I finally managed to attend one of the best rum events in the world, the Paris Rhum Fest. It was my first time which is quite embarrassing considering this year was its 10th edition.
The opportunity was created thanks to the wonderful people behind Stauning Whisky and the Copperbay venues from Marseilles and Paris. We (as Trailer Happiness) did a takeover at both bars and, the trip, along with the accommodation were facilitated by Stauning. It was due to this collaboration that we were also able to attend the Paris Rhum Fest Trade Day on Monday where I tried to make the most of it with the limited time that I had – no complaints though!
The Rhum Fest took place from Saturday the 1st to Monday the 3rd with the last day being reserved for industry. The location was a little bit remote from where we were staying, but very beautiful nonetheless – the Paris Floral Park.
As soon as we walked in you could tell why they chose this place, the venue was very spacious and it was easy to move around despite how busy it seemed. After taking a couple of pictures at the entrance my little eyes spotted the Mount Gay stand along with their 1703 Master Select expression which was the perfect way to kickstart the fest.
Next we headed to Black Tot where we took a picture to send to Mitch who is currently busy touring Asia and talking about all things Black Tot. As we were doing that I spotted with the corner of my eye another familiar face – Zan Kong of Worthy Park. We headed over and sampled some Worthy Park Select and one of their new releases, their Calvados finished expression which was very fruity and tasty – before we parted ways we finished off with a shot of Rum-Bar Overproof for good measure.
A lot of stands were quite busy so we did a little bit of pick-n-choose and headed for the ones which seemed more available – and since we were at Rhum Fest we had to have some agricole. We tasted some new Clement expressions, their 2022 Canne Bleue and some limited small batch expressions that were aged in ex-Bourbon casks and virgin oak.
We were also introduced to a small French brand, Bow Distillery, who makes rum using molasses and has some interesting expressions such as their Venidor which is aged in former white wine casks – unfortunately this rum is not distributed in the UK, but one can hope.
Now agricole rhum is great, but there are some other amazing cane juice rums from other regions, like, let’s say… South Africa. Yes, I had to check out what Mhoba had available for tasting and I have to say their aged expressions were stunning – my favourite was their French Cask Rum.
Afterwards we were once again shown to a brand I haven’t heard of before, this time a French independent bottler, namely Swell De Spirits. They had some very interesting bottlings from Jamaica and even Bielle Distillery, but the highlight was a beautiful sample of a Mexican rum that they haven’t yet released.
The queue was long for this one, but we managed to sample some La Favorite, a rhum that’s not easy to get hold of even in France – very intense, yet pleasant. After such a good tasting experience I had a rather disappointing encounter with a Cuban rum brand called Santisima Trinidad. It tasted quite boring and sweet which is a shame as I’ve had some really nice Cuban rums before.
At this point we were pressed by time so I decided to make one final stop to try a brand I haven’t had in a while, Rum Deluxe. Their Diamond Distillery Vol.2 collection was very good with rums coming from 3 of DDL’s iconic stills: an MEE marque from the Enmore Wooden Coffey Still, an SVL marque from the Savalle Column Still and an MDXC from the Versailles Wooden Pot Still – how could I not enjoy these.
Despite having nowhere enough time to fully enjoy Paris Rhum Fest 2023 I had a very good time and the rums along with their brand representatives were incredibly nice. I guess I’ll have to splash some money next year in order to attend again and aim to try (almost) everything – I’m already looking forward to it.
A great experience and a great event!
A couple more photos that I took here: