The Whisky Exchange’s Whisky Show is coming to London at the end of September, and it’s definitely worth booking ahead for. The show attracts a vast number of whisky fans keen to sample new releases and exclusives.
While the show is a whisky paradise, something that caught the eye on this year’s list of exhibitors was the selection of rum. Yep, rum. It’s news that might ruffle a few feathers, but only of the hardcore snobs, and frankly, we love the addition of this spirit.
The reasons for bringing it to the whisky party are perfectly sound, since rum is now, in the eyes of many discerning drinkers at least, worthy of its place on the same luxury shelf as whisky. And its appearance here won’t dilute the whisky offering, simply add another dimension to the day.
This is the first outing for rum at The Whisky Show, featuring as a ‘guest spirit’, but it’s not being sneaked in under unsuspecting sniffing noses. Far from it. Rather it will have an entire ‘Rum Zone’ devoted to it, complete with as many as 40 different producers on show. Here are a few to try on the day, a range that showcases the fantastic breadth of this increasingly fascinating and discerning spirit…
With the inimitable Richard Seale at the helm, Foursquare has long been championed by rum aficionados. At the show you can learn more about the range, learning about the impact of wood with maturation in Zinfandel Casks and sample the cask strength rums on offer. Whether or not you make the show, you should try the excellent Foursquare 2005 Cask Strength, an extraordinary rum that has spent 12 years maturing under tropical conditions and packed with rich vanilla and chocolate but also ginger an citrus bite.
Diplomatico Distillery Collection
Diplomatico has made important strides when it comes to convincing consumers to approach sipping rums and it’s Reserva Exclusiva, the producer will showcase its Distillery Collection, with small batch and limited edition offerings. These rums showcase the variety of stills used in the process, including the Batch Kettle and column stills, providing thought-provoking fun for the palate with insights into the production.
Dip into the Rhum Agricole and you’ll learn more about the pure and fermented sugar cane juice at the base of this style of rum. Intensely aromatic and more rustic than some of the molasses driven rums, they enjoy a ‘appellation d’origine contrôlée’. Trois Rivieres will showcase a range from Blanc to mature Rhum Agrciole and give a true understanding of this carefully crafted spirit. We recommend starting with the Blanc, this will help showcase the unique qualities of the style. Then step up to the VSOP to discern how the impact of French oak maturation can round off the edges and enhance the base sugar notes and deliver a pleasant spice.
This line of rum comes from La Maison du Whisky, a French specialist whisky importer. Again, the diversity of barrels utilised provides plenty of complexity, particularly in its series of cask strength releases. The Jamaica WP 2013 Navy Strength is worth considering as an example of how punchy these rums can get, coming in at 57%abv.
Tom Sandham and Ben McFarland are the Thinking Drinkers, award-winning drinks experts and a comedy double act who are currently performing their new show, The Thinking Drinkers’ Pub Crawl at the Edinburgh Fringe before a 50-date nationwide tour. Head to www.thinkingdrinkers.com for ticket details