Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Judging the Rums

     Today is the first day of the three days of rum evaluation for the RumXP Competition.  We started the day with a good breakfast, an organizational meeting and then it was off to the judging chambers to score the first set of rums submitted for evaluation.   These are blind tastings, we score these rums first on appearance, (0 to 10 Points) aroma, (0 to 20 points) taste, (0 to 50 points) and finally finish (0 to 20 points).  The scores are then added up to give the final composite score that the rum was awarded.  In a way like scoring ice skating, different parts of the performance are given points and the composite is the important number.  This morning we were seated at a table with 20 glasses of rum sitting in front of us, 2 agricole rhums, 10 white rums and 8 gold rums.   That is three categories of rums, and the rums  are only scored against in the category that they are a part of.  

    It is 11 o'clock so let the tasting begin!   It will take between 25 and 45 minutes to sample all of the 20 rums we have before us.  It is necessary to cleanse the palate between each of the expressions in order to score each of the rums fairly.   You need to eat a piece of a very bland cracker and wash it down with water before moving on to the next expression.   Going through the process of first holding the rum up to the light to see if it is clear or cloudy, and if there is anything in the appearance that is particularly attractive to the eye.  Next the glass is swirled and you sniff the aroma emitted from the rum.  Now it is time to taste the expression and note how it appeals to you and how it finishes.

     Finally you total up the composite score for the expression and you are ready to move on to the next one.   This process is repeated for all 20 of the rums that were presented to us in the first round of the competition then again for each of the succeeding rounds. 

     Now comes the fun, we turn in our score sheets and get to see which rums are really appealing to our palates.  Sometimes you are really surprised when you go in for the reveal.   Good notes are taken and it is now time to play or just relax somewhere for a few hours until 3pm rolls around and it is time to begin round 2.   The process will be repeated for the next two days.  After three days of judging the rums and the data is scored,  Friday evening we will present the awards for each of the categories.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Miami Rum Renaissance Gets Underway Today

     After a great day o "Conchy Tonking" our way from Key West to Miami, we have arrived to the beginning of a week filled with great friends and fantastic rum.  We made stops at Baby's Coffee, Cracked Conch CafĂ©, Holiday Isle Tiki Bar for an original Rumrunner, Discount Liquors, and Jimmy Johnson's Big Chill before hitting the Florida Turnpike to the Doubletree Hotel and Convention Center for the start of the 2014 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival,

     Matthew Robold, the "Rum Dood" and the staff of the Cana Rum Bar from Los Angeles ran a "pop-up" bar at the Broken Shaker on Miami Beach.  The event featured Plantation Rum and a great time was had by all of us that attended.  

     In addition to the fine cocktails that were provided, we engaged is a lively ping pong extravaganza.  The evening was a first chance for all of us that are involved  in the event to get together since last year.   A lot of fun was had by all who attended, not to mention a chance to enjoy Matthew Robold's fine cocktails before heading back to the hotel and a good night's sleep before the judging gets underway at 11 am tomorrow morning.

     Keep up with the fun and all the adventures we are experiencing as we get to learn about many of the new rums and what the distillers and distributors are up to this year.  ;o)


Monday, April 21, 2014

Travel Day Today

     It is finally here and I'm headed to Miami with John Gibbons and Dan Silvers for the fun week of rum and friends at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival.
    We are going to be "Conchy Tonkin" our way from Key West to Miami, this is going to be a blast.   Planning on hitting many of the fun establishments along the way.   It is always a fun time when you travel with these guys.

     I'll be keeping you filled in on all of the happenings with pictures and stories of new and well visited rums this week.   I know that my friends from Panama, Barbados, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Mauritius and many more will be present to fill our heads with knowledge about their rums and fill our bellies with fine rum.

     If you haven't gotten your tickets yet, they are still available through  their web site .     Hope that you enjoy my travels through the Miami Festival of Rum as much as I will living and sharing it with you.  ;o)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Sun Sets on Another Week Here in Key West

     Happy Easter to everyone.   This week has been a week of anticipation for me.  I leave tomorrow afternoon for another fun filled week of rum and friendship at the 2014 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival.   If you haven't attended one of these events, it is an experience that you will never forget, there are people that make rum, mix rum, and drink rum there from all over the world.  You can get your tickets online at .  Hope to see many of you there this year.  ;o)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

John D. Taylor's Velvet Falernum

     John D. Taylor's Velvet Falernum is the choice for me when making cocktails calling for falernum.  

     Velvet Falernum has limitless possibilities for mixing very flavorful cocktails. .  This is a very unique liqueur that exudes  flavors of lime, almond, vanilla, ginger, and clove.  I find it to be an essential component for many Caribbean cocktails .   Velvet Falernum is a longtime staple item of resorts and bars in Barbados, and today for its use in Tropical, and Tiki cocktails.   . It is made from an infusion of spices and lime juice into sugar cane syrup and Barbados Rum.     John D Taylor's Falernum,  considered by most to be the original Falernum, and it is today produced in Barbados by Richard L. Seale Ltd.

     Richard L. Seale oversees distilling operations and has a reputation for operating outside of the box when it comes to the use of technological advances in distilling and the overall production of his rums.

Despite being located in a sugar cane plantation , Four Square Distillery gets most of  its molasses from Guyana,    The old sugar cane factory  was separated from the distillery in 1950, with the production of sugar ending between 1987 and 1989.    In 1995 they took over an abandoned sugar factory and after a complete remodeling and the installation of custom built Italian stills, they began producing rum in 1996.

     In Barbados, the "National Cocktail" is "Corn and Oil", a lively cocktail that gets it's unique flavor from the combination of the Bajan rum, John D. Taylor's Velvet Falernum and bitters.     You will find that this is a staple to keep at you bar for adding that special twist to your cocktails.  Whether you are making Tiki, Caribbean or most any other cocktails, this is something you need to keep in mind for making you cocktail very special and memorable.

Corn and Oil
  • 2/3 of a ice filled glass of John D. Taylor's Velvet Falernum
  • two dashes of Bitters
  • Top Up with Doorly's XO Rum
Use a 12 oz. glass filled with ice and add all of the ingredients.  Shake until chilled, and garnish with a lime wheel. 

     There are many uses for John D. Taylor's Velvet Falernum, and you will not be disappointed with the results in many old and new cocktails as you experiment with it.  Hope you enjoy the results like I have over the past few years since I discovered it.  ;o)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Damoiseau Rhums

     The Damoiseau line of Rhums from Guadeloupe in the Lesser Antilles Islands of the Caribbean, while not true Agricole (AOC) rhums carry many of the characteristics of many of the fine French style rhums.   

     Roger Damoiseau bought the estate from the Rimbaud family in 1942.  An abandoned factory of the late 20s, that the Damoiseau brothers would spend the next 40 years renovating the estate to it's present condition. Trees had taken root in the buildings and everything was in complete disrepair and needed to be rebuilt.  The distillery would be gradually revived and the Damoiseau Brothers would  begin the manufacture of agricultural rhum and abandon the industrial rum previously produced on the estate.

     The Damoiseau Brothers cultivate 160 plus acres of cane in Le Moule, Grande Terre and buy the rest of its needs mainly from small planters.  Grande-Terre's indented coastline is surrounded by coral reefs and the island itself is a limestone plateau. Its surface is a series of rolling hills, white sand beaches and cliffs. The island's beaches consist of both white and black sands, as well as beaches of golden sand. Of the two islands, Grande-Terre is home to the majority of Guadeloupe's farmlands and tourist resorts.
 Aging takes place in a cellar built in 1982.  There are over 1400 drums each containing some 53 gallons of Rhum that are being stored in the aging warehouse.   There are many Damoiseau Rhums that are aged for long periods of time and boast tremendously fine flavors.  1953 is one of the Flagship expressions offered by the Damoiseau Brothers.
     A friend of mine stopped by the other day and brought me a bottle of Damoiseau Rhum Ambre .  It was time for me to start a research project to determine what I was going to do with it.    Damoiseau Rhum Ambre is a straw colored rhum that is aged for 1 year in oak.   It has a sweetness of vanilla and cinnamon on the nose with a bit of a fruitiness along with an aromatic sweetness on the palate.   This is a definite mixing rhum and one that I think will work well for me to make a Ti Punch with.   Ti Punch is a very popular cocktail among the French speaking states around the Caribbean.   It is time to look for a traditional recipe for Ti Punch that I can use to put my newly acquired bottle of rhum to good use with.

Ti Punch
  • 2 1/2 oz. Damoiseau Rhum Ambre
  • 1/3 oz.     Depaz Sugar Cane Syrup
  • 1 Slice      Lime
Pour the rum and sugar into glass. Then squeeze the lime disc between your finger and thumb, then drop into the drink.   This expels the oil from the skin and little of the juice into the Ti Punch.   Lastly stir and consider adding two or three ice cubes.   Opinions differ as to whether it should be served with or without ice, but most agree that the "real" ti' punch should be served without ice.   However, adding a small amount of ice allows the flavors of the ingredients to blossom.
     Ti Punch is similar to a daiquiri, but has a definite French flavor, the combination of the agricultural rhum and the oils from the lime rinds give Ti Punch a truly distinctly flavorful cocktail.  ;o)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

     Alcohol is a fun and wonderful thing when kept under control, but the misuse or abuse of alcohol like so many other things we encounter in our lives can be disastrous.   Our young people are very vulnerable to the peer pressure and the euphoria of a good buzz, this is something that can lead them down the road to disaster.  This Alcohol Awareness Month is the perfect time to put a little bit of effort into informing the people around us of the perils of alcohol abuse.

The Tragedy of Alcohol Use by Young People


     The month of April is designated Alcohol Awareness Month as founded by The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD) in 1987. 

     Since the beginning years of this month-long event, many other organizations have joined with NCADD in a collaborative effort to stem the tide of underage drinking, and adult alcohol abuse, through preventative education and awareness events; to bring about further awareness of this most serious and pressing problem within our nation. 

     The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), The National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism (NIAA), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC), and many other organizations have joined in this effort over the past 27 years to bring about awareness and prevention of the use of alcohol by youth, and abuse of alcohol by adults.Alcohol Awareness Month. 

     I know what some of you are thinking. "every month is something month.   A month for this and a month for that." But let me explain the profound wisdom of the founders of this eventful month, and I know, because I was part of that first Alcohol Awareness Month. The month of April is most significant primarily because it is when many youth will experience their first drink of alcohol. It is also significant due to the Easter/Spring holidays where there will be many festivities involving drinking (can you say "Spring Break"?). And, it signifies the end of the school year in the coming month, a reason for young people to "celebrate." But, Alcohol Awareness Month not only draws attention to alcohol use by our youth, but the Abuse of alcohol by our adult population (for Young People under the age of 21 the term "use" is given, the "use" is illegal). 

     Alcohol Awareness Month empathizes, in the words of the founders, "Increased public awareness and understanding, to reduce stigma, and encourages local communities to focus on alcohol use, alcohol abuse, and alcoholism and alcohol related issues." This year, above all other past year's events, "highlights the important public health issue of underage drinking, a problem with devastating individual, family, and community consequences." 

     We have learned over the years that Alcohol use by young people is extremely dangerous, both to themselves and our communities. It is directly associated with traffic deaths, suicide, other directed violent acts, school failure and dropouts, alcohol overdose (alcohol poisoning), unsafe sexual practices, and behavioral problems. Highway statistics tell us that annually over 6,500 individuals under the age of 21 die from alcohol-related accidents and many thousands are injured.


     Talk to you kids and younger friends and let them know that while most of the adult world still takes a drink now and then, we are trying to avoid the binge drinking or over indulging.  There is plenty of time after you are 21 to experiment with liquors, wait until you are not surrounded by so much peer pressure to be stupid.  ;o)