Bourbon and whiskey have captured the cocktail world’s imagination as of late––no surprise there. What might not be so obvious is that rum distillers are getting into the game with some gutsy, yet elegantly crafted pours that are giving some bourbons a run for their mash.
Enter: Papa’s Pilar. Yup, we’re talking about that Papa––this rum’s been developed in conjunction with the Hemingway family, so there’s a fair amount of authenticity at work here. They’ve also enlisted bourbon distiller Lincoln Henderson of Angel’s Envy to help integrate their new rum with some whiskey practices. And this month, the two inaugural flavors were released in Florida: Dark & Blonde. Erase any notions of those bottom-of-the-barrel grogs used in sticky, sweet tiki drinks. Both expressions of Papa’s Pilar stand on their own. Preferably neat.
Papa's Pilar rums are hand-selected from Barbados, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Florida. They’re then aged and blended in the States using American oak bourbon barrels, port wine casks and finished in Spanish sherry casks.
BLONDE ($29.99): Rule #1: Don’t call it a white rum. The off-white Blonde is crisp, layered and surprisingly smooth. At 84-proof, it uses column stilled aged rums that are 3-5 years old. There’s tasting notes of vanilla and pineapple at first blush and the finish––pleasantly long and buttery. The Blonde works well in a classic daiquiri, lightly cut with some coconut water or taken neat.
DARK ($39.99): Coming in at 86-proof, this one’s both pot and column stilled and uses hand-selected rums up to 24 years old. The nose is slightly smokey (mostly due to the charred oak casks used to age bourbon), sweet and carries light hints of spice (cinnamon, vanilla). The taste: rich and smooth––not unlike a cup of Cuban espresso. The finish is long, velvety and slightly fruity. A solid sipping rum for a tropical summer night.