Everyone attending Rumfest received a free glass – not looking dissimilar to this!
It is very difficult to do Rumfest justice. At its beating heart lies an appreciation of rum but it is far more than that. Held this year at the ILEC in West Brompton, this was a golden opportunity for any rum lover to sample the rums from over thirty companies, and work their way through practically every sample on the menu – if you could manage that many!
The event was superbly organised. With food sold from a central point in the venue, and water readily available throughout the day from various points, time had been taken to ensure there was no rum fatigue. In addition, talks on the main stage were provided from a variety of perspectives – from cooking with rum, to making rum, to auctioning rum – all bases were covered.
Tickets were priced at £49.95. This may seem excessive. However, given the amount of rum on offer, with samples of all bar the most expensive rums included in the ticket price, this was superb value and also included a commemorative glass. Individual companies also went out of their way to make you feel welcome and explain about their product far more than you would get anywhere else, with special appreciation to Andrew from Havana Club who did cocktail demonstrations every half hour, and was even kind enough to share one of his cocktail recipes with me; and also to the unnamed guy from Diplomatico who spent a good twenty minutes going through all five different types of rum they produce.
As well as known names, less well known brands were also present. St Nicholas Abbey was another favourite with their white rum which unlike other white rums is not charcoal filtered, apparently these guys are relatively new on the rum scene having only started producing in 2006. With an innovative bottle design and bags of enthusiasm, this is surely one to watch for the future.
This all however leaves one burning question. How do you get your hands on the most expensive rum? The answer was simple, by way of Golden Tot tokens that were priced £5 each with the expense of each rum determining how many tokens you needed to sample the rum. There were lots of ‘1 token’ rums available, the best one in my opinion being Ron Milionario XO – and not just because the lovely lady behind the bar wasn’t sure how much to give us. However if I was to offer a criticism, I’d say it would have been nicer to see more 2-3 token rums available.
In short, Rumfest is a rum lover’s paradise. This year was the third event, and whilst the event is popular, it was nice to see that numbers were kept to a busy but not packed and cramped level. Here’s to next year’s event!