I am always intrigued to find great new products. New is always exciting and Papa’s Pilar rum hits that mark, being barely a year old. However, new is only the start of what’s interesting about this rum. The team that put it together really hit a home run. From concept to packaging, to the absolute commitment to their Hemingway theme, it all works beautifully. And best of all? The rum is good.
Papa’s Pilar produces a dark and a blond rum, both finished in sherry casks. Personally, I was most excited about the Papa’s Pilar Blonde. Usually I don’t really enjoy white rums. They don’t taste like much and to me, and if there is no taste it’s a waste. Pilar is not white, light or silver, it is, in fact, a blonde rum. As the name Blonde implies, the highly aromatic liquid is a pale flaxen color, not quite gold, not quite clear. I think the straw-like color is a good idea, because it helps to differentiate between flavorless white rums and rums that are light in color but rich with flavor. This rum is a “solera” blend, not yet a true solera, but an approach to blending unlike anything else you will find. They went far and wide finding rums that would create just the right flavor notes. Because of this it is complex and has flavors like raisin, pipe tobacco, sherry and grapefruit that hit the pallet in unexpected ways. It is for these reasons that Papa’s Pilar Blond stands out so dramatically from the pack when compared to white or silver rums on the market. Forging their own category, Hemingway might actually be proud.
Steampunk kids get ready, because this rum comes in a beautiful glass canteen and is only a leather pouch away from costume gold. The bottle and the giant cork is cool and almost a reason to buy Pilar by itself. Bottom line, I would not just buy this rum, I would gift it, because it is delightful and the bottle will certainly impress.
Part of the team representing this rum is Philip Green, founding member of the Museum of the American Cocktail, and author of To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion. When I ran into him on the floor at Miami Rum Renaissance he had just made an exceptional Hemingway daiquiri using the Pilar Blond. I would not have thought that the sweetness and robust flavor of the Pilar would work in a Hemingway, but the drink was fantastic, dry and well crafted. I had forgotten my copy of Green’s book, so I had him scrawl the recipe on a scrap of hotel note paper, and yes, I had him sign it. Hopefully Pilar rum will be available soon in more markets and I won’t have to horde every drop I have until it’s here in San Diego.
Papa’s Pilar Hemingway Daquiri
by Philip Green
1 1/2 oz Pilar Blonde
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/3 oz fresh grapefruit
1 tsp Maraschino liquer
Shake with ice, strain into cocktail glass, and serve.