ILEC Conference Centre
47 Lillie Road
This year was the 10th anniversary of the celebrated RumFest, the annual celebration of rums from around the globe. Focusing on quality, not quantity, there were representatives from the creme de la creme of international rum houses.
Throughout Saturday and Sunday there were opportunities to take part in various workshops and masterclasses, ranging from chocolate pairings to develop your palette, to an aroma masterclass on appreciating key aromas in your favourite rums. Seminars on rare rums, unusual Venezuelan rums and tasting seminars with Diplomatico, Mount Gay and El Dorado by their master blenders were held both days to help people understand and appreciate on a whole new level. Guests were also treated to performances by musical groups and dancers to really get the party started.
One of the most interesting things about RumFest is that you can get to try most anything there. Upon entry you’re provided with a tasting glass, and you can explore the various stands, chatting with the knowledgeable representatives and tasting their rums. We found it so educational discovering the variety and depth of flavour in the different vintages within the same families. The differences in proof, ageing, types of cask used, distillation – there’s so much that goes into each one.
As well as old favourites like Diplomatico, Bacardi, and Havana that the everyday consumer is familiar with, there were a host of hidden treasures from all over, like the newly launched in the UK Don Q, and from New Orleans the Bayou Spiced Rum. Each stand offered tastings of their brand, while some also had cocktails on offer, or other mixed drinks to show versatility and blending. Bacardi went all out, creating an immersive experience right in the centre of the exhibit. Queues gathered to get into the (literally) rocking shed, where a DJ played tunes for a full house of people tasting Bacardi iced cocktails and shots straight from the bottle. Lights were swinging, carnivals queens were dancing and in just five minutes later a whole new group got the party started again.
Traditional jerk food and sides were for sale – and necessary – to keep tummies full and smiles on faces. The nicest thing though, is that everyone is there for a good time. Wether you’re relatively new to rum or a seasoned connoisseur, there is something for everyone. A brilliant day through and through, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and are already planning a trip back next year.