Puerto Rico’s Don Q Reserva de la Familia Serralles emerged victorious at the rum industry’s premier event. This event takes place annually, where rum enthusiasts flock to the Caribbean to rejoice both, spirits based on molasses and premium rhums agricoles during Caribbean rum week. At the grand finale of such festivities, the sixth annual Caribbean Rum Awards bestow the year’s best bottles and producers with their highest distinctions.
The finest bottle of the year 2023 was mentioned as Don Q Reserva de la Familia Serralles, an unusual release that was first conceived in 1994. This was the year when the Serralles family aged a specific rum inside charred American white oak barrels. From these 36 barrels, they chose the best samples to curate this exceptional batch.
The runners-up in the competition included Neisson Zwetol (gold), a title derived from the Creole term for ‘star’ and encased in Jura’s wood, Mount Gay Single Estate (silver), making a mark for sugar cane plucked from special fields, and Papa’s Pilar Ernest (bronze), a tribute to Ernest Hemingway in liquid form.
“This year’s Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth was incredible,” stated Alexander Britell, the editor and founder of Caribbean Journal and the co-creator of the Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth. “The vast variety of rums showcased the amazing range and exquisite caliber of Caribbean rums.”
The celebration concluded a week filled with social gatherings, rum tastings, special classes, and pairing meals across St Baths island, with the finale competition held at Rosewood Le Guanahani St Barth resort.
Rhum Neisson from Martinique emerged as the most awarded brand this year, clinching double gold in three distinct categories. The title of Best Gold Rum of the year was given to Trinidad’s Island Company Rum, while Flor de Cana secured the award for best branding. The title of the best rum maker was bestowed upon Yves Assier de Pompignan of Martinique.
Building on previous years, the Caribbean Rum Awards introduced a fresh category in the competition: cane rum, emphasizing on rums distilled from cane juice. Grenada’s Renegade Rum Single Farm Origin Dunfermline was the first to win the double gold in the new category.
“The Caribbean rum world has never been more exciting, particularly in rhum agricole” said Guy Britton, managing editor of Caribbean Journal.
In the Rhum Blanc Guadalupe category: Rhum Karukera 50 won double gold, Reimonenq Coeur de Chauffe won gold, Rhum St Barth 50 won silver, and Damoiseau 69 won bronze.
In the Rhum Blanc Martinique category, Rhum A1710 La Perle won double gold, Neisson Dekolaj won gold, Baie de Tresor won silver, and Rhum JM 50 won bronze. Over in Vieux Agricole, Rhum Neisson Vieux Bio won double gold, Rhum Karukera L’insolite won gold, Longueteau Vieux won silver, and Damoiseau Vieux won bronze.
In the Premium Molasses Rum category, La Marielita won double gold, Mount Gay XO was awarded gold, and John Watling’s Paradise rum and Worthy Park Single Estate won silver and bronze, respectively. Full results can be viewed here.
“We had some fantastic rums and emerging distilleries attend and showcase their rums, as well as support from the longstanding agricole producers,” expressed Christopher Davis, the brain behind Rhum Room St Barth and the Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth. “The week was incredibly successful and has sparked some stellar ideas for 2024.”
The panel of judges was full of esteemed personalities; Alexander Britell, co-founder of the Caribbean Rum Awards and the mind behind Caribbean Journal; Guy Britton, the chief editor of Caribbean Journal; Christopher Davis, a rum connoisseur and the creator of the Rhum Room St Barth; Peter Berntsen, COO of Empire Social Lounge in Miami; Myssi Davis, the originator of Rum Traveler; Jose Antonio Hernandez-Solaun, the president of the Miami section of the International Wine and Food Association; rum specialist Ivan Jivkov; Simons Chase, the chief editor of Cuba Journal; and international star Chef Guy Ferdinand.