Rum of the Year 2017

Rum of the Year 2017 by the fat rum pirateRum of the Year 2017. It’s that time again when I look over the rums I have tried in the past 12 months and decide which one fits the bill as Rum of the Year.

Now I’ll let you all know the criteria for this years selection has changed – slightly. This is basically because the Rum World is evolving and changing. Producers are taking more risks and producing more varied and interesting rums.

2017 was the year seemingly of the “Limited Edition” releases. In 2015 and 2016, although I did give the Rum of the Year to “Limited Edition” rums, both were still widely commercially available at the time of the award. This year the truly great rums I have discovered have in the main disappeared from view.

2016 perhaps saw one of the first real scrambles for a rum release. I don’t recall there ever being a case of demand outstripping supply, quite so much as was the case with the Velier/Foursquare 2006 release. Demand for Velier bottlings has increased greatly since their last Demerara’s in 2014. I recall early on in my Rum Journey, 2012-14 seeing a good few Velier releases, at the likes of the Whisky Exchange remain on the site for months. Now they would likely be gone within a day.

We have seen over the past couple of years more producers release Limited Edition rums. Often with “finishes” or “maturation” in casks other than ex-Bourbon – Sherry, Marsala, Cognac etc. Whilst Foursquare Distillery might be the first producer to spring to mind with their Port and Zinfandel Cask rums it is worth noting that it was Plantation who perhaps began to make this kind of thing “trendy”. I don’t think there is a “finish” or “maturation” Plantation haven’t tried.

Other producers such as Don Q and Worthy Park are also getting in on the act. Unfortunately, their efforts have come to close to the year end for me to review. I could have got some Worthy Park imported from France. Alas I do not have a bottomless pit of money.

We have also seen the beginning of Cask Strength releases and higher ABV rums (above the standard 40-43% ABV) from the likes of Mount Gay, Plantation, Worthy Park, St Lucia Distillers and Foursquare (again). Independent bottlers have popped up left, right and centre with even more limited releases, Single Casks with runs of just a few hundred.

In terms of genuinely exciting releases most have come from the producers already mentioned. They have stood out for the reasons stated above. A real stand out “new” commercially available rum for 2017 just hasn’t come my way. I’m scratching my head to think of one. I’ve tried a lot of really great rum in 2017. Unfortunately, a lot of it has been Independent bottlings. St Lucia Distillers released (in the UK) Plantation Rum Single Cask Barbados 12 Years - Wild Cherry Finisha couple of 1931’s. I’ve yet to review the 6th edition. Both were excellent rums but not quite as good as my final choice. Neptune was a nice addition to the rum scene but at the end of the day its a 3 year old Foursquare rum. It’s very good but its not a game changer for me.

So unfortunately I am afraid I have had to tweak my selection process slightly this year. You likely won’t be able to go out and buy this particular rum after reading this. If you do find any bottles lying around in liquor stores – buy all they have would be my advice.

So how has the rum been decided upon? Well it’s a Limited Edition rum. As much as I was amazed by the Duncan Taylor Long Pond 2000. I just don’t think it is much use to give a Rum of the Year award to a single cask which yielded only 270 bottles. Going forward it is highly likely I will increase the number of awards next year. I’ve been looking at Serge over at WhiskyFun and I quite like his way of doing things so maybe something like that. I would like to give a few more producers some credit as they are doing some great stuff.

The rum I have selected was a Limited Edition. I am not sure how many bottles exactly were released. I think it was around 4000. Available only in Europe and the US. It was matured in ex-bourbon and Madeira casks for 10 years. A blended rum of Pot and Column distillates. Released at an eye watering Cask Strength of 59% ABV.

For the third year running a Tropically Aged rum from the Exceptional Cask Selection Series, takes the crown as Rum of the Year.

Foursquare Rum Distillery’s Criterion. Another jewel in the crown. Few producers would get away with calling their rums “Exceptional” but this distillery does just that!

Yes, I hear you cry “Triptych”. It was definitely in the running but personally I preferred this one. I’m aware of there is a real split over the two rums. Personally I preferred the slightly sweeter, less woody profile of the Criterion. If you picked Triptych though that is a very good choice.

Foursquare Rum Distillery Criterion Rum Review by the fat rum pirateI hope my choice is relevant. I personally cannot see the point of re-hashing lists of rums you tried years ago and re-scoring or re-reviewing for the purpose of an award. The idea of giving Mount Gay XO, El Dorado 12 Year Old or Havana Club 15 a rum of the year in today’s rum world just seems pointless. Out of touch and irrelevant.

Anyway, a very Happy New Year to all of you. Thank you all for taking time to read the site over the past year. It has been a truly “exceptional” year for us here at Please contact us if you have any ideas or questions, for or about the site.

Thanks also to all the Rum Producers for, well producing the rum in the first place! Kudos to all those involved in the Industry who have helped me over the past year. Giving me information on your rums, access to your events and just general help and support.

And a final wave to all those people who I have met over the past year both online and at the various Rum Festivals and events I have attended. I hope your Rum Journey continues with us.

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