The Ultimate Rum Certification: the Authentic Caribbean Rum winners’ trip to the Caribbean
After delivering more than 110 Rum Certification sessions in over 10 countries, a group of 10 trade professionals won the honour to travel to the Caribbean to receive in-depth sessions and hold intensive discussions with Authentic Caribbean Rum producers.
Our winners arrived in Barbados on a Sunday and had some time to meet each other before beginning 4 days of intensive training in the home of true rum where legendary rum experts gave their own perspectives behind the history and production of this diverse and unique spirit.
At Foursquare Distillery, our guests met Richard Seale, master distiller and blender, and learned about the process of rum making in the tradition of the Caribbean by using a blend of both pot and column still rums. Doorly’s XO is one of their most iconic brands, which is distinguished by a second maturation in Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks but the team also got to taste some of Richard’s special bottlings.
The day continued with a visit to St. Nicholas Abbey, a place of significant historical importance, which has recently undergone a renovation by a Bajan architect that has brought life back into the plantation.Our guests learned about sugar cane crushing and the whole process behind the making of St. Nicholas Abbey rums.
The first day came to an end with a visit to Mount Gay Rum, where our guests met the head of the company in Barbados, Raphael Grisoni who joined them in cutting cane and touring the distillery. An extra treat was a session with legendary master blender Allen Smith, who talked about the art of blending and oversaw us making our very own unique rum blend which was bottled to take home. Our team learned all about their rum production process which uses both Spanish and Scottish pot stills.After touring the distillery, it was time to have a break and taste some rum at the Mount Gay’s visitors centre.
After Barbados we headed off to Guyana for our next stop: Demerara Distilleries on Wednesday.
Demerara Distilleries Ltd. produces its rum at Plantation Diamond on the East Bank of the Demerara river. They have over 300 years heritage of sugar and rum production and still use a wooden Coffey still and wooden pot stills to add distinctive and unique flavour to their rums. The team toured the facilities with head distiller, the wonderful Sean Caleb, who talked the team through the 24 different marques that are produced from their incredible range of stills brought into one place from all over Guyana. We then tried several rums straight from the barrel at cask strength – a real treat.
This was followed by a tour of their Museum and a tasting conducted by one of rum’s leading ladies – Master Blender and Technical Director – Sharon Sue Hang. We were treated to an in-depth tasting of a number of rums from the El Dorado range including their single barrel offerings.
An extra pleasure in Guyana was to visit the Enmore sugar plantation and tour the cane fields in the back of a pick-up truck prior to seeing the whole sugar production process. To get a better idea of the visit to Guyana, check out this video.
To finish off an intense week of learning, we flew off to Trinidad & Tobago to visit Angostura, home to the exceptional Angostura 1919. This rum can boast to be the star of a very particular story: after a fire in 1932, which destroyed the Government Rum Bond, the master blender of Fernandes Distillers, J.B. Fernandes, bought the charred casks, only to discover they had been filled in the year 1919. The prized rum was skilfully blended and called “1919 Aged Rum” and the company now replicate this rum in their signature offering. Master Distiller John Georges gave the team a comprehensive understanding of the Angostura rum range and also allowed us to view the top-secret Angostura Bitters production room.
To top off all of this formal education there was much learning undertaken at the rum shops in all three countries too.
To get a detailed image of our journey, check out our travellers’ images on Instagram and keep up with the news from Authentic Caribbean Rum by following us on Social Media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.