It isn’t easy for a rum brand to get the one-name not of approval from rum aficionados.
It takes time, it takes energy and it takes a product that is as consistent as it is
But travel to rum hubs in the United States — from Sarasota to Miami to Palm Beach, and you’ll hear rum lovers call it, simply, “Pilar.”
It’s quite a rise for a brand part-owned by the Hemingway Estate and designed around the adventurous spirit of one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.
And that rise has happened steadily since the brand first launched in 2013.
But what’s most impressive about Pilar’s growth is that the company has not rested on its laurels.
It’s always experimenting, always trying new things, always tinkering and always coming up with new ways to satisfy rum palates.
The latest effort is its most ambitious: Marquesas.
Like all Pilars, it’s a blend, this time of seven rums aged up to 24 years, all put together by the brand’s master blender, Ron Call.
The company says the new blend honors Hemingway’s time in the Marquesas Keys, the tiny islets near Key West, where Hemingway was once stranded while on a fishing expedition.
The expression was finished in #4 char Kentucky Straight Bourbon barrels, part of what Call says was the desire for a more “whiskey-forward experience.”
So what is it like?
The aroma has notes of caramel, key lime, oak and even a hint of chartreuse.
The flavor profile has notes of caramel, brown sugar, malt and vanilla.
And then there’s a sensation the brand first managed to convey in its previous release, “The Lost Cask” – a kind of warmth — not of heat, but of spirit.
While it’s exceptionally complex, Marquesas delivers a warm embrace on the palate, wonderfully balanced and harmonious, delicate but luxurious.
The finish is nutty, a note we haven’t encountered before with Pilar – but a welcome one.
This rum is a journey — the kind you wouldn’t mind getting stranded on for a few weeks.
Rum Journal Review