Rum Journal: Papa’s Pilar “The Lost Cask”

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The barrels were an afterthought, hidden away in the corner of the rum factory.

And while they were few in number, these “lost” barrels held something rather special.

And now Papa’s Pilar, the rum brand named for Ernest Hemingway’s fishing boat that continues to put out inspired, innovative and just plain satisfying rum blends out of a Florida base, has delivered again.

It’s called “The Lost Cask,” and it’s an extremely limited release of a version of the brand’s “Blonde” rum containing rum from expressions that the company says were “lost” for three years while aging in ex-bourbon casks, then blended by master blender Ron Call.

The brand’s Key West headquarters.

For the uninitiated, the Pilar portfolio (which is owned in part by the Hemingway Estate) has two primary expressions: the “blonde” blend of more lightly aged rums, and the “dark” blend of longer aged rums from across the Americas.

The pair of excellent expressions have spawned several terrific limited-release rums, most notably the Sherry-finish and the higher-proof “Platinum Blonde,” both of which scored very well in these pages.

There are just a few hundred of these “Lost Cask” bottles, which are only on sale at the brand’s Key West flagship location.

And while the the Papa’s blonde is certainly the core, the Lost Cask is its own adventure entirely.

The Lost Cask has a darker amber color than its forebear, with a buttery aroma of vanilla, mocha and caramel.

The flavor profile is marked by butterscotch, a hint of almond, powdered sugar and caramel, with a smooth and round but delicate finish.

The more you sip it, the more its depth emerges, a rum that grabs you by the shoulders like it hasn’t seen you in a decade, a warm embrace of a rum.

It’s bottled at 91 proof, but while the degrees are boldm the experience is not.

In a changing, dynamic world of rum, Papa’s Pilar continues to blend rums from the Caribbean, Central America and Florida and create its own identity of rum, to put its own spin on the noble spirit, in a way that nods to the best of rummaking but also asks new questions and adds new flavors.

The Lost Cask is just a wonderful, endlessly drinkable rum.

Rum Journal Review: 94 Points

— CJ