San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2022
A total of nine rum expressions in six different categories made the final “Sweeps” judging round at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC). Another 35 double gold medals were won.
Rum is produced all over the world, from the South Pacific to Scandinavia. His global footprint was underlined by the fact that the double gold medalists came from 18 different countries.
The category is poised to grow at double-digit rates over the next five years. Aged dark rums, in particular, are in particular demand from consumers.
Founded in 2000, the SFWSC is the oldest spirits competition in North America and the largest spirits judging panel in the world. A total of 70 judges from around the world evaluated approximately 5,000 spirits over two weeks in April 2022.
The competition is organized by the Tasting Alliance, an organization founded by Anthony Dias Blue, and in addition to the SFWSC, it includes spirits competitions in New York and Singapore and wine competitions in San Francisco and New York.
One of the finalists for Best of Class: Extra-Aged Rum – 5 Years and Older; is the Bacardi, Rum Gran Reserva Especial 16 years old.
That’s no big surprise for a brand that has now won over 1,000 awards in spirits competitions for its range of superlative rums.
This is a rich, smooth rum that offers incredible complexity and nuance with flavors ranging from caramel and maple syrup to a wide range of tropical and stone fruits, as well as distinctive spice notes. tropical flavors and seasoned, well-integrated wood.
The expression is a blend, the youngest component being a 16 year old, from barrels selected by Bacardi’s Master Blender. Originally restricted to sale at Travel Retail, it is now generally available at US retailers and can usually be found in a one-liter format for less than $100.
Fruity nose with hints of coconut and caramel. There are hints of tropical fruit and stone fruit on the palate with coconut and caramel. The finish is long, sweet and fruity.
The second runner up for Best of Class: Extra-Aged Rum – 5 Years and Older was the Zacapa, XO Solera Gran Reserva Especial rum.
This is a Guatemalan rum from a 25-year-old solera that uses the typical split blend of solera aging. Note that under US rules this would not be classified as a 25 year old rum, although the blend does include 25 year old rum components.
The rum presents:
Vanilla and coconut on the nose. It is soft and fruity on the palate with a pronounced note of caramel.
This is another exceptional rum value and can often be found under $90 for a 750ml bottle.
In the Best of Class, Dark/Gold Rum, one of the finalists is Ron Colón Salvadoreño, Dark Gold Rum. This is a Salvadoran rum, although it is bottled in the Netherlands, which has always been a winner in international spirits competitions.
This is another rich and complex rum that, at an average price of $39, offers incredible value. Rum shows:
Vanilla and caramel on the nose with a hint of black pepper. It is sweet on the palate with lingering notes of caramel and molasses on the finish. It has a noticeable pepperiness.
The second runner-up is Rum Company of Fiji, BATI Dark Rum. Fiji has a long tradition of making rum from locally grown sugar cane.
The rum presents:
Pronounced notes of vanilla and caramel on the nose accompanied by aromas of cooked molasses. It is slightly sweet on the palate with a distinctive note of molasses. Smooth and satiny, the finish is long, medium-sweet and slightly savory with lingering notes of fruit and molasses.
There was only one finalist for Best of Class: Over Proof Rum as Rum-Bar, Overproof White Rum from Jamaica. At a proof of 126 (63% ABV), the alcohol is remarkably well integrated and exhibits the earthy, vegetal notes typically described by rum aficionados as “Jamaican funk.”
This rum contains:
Earthy aromas, with pronounced vegetal and slightly fruity notes. Medium-sweet palate with baked vegetal notes and a long, sweet finish with some pepperiness.
The first Best of Class Flavored Rum finalist was Distillery Mariana Rum Morbleu of Louiseville, Quebec. The Canadian Maritime provinces and Quebec have a long tradition of rum production – a throwback to the 18th century when salt cod from Canada’s Atlantic provinces was traded for molasses in the West Indies.
It is a very tasty rum that presents:
Pronounced notes of chocolate and spices on the nose with a hint of coffee. Distinctive chocolate flavors on the palate with hints of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. A perfect accompaniment to coffee or hot chocolate. Long and sweet chocolate finish.
The second runner-up, also a chocolate flavored rum, was Rum Kōloa Kaua’i Cocoa from Hawaii.
The rum presents:
Distinctive milk chocolate on the nose. It is soft on the palate with a pronounced chocolate note. A perfect complement to a hot chocolate.
The only Best of Class White Rum finalist was Cotton & Reed, White Rum from Washington DC.
This rum is:
Sweet on the nose with notes of cane sugar. Slightly sweet on the palate with a noticeable molasses note. Long lingering notes of baked molasses on the finish.
The only finalist in Best in class: Agricultural Rum been Clement, Blue Cane Agricultural White Rum from Martinique. Clément is one of Martinique’s oldest and best-known producers. Agricultural rums are typical of the French West Indies and are also produced in Reunion.
These rums are made from sugar cane juice rather than molasses. They tend to have strong vegetal notes but can also be very fruity. They are usually not aged but carry a vintage date, and aged expressions are becoming more common. Vintage-dated expressions often show a noticeably different aromatic and taste profile between different bottlings.
This rum contains:
Pronounced vegetal notes on the nose with a distinctive green bean aroma. It is semi-sweet on the palate with cooked vegetal notes. Slightly drying on the palate with a peppery, vegetal baked finish.
The 2022 SFWSC Rum Judging produced an exceptional set of medalists, many of whom represent incredible rum values. Be sure to check out the 35 rums that have won double gold awards on the Tasting Alliance website.
If you are a rum lover, there is plenty to explore here.