The world’s first rum festival, as quoted from their website, is the creation of Ian Burrell, the Global Rum Brand Ambassador and runs since 2007. This is the second year I’m writing about the RumFest as I did a summary of the 2021 one too – although this year I haven’t experienced it fully it due to poor timing.
This year the UK RumFest took place as usual at the ILEC Conference Centre, 47 Lillie Road, London, SW6 1UD on Saturday 15th of October and Sunday 16th of October between 12:00 and 16:00 with Monday the 17th being reserved for the Trade Day between 12:00 and 17:00.
I only managed to attend on Sunday, but probably for the best, as I’ve been told Saturday was absolutely full and little interaction with the exhibitors could be had. Sunday was more free and I managed to get some good conversations with fellow rum people.
My first stop, as I was getting my bearings after waking up early (for a bartender) was the Velier stand where I was greeted with a pour of agricole rhum from Guadeloupe in the form of the Papa Rouyo Habitation Velier – a pot still cane juice rhum bottled at 62% ABV which quickly energised me.
Managed to catch up with some rum friends and was led to the Ron Colon stand where I reacquainted myself with their rum & rye whiskey 50/50 blend (absolutely delicious) and I tried their rum & mezcal 66/33 blend which I found a little too mezcal-y, but interesting nonetheless.
Next is a highlight of the RumFest for me, a new company I’ve never heard of, with its distillery based on the Isle of Man, the Outlier Distilling Company. At their stand I tried their Hoolie White Rum, an unaged rum with an interesting herbal flavour profile. I also had a taste of their overproof, Hurricane, which is a blend of unaged rum and rum that has been aged in whisky casks that clocks at 64% ABV – one brand I’ll definitely keep an eye on as they are planning to release some aged versions in the future. I’m also planning to review them soon, stay tuned.
After that the Angostura stand caught my eye as there was a sherry finished limited edition Angostura rum that was quite enjoyable.
Next I went to the star of pretty much every rum event, the Foursquare stand. As per usual, there was a queue, but I managed to get through and tasted a couple of Foursquare ECS, courtesy of Gayle Seale – that Isonomy is stunning. Also got a taste of the new 2010 Foursquare vintage which, I have to say, doesn’t disappoint at all. Oh and got a lovely picture with my friend from Oxford, Rum The Show.
The Velier stand also got more lively and my eagle eye spotted an old bottle of Caroni that I couldn’t pass – I know some really hate its profile, but I’m a sucker for it.
Another highlight of the show were the single stills releases from El Dorado, which while there were presented at a standard 40% ABV, but there were absolutely great. I love a good Port Mourant!
It’s always a pleasure to see Mitch Wilson talking about rum and even if I am very familiar with the Black Tot range, I had to swing by and say hello. I also couldn’t say no from a shot of Santiago de Cuba from Tommy Cole – my favourite Santiago is definitely their 12 year old.
Now to some lovely agricole, Chris Denis was kind enough to share some Trois Rivieres with me, including the Triple Millesime which is a blend of vintage rums from 2001, 2005 and 2011 – it really tripled my joy.
After wondering around some more I stumbled upon the Bayou stand and I have to say I’m a big fan of their single barrel which uses former rye whiskies to make the rum’s profile spicy and frankly delicious.
The event was absolutely great and I got to talk to a lot of great people that share the passion for rum. I just wish I could go to the trade session as well as I heard there were a lot of great brands such as one of my favourites – Bristol Classic Rum.
Definitely a rum festival not to be missed – looking forward to next year!
Also here’s a photo dump: