This Year’s Winners Are…


I went to Miami to see my friends, to drink some rum, and to introduce people to my take on bitters.  What a crazy party it was!  This year, amongst the partying and rum drinking of the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, it is important to understand that we did some real work by drinking…er.. tasting rum.  I was so incredibly honored (and surprised!) to be invited to sit in that room full of distinguished rummies (the RumXPs) with volumes of rum laid out in rows.  Serious business that, judging spirits…and challenging, too!  I pride myself on knowing the taste of a quality spirit, but never have I tasted so many (129) in such strict and serious sessions.  Imagine 20 or so glasses of rum spread before you twice a day for three days, separated by sponsored meals that included more rum.  I was a child amongst men, I was riding the rum tide, I was proud and I was committed to my task.  I may never graduate from guest to professional rum judge without rigorous training, but as a guest I got to have an insightful view into a world most of us will never know.

The blind tasting results in medals awarded to the best rums in each category each year.  The value to we lovers of rum is that we can use these medals as roadmap to buying some of  the most incredible cane spirits on the market.  Below I have copied the results:

“The RumXPs were sequestered in their tasting room for three days of blind tasting trials. The rums were grouped and judged in categories of white, gold, aged, old aged, premium aged, dark, special cask, spiced, flavored, overproof, agricole and cacacha.

Their collective expertise as a group of judges is unrivaled in the spirits world. Their combined experience spans many dozens of countries and hundreds of brands. They are authors, lecturers, trainers, historians, journalists, consultants, collectors, proprietors, mixologists and promoters of rum.”


Papa’s Pilar Blonde

Tanduay Gold

Plantation Original Dark

Old Aged:
Centenario 20

Premium Aged:
Barcelo Imperial Anniversario 30

Izapa Negro

Special Cask:
Dos Maderas 5+5

Blackbeard Spiced

Deboniare Coffee

Planation Overproof

R. St Barth

Novo Fogo Clear


Plantation 3 Star
Wicked Dolphin
Guarijo Blanco
Diplomatico Blanco

Guarijo Dorado
Wild Geese Soldiers & Heroes Gold

DonQ Anejo
Occumare Anejo
Diplomatico Reserva
English Harbour 5

Old Aged:
Barcelo Imperial
Atlantico Private Cask
Diplomatico Exclusiva
Occumare Grand Reserve

Premium Aged:
Mt. Gay 1703
Debonaire 21
Dictador XO Perpetual

Special Cask:
Plantation Guatamela
Plantation Jamaica 2000
Plantation Grenada 2003

Shellback Spiced
Bacardi Oakheart

Debonaire Honey
Izapa Chocolate
Santa Teresa Orange

Rum Fire

Novo Fogo Barreled

2013 RumXP Judging Panel

Paul Artrip
Dirk Becker
Ian Burrell
Christopher Carlsson
Joey Casanova
Martin Cate
Forrest Cokely
Juan del Busto
Joe Desmond
Nicole Desmond
John Gibbons
Carlton Grooms
Adam Kanter
Tatu Kaarlas
Bob Leonard
Paul McFadyen
Dave Russell
Bernhard Schäfer
Paul Senft
Arturo Sighinolfi
Rene van Hoven

2013 Guest Judges

Steve Drda
Javier Herrera
Mauricio Lacayo
Shawn Martin
Leonardo Pento
Nigel Sade
Richard Seale
James Soper
Ram Udwin

Congratulations to all the fine rum brands and their outstanding spirits!

Another Round?

Rum Fest!

Miami Rum Renaissance Festival

Awakening to a World of Rum

A Tiki State of Mind

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