Rum of the Year 2018 – Winner

Rum of the Year Review by the fat rum pirateRum of the Year 2018 – Winner

It was quite a surprise when compiling the contenders for Rum of the Year, to see which rums didn’t make the grade.

As I only pick one rum from the 100 or so I review in a year, it comes down to the very best of the best. So a lot of excellent (and highly recommended) rums fall by the wayside.

One of the reasons why I use a ten point scoring system is that it keeps things simple. A five-star rum doesn’t mean I’m giving it 100/100. It’s more like 95 and above. I could have adopted a 0-100 or 50-100 scoring system. I’ve nothing against these systems but I find most reviewers don’t use the bottom end of the scale. I use, with regularity the full ten points in my scale. So I think it makes things very clear and straight forward for the reader. Whether a rum scores 81 or 82 points make little difference in my way of thinking.

I was a little surprised to find I had only given ten rums a five-star rating in 2018. Though I feel that further validates my reviews. It’s not all mega high scores. I am at times a little stingy.

What didn’t surprise me was to be left with a clutch of Foursquare and Jamaican rums in my final thinking. The likes of Hampden and Appleton have produced some exceptional rums over the past couple of years. Hampden rum has been enjoyed mostly via Independent bottlings, like the Whisky Barrel/Kill Devil bottling in my original ten. Hampden did finally get around to releasing their own “brand” aged rum in 2018. I was very fortunate to be invited to the launch evening in London. A night that will live long in the memory. Thank you very much to all those that made such a wonderful evening.

Foursquare have continued their recent Exceptional Cask Series, to great acclaim. In the end deciding which Foursquare rum was my favourite this year was virtually impossible. Depending on mood, it could be any of the four I gave the five stars. I could easily have given Foursquare the gong again this year.

As my rum journey continues I have found myself enjoying more Cane Juice r(h)um in the shape of Rhum Agricole, Clairin and Cachaca. Two exceptional examples of this came in the form of Havana (Cachaca) and Rhum J.M XO (Agricole). I ruled these out of the running, as they have been around a long time. I just took too long getting to them!

In the end the Rum of the Year did come from Jamaica. Alas, the Compagnie des Indes New Yarmouth had to be discounted – Florent made it available only to the Danes. Shame on you! It also was very limited, even in its lower proof European guise.

This left us with a distillery which has been growing in stature over the past few years. I’ve been championing the rums from this very worthy winner for some time. Well before many cottoned on. For many the Rum Bar rums weren’t good enough for their snobby ideals.

Taking all things into consideration, I felt it would be unfair for me not to fully acknowledge the great strides this relatively new estate has made in such a short space of time. Despite a long heritage the current distillery has only been active since 2005.

Their Single Estate Reserve and Special Cask Releases are all excellent rums. The 2005 WP Forsyths came close to getting five stars. A whole host of Independent bottlings also showed just how good this producer could be.

Finally I cracked. Upon trying the latest release in conjunction with Velier I was blown away.

Habitation Velier Worthy Park 2007 WPL Rum Review by the fat rum pirateRum of the Year 2018 goes to Habitation Velier Worthy Park 2007 WPL

As close to perfect as you are likely to find in a rum. I have been told by others, that the 2006 WPM is actually better. For some reason I didn’t pick that one up. I do have a sample though so we will see in a future review.

This award is very much deserved and a great credit to Zan Kong and the team behind Worthy Park. Zan has worked very hard and connected with all the right people over the past few years to help grow the Worthy Park brand. I often get thanks for writing positive reviews. I always return the thanks – I don’t produced the wonderful rum, I just drink and enjoy it.

They are now very much one of the real big players in the “pure rum” movement.

Keep fighting the good fight. There are surely more prestigious awards coming your way.

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