Booze Review

Booze Review – Papa’s Pilar Special Edition Sherry Finished Dark Rum


I’ve been down the Papa’s Pilar road before…

Ernest Hemingway.

Light Rum.

Dark Rum.

The Solera Aging Process.

All very familiar. All very delicious!

So when we were approached to try the latest and greatest from Papa’s Pilar, a Custom Barreled Dark Rum that was finished in ex-Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks, you just know that we were going to jump at the chance to travel down the Rum road once more. Here’s what the folks at Papa’s Pilar have to say about their latest Dark Rum expression that we were lucky enough to sample…

The team of Master Blenders created this special edition expression of custom barreled Papa’s Pilar Dark, with seven different hand-selected rums up to 25 years old, which are both pot and column distilled. After solera aging in Bourbon barrels, Port Wine casks, and Spanish Sherry casks, the bold and complex rum was further aged in Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks for approximately 30 days, creating a unique flavor profile.

In a quest to get rum back to its roots, the Papa’s Pilar Production team chose to embrace a similar methodology used in Scotch Whiskey, with the goal to allow the rum blend to continue to meld together, while also interacting with the Sherry and French Oak. It’s also a method used by Cuban rum makers in their best rums, as they cannot easily source used American Bourbon barrels. The team chose to use French Limousin Oak Sherry casks from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, and only for a short period of time, because the grain structure of French Limousin Oak is wider and more open than American Oak Bourbon barrels (300L vs 200L).

“By building off the strong base flavors found in our dark rum and allowing additional time for the blended rums to meld together, this special release has developed a slight sweetness combined with a uniquely spicy finish, resulting in a smoothness and complexity second to none,” said Ron Call, Head of Rum Production. “The ‘magic’ happens in aging – not between the rum and the fresh oak, but between the rum and the broken-down oak from a process that takes many years to develop.”

And here’s what we thought of it…

  • Appearance: Deep dark tawny brown color.
  • Aroma: Very rich and sweet smelling with hints of salted caramel, maple syrup, dark dried fruit, cinnamon, clove, brown sugar, and vanilla.
  • Taste: Medium bodied with a slightly oily mouthfeel. Not as sweet as expected thanks to its cinnamon and sweet chili pepper heat at the start. Dried fruit and brown sugar kick in at the middle with some clove and more spice. Gets quite dry at the finish with the Sherry cask influence really coming through. A musty grape note shows up in the aftertaste.
  • ABV: 43%

The Verdict

This is yet another fine sipper of a rum that has an almost Single Malt quality to it thanks to the Oloroso Sherry cask finishing. While this rum would go great with a wide variety of desserts, I can also see having this with some hard cheeses, i.e. something like a Prima Donna or maybe a Parmigiano-Reggiano. For the record, I tried this with a hunk of Prima Donna (because when a good idea pops into your head, you just gotta run with it!) and am happy to report that the two of them played very well together thanks to the nuttiness that comes through from the cheese (not to be confused with the nuttiness that comes though from this reviewer).

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Many thanks to Aaron of Ro-Bro Marketing and PR for sending us this very generous sample!

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