It's All About The Rum


It's All About The Rum

Bar None

with Debbian Spence-Minott

Thursday, August 29, 2019

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So, this week we had to make a detour from our summer bar hopping journey, as the rum people provided such a worthwhile distraction — National Rum Day! Quite a celebration all day August 16 as Jamaica celebrated one of its treasures — rum! I was invited by Christelle Harris, marketing director of Hampden Estate, to sit at the table, partake, and contribute to what could only be described as a spirited evening!

Harris indicated that the purpose of our gathering was to celebrate the diversity of Jamaican rums, and also mentioned trailblazers like Dr Joy Spence, master blender of Appleton Estate, and Ian Burrell, global rum ambassador, who are working with all industry players to reinforce the premium and super-premium expressions of rum.

The evening began with signature cocktails from the expressions we would taste.

Then followed a guided tasting and sensory analysis of the rums. Our first glass contained Appleton Estate Signature Blend. In the absence of a representative from Appleton Estate, Harris asked that I guide the analysis. The Appleton Estate Signature Blend is a blend of 15 select aged rums (pot still and column still), aged on average for four years (there is no age statement of the label). On the appearance, a golden-amber colour with remarkable clarity and pronounced legs were observed; the aromas of cinnamon, vanilla, and citrus notes enveloped the air; and on the palate a vibrant spirit lingered confirming the aromas.

Second was the Monymusk Classic Gold. Winston Harrison, CEO of National Rums of Jamaica, and Robert Gordon, quality assurance manager and blender at Monymusk, described the rum as a blend of pot and column still rums produced at the Long Pond and Clarendon distilleries. The Monymusk Classic Gold is a golden-amber rum with caramel, peach, citrus and fruity notes on the aromas. On the palate is a very rounded expression to be enjoyed in cocktails, neat or on the rocks.

In our third glass was Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve, a 100% pot still rum which Harris presented on behalf of the brand. On the appearance a light natural colour. Very pronounced legs. The aromas were quite pronounced with hints of raisins, plums and light vanilla and the internationally known and recognised vegetal Jamaican funk — a signature aroma of Jamaican pot still rums. On the palate are luscious tropical fruits with a creamy texture, dry soft tannins, toasted oak and nutmeg. A hint of blackberry, spicy tobacco and a touch of ginger linger at the palate.

Fourth and final was the Hampden Estate Pure Single Jamaican Rum. Harris described the rum as a seven-year-old blend, made from the traditional pot still method. On the appearance a dazzling golden colour with pronounced legs are observed in the glass. On the nose and palate are notes of exotic spices and cinnamon with an unexpected but welcomed smoothness at 46%ABV. Harris hastened to add that one of the magical pillars of Jamaican rum is that no sugar is added to the rums. All you have in your glass is a truly authentic Jamaican expression and experience of rum. The evening ended or got started, depending on your perspective, with some rummy conversation.

Keep reading because the following weeks are shaping up for some other rum-based conversations as we continue to elevate our Jamaican spirit. Cheers!

Readers' Feedback:

Imagine if we embraced life's moments big and small, without reservation. Together, we might fill the world with contagious joy. Please share with me your wines, spirits and cocktail experiences or comments on the above article at, or follow me on IG @debbiansm #barnoneja.

Debbian Spence-Minott

An Alumna of the US Sommelier Association

CEO of the Academy of Bartending, Spirits & Wines

President – Jamaica Union of Bartenders and Mixologists (JUBAM) Limited

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