Fourth Annual ‘Polished Palate International Rum Festival’ Highlights Spirit’s Growth and Quality – Including First Ever ‘Best In Show’ Award
TAMPA, Fla. (March 31, 2009) - The largest and most comprehensive Rum Festival and Rum Competition in the U.S. celebrated its fourth year with its most impressive selection of entries to date, including the first ever ‘Best In Show’ Award. The series of public and private events was highlighted on Saturday, March 28 , where a crowd of more than 750 attendees joined a series of tasting tours and seminars at the main festival event and enjoyed an array of rum styles from around the globe.
The competition, held from March 26-27, at the historic Ritz in Ybor City, featured renowned international judges who sampled, judged and compared 53 (51 sugar-cane based) of the finest rums, rhums and other spirits to select this year’s honor roll. Sponsored by multiple award-winning Imbibe Magazine, Rums of Puerto Rico, Empire Winery & Distillery, Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur, Kilo Kai Spiced Rum, Cuca Fresca Cachaca, Teatro on Seventh, Rock-n-Sports Bar & Grille, The Nest, Gaspar’s Grotto, Carrollwood Wine & Spirits, 80 Proof Generation, Beverage Marketing On Line, A Cork Above, Soho Tampa, Tampa Gold, Mobile Tiki Bar and Rodriguez & Menendez Cigars, the Festival included a formal rum tasting dinner, a “Rum on the BBQ” event and the Main Event, which featured a silent auction benefiting The Sky Ranch Foundation.
The 8 prominent judges, including rum connoisseurs and editors at top publications and hosted by Jack Robertiello, sampled the spirits before selecting Best of Category, Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards and the first ever Rum Competition Best In Show Award. For a brand to receive the Best In Show Award, each of the judges has to present the spirit with a score of 90+. Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial from Peru received that honor and can be regarded as the best rum in the world for 2009.
This year’s event featured 12 categories including White Rum, Dark Rum, Gold Rum, Rum Aged up to 8 Years, Rum Aged 9-15 Years, Rum Aged 15+ Years, Overproof Rum, Aguardiente, Flavored Rum, Rum Liqueurs, Spiced Rum and an Other category that included Pisco and Grappa. Of special note this year is that 23 of 51 rums were all new to the competition and that Colombia was especially well represented with eight entries. Interestingly, rums from Peru (a country renowned for Pisco production as
opposed to Rum) received acclaim from the judges - including the Best In Show winner.
The series of seminars on March 28 th were videocast live by A Cork Above and were particularly well attended and featured essential topics including:
Dori Bryant, President of the Polished Palate said, “It is obvious that Rum’s star has already risen. The amazing quality and the significant number of new producers joining the competition including those from Peru, Mexico, Africa, Panama and the U.S. bodes well for the industry. This year’s events were a great success, and I look forward to 2010.”
During the months ahead, features and tasting notes will be presented on the fine brands that participated this year.
Since 2005, the Polished Palate has been hosting cutting edge Tasting Events, educating the consumer on all aspects of each distilled spirit category. Through events and seminars hosted by recognized industry professionals, guests learn about the history & culture of each spirit, their impact on society, current trends and appropriate tasting techniques, while promoting responsible consumption—all in a festive format.
The Polished Palate International Rum Festival® in Tampa (formerly International Cane Spirits Festival®) and the Polished Palate Spirits of Mexico Festival® in San Diego are now regarded as world-class Tasting Competitions. The New York Spirits Awards will take place in June during the New York Bar Show at the Jacob Javits Center and will include entries from across all distilled spirits categories. For more information, visit www.polishedpalate.com.
(Bold denotes Best of Category. Note: Not all categories received a Best of Category award):