Puerto Rico’s Don Q Reserva de la Familia Serralles nabbed the top spot at the most important event of the rum realm.
Annually, the rum industry holds a gathering in the Caribbean to commemorate both molasses-based spirits and premium rhums agricoles during Caribbean rum week. The week culminates in the sixth annual Caribbean Rum Awards where the best bottles and producers of the year are recognized.
The best bottle of 2023 award was presented to Don Q Reserva de la Familia Serralles. This unique bottle was first created in 1994 when the Serralles family stored a special rum in charred American white oak barrels. The finest samples from the 36 barrels were selected to produce this exceptional batch.
Other notable mentions include Neisson Zwetol (gold), which derives its name from the Creole word for star and comes in Jura wood packaging; Mount Gay Single Estate (silver), which is made from sugar cane harvested from specific fields, and Papa’s Pilar Ernest (bronze), a tribute to Ernest Hemingway in liquid form.
The Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth was an outstanding success this year,” according to the publication’s editor and publisher, Alexander Britell. “The remarkable range of Caribbean rums showcased their astonishing quality and diverse flavors.”
The week-long fest was chock-full with parties, tastings, masterclasses and pairing dinners throughout St Baths island, culminating with the final competition at the Rosewood Le Guanahani St Barth resort.
Rhum Neisson from Martinique emerged as the most lavishly awarded brand, bagging double gold in three classes. Island Company Rum from Trinidad was recognized as the Best Gold Rum, while Flor de Cana seized the accolade for best branding. Rum maker of the year went to Yves Assier de Pompignan from Martinique.
Elevating from the traditional format, a fresh category, cane rum, was introduced into the competition by the Caribbean Rum Awards, focusing on rums produced from cane juice. The first-place honor under the fresh category went to Renegade Rum Single Farm Origin Dunfermline from Grenada, receiving double gold.
“The Caribbean rum realm is more intriguing than ever, with rhum agricole at the core of the excitement,” affirmed Guy Britton, the main overseer at Caribbean Journal.
Regarding the Rhum Blanc Guadalupe category: The accolade of double gold was conferred upon Rhum Karukera 50, gold was bestowed on Reimonenq Coeur de Chauffe, Rhum St Barth 50 was honoured with silver, and Damoiseau 69 was awarded the bronze.
In the domain of Rhum Blanc Martinique, Rhum A1710 La Perle clinched double gold, Neisson Dekolaj secured gold, Baie de Tresor grabbed silver, and Rhum JM 50 took home bronze. Moving to Vieux Agricole, Rhum Neisson Vieux Bio bagged double gold, Rhum Karukera L’insolite procured gold, Longueteau Vieux claimed silver, and Damoiseau Vieux achieved the bronze.
“We witnessed some top-notch rums and emerging distilleries showcasing their rums, besides the enduring support from our agricole producers,” remarked Christopher Davis, the architect of Rhum Room St Barth, and joint founder of the Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth. “The week was rewarding, and we have some thrilling plans for 2024.”
Among the panel of judges were Alexander Britell, the co-founder of the Caribbean Rum Awards and the editor and publisher of the Caribbean Journal, Guy Britton, the managing editor of Caribbean Journal, and rum connoisseur Christopher Davis, who is also the founder of the Rhum Room St Barth. Others on the panel were Peter Berntsen, the COO of Empire Social Lounge in Miami, Myssi Davis, the founder of Rum Traveler, and Jose Antonio Hernandez-Solaun, the president of the International Wine and Food Association’s branch in Miami. Also, rum specialist Ivan Jivkov, Simons Chase, the editor of Cuba Journal, and globally celebrated Chef Guy Ferdinand were included.