19 Rums in 30 Minutes: Judging at the Rum Renaissance Festival
|Lots of rum to judge at the Rum Renaissance Festival|
Festival Director Robert Burr gave me simple enough directions. Judging takes place in a "quiet room," meaning there's silence as each of the dozen or so judges (mostly bar owners, bartenders and major rum aficionados) rate each of a 19 rum flight. Then the judges take off their clothes and get naked with each other. I hoped Burr was kidding... about the 19 rums part, at least (though there was a time in Jamaica where I recall rum led to stripping).
The competition, once it got going, was completely serious. We would judge aged and spiced rums. They were laid out in glasses numbered 1-19, along with water, crackers and coffee beans (for taste fatigue). Rums were rated by the following categories: color and clarity (10 points total), aroma (20 points total), taste (50 points total), finish (20 points total) for a possible 100 points for rum worthy of Captain Jack Sparrow, I presumed.
|Taking lots of notes.|
Colors ran the spectrum of light yellow to a dark amber brown. I gravitated toward darker rums that were sweeter and more full flavored.
As we all forged ahead toward our goal of 19 rums tasted and ranked, the rums got more complex. Rum #12, for example, at first smelled too "light" for its color. A few swirls of the glass, however, coaxed out what smelled like a cross between a bakery and a dark wine (or rum) cellar.
Rum #13 tasted like what I envisioned pirates would drink -- hearty and dark.
Rum #14 tasted like birthday cake, but it was rum #16 that stole my heart -- rich, coconutty, sweet and dark, I wanted to sit under a palm tree in some exclusive resort with that rum in the worst way.
|Release the Kraken!|