One of our favorite rums is Papa’s Pilar 24 Dark Rum for its vanilla and honey nose, bourbon-like notes and texture on the palate, and a finish that satisfies our souls. We knew the Hemingway Rum Company had a Blonde but being sipping rum kinda folks, we never considered a taste test. We were in Key West during Hemingway’s special release of the Lost Cask Blonde. Hummm…there must be something to this Blonde.
Tricia Flannigan, director of operations and marketing for Hemingway Rum Company, graciously met with us to talk about what made Papa’s Blonde different from other silvers on the market. Then, to get a clear picture of the process, we took one of the daily tours available to the public. Our guide, Captain Kirk (everyone at Papa’s has a nickname), led us on a fun and informative tour featuring rare photos of Hemingway, fun facts about rum and of course the production facility.
Papa’s rums begin with fresh Florida sugarcane to make molasses for use in fermentation. During the distillation process Hemingway’s rum makers use their nose rather than technology to tell them when the rum is ready. Unlike many producer’s over distilled and odorless rum, Papa’s “high wine” has a sweet nose prior to aging. Papa’s Blonde is aged for one to seven years in Kentucky bourbon and sherry barrels, then using the solera method, blended using six different rums. Hemingway adds no sugar, coloring or flavoring to its rums.
Papa’s Pilar Blonde 7
The nose has a wonderful vanilla note that engulfs our senses. On the palate the vanilla becomes buttery bringing back memories of butterscotch hard candies we had as kids. The finish is smooth and satisfying. Further sips bring out hints of orange and even a bit of almond.
This rum definitely stands on its own as a sipping rum but also makes a wonderful mixer. Pour the Blonde over frozen cubes of coconut water. The hint of coconut added to the vanilla notes makes this a refreshing poolside cocktail.
To be a true Key Wester, mix equal parts of Papa’s Blond and Dark. The combination is better than any cocktail we’ve had this side of the Caribbean. The vanilla leaning Blonde blends well with the bourbon forward Dark quickly becoming our new favorite cocktail.
4.25 of 5
Recently three bourbon barrels of Papa’s Blonde were found in a back corner of a warehouse. Based on the markings the rum had been resting for three years. This rum was carefully blended to create a limited edition Lost Cask Blonde of which there were only 698 bottles produced. We are very fortunate to have been able to purchase this outstanding blend to share with special friends. The vanilla notes of the original Blonde are magnificently enhanced by the extra time spent in the oak barrels. The depth and complexion far surpass any golden sipping rum we have tasted.
5 of 5
Sipping Rum Scale
1 – An expensive mixer
2 – A quick celebratory shot
3 – Wouldn’t be embarrassed to share with friends
4 – Are my friends worthy of a sip
5 – Special moments rum