Rum of the Year 2021 – Shortlist

Rum of the Year 2021 - Shortlist rum review by the fat rum pirateRum of the Year 2021 – Shortlist. It’s that time of year again when I go over all my reviews of the previous year. The aim to select the shortlist to make up the Rum of the Year contenders.

Over the years I have built a few “rules” into the selection. Only one entry per producer, being one of them. I’ve tried to stick with a shortlist of 5 rums – so 5 rums from 5 different producers/brands. I also try and ensure that any Rum of the Year is still obtainable.

Due to the explosion of bottle flipping or the secondary market (to give it its more “respectable” moniker) in the rum world – this is unlikely to be possible going forward. The good stuff especially, if I have reviewed it early in the year will likely be long gone from shelves come year end.

Unless, of course the rum is a continuous release. However, we are increasingly seeing producers releasing more limited “one off” releases of selected barrels/vintages/finishes as opposed to new releases to their core line ups.

I will also concede that for this years award I have not been quite as prolific in terms of the number of rums reviewed in 2021. Especially, the latter part of the year. There is no one reason for this. Work, kids, the pandemic, lack of motivation/interest maybe oddly enough drinking too much have all contributed, I guess.

I never felt the need to go on an announced “hiatus” though, as so many bloggers seem to do. I have to say such public demonstrations of “pausing” the blogging are usually not a good sign. Very rarely do we ever see such bloggers return full time, in any meaningful way. I often feel it is a bit of a cry for attention. Maybe they hope for some kind of affirmation, that they are really important and needed by the rum world? I don’t think many (if any) of us really have that kind of pull or influence.

So for this years award I will be compiling a shortlist of all the rums I have given 5 star reviews to this year. There are only 7 in total with 3 from one producer and 2 from another. We have 4 different producers/brands competing in total.

As of 2022 I will be back reviewing around 3-4 rums per week. I’ve got quite a stash of samples and bottles to review. I have quite a few examples of multiple rums from single producers/brands. Whilst I won’t go down the route of reviewing multiple rums in single posts or doing any capsule size reviews (a la WhiskyFun) I may do a week devoted to a particular producer, where I post reviews on a daily basis of individual rums.

Anyway enough of my rambling on here (in no particular order) are the contenders for Rum of the Year 2021

Foursquare Rum Distillery Sassafras Rum review by the fat rum pirateFoursquare Rum Distillery Sassafras

Being asked to choose my favourite Foursquare rum of recent years has increasingly become like being asked to choose your favourite child. It’s a hopeless task and I’m grateful that I didn’t use the 1-100 or 50-100 scoring system as adopted by so many reviewers. I would really have struggled with such minute detail.

This is effectively a longer aged version of the legendary 2006 and another collaboration with Velier. So it will always likely to be a contender…..

Next up we have a rum from a bottler that is perhaps most well known for its “budget” priced independent bottlings.

Mezan Diamond Distillery Guyana 2007 P.X. Cask Finish Rum review by the fat rum pirateMezan Diamond Distillery Guyana 2007 PX Cask Finish

A more Premium offering from Mezan this time with this wonderfully PX finished Demerara rum. It is worth noting that Marussia Beverages who are behind the Mezan brand also act as the importer of Foursquare rums in the UK. So they know their stuff. This rum in particular reinforces that.

It was actually my wife that pushed the button on this one as a surprise birthday gift.

Next up we have a rum from possibly one of the most famous and biggest brands in the world. Released in collaboration with one of the most famous Independent bottlers/distributors.

Appleton Estate 2003 Hearts Collection rum review by the fat rum pirateAppleton Estate 2003 Hearts Collection

This rum was released alongside a 1984 edition as well. Released in collaboration with Velier – though as Luca Gargano made very clear is 100% an “official” Appleton Estate release. This was perhaps the gentler, more familiar of the two Hearts Collection releases of 2021. Still 100% Pot Still Jamaican Rum but with that distinctive Appleton finesse.

A truly wonderful rum. Likewise for me anyway was its older sister

Appleton Estate 1984 Hearts Collection Rum Review by the fat rum pirateAppleton Estate 1984 Hearts Collection

Which hasn’t been quite as well received in certain quarters. I didn’t hear many objections in the tasting held by Luca Garano and Joy Spence and the rum hasn’t received bad reviews but it seems to have left some people a little underwhelmed.

Not me though. I thought it was excellent and quite enjoyed its more challenging, intense profile.

It wouldn’t really be a Rum of the Year contest without an entry from Foursquare’s Exceptional Cask Series. This year we have two entries in the running.

First up is the 16th release in the series and a follow up to Nobiliary.

Foursquare Shibboleth

A rum released to show a people it could be done. Something which Richard Seale is now beginning to explore more. As a recent interview question answer attests to

“Make more rum – age it longer”

This was a wonderful balance of tropical ageing and cask management to give a rum far more interesting than its “make up” might have suggested. All indications suggested an older version of the 2004.2005 etc line up. This offered something very different.

Great stuff.

Not to be left out of the running we also have another 5 star offering from Foursquare in the shape of the wonderful

Foursquare 2009 Rum Review by the fat rum pirateFoursquare 2009

Another Exceptional Cask Series rum released (in the UK) in summer 2021. Excellent stuff once again.

So that gives us 3 releases from Foursquare in the running.

Our final rum in contention for the 2021 Rum of the Year is from Elixir Distillers who took the crown last year. Once again they have not disappointed with the follow up to last years Rum of the Year Winner Black Tot 50th Anniversary

This time they released a Limited Edition rum to commemorate 100 years since the last Rum Ration was given to Austrailian sailors aboard British Royal Navy ships.

Step forward our final contender for Rum of the Year

Black Tot Master Blender's Reserve Rum 2021 rum review by the fat rum pirateBlack Tot Master Blender’s Reserve Rum 2021

Once again a really top example from Master Blender Oliver Chilton of a blended Navy Style rum. Blending together really old stocks of Navy rum with fresher younger distillates from the usual suspects and Australia.

Certainly a rum not be missed.

I will be revealing the winner on the 31st December 2021. I am actually away between Christmas and New Year this year. So I am back in the house on the 30th so plenty time to get it sorted

As usual if a rum isn’t in the running I either

a) Didn’t score it highly enough (i.e. a 5 star rating)

b) Or I simply did not review it in 2021





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