Where has the rum gone? Lately, there have been plenty of events for gin, whisky, beer, and even sake, but rum, one of the world’s most diverse spirits, has been seemingly left out.
Well, be hearty, all yer rum-lovers, for The Locker And Loft in Petaling Jaya is currently holding its own Rum Fest from now until Oct 22, featuring a diverse range of light and dark rums (and even funky rum), flights and tastings, special rum and tiki cocktails (including the very Malaysian classic cocktail, the Jungle Bird), and even a Rum Masterclass conducted by renowned bartender Joshua Ivanovic, happening tonight.
Here are six of the rums you should try at the event, which will also be featured during the masterclass.
Cana Brava 3 Year Old (43% ABV)
Who says white rum is only for mixing drinks? Caña Brava 3 Year Old, produced in Panama by the Las Cabras distillery, is a light rum that is good enough to drink on its own, AND excellent when used in cocktails. Aged for 18 to 24 months in new American oak barrels and finished in bourbon and Tennessee whiskey barrels for 12 to 24 months, the rum does indeed taste a little young on the tongue, but there is a vibrant sweet note that comes through wonderfully on the nose and in the middle of the palate. While it is excellent in classic rum cocktails like the Daiquiri, it definitely holds its own when taken neat as well.
Plantation 3 Stars (41.2% ABV)
A blend of rums from the Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad (the so-called ‘3 Stars of the Caribbean’), these light rum is yet another convincing argument against the ‘light rum is not meant for drinking neat’ idealogy. On the nose, there is a wonderful gula melaka-like sweetness, with fresh young bananas and a palate that reminds me of the brown coconut candies I used to have as a kid.
Angostura 5 Year Old (40% ABV)
We’re going into dark rum territory now, and this is an excellent one to start with. Made in Trinidad by the same company who also makes the world-famous Angostura bitters, this blend of light and heavy molasses-based rums is aged in charred American oak bourbon barrels for five years, which gives it a vibrant, syrupy coconut and coffee nose that leads into a mellow coconut and gula melaka sweetness.
Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum (40% ABV)
Supposedly one of the most awarded rums in the world, it is not hard to see why. This Venezuelan dark rum is distilled from molasses in a copper pot still, and aged for an impressive 12 years. It has a wonderful, sweet coconut-pandan nose with hints of ripe bananas, a complex tropical palate of dark fruits, sugarcane, and raisins, and a nice lingering pandan finish.
Ron Zacapa 23 Year Old (40% ABV)
Like whisky or cognac, some of the best dark rums are meant to be savoured neat so that one can get all the nuances and flavours that come with a good aged rum. Ron Zacapa, from Guatemala, makes some excellent dark rums, and this one in particular, has a bit of a cola/betel nut nose with soft banana and caramel, and raisin flavours on the palate, and is surprisingly easy on the palate considering it is a blend of rums from 3 to 23 years old.
El Dorado 15 Year Old (43% ABV)
If you only drink ONE rum at Rum Fest, drink this one. It won the Wray & Nephew Trophy for Best Rum in the World at the International Wine & Spirits Challenge for an unprecedented four years running. There is a stunning fruitcake nose, with candied citrus fruits, raisins, cinnamon, and ripe, ripe bananas, while on the palate you get layers of complex flavours, including tropical fruits, honey, and even gingerbread. There is a wonderful balance between the sweeter flavours and a slightly spicy sensation that lingers on long after the finish. Truly exceptional indeed.
The Locker & Loft is located at 40A Jalan SS20/10, Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya (Tel: 03-7496 7222). For more information about Rum Fest 2016, visit the Facebook Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/179214125860900/