"The rum was amazing. It tasted amazing...on its own. I could drink it by itself without gagging or burning your insides. Drinking rum was something to be savoured, not a test of manliness."
It's a story that virtually every serious rum drinker can relate to...
A casual drinker is exposed to a higher end premium bottle of rum and experiences an epiphany. The thought of covering up the taste of the rum with syrupy soda is distressing. The rum actually tastes good...by itself! A Bacardi and Coke at the club is suddenly replaced with a Zacapa with a single ice cube at the cigar bar. His friends think he's pretentious as hell, but he doesn't care. There is no turning back. He's hooked.
It could happen to you. It happened to me.
About ten years, on a dreary and rainy day, I headed out from my office for a late lunch at a local restaurant called The Bicycle Thief. It was near where I lived and I secretly planned to skip out on the afternoon at work. By the time I arrived it was almost 2 PM, so the place was nearly deserted. In the hope that I would get in and out quickly, I sat at the bar and placed my order. Then it happened.
The bartender, a Halifamous hipster with a handlebar moustache (and a hell of a bartender I might add), was working behind the bar preparing for the evening service. As luck would have it, he was hosting a large group for a rum tasting later that evening. He asked me if I wanted to stick around and join him while he tried out the rums he would be tasting later that night. It was not a hard decision.
Let's be honest, it wasn't the first time I had drank rum. I am from Nova Scotia after all. My university years were filled with foggy nights and dusty mornings caused by $1 rum and cokes and rye and gingers. I'm still not sure whether it was the cheap rum or the poorly mixed fountain pop that made my head buzz on Sunday mornings, but it wasn't from drinking decent well-crafted spirits. Rum was Bacardi and Captain Morgan. Fancy was having a Sailor Jerry with ginger ale.
This was different. Jeff, the bartender, placed four bottles in front of me that I had never seen before. I can't remember what they were called, but I do remember that they had names I had never heard of. He poured the first and I downed it like a frat boy in Fort Lauderdale. "Take your time. Enjoy it," he said while laughing at me. He knew then what I know now.
The rum was amazing. It tasted amazing...on its own. I could drink it by itself without gagging or burning your insides. Drinking rum was something to be savoured, not a test of manliness. I sat there in that empty restaurant and sipped fancy rum for most of the rest of the afternoon. This was rum like I had never had before.
I can't remember the names of all the rums we tried that day, but I definitely remember that one of them was Ron Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva. I'll never forget it. It was delicious. There was no painful burn or harsh chemical taste that I always associated with rum. Instead there were flavours like vanilla, nutmeg, dried fruits and brown sugar. Diplomatico is still one of my favourites today.
A couple of hours later I walked out into the rain feeling a little tipsy, but with a new obsession. I went immediately to a local specialty liquor store called Bishop's Cellar and bought the last six bottles of the Ron Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva.
It wasn't until a few years later that I took my obsession to a new level with tastings and learning about the history and production of rum, but the seed was definitely planted that afternoon.
Since then I have been lucky enough to sample dozens of rums. Rums from all over the world. Diplomatico is produced in Venezuela. Some of my other favourites come from Guatemala (Ron Zacapa), Martinique (La Favourite), Australia (Bundaberg), Dominican Republic (UNHIQ), Fiji (Fiji Rum Company), etc. My collection of rums is now well over fifty bottles and growing.
I read books abut rum. I listen to podcasts about rum. I follow blogs and websites about rum.
Now its time for me to make my contribution to the world of the rum obsessed. This website is the next step in my journey to experiencing the best rums the world has to offer and becoming an expert in the delicious brown spirit that I am now officially infatuated with. I will be posting rum reviews and other rum related commentaries here, and will be making tasting videos that I will host here and on YouTube, hopefully by the end of the summer.
Join me on my journey...