Best Spirit, Best Rum, Best Producer: Foursquare Rum Distillery

The International Spirits Challenge has again named Foursquare Rum Distillery as the Rum Producer of the Year. Congratulations to Richard and everyone at Foursquare. It isn’t the only well deserved honor earned by Foursquare. Mark VI of Foursquare’s Exceptional Cask Series… 2005… is the first Rum in ISC history to be judged the Spirit of the year and named Supreme Champion, besting more than 1500 entries. Although I personally think Destino is the Super Supreme Champion of all-time, at least the judges awarded it a Gold Medal. A Gold medal was also awarded to Principia, in the “Rum Limited Bottling” category. Congratulations are in order for all of the recognition, but more importantly, thank you Richard and everyone involved for bringing us these delights. The bar was set high, and Foursquare continues to exceed its own superlative standards. Thank you and congratulations!! It wasn’t the only recognition Foursquare received, Here is the complete list of honors: Trophies (best in category) were awarded to: Supreme Champion Spirit:  2005 Tasting – Rum Aged over 10 Years:  2005 Tasting – Rum Limited Bottling:  Principia Gold Medals for tasting were awarded to: 2005 (Rum Aged over 10 Year Old) Destino (Rum Limited Bottling) Principia (Rum Limited Bottling) Silver […]

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Barbados: Sand, Sun, Rum, Sugar, and Foursquare

It seems like it was a lifetime ago, but the lingering sun tan tells me the trip was just a few days ago.  Still it’s past time for me to share a few thoughts on my trip to Barbados…it hasn’t seen the last of me. As I approach retirement, my leisure travel is focused on parts of the tropical world where I want to live… at least spend considerable time.  There are plenty of places to investigate and until now, the evaluation of each destination has been: “Glad I came, but won’t be back” or “I’d come back here.”  Now there’s a new grade… the Bajan grade: I Will Be Back. Barbados may not be the wealthiest country in the Caribbean, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a friendlier place.  Evidently Bajan families still teach manners. Eye contact is welcomed, speaking to strangers is common, and smiling is unavoidable. The only “unfriendly” parts of the country are the few roads that are crowded and narrow with large buses and trucks seemingly flying down the road from the opposite direction… on the wrong side of the road, seemingly trying to force you into the trees.  But even in that environment, Barbados[…]

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Rum and Whisky,Kyoto: Maybe my Best Bar Experience EVER

If it weren’t for my having a real job, I’d have a few more posts here.  As it is, I have posts in work that continue my thoughts on the Gargano Classification and another about my tour of Lost Spirits Distillery.  But for now, a month and a half late, I feel a pressing desire to finish writing about what might be the most enjoyable bar experience I’ve ever had. Rum and Whisky in Kyoto, Japan Knowing I was going on a business trip to Kyoto… and knowing nothing about the city… I did a bit of research on things to do and places to see while there. Aside from the typical historical and cultural sites, I love to enjoy local foods, restaurants and bars, and wanted to do the same in Kyoto. So I put out a call to the members of the Ministry of Rum forum on facebook and asked if there were any Rum related stores and/or bars that I shouldn’t miss. With members of the forum spread around the world, and the fact that they are a travelling group I was excited that a bunch of people recommended Rum and Whisky.  It is probably the most unique, memorable[…]

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Part 2 Gargano Classification: Distinction

I came of age in the seventies in way upstate New York, somewhere between the civilization of NYC and the wilds of Canada; far from the other big cities in the east, and even farther from the warm salty tropical islands. At the time, my parents ran a tavern where, just as in most of America, the choice of rum was limited… Light or dark. With the possible exception of the many Tiki Bars scattered across the country, not much was known about rum anywhere, and upstate New York was no exception. The shelves in our bar were typical; they contained some unknown well brand light rum while Bacardi sat on the top shelf. Myers and Bacardi 151 were the dark options That was it. The state of affairs for Whisky was a little better. Considering the times, our whiskey/whisky selection was much better than most. We carried 5 or 6 Canadian Whiskies and the same number of bourbon brands. As for scotch, as determined from some old photos, our selection was something like this:  Ballantines, Dewars, Johnny Walker Red, J & B, and  Cutty Sark. If my memory is working, which is always in question, Teacher’s was our well[…]

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On the Gargano Classification… Part I

I’m all in with the idea of the Gargano Classification of Rum or something similar. For those who are  somewhat knowledgeable, the system provides a decent description of what might be found in the bottle and describes the level of effort expended in making the rum. In other words it offers a basic and honest value proposition to all who are interested. Again… for those with a bit of knowledge. As a purist, I like artisanal rums and the idea of being able to identify them by their packaging. I appreciate having enough information on the label to allow me to judge for myself whether or not the bottle has “premium” potential. And, by the way, I am willing to pay a premium price for rum made by artisans making authentic sugar cane spirits, by the batch, using traditional methods. In those premium rums, the quality of the ingredients and their unique terroir combine with the skills of the master distillers and blenders to make high quality, memorable, and truly Premium expressions. Unfortunately, today’s labeling laws, coupled with non-existent enforcement, make that evaluation all but impossible for the vast majority of rum being sold. It is difficult to find good[…]

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Dosage: In Rum, a Euphemism for Added Sugar

Liqueur tirage…    Dégorgement…    Dosage …    Liqueurs d’Expedition…     Brut…,   Extra Brut…   Sec…   Extra sec…   Demi-sec… are all terms describing the process and products of adding sugar to wine, most notably to Champagne.  It’s worthwhile when we aim to discuss the issue as it applies to rum to understand the history of adding sugar to alcohol, and in understanding the rationale for the suggestions I am making.

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On Meeting Alexandre Gabriel

It’s been over a week and I’ve finally decided to publish my thoughts on the terrific event last Thursday night at the Black Market in Indianapolis… An Evening With Alexandre Gabriel of Maison Ferrand.  Since the dinner my head has been full of thoughts that I have been trying  to organize and write, but that process has been taking too long in the world of Blogging, so it’s time to begin, and just let them organize themselves. Black Market is one of the great rum bars and restaurants in the country… certainly in the midwest… and everyone there can pat themselves on the back for hosting such a memorable evening.  Chef Micah Frank’s entire meal was superb, but I really wanted to call out his first course.  The Accra , a Caribbean Fritter, was fabulous.  I could have noshed on nothing but them all night. But as good as the food was, I’d be thoughtless if I didn’t remark on the cocktails, specifically the Citadelle Gin Cocktail that Heather Tomory served as a pairing for the Accra. I’m not a fan of Gin, and avoid it in all but the most special circumstance…  A bad experience over 40 years ago makes me[…]

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