This year's Miami Rum Renaissance Festival was bigger than ever. In its new home at the Miami Airport Convention Center at the Doubletree by Hilton, there was ample room for rum exhibitors, seminars, and even on outdoor cigar lounge where attendees could enjoy a spirited smoke.
Tasting our way through the 200 or so rums offered at the festival, we found ten that we had to share. Some are available in Miami, and some are coming soon to a store or bar near you. All are must-tries for rum aficionados.
10. Prichard's Peach Mango
This distillery in the tiny town of Kelso, Tennessee, is just 15 miles down the road from Jack Daniel's. But the Prichard family might as well be a world away. Their rums and whiskies are made in copper-pot stills in small batches. The Prichards have introduced a collection of fruit-infused rums including cranberry, key lime, and peach-mango. The peach-mango is subtle, fruity, and tropical and works well in either a punch or with a splash of soda. Prichard's is available now in Miami (about $20).
9. Wicked Dolphin Silver
Wicked Dolphin Rum is a brand new rum distilled in Cape Coral, Florida. This artisanal white rum has subtle hints of honey and is a great mixing rum. Currently available in South Florida, with a major launch planned soon (about $25).
8. Rhum St. Barth
This luxury white rum is owned by footballer Mikael Silvestre (formerly of Manchester United, now playing for the Portland Timber). The rum is made from only the first press of sugarcane juice from cane harvested from the neighboring island of Guadeloupe. Only 5,000 bottles are available in the U.S. market, making this a rare find (about $50).
7. Don Papa
Don Papa small batch rum comes from Negros in the Philippines. The island was so rich in cane fields, it was dubbed "Sugarlandia." Don Papa is a small batch premium rum, rich in vanilla, honey, and candied fruits. It's currently available at select duty-free shops at major airports, so look for it next time you're heading out of the country.
A blend of cane sugar and molasses, this rum is made in Veracruz, Mexico, known for its vast sugar cane plantations. The rum is aged for six years in European oak barrels then blended using the Solera method. The rum is presented in a rather awesome shrunken head bottle, which is sure to be a collector's piece. Currently available throughout California and other states --- but not Florida yet.
5. The Real McCoy
In 1920, Captain Bill McCoy made a name for himself as the first rum runner. Carrying rum from Barbados to waters just off New York, Captain McCoy was known for his pure rum that was never cut with juice or turpentine. Word got out that his rum could be trusted as "the real McCoy". This rum, named after McCoy, is actually distilled from the same family distillery as the rum he got nearly 100 years ago. The rum is aged five years and has vanilla and spice notes. Currently set for a major south Florida launch in 60-90 days.
This premium rum line from the Dominican Republic was created by Francisco "Don Pancho" Fernandez, one of the foremost experts in Cuban rum making for 45 years. Don Pancho has created this line of super premium rums, each aged in oak barrels. The line includes a five year white, a 15-year aged, and a 21-year premium. The rums will be available in most major U.S. markets within the next six months.
3. Papa's Pilar
The first spirit licensed by the Hemingway family, these rums are named after the famous author's beloved boat, Pilar. These blended rums are available in dark and blonde, and represent Ernest Hemingway's adventurous spirit. A large south Florida launch is scheduled in May.
2. Papa Andres
Rum taken from the Brugal family's personal cask used for weddings and special occasions, this dark rum is very limited. Only about 500 will be made available in the U.S., with a price tag at around $1,500.
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These rums were carefully curated by Francisco "Don Pancho" Fernandez. The rum master spent years shopping for the very best rums to age and blend into a rum he could put his name on. Origenes (origin) is available in 18- and 30-year-old versions. They're super smooth and drinkable. Both rums will be available in the U.S. shortly.