There’s a new epicenter in the world of Caribbean rum: the island of St Barth.
In a turbulent year around the world, the island played host to the ultimate rum experience of 2020: the Caribbean Rum Awards and St Barth Rum Festival, which concluded this weekend.
This year’s third annual Caribbean Rum Awards drew a who’s who of the rum world for an unmatched lineup of high-level, socially-distanced rum experiences, rum competitions, cocktail pairing dinners and master classes, all hosted at Christopher Davis’ Rhum Room, the world’s leading Caribbean rum bar and the adjacent Quarter Kitchen and Cocktail Lab.
The week was punctuated by the Caribbean Rum Awards themselves, which put together a never-before-seen field of heavyweight expressions of both Molasses Rum and Rhum Agricole.
“We are so pleased with the 2020 edition of our Caribbean Rum Awards in St Barth, which truly celebrated the best of the world of rum,” said Alexander Britell, editor and publisher of Caribbean Journal and co-founder of the Caribbean Rum Awards. “This year’s competition set a new standard, with nearly 60 rums, including some sought-after expressions that have never before appeared in any rum competition.”
Most importantly, the dates have already been set for next year’s Caribbean Rum Awards and St Barth Rum Festival, which will run from Nov. 2-7, 2021.
“As we wind up a week filled with Master Distillers, Master Blenders and other Rum Industry experts, I find myself in awe of the knowledge and passion they have for this industry and their generosity in sharing with everyone who met them,” said Christopher Davis, international rum expert, proprietor of the Rhum Room and Quarter Kitchen and Cocktail Lab and founder of the St Barth Rum Festival.
“This year’s addition of Master Classes from these experts was very well received and the feedback I received from literally everyone is ‘please next year bring them back and add more if you can.’ The first annual Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum Cocktail Contest was great and the contestants had as much fun as the crowd cheering them on. Expanding the Rum Cocktail Pairing Dinner to two nights this year was clearly well received and sold out so we will add a third night next year. And when I look at all of what we accomplished in a year of COVID, I think just wait until next year when we have more freedom for the events.”
So who were the winners?
More than 100 rums were entered for judging, narrowed down to a competition field of nearly 60 rums across 8 categories, including Premium Molasses Rum (rums up to $450 per bottle), Uber-Premium Molasses Rum (rums $450 and over); Rhum Blanc – Martinique; Rhum Blanc – Guadeloupe; Rhum Agricole VSOP; Rhum Agricole XO; Rhum Agricole Hors d’Age and Uber-Premium Rhum Agricole (rum over $500 per bottle).
In the Molasses field, it was a banner year for Puerto Rico’s Ron del Barrilito, which took home Double Gold in both the Premium and Uber-Premium categories for its Ron del Barrilito 4-Star and Ron del Barrilito Five-Star, respectively.
Martinique’s Rhum Neisson dominated the Agricole category, with three Double Gold medals, highlighted by a win for its Cuvee Sacha in the Uber-Premium category.
You can find the full list of winners below:
This year’s Caribbean Rum Awards was judged by the CRA panel of international judges in a blind tasting. Judges included Alexander Britell, editor-in-chief of Caribbean Journal and founder of Rum Journal; Guy Britton, EVP and Managing Editor of Caribbean Journal; Christopher Davis, global rum expert and proprietor of the Rhum Room in St Barth; Steven Shaw, spirits importer and vintner; Simons Chase, editor-in-chief of Cuba Journal and leading Cuban rum expert; Peter Berntsen, COO of Empire Social in Miami and founder of Miami Rum Month.
In the CRA’s People’s Choice category, Mount Gay Port Cask Expression took home the top honors in the Molasses category, while Rhum Neisson Cuvee Sacha won in the Agricole category. (The People’s Choice Jury included Steven Miller, Eddy Maddox; Benoit Lavigne and Ted Houseknect.)
“We are so excited for what’s in store for next year,” said Guy Britton, EVP and Managing Editor of Caribbean Journal and co-founder of the Caribbean Rum Awards. “What we were able to achieve in a challenging year speaks volumes of the direction of this event. This has quickly become the essential rum event in the Caribbean.”