A few months ago I decided I needed a holiday and what a better reason to travel abroad if not for drinking rum. I have been at the German Rum Festival once before and I had a lot of fun so I wanted to repeat the experience. This was their 12th edition and I made sure to enjoy it properly by attending both days.
This year the German Rum Festival took place on the 8th and 9th of July from 12pm to 8pm, respectively 12pm to 6pm, in Berlin at STATION Berlin. The venue itself has an “old factory” look to it which I found pretty interesting.
Immediately as I walked in on the first day I started looking around for Lance Surujbally, a fellow blogger (a really good one if anything) also known as the Lone Caner. As soon as I found him we greeted, exchanged a few words and then he pointed towards the back of the venue telling that the new Foursquare Raconteur is available to sample and that I should get there before it gets too crowded – obviously he didn’t have to tell me twice and so I made my way to the stands in the back.
Before I could get my dose of Foursquare I spotted the Black Tot stand with none else but Mitch Wilson behind it so I had to say hello. He was kind enough to provide me the first sample of the day in the form of Black Tot Master Blender’s Reserve 2022 as well as a sneak peek at the new 2023 blend which, spoiler alert, is absolutely delicious – in a quite Caroni-ish way. This rum fest was also the perfect opportunity to practice with my new camera and Mitch was happy to pose for me. His stand became my return spot whenever I just wanted to rest and chat a little, so kudos to Mitch for being so accommodating.
I returned to my original quest and secured a tot of the not-yet-on-the-UK-market Velier Foursquare Raconteur – it was really good, but I should’ve let it rest in the glass for a bit longer in order to enjoy it properly. I also paid a visit to the 1423.dk stand where I sampled a little of their exclusive S.B.S GRF (German Rum Festival) bottling which contained some really tasty Jamaican distillate.
I also had to say hi to the lovely guys from Rom De Luxe – a Danish independent bottler that has some really interesting and rare releases. As soon as I arrived they greeted me with a measure of their GRF exclusive bottling – a New Yarmouth TECC marque that clocks at a bottom-whooping 85.3% ABV, because… why not!? My palate was not ready for that, the intensity was off the charts, but I’d lie if I said I didn’t like it. Next they offered me some very old, delicious Guyanese rum bottlings and I have to say, that 31 Year Old Port Mourant is an absolute beauty.
One highlight of the show (for which I will write a review soon) was from a Dutch bottler and rum producer called Schotman. They make, presumably, the world’s first peated rum. The company itself doesn’t own a distillery, but they have worked closely with other Dutch distilleries in order to make and perfect their own peated rum. And yes, it tastes exactly how you would expect a peated rum to be, smokey, fruity and, at least for me, really interesting.
Another brand I have to mention is Don Q and their cask finishes range. They have a few expressions that showcase how Puerto Rican rum can develop after its ageing has been finished in Port, Cognac and, my favourite, Zinfandel barrels. Fruits galore on all of them, but that Zinfandel was definitely the star of the range!
A bottler I really wanted to sample was the Colours Of Rum brand, and they did not disappoint. The most interesting out of the range was their 1998 Guadeloupe which ticked all the boxes for me. The rest were really good as well, particularly their 1998 Caroni bottling.
I also tried some rum made in Texas from Balcones and I did find it tasty, but also a little too woody and astringent for me.
These were the highlights of the 1st day, now for the 2nd day I focused more on socialising and networking rather than tasting, but I still found some hidden gems.
First of these gems would be a single cask Penny Blue that has been fully aged in a sherry barrel. It was so good it got me tempted to buy a bottle, but instead I went for 2 bottles of Isautier. Their Agent Double expressions were too interesting and unique to ignore – they are 2 bottlings that showcase what a blend of cane juice and molasses in different quantities can taste like. They had a nice aromatic, medicinal sweetness to them and I will definitely be talking about them here.
Next I feasted myself on a collection of limited editions El Dorado expressions, it wasn’t easy, but had to be done – I’ll always be a sucker for El Dorado. I also managed to taste the new Eminente bottling made for the Confrerie Du Rhum group and it was quite tasty.
After I tried most of the things I was looking for I grabbed a lovely Corn ‘n’ Oil from the Mount Gay stand and finished off by returning to Mitch and have a tiny measure of the famed Black Tot Last Consignment.
This was an amazing rum festival with plenty of interesting cane spirits to try. I also had the chance to interact with a lot of amazing people, my only complaint would be that I didn’t see a lot of familiar rum enthusiasts like I did the first time I attended the GRF.
I will definitely be coming again and I would encourage anybody that’s looking for a nice, spacious environment to sample and chat rum to attend.
As a bonus, the day after the German Rum Festival I joined the Lone Caner for an extensive session of sampling some really rare and special rums – expect some exciting reviews in the near future.
New camera photo dump: