6 Aug 2013
If you were going to name a rum after anyone’s boat, it’d have to be Earnest Hemingway. Hence this new rum, Papa’s Pilar, named after Hemingway’s 38-foot yacht named “Pilar”—inspiration for such literature as The Old Man and the Sea and Islands in the Stream.
It’s a new rum (officially launched last month in Washington, DC), but the team behind it is hardly inexperienced. Leading the charge is Jay Maltby, formerly an executive with Bacardi and Cruzan. He is joined by Lincoln Henderson, longtime master distiller at Brown Forman (Woodford Reserve and Old Forrester) and currently the innovator behind Angel’s Envy, which has gained a loyal following for its bourbon (and now rye) that is finished in a second barrel after traditional aging.
Henderson’s participation is particularly notable since Papa’s Pilar adopts a similar finishing process. Papa’s Pilar Dark is an 86-proof combination of “solera blended” rums (sourced from Florida, the Caribbean, and Central America) up to 24 years old and finished in Spanish sherry casks. The 84-proof Blonde combines similarly sourced rums aged 3-7 years, also finished in sherry casks.
Papa’s Pilar Blonde is amber-tinted and features a unique nose of grapefruit peel and pineapple. The palate is a smooth and flavorful combination of lemon meringue, cake batter, and grass, reminiscent of agricole-style rhum. With plenty of sweetness and a short finish, it’s a vibrant bit of the tropics that can be enjoyed straight or as the basis for a special cocktail.
Papa’s Pilar Dark is a dark bronze color with a strong nose dominated by molasses, with added hints of sherry and oak. On the palate it has more dark, syrupy sweetness with powdered chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, and oak. The finish is long with plenty of sherry-influenced notes.
These are two excellent new rums with plenty of sweetness, each distinct and polished in its own way, not to mention reasonably priced at $30 and $40, respectively. And each calls for a distinct style of cigar.
The Blonde variation pairs well with a mild or medium Connecticut-wrapped smoke (such as the Davidoff Grand Cru, Illusione Epernay, or Cuban Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill). The well-aged Dark rum calls for full-bodied, earthy Nicaraguan cigar (like a Drew Estate Liga Privada Único Serie Velvet Rat, Tatuaje Black, or Padrón Serie 1926).
photo credit: Stogie Guys