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Rum Journal: Papa’s Pilar: A Rum for Ernest Hemingway

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - March 11, 2013

“I ordered a Rum St James. This tasted wonderful on the cold day and I kept on writing, feeling very well and feeling the good Martinique rum warm me all through my body and my spirit.”

— Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

HE WAS ONE of the literary titans of the 20th century, and one of the greatest adventurers the world has ever known. And whether it was in Havana or Paris (as above), Ernest Hemingway always found time to enjoy rum.

Now, a new rum seeks to honour the memory of “Papa,” as he was known, and that spirit of adventure.

Papa’s Pilar, which will have a soft launch in Tampa next week and then begin expanding to markets in South Florida (including Key West) April 5, is the product of a partnership with the Hemingway Estate. Its name is a combination of Papa and Pilar, the name of the fishing boat Hemingway used across Florida, Cuba and Bimini.

The Hemingway Estate will be donating 100 percent of their royalty profits to organization that “embody the likes of adventure, literacy and conservation causes dear to Hemingway and his heirs.”

The rums, which include light and dark varieties, are blends of high-end rums of different ages from around the region.

“I like to say we sourced our rum as Hemingway sourced his adventures,” Lindsey Kops, brand manager for Papa’s Pilar, tells Rum Journal.

The rum uses the solera method, with a combination of three barrel stages; first, in American oak bourbon barrels, then in port wine casks, and finished in Spanish sherry casks.

It debuts with two varieties a 3-year-old “Blonde Rum,” and a 24-year-old “Solera Blended” rum. Both are finished in Spanish sherry casks.

While the Florida-based company won’t reveal all of its countries of origin, Kops tells Rum Journal that some rums are sourced from Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Florida.

Right now the rum is blended in Kentucky, although there are plans to eventually move the process to Florida.

Kops said the company truly wanted to honour Hemingway, not just as a writer, but as an adventurer — for the way he lived.

“He lived this life that was constantly in a state of perpetual motion,” she said. “He was traveling the world, by land, by sea, collecting tales and obviously later telling us about them — the clear persona we pulled out was the ‘never a spectator’ mindset.”

She says Papa’s Pilar is an adventure brand, for those “who have that same sort of restless spirit.”

“His writing was very separate from rum enjoyment, but rum was a huge part of his life,” she says.

* * *

On to the review.

The blonde rum is a light yellow in colour, with an aroma of cane and sweet citrus. The flavour profile includes hints of grapefruit, sherry, and key lime, with a smooth finish.

The 24-year-old dark rum has a dark amber colour, with notes of key lime, lemon squares, caramel and port, with an exceptionally smooth finish with a suggestion of citrus peel.

The verdict? Both rums are simply out of this world. For a pair of new-to-market rums, we were blown away. And just a quarter of the way through 2013, the dark rum is an early contender for Rum of the Year.

And certainly worthy of the Hemingway name.

—CJ

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