pilar surfing

Rum Journal: The Newest Papa’s Pilar Has a Surfing Story 

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - March 23, 2024

It began with an adventurer. 

Papa’s Pilar, the rum brand part owned by the Hemingway Estate and crafted in a spirit of adventure, gets its name from Ernest Hemingway, the great American novelist, explorer and champion of adventure. It’s a rum that has been expertly blending top expressions from around the Caribbean Basin, married with a story and an image rooted in adventure. 

It’s a brand we’ve extolled in these pages over the last decade.

In recent years, Papa’s Pilar has been upping its game further, with a range of smaller-batch expressions, some with exciting cask finishes (the recent Rye finish was a particular hit) and, most recently, the “Ernest,” which was one of the world’s best rums at the Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth last year. 

For the last three years, the brand has been producing a special annual release: Legacy, with the idea of honoring “Hemingway and those he inspired,” choosing a different inspiration each year.

It’s a limited-edition expression (this year with just 3,000 bottles), this year celebrating the legendary surfer Greg Noll, the man they called “Da Bull” who made a career surfing impossible waves and, in a second life, crafting longboards. 

This year’s Legacy is the result of a fusion of Caribbean and South American rums, with a mix of expressions blended in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. 

The biggest innovation? The final blend is finished in former French limousin oak casks that formerly held apple brandy, an exceptionally rare finish in the rum world. 

So what’s it like? 

The Legacy 2023 has a mellow, fruity nose with hints of pineapple, candied apple, key lime and mango. The flavor profile is marked by nougat, marzipan, millefeuille, custard, tropical fruit and a whisper of white pepper. 

The finish has a warm glow, with the sort of perfectly-timed edge you’d expect from a rum honoring a surfer. 

It’s been exciting to see the evolution of Pilar over the years, and it’s a rum that has developed a devoted following among rum lovers. It’s not hard to see why: the product is outstanding, the bottling is beautiful and the story and the personality are just, well, cool. It’s a fun product and one that embodies another legacy: the romance and adventure that makes rum what it is. 

Rum Journal Review: 95 Points

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