Home » Rum

Category: Rum

Singlemalting – # 165 Busy as a Beaver

A second Great White North adventure to the Yukon was a must after the amazing time I had last year (read the blog here). This time around the focus was Whitehorse but I’m sure we will be back up in Dawson again at some point.
Pristine Echo lake
In a Yukon first some high ends Rums were the order of the day with a Rums Revenge tasting at the outstanding Woodcutters Blanket Cocktail and Whisky bar. Two sittings were needed to fit everyone in and provided an intimate atmosphere to really get our collective Rum geek on. James the owner who’s folks live in Calgary had already had a chance to try some of the rum with me a few weeks prior and so with his exceptional bar tender had come up with a couple of delicious cocktails. The first called Port of Saints included Walnut Bitters, Angostura bitters, Six Saints Rum and Warre’s Late Bottled Port along with a drunken cherry and lemon zest curl and spritz. This was paired with a Cuban pulled port slider with pineapple and spice that was gone within seconds of landing on the table in front of me. The second cocktail was a Saints Flip that tasted just like rum and nog with cinnamon dusting.

A Blanket of Rum
So we ran through 7 rums starting with the Six Saints and then moving onto the limited edition Santeria, West Indies Rum and Cane Merchants Central America, British West Indies, Belize XO and French Overseas before finishing with the Samaroli Fiji 2001.  With such a diverse range of flavors and some truly incredible Agricole expressions there was no doubt that we had many new Rum converts by the end of it all. Getting all Piratey and helping folk to get jazzed about Rum is just such a pleasure. Big Bear Donair the only place for late night fare in Whitehorse came to the rescue for the after party munchies and my Greek Donair was just the ticket.
Loved staying in Riverdale at the Vangorda Bed and Breakfast as it afforded me a decent walk along the river into Whitehorse. This is where I came across the evidence of a very busy colony of Beavers and one of the largest dams I have ever seen. Every morning there were a few more trees felled overnight and the size of the trunk was no deterrent to getting those teeth stuck in. I wish I could have sat on the bank at dusk and watched them swim back and forth but had to be content checking out the new work each morning instead.

Busy little Beavers
An invitation out to his home by a small lake by Peter Turner the president of the Yukon Chamber was very special as the Cedar plank Salmon and Rum by the fire pit completed a great Yukon evening. Apparently the Northern lights were supposed to be especially vivid but alas all we had was cloud cover.

Salmon with a view
The heel auction at the end of the night included the rums from the previous events and was a load of fun. We were able to raise a good amount of extra $$$ for the Chamber and make some people very happy to be taking away a special treat.
A visit to Yukon Brewing and Two Brewers Distillery was a real bonus. Sometime in the future watch for a review on the Single Cask Barrel Aged Schnapps that if it were bottled in the US could easily be classified as a whisky. I have tried Two Brewers whiskies on a few occasions and must get one for a review sometime soon as they are all delicious.

Beer and Whisky what could go wrong
Thanks Rachel for ferrying me around Whitehorse all week. I am really looking forward to getting back there again as it’s one of the highlight trips of the year for me.

Singlemalting Blog # 163 – San Fran Tiki

With all sorts of fun done and dusted in Texas and LA it was San Fran time which is a great city to visit. No rest for the wicked after getting to the hotel at around 11pm I was up and ready to rock at the JVS offices at 9:00am. Little did I know as I was handed off to Robert that I was about to spend the two most fun days of my trip.
I could talk about visiting accounts and eating delicious food but what really made this portion of the trip so amazing was getting into some serious Tiki culture. My first Tiki drink was at OLK and was dangerously delicious. Not long after we had some amazing Cuishe Mezcal. Cuishe is a rare wild agave and this one was distilled in a traditional clay pot still.
Cuishe Mezcal
It was also an opportunity to get to know Robert and also Mark who is an especially geeky Tiki and rum personality in San Francisco. After kicking the night off right at OLK we headed up the winding trail to Mark’s insanely cool home that has been decked out more impressively in Tiki decor than any bar I have visited ever. Everything from the lighted rows of collected Tiki mugs (714 apparently and counting) to the Bamboo bar and seafaring accessories like the cool shark head and Pirate Ship. Tiki goodness was everywhere and it would take several days of careful study to truly see everything.
I almost had to be torn away from checking out the Tiki stuff to head out on Mark’s patio where we worked our way through some epic rums followed by a schooling in the nuance of small batch family owned Mezcal from Robert. Wow what a night. The cigar from Mark was just perfect with the rums and the Mezcal was more than impressive. I will definitely be blogging more about this amazing spirit in future. As the fire sent sparks up into the clear dark California sky and I nosed and sipped at my glass of Mezcal I thought again about how amazingly lucky I am to be doing something that I love so much.
Day 2 dawned way too early and with nowhere near enough sleep and a possible slight dehydration problem I headed out again into the San Francisco market. i was excited about what was to come after being told that we would be ending our day at Smuggler’s Cove and some other amazing cocktail bars. Smuggler’s Cove is one of the world’s best Tiki bars and after your eyes adjust to the dark you begin to see all the cool nautical themed decor unfold. Mark held sway at the bar where he owns the legendary status of being one of the first to complete the Rum selection challenge. Seeing his face on a Rum bottle behind the bar speaks volumes about just how many rums Mark might have consumed over the years at Smuggler’s Cove.

Smuggler’s Cove San Francisco
Quickly upon arrival a fantastic Tiki cocktail was thrust into my hand and it was really delicious. These drinks are so yummy that it’s easy to forget that there is a serious amount of rum splashed in the mix. Mark has spread his love of Tiki to a lot of people and of course it was mandatory for me to purchase the Tiki cup that my drink came in to start my own Tiki journey. I plan on surprising my gorgeous wife with what I hope will be a worthy offering. I will need some supplies and a fresh orchid flower though if my drink is to even remotely rival the Smuggler’s Cove presentation.
I just had to try another and so completed the set with a Smuggler’s Cove Barrel that will be seeing a lot of use on the deck for the rest of this Summer. I finished off the night with their version of a Zombie which was just as delicious as the other two.
We put stops in at another couple of great Tiki and cocktail bars the names of which escape me as I write this (I’m sure you are not surprised). Doing a bit of research I see that we went to Pagan Idol among others.
This trip for me was one of the most fun I have had in a while. What a privilege to be introduced to real Tiki culture and to experience some of the best Mezcal on the planet. I certainly hope that all of my future trips to the US are this much fun. Thanks so much to Sam, Val, Robert and Mark for such great hospitality. Secret Spirits is in great hands so keep a look out for the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar and Rums Revenge coming to a store near you.

Singlemalting Whisky Blog # 159 – Cuba “aaah”

After spending my first week in Cuba I thought a getting back into the swing of it blog might be in order. Safely tucked away in my luggage were some cigars and of course a couple of bottles of Cuban rum.
Today we are going to do a pairing with the Ron Santiago de Cuba 12 Year Old and the Hoya de Monterrey Elicure No. 1
The Rum – Ron Santiago de Cuba Extra Anejo 12 Year Old at 40% ABV
Ron Santiago de Cuba is seen as the best Cuba has to offer for rum and was said to be Castro’s favorite. Distilled in the old Bacardi plant that was abandoned during the revolution the Cuban distillers have deliberately designed this to pair with the best Cuban cigars.
Tasted in my San Francisco World of Whisky Hornblower glass that I thought might be more open for the light and yet rich style of the Santiago de Cuba.
Colour: Wow really deep rich colour with a real redddish hue. Apart from my week in Cuba I had not had the pleasure of trying Ron Santiago de Cuba rum before so I know very little about it apart from the fact that it was highly recommended to me by every local I spoke to about rum.
Nose:  Cherry Cobbler, Vanilla beans and pineapple syrup. A hint of Cuba Libre (rum and cola) here.
Palate:  Much lighter fruits than the colour would imply. Fragrant tropicana abounds with caramel squares, candied orange peel and a dusting of white chocolate flakes all without being overtly sweet.
Finish:  The soft caramel covered tropical notes continue with banana, papaya, coconut and pineapple all making appearances. Warming and long, this is a great finish.
Worthy of adding to any great spirit collection this is a super delicious rum. So with the initial notes out of the way it is time to light up my Epicure No. 1 and see how it all comes together.
Robusto size (my favorite) and coming in it’s own cedar lined tube which helped it survive the transit back home perfectly. Could probably use a touch of time in the humidor but I can’t wait. Touted to be a lovely mild cigar it should pair magnificently with the Ron Santiago de Cuba 12 year old.
Colour:  Lighter leaf on this cigar and lovely uniform colour from top to toe. Double banded with a night tight feel to it with just a touch of give on the pinch test.
Nose:  Has that Cuban earthy note to it like a stroll through the barn.
First draws:  Used a V cutter which is my preferance. I do also like a punch but has to be a perfect draw for that so I tend to use a V with new cigars that I have not tried before. No pepper notes here as right out of the gate I get soft fruit and creamy milk chocolate.
First sip:  Oh yeah yummy combo here the Ron Santiago tropics are accented by the mild and consistent flavor of the Epicure No. 1.
If the Ron Santiago 12 were a heavy molasses style rum this would not be the right cigar but as it is a balanced lighter rum this is perfect.
Ongoing this is a very consistent and lovely smoke. Draw is perfect and burn is even and holds tightly to the ash. I am torn between my next draw or my next sip as both are delicious.
Wish I had a box of each as this would be a fabulous Summer time staple out on the deck. At least Calgary Spring has been good enough for me to be outside writing this (was snowing last night). It has warmed up a treat and the sun is shining brightly as I sit on my back deck enjoying these amazing Cuban passions.
Thanks Cuba for introducing me to some of your finest. I will be back.