Don Q Reserva de la Familia Serralles from Puerto Rico reigned supreme at the rum world’s most prominent night. Once a year, the rum community congregates in the Caribbean to rejoice over both molasses-based drinks and high-end rhums agricoles throughout the Caribbean Rum Week. To conclude the celebrations, the sixth annual Caribbean Rum Awards presented the year’s most distinguished bottles and producers with the highest accolades.
The best bottle of 2023 is Don Q Reserva de la Familia Serralles, a unique creation that came into existence in 1994. The Serralles family matured a special variety of rum in burnt American white oak barrels. Out of 36 barrels, the finest samples were selected to produce this extraordinary batch.
The runners up included the gold-winning Neisson Zwetol, named after the Creole term for star and wrapped in Jura wood; the silver winner Mount Gay Single Estate, emphasizing sugar cane harvested from specified fields; and bronze winner Papa’s Pilar Ernest, a liquid tribute to Ernest Hemingway.
“This year’s edition of Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth was an astounding success,” mentioned Alexander Britell, who is both the editor and publisher of Caribbean Journal and the co-founder of the Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth. “The exceptional variety was a testament to the amazing diversity and excellent quality of rums available in the Caribbean.”
The function wrapped up a week filled with parties, taste testing, expert classes, and paired dinners throughout the island of St Baths. The final competition was held at the Rosewood Le Guanahani St Barth resort.
The most honored brand of the year is Rhum Neisson from Martinique, securing double gold in not one but three different categories. The Best Gold Rum of the year was awarded to Trinidad’s Island Company Rum. Flor de Cana was the winner for the best branding category. The accolade for the rum maker of the year was given to Yves Assier de Pompignan from Martinique.
In an effort to expand from the previous years, the Caribbean Rum Awards have introduced a brand new category in competition: cane rum, emphasizing on rums produced from cane juice. To celebrate this new category, Renegade Rum Single Farm Origin Dunfermline from Grenada was bestowed with a double gold award.
“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 great rums and new distilleries visiting and presenting their rums along with several established agricole producers,” mentioned Christopher Davis, founder of Rhum Room St Barth and co-founder of the Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth. “It was a memorable week and we are excited about the plans for 2024.”
Panelists consisted of Alexander Britell, co-founder of the Caribbean Rum Awards and editor and publisher of Caribbean Journal; Guy Britton, managing editor of Caribbean Journal; Christopher Davis, a decorated rum connoisseur and founder of the Rhum Room St Barth; Peter Berntsen, COO of Empire Social Lounge in Miami; Myssi Davis, founder of Rum Traveler; Jose Antonio Hernandez-Solaun, head of the Miami sector of the International Wine and Food Association; rum aficionado Ivan Jivkov; Simons Chase, editor of Cuba Journal; and the globally acclaimed Chef Guy Ferdinand.