A great rum should be more than a rum. It should be an event.
That’s true of any luxury product — whether a bottle of wine or a fine cigar; it should move you, make you feel special, that the moment is something extraordinary.
That brings us to the newest release by Papa’s Pilar, the Ernest Hemingway-inspired rum brand that continues to be among the most creative and cool rum brands on the market today.
Pilar, named after Hemingway’s prized fishing boat (and partially owned by the Hemingway Estate, which donates its proceeds to conservation-focused charities), is a blend of rums from across the wider region, stretching from Florida in the north to Venezuela in the south — including rums from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Barbados to boot.
And for years, it’s been releasing a continued wave of very fine rums, from its signature dark expression to its always-delightful sherry-cask finish.
The new expression is something different, though.
It’s called Papa’s Pilar Legacy and it’s a first for the rum industry — a premium rum finished in rye whiskey barrels, under the stewardship of master blender Ron Call.
It begins with Pilar’s World War II-era canteen shape, with a bronzed plaque, clothed in a rather lovely leather wrap around the bottle.
So what is it like?
The aroma is marked by toffee, key lime, oak and confectioner’s sugar.
The flavor profile includes notes of oak, the slightest hint of fennel; a whisper of cardamom; orange peel; and then there’s the rye, which is ever present but never overbearing — it adds a wonderful glow, rounding off the rum but also adding a different personality, too.
The finish is endlessly smooth, with a bit of vanilla.
It’s a rum that gets better with each sip, the more you try it, the more you understand it.
There’s a romance about this rum; it’s a rum that takes you somewhere, starting with the moment you unscrew the chained cap and pour it in your glass.
That’s a welcome departure from an all-too-unhappy trend in the rum world, where rum brands clothe their bottles in labels that reduce themselves to mere chemistry, reminding more of prescriptions than sugarcane spirits.
Legacy, on the other hand, is what a rum bottle should look like.
Papa’s Pilar gets it — that rum is something different, that rum is about romance — romance of the sort you just don’t find in other spirits.
As it turns out, Legacy is more than just an event — it’s an adventure.
Rum Journal Review: 96 Points