Rum of the Year 2018 – Shortlist

Rum of the Year Review by the fat rum Rum of the Year 2018.

Obviously, this is the one award that every self respecting rum producer wants to win. In a world where many Rum Awards are determined by paid entries and golden handshakes this is one award no producer can influence. And no amount of nasty emails or invites to distilleries will spoil that……..

Now I know that a number of people have been questioning the award going to Foursquare Rum Distillery for the past 3 years. Is there some kind of bias? Do I receive free products from Foursquare? Am I in Richard Seale’s pocket?

The answer to that is of course – no. Since starting the blog I have received the following from Richard Seale, a ton of information and two pin badges. If you don’t believe me, then ask Richard yourself. Having said that, if you are serious about rum and no not believe Foursquare deserve the awards they have received over the past few years, you must live in Cloud Cuckoo Land. Or you have been bought by other producers……

Since starting this blog way back in 2014, I have always ensured that my reviews are 100% honest and reflect my genuine view of a product, as a consumer. Recently I have begun to receive more and more samples, from around the world. However, 95% of these samples are received from fellow Rum Enthusiasts, not from the producers.

So what about the other 5%? Well yes I do receive some free samples. These samples reflect very much the ethos of the blog. So I have received sample product from the likes of Kill Devil, Berry Bros & Rudd, The Whisky Barrel, St Lucia Distillers and Worthy Park – amongst others. Rums where you know you are going to get something of a certain standard and you only get rum in the bottle.

I do not get sent the latest Super Duper Premium from Central America. Bit strange I don’t get sent rums laden with additives isn’t it? Still there are more than enough arse licking fence sitters who will still fawn over such releases..

To be honest when I set the blog up, I always knew it was going to divide opinion.The fact of the matter is there are a lot of people out there claiming to be “promoting transparency” coming out with all the appropriate quotes in the forums. They quickly backtrack as soon as they get an invite to the opening of a crisp packet. Then trot out all the marketing nonsense they learned. It’s the only transparent thing about them.

From a selfish and personal point of view, it is also good for me to see so many bloggers who will sell out. Then concentrate their time and effort on rums and companies no serious enthusiast cares about. The worse your blog is the more viewers I get. Keep up the good work!

It is baffling and perhaps a little sad that a blogger such as myself is seen as “controversial”. People should be honest and be sure of their opinions. Saying things how it is, should be every bloggers raison d’etre. It is sad to see so much fence sitting and pro-industry bias.

To be honest a lot of these bloggers don’t really get much by way of views and have very little influence. Some are little more than Facebook and Instagram irritants, piping up with their regurgitated quotes and quips.  In terms of other actual Rum Reviewers blogs such as The Lone Caner, Rum Diaries Blog, Rum Shop Boy and DuRhum do at least take a regular stab at honest opinion and delve beneath the marketing for information in their reviews. They aren’t the problem.

Anyway let’s get on with our Rum of the Year. By coincidence, rather than design I find I have given 10 rums a 5 star rating this year. So I will leave that as the starting criteria and decide which one I think was the best rum of last year.

Please note these are rums I reviewed last year – they may have been released prior to last year and yes I know I have “missed” a lot of great rums. I can only review so many per year.

The actual Rum of the Year will be revealed in due course…… is amongst these 10 bottlings

Compagnie des Indes New Yarmouth Denmark Rum Review by the fat rum pirateCompagnie des Indes Jamaica New Yarmouth 12 Year Old (Danish Bottling)

First up is a true funk bomb of Jamaican wonderfulness. Sadly this particular high proof bottling was only available in Denmark. The rest of Europe got a reduced proof version, which quite frankly does count this one out of the running.

Fantastic rum though and a real hit at the London Rumfest in 2017.

Kill Devil Jamaica Hampden Distillery Aged 10 Years – The Whisky Barrel Exclusive

Another trip to Jamaica, this time we visit Hampden Estate courtesy of Hunter Laing’s excellent Kill Devil range via The Whisky Barrel online store.Kill Devil Jamaica Hampden Distillery Aged 10 Years The Whisky Barrel Rum Review by the fat rum pirate

Fantastically funky and a really great rum. The Whisky Barrel released a number of Hampden bottlings in 2018 and certainly got plenty of custom from this Rum Enthusiast!

Foursquare Rum Distillery Principia

Foursquare Rum Distillery Principia Review by the fat rum pirateThe latest Foursquare bottling (on general release) in conjunction with Velier. We await the standard Destino bottling in the UK with baited breath but we’ve been more than spoiled (again) by Foursquare this year.

This was another classic.


Foursquare Rum Distillery Premise

A very deliberate release by Richard Seale. Aimed at a different segment Foursquare Rum Distillery Premise rum review by the fat rum pirateof the market, to the likes of Criterion and Principia. This is a lower ABV and slightly gentler rum. Designed to show people sweet rum is far superior to sweetened rum.

An advancement on the Port and Zin Cask rums in terms of ABV at 46% but still a very accessible entry into “real” rum.


Foursquare Rum Distillery 2005

Foursquare 2005 Rum Distillery Rum Review by the fat rum piratAn update on our 2016 Rum of the Year winner, the 2004. Difficult to decide whether this one is better or just different to the 2004.

A seemingly very simple rum – blend of pot and column aged in bourbon casks and released at 59% ABV. Sounds a little boring?

It’s anything but.

Havana Anisio Santiago Aguardente de Cana

Havana Anisio Santiago Aguardente de Cana Cachaca rum review by the fat rum pirate2Some of these rums weren’t actually released for the first time last year. Some are old staples, I have just gotten around to trying. 2018 saw me begin a Cachaca journey in earnest. This is widely recognised as one of the best Cachaca/Aguardente de Cana available in Brasil.

An example of how good aged Cachaca can be. You could argue, I should just have rum on this list. Not when something is as good as this!

Rhum J.M XO Tres Vieux Rhum Agricole

Rhum JM XO Agricole Rhum Rum Review by the fat rum pirateIt’s not very often every member of staff and even the odd browsing customer tells you how great a particular rhum is when you pick it up. But that is what happened to me in Charles de Gaulle airport earlier this year.

I was aware how good Rhum J.M could be from past experience but this as a continuous release, is a fantastic rhum which is now a staple here..

It wasn’t released last year but I felt it more than worthy of a place in the final countdown.

Habitation Velier Worthy Park 2007 WPL

Habitation Velier Worthy Park 2007 WPL Rum Review by the fat rum pirateGoing forward, I doubt this will be the last 5 star rum from the Worthy Park Estate. They have been toying with perfection for a good few years now and finally with this wonderful expression they hit the peak of their powers.

An absolutely fantastic rum. Everything just seemed to fall into place with this one.

Appleton Estate 15 Year Old Limited Edition

Appleton Estate 15 Year Old Limited Edition Rum Review by the fat rum pirateWhen researching this blog you find out all kinds of information. Apparently the biggest market for Appleton rum at the present time is Canada. So this meant that this Limited Edition 15 Year old rum was released only in Canada.

Rumours of a UK release persist but for now you’ll need a holiday or a rum runner to get this one in Europe.

Well worth trying either!

Foursquare Rum Distillery Destino Velier 70th Anniversary Release

Foursquare Rum Distillery Destino Velier 70th Anniversay Release Rum Review by the fat rum pirateFrom what I gather this release was made up of rum from different barrels to the standard Destino release (as mentioned earlier and we are still waiting!). Other than that the make up of the rum is the same age, barrel type etc.

Another really good rum from Foursquare. They are perhaps dominating this list but they really are having a purple patch at the moment.

So what is your favourite from the list? Any idea which rum I will choose as Overall Rum of the Year? A lot of Jamaican funk and Bajan balance in the list.

All will be revealed tomorrow.





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4 comments on “Rum of the Year 2018 – Shortlist

  1. I think this post pretty much sums up the current rum market; almost entirely Foursquare and Indie Jamaican bottles, which, when I’m looking down my prospective purchase list seems tie in (just wish i had a bigger budget!). I’d love to see the Rhum J M win though, us readers need more exposure to Agricole over here certainly.

  2. Excellent short list!
    I haven’t tried all of the rums on the list (missing that particular JM, the Havana Anisio, that Kill Devil Hampden (tried other KD Hampdens though) and the Danish NY release (tasted the regular at RumFest 2017) and would probably go for the WP 2007.
    It’s a beautiful rum, not too funky that only rum geeks will enjoy it, fairly widely available (so people who read this can actually still get it) and a reward for the excellent work WP has been doing over the last years. They are really building up a name for themselves, I remember when I serious about rum in 2015-ish, not a lot of people had heard of them, but nowadays they are THE modern Jamaican rum while staying truth to the Jamaican pot still tradition. Plus bananas and (white) chocolate, who doesn’t fucking love that?! 🙂

    • Stop trying to steal my thunder Two Dinners

      • Haha, would never do that! 🙂

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