Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Rum


Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Rum, one of my favorite rums, marks the 20th anniversary of Alexandre Gabriel’s leadership at Cognac Ferrand. Selected Bajan rums, aged 10 years in the Caribbean in bourbon casks are transported to France to be blended at Chateau de Bonbonnet and then further aged 12-18 months in French cognac barrels. The cognac barrels add a wonderful and unique flavor to an already superb rum. The laser etched decanter-style bottle is wrapped in knotted raffia and topped with a wood and gold medallion stopper. It is a visually brilliant addition to any bar. You notice upon opening the bottle and pouring into a glass, the rum has a radiant old mahogany color.   A quick swirl of your glass exposes many slender legs showing great viscosity. The inviting nose of toasted coconut, banana, butterscotch, vanilla, orange, oak and spices lures you to take a sip. You will notice upon tasting the rum how wonderfully balanced it is with its clean, smooth, creamy and buttery texture. Oak and spices give off a pleasant heat followed by wonderful flavors of banana, caramel, vanilla and orange peel. A touch of cocoa accompanies the finish which is extremely enjoyable and quite long. This exceptional sipping rum, with its vast resume of awards is a great rum at an excellent price point – a must own.


Appearance – old mahogany color

Nose – toasted coconut, banana, butterscotch, vanilla, orange peel, oak, spices

Taste – balanced, clean, smooth, creamy, buttery, vanilla, caramel, orange peel, banana, cocoa and spices

Finish – quite long and extremely enjoyable

Proof – 80   40%ABV

Aged – 11-12 years

Bottled by – C. Ferrand, Chateau Bonbonnet, France

Congrats to My Favorite Miami Bar. A Well Deserved Honor.

Broken Shaker Named One of the World’s 50 Best Bars

It’s official. Miami is one of the best places to imbibe.

The annual list “the World’s 50 Best Bars” has been released for the sixth year, and a Miami bar has finally been deemed worthy of a spot.

See also: Broken Shaker, Regent Cocktail Club Nominated for Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards

The final list is compiled by votes from an academy of more than 330 of the most renowned names in the drinks industry, such as Tony Conigliaro (69 Colebrooke Row), James Beard nominee David Wondrich, Salvatore Calabrese (creator of one of the most expensive cocktails), and Jim Meeham (author of the PDT Cocktail Book), and includes some heavy-hitters in the cocktail industry like New York’s Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog, London’s Artesian, and Chicago’s Aviary. Joining this prestigious list is Miami Beach’s own Broken Shaker.

The Shaker makes the grade at number 22, beating out New York’s Clover Club (number 35), San Francisco’s Trick Dog (number 43), and New Orleans’ Cure (number 43) in the overall rankings.

Even though the Broken Shaker was the only bar to represent Miami, other cities that are decades ahead of the Magic City in bar and drink history barely touched the list, with Chicago (two), New Orleans (one), San Francisco (two), and Boston (one) making the list. Only New York City, with an impressive seven bars named, made an impression on the judges.

Broken Shaker partner Gabe Orta, who is out of the country, texted this note: “It’s an honor to be voted by our colleagues and fans, and it’s also a testament to our great staff for all their hard work and dedication. It’s also good for Miami.”

What this nod means for the Miami bar scene is that it has pierced the veil. It has now caught the eyes of the world’s most influential mixologists and savvy cocktailers. The bar (pun intended) has now been set for excellence, and there’s no going back to frozen blender drinks served with corn-syrup-laden mixers. And the scene is growing.

With the recent opening of innovative lounges such as Ball & Chain in Little Havana and the announcement of the upcoming debut of Sweet Liberty Drink and Supply Company — a partnership among mixologist John Lermayer, the team behind Blackbird Ordinary, and David Martinez of Michy’s — and the passion of bartenders like Julio Cabrera, who has taken on the mission of training and mentoring up-and-coming young bartenders, Miami is fast becoming the most spirited city in the United States.

Congratulations to the Broken Shaker for being named number 22. Next year, I predict a Miami bar in the top ten. We’ve got the talent and the heart for it.


The Broken Shaker.  Miami.

Great Article From NPR About Miami Rum Festival

Rum Renaissance Revives The Spirit’s Rough Reputation

From    April 25, 2014 5:17 PM ET

There was a time when rum was considered rotgut. Blackbeard the pirate liked to mix his cane alcohol with gunpowder and light it — rum and croak.

Fast-forward a few centuries to rum respectability — specifically, to Rob Burr’s patio deck in Coral Gables, in South Florida.

From the waterfall pond to the tiki bar, Burr’s deck sets a mood not for swilling rum, but for tasting it. Not the way spring-breakers chug Captain Morgan, but the way cognac drinkers sip Napoleon: Not with Coke (or gunpowder) but neat, in a snifter.

Burr, his wife, Robin, and their son Rob Burr Jr. are one of the most expert teams of rum aficionados in South Florida. Their house is a virtual repository of the stuff. Says Rob Burr Sr., “There are probably a thousand or 1,200 rums sitting around here.”

The Burrs appraise all of it, pouring their notes into the authoritative Rob’s Rum Guide. Those tasting notes lay the groundwork for the annual Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, or Miami Rum Fest, which they’ll host this weekend at the Doubletree Hotel near Miami International Airport.

The event, which drew 12,000 visitors last year, has become a central stage for what you might call the rum revolution — the recent ascent of high-end, premium rum. Don’t let the name Rum Fest fool you. It’s not a college beach bacchanal; it’s rum for grown-ups, for people who know that most aged rums today are distilled as masterfully as fine cognacs and single-malt Scotches.

“We’d call it a renaissance,” Burr Sr. says. As he puts it, part of the festival’s mission is to “change the perception of rum. It’s perceived as ordinary when in fact it’s fascinating.”

The trend is most of all a Caribbean coming-of-age party. There’s hardly a country or island in the basin these days that doesn’t produce an upmarket aged rum — whose prices can range from $25 to $250 or more per bottle.

Among some of the best: Santa Teresa 1796 from Venezuela; Matusalem from the Dominican Republic; Bielle Rhum Vieux from a speck on the map called Marie-Galante.

Many rum master blenders are now industry rock stars. Lorena Vásquez blends one of the most acclaimed rums, Zacapa, in Guatemala. “These rums,” she says, “have become some of the Caribbean’s most prized ambassadors. They’re a marvelous reflection of our culture.”

But if this is about a new boom in the spirits industry, it’s also about a new bond between the Caribbean and South Florida. Very little rum is actually made in Miami. Still, as the Rum Fest suggests, rum reputations are made here. The city today is rum’s premiere showcase, as evidenced by the more than 80 fine rums on the menu at Ortanique, a Caribbean restaurant in South Florida.

“It’s almost a natural for Miami and South Florida to be the mecca of rums,” says Joel Garcia, Ortanique’s bar manager. “It’s always been the depot for the Caribbean, whether it’s the melding of people or the melding of spirits.”

One of Garcia’s favorites is “Pyrat, from the British West Indies, if you wanna try something that will blow you away in a snifter.”

Despite the almost cult following these rums are building in the 21st century — reminiscent of the craze for The Glenlivet and similar silky Scotches at the end of the 20th — sales of premium rums aren’t yet blowing away cognacs or single malts. But they are rising year after year. And ironically, that’s partly because rum in general carries a younger, hipper cachet than those other spirits do.

That may help explain why spirits giant Bacardi of Puerto Rico released its own line of premium aged rums last year. The most expensive, called Paraíso, sells for $250 a bottle.

“This really for us was a critical move to share with the world what we believe rum can truly be,” says Toby Whitmoyer, vice president for rum at Bacardi USA.

Imbibing rum the way wine connoisseurs savor Bordeaux might sound pretentious. But spend a tasting session with the Burr family, and you do realize how rich and complex the spirit’s character can be when it’s not tied to a mai tai or when it’s liberated from a Cuba libre.

The bounty their noses and palates glean from rum — from dried fruit to cola notes, pineapple to vanilla, chocolaty port to balsamic-y wood — seems to capture all the flavors of the Caribbean.

Like the Burrs, Vásquez of Zacapa likes to point out that rum is a product of terroir — not just its prime material, sugar cane, but the soil, climate and faster barrel aging involved in the tropics. “To achieve those special aromas and flavors,” Vásquez says, “we’re as careful as cognac-makers are.”

Makes sense. After all, many argue rum’s real renaissance started in 1862, when French cognac-maker Dupré Barbancourt, heartbroken over his wife’s death, emigrated to Haiti and helped refine the way rum is made.

Hence one of Rob Burr’s favorite new bottles: “A special 150-year anniversary of Rhum Barbancourt,” he says. “This is actually closer to cognac.”

But it’s rum. Vive la différence.

Foursquare Spiced Rum

FoursquareFoursquare Spiced Rum is like no other spiced rum I’ve had. This combination of island spices and specially aged rum will change the way you think of spiced rum. It’s blended in accordance with a centuries old secret formula known only to generations of the Seale family.

While in Barbados, I was fortunate enough to visit Foursquare Distillery. Foursquare is the name of the oldest sugarcane plantation in Barbados (1636). The distillery features a self-guided, nasal euphoria-inducing tour that allows you to wander the grounds and plant learning about the rum-making process. The Foursquare grounds also include gardens, a petting zoo, amphitheater and small museum. I highly recommend you visit the distillery, even if that means leaving your beachside lounge chair and rum punch.Foursquare rum distillery light

Taking a first look at Foursquare, you see a clear, squared slender bottle. The labels inform of the history of Foursquare and the wonderful rum that is confined within by a burgundy wax seal. Upon pouring the rum in a glass, you notice the alluring tawny hue and its clingy legs. This rum has an inviting nose of butterscotch, citrus, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon and cloves. The bright taste of citrus, butterscotch, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, a hint of ginger and char make for a balanced, rich rum of remarkable depth. There is an enjoyable slight burn from the real island spices – not additives that are found in many spiced rums.

Appearance – tawny, amber hue
Nose – butterscotch, hints of nutmeg, vanilla, citrus, cinnamon, cloves
Taste – citrus, butterscotch, nutmeg, cinnamon, hint of ginger, char, pepper, enjoyable slight burn, spicy finish with rich depth and balance
Finish – long, light, crisp, mildly spicy
Proof – 70
Aged at least 2 years in oak
Produced by R.L. Seale & Co. Ltd. Foursquare Distillery, Barbados

Foursquare is one of the best spiced rums on the shelf today.  I brought back 3 bottles of this rum from Barbados to give as gifts to some very occasional rum drinkers who “don’t like spiced rum.” They all absolutely loved it!


You never judge a spirit by its packaging, but this striking bottle is a conversation starter at any bar and will look great in your bar at home.  Luckily, this Tsantsa (shrunken head) houses a very good rum.  Following a battle, the head was taken as a trophy which indicated that the maker properly fulfilled the obligation to his lineage in taking blood revenge. Without the trophy in hand the victory was considered incomplete.  The Tsantsa was a badge of honor designed to contain the person’s spirit so it cannot escape and take revenge or escape into the afterlife and harm dead ancestors.  when the warrior kills his enemy, he is after the victim’s life, but more importantly he seeks to possess the victim’s soul.

At first glance you notice a plastic cover with hemp stitching wrapped around a glass bottle.   Upon pouring the aged rum into a glass you notice a rich amber hue.  the distillate base is pressed sugar cane juice and molasses.  the sugar cane juice is slowly fermented and doubled distilled in pot stills careful to not lose aromatics and essential components.  the rum is aged for 6 years in European oak barrels.  After aging, the art of blending occurs by aging in cognac, whiskey, sherry, Bordeaux, port and rojas barrels.  After a charcoal filtering you are left with a wonderfully unique flavor profile.

Appearance – Rich amber hue

Nose – Vanilla, cinnamon, mild coffee and chocolate, and allspice with a hint of wine drawn from the barrels.

Taste – Warm vanilla, caramel, mild smoke char, cinnamon, oak, touch of pepper.  Rich depth and balance.

Finish – medium long with a nice lingering heat.  Semi-sweet, crisp and dry.

Proof – 80 / 40% ABV

Aged at least 6 years

Produced by Iconic Brands, Inc.

They also produce crystal and aged spice brands for your enjoyment.

Enjoy this rum neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail.  Deadhead is a unique rum in a unique bottle.  A must-have for your collection and a must-buy for your enjoyment.

Be sure to check out Deadhead Rum !