place.
First impressions were very impressive as The Liquorists had obviously put a lot of effort into the atmosphere by providing candle-lit lighting, mellow music and lots of Bacardi Oakheart rum advertisements around premises.
Straight away we were greeted by a cheerful bartender who instantly provided us with a Bacardi Oakheart rum, coke and lime which for want of a better word was awesome. The fact it was served in a Bacardi glass was a nice touch as well.
Because we hadn’t attended an event by The Liquorists team before we really didn’t know what to expect and was happy to find out that we would be trying a variety of spiced rums whilst being given a thorough overview of the rum-making process, its origins and how it has developed into the modern world.
The information was very interesting and was well presented by such an enthusiastic host and worked well in tandem with the dispensing of beverages.
After a short break, our host then involved the participants with a fun exercise where we blindly tasted four rums and evaluated their attributes based on distinct categories including: its “woodyness”; “citrisity”, “fruityness”, “spice” and “nuttiness”.
This process was conducted by a group vote on a scale of 1-5 (but in some cases up to eight) 1 being low and 5 high. After all votes were in for each category the host was able to complete a radar chart/spider diagram for each individual rum to see how well-balanced the flavours are.
This was an extremely fun exercise and in some cases acted as a deterrent for sub-standard spiced rums and in addition save on unwanted purchases.
It was highly evident that the Bacardi Oakheart rum was the most successful as it had an overall balanced flavour range and was favourable to all participants (which made the night’s objectives successful). Lambs Navy Spiced Rum and Sailor Jerry’s were also appreciated, but Morgan’s Spiced was reviewed very badly with its dominant vanilla flavour, and as our host described it: “like drinking death”.
The session ended after three hours with a final round of Bacardi Oakheart rum, coke and limes which we drank whilst listening to the host promoting the next drinking courses available (http://foodanddrinkfestival.com/event/mfdf-and-the-liquorists-present-manchester-spirit-trails/).
Overall the event was a very exciting and enjoyable experience and has encouraged us to attend scheduled future events, especially with people who appreciate rum to the level that we do!
Review by Gary Clough
Rum Tasting Review
I should probably start by saying I have never been to any kind of alcohol tasting event before and so had no idea what to expect – but I jumped at the chance for the rum tasting session. I know BlackDog Ballroom quite well as a drinking venue, the bar was made even friendlier by the welcome from Tom and Jody who both work for the company The Liquorists.
The event kicked off with a bit of a chat and a couple of Bacardi Oakheart Cuba Libres – large shot of rum, topped up with coke and two good twists of lime – the result was refreshing and very tasty, and already knew that the Bacardi was going to live up to expectations. Not too sickly with vanilla like some spiced rums, but carried a lot of flavour.
As the evening went on, Tom explained the history of rum and Bacardi – a very interesting story. With the explanations of course came the rum tasting – Bacardi Superior White, Bacardi Gold and Bacardi 8 Year Old – each had a story behind it, with the differences between them explained.
After the break, we were given a blind taste test, with flavour wheels to fill in. It was amazing to see the difference between the 4 rums – 2 of which I drink on a regular basis – comparing them made me realise they are not as good as I thought. The all-round favourite was of course Bacardi – and when compared with Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum, Morgan’s Spiced Rum and Lamb’s Spiced Rum, it was easy to see why. The flavour is very rounded, making it an easy sipping rum as well as a good cocktail rum, there isn’t the synthetic sickly taste you get with SJ’s and Morgan’s.
All in all, it was a great night, and something I would definitely try out again. I would recommend going to one of these evenings, as they are really interesting and is a chance to try a range of different drinks on an evening out.
Lastly – I would say that Bacardi Oakheart will be my spiced rum of choice when on a night out!!