Once a year, the rum world gathers in the Caribbean to celebrate both molasses-based spirits and premium rhums agricoles over Caribbean rum week. To close out the festivities, the sixth annual Caribbean Rum Awards awarded top bottles and producers the year’s biggest honors.
2023’s best bottle is Don Q Reserva de la Familia Serralles, a rare bottling first born in 1994 when the Serralles family aged a special rum in charred American white oak barrels. From the 36 barrels, the best samples were pulled to create this exceptional lot.
Runners-up include Neisson Zwetol (gold), named after the Creole word for star and packaged in wood from Jura; Mount Gay Single Estate (silver), highlighting sugar can harvested from specific fields, and Papa’s Pilar Ernest (bronze), a liquid ode to Ernest Hemingway.
“This year’s Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth was a fantastic success,” said Alexander Britell, editor and publisher of Caribbean Journal and co-founder of the Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth. “The impressive field was a reminder of the unbelievable diversity and quality of rums in the Caribbean.”
The event closed out a week of parties, tasting, master class, and pairing dinners around the island of St Baths, with the closing competition taking place at Rosewood Le Guanahani St Barth resort.
Rhum Neisson out of Martinique is the year’s most decorated brand, taking home double gold in three different categories. Trinidad’s Island Company Rum was dubbed the Best Gold Rum of the year, and Flor de Cana won for best branding. Yves Assier de Pompignan of Martinique was named rum maker of the year.
To expand on the previous years, the Caribbean Rum Awards has added a new category to the competition: cane rum, highlighting rums made from cane juice. To kick off the category, Grenada’s Renegade Rum Single Farm Origin Dunfermline was awarded double gold.
“The Caribbean rum world has never been more exciting, particularly in rhum agricole” said Guy Britton, managing editor of Caribbean Journal.
In the Rhum Blanc Guadalupe category: Rhum Karukera 50 won double gold, Reimonenq Coeur de Chauffe won gold, Rhum St Barth 50 won silver, and Damoiseau 69 won bronze.
In the Rhum Blanc Martinique category, Rhum A1710 La Perle won double gold, Neisson Dekolaj won gold, Baie de Tresor won silver, and Rhum JM 50 won bronze. Over in Vieux Agricole, Rhum Neisson Vieux Bio won double gold, Rhum Karukera L’insolite won gold, Longueteau Vieux won silver, and Damoiseau Vieux won bronze.
“We had some great rums and new distilleries visiting and presenting their rums as well as some of the agricole producers that have been supporting us all along,” said Christopher Davis, founder of Rhum Room St Barth and co-founder of the Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth. “It was a great week and we have some fantastic ideas for 2024.”
Judges included Alexander Britell, co-founder of the Caribbean Rum Awards and editor and publisher of Caribbean Journal; Guy Britton, managing editor of Caribbean Journal; Christopher Davis, renowned rum expert and founder of the Rhum Room St Barth; Peter Berntsen, COO of Empire Social Lounge in Miami; Myssi Davis, founder of Rum Traveler; Jose Antonio Hernandez-Solaun, president of the Miami branch of the International Wine and Food Association; rum expert Ivan Jivkov; Simons Chase, editor of Cuba Journal; and world-renowned Chef Guy Ferdinand.