Puerto Rico’s Don Q Reserva de la Familia Serralles took home the top honor at the rum world’s biggest event of the year.
Every year, rum enthusiasts from around the world converge in the Caribbean for Caribbean rum week, a celebration of both molasses-based spirits and premium rhums agricoles. The week concludes with the annual Caribbean Rum Awards, where the best bottles and producers are recognized for their contributions to the industry.
The best bottle of 2023 is Don Q Reserva de la Familia Serralles, an uncommon bottling that began in 1994. The Serralles family aged a special rum in charred American white oak barrels and from the 36 barrels, the highest quality samples were drawn to create this exceptional lot.
In the running-up contents, other than the winner, were Neisson Zwetol (gold), named after the Creole term for star and packaged in wood from Jura; Mount Gay Single Estate (silver), that specifically highlights sugar cane harvested from specific fields, and Papa’s Pilar Ernest (bronze), a liquid tribute to Ernest Hemingway.
“This year’s Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth was a fantastic success,” said Alexander Britell, editor and publisher of Caribbean Journal and co-founder of the Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth. “The impressive field was a reminder of the unbelievable diversity and quality of rums in the Caribbean.”
The event concluded a week of celebration, tasting, master classes, and paring dinners around the island of St Baths, with the final competition happening at Rosewood Le Guanahani St Barth resort.
Rhum Neisson from Martinique is the year’s most awarded brand, bagging double gold in three different categories. The Best Gold Rum of the year award went to Trinidad’s Island Company Rum, and Flor de Cana clinched the best branding award. The honor of rum maker of the year was bestowed on Yves Assier de Pompignan from Martinique.
In order to build upon the past years, the Caribbean Rum Awards has introduced a new category: cane rum. This category highlights rums produced from cane juice. Kicking off this category, Grenada’s Renegade Rum Single Farm Origin Dunfermline was awarded double gold.
“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 as well as some of the agricole producers that have been supporting us all along,” said Christopher Davis, founder of Rhum Room St Barth and co-founder of the Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth. “It was a great week and we have some fantastic ideas for 2024.”
Judges included 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, renowned rum expert 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, president of the Miami branch of the International Wine and Food Association; rum expert Ivan Jivkov; Simons Chase, editor of Cuba Journal; and world-renowned Chef Guy Ferdinand.