Rums of the World Unite For Awards and Festival

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:

  • The Basics of Rum Distilling (hosted by Master Distiller Phil Prichard)
  • A tasting session led by Jack Robertiello where guests learned to score and rate spirits similarly to professional judges
  • The history, legend and lore of ‘demon rum’ hosted by author Ian Williams
  • The history of the Mai Tai & the Daiquiri--as well as featuring and serving his creation, the Gingirinha (Ginger Caipirinha) presented by Cocktail Historian Phil Greene, sponsored by Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur & Cuca Fresca Cachaca

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.


  • Jack Robertiello - Wine & Spirits Writer, Journalist & Consultant, Drinks Ink ( New York)
  • Terry Jones – Vice President, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits ( Florida)
  • Ian Williams - Author, Correspondent, Journalist, ( New York)
  • Arturo Sighinolfi - Director Mixology & Education, Southern Wine & Spirits ( Florida)
  • Rick Crossland – (ret.) Senior Vice President, Bahama Breeze Restaurants ( Florida)
  • Bill Dowd - Wine and Spirits Writer, Dowd on Drinks ( New York)
  • Chris Sherman - Food Critic, Florida Trend Magazine ( Florida)
  • Delon Cunningham – Owner, Carrollwood Fine Wine & Spirits ( Florida)

About The Polished Palate

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

4th Annual Rum Competition Results:

(Bold denotes Best of Category. Note: Not all categories received a Best of Category award):

White Rum

  • Gold: Carta Vieja Extra Claro Rum (Panama)
  • New Grove Plantation Rum (Mauritius)
  • Silver: Diplomatico White Rum (Venezuela)
  • Sunset Light Rum ( St. Vincent & The Grenadines)
  • Bronze: Bacardi Superior (Puerto Rico)
  • Maui Platinum (Hawaii)
  • Sergeant Classick Silver Rum (Hawaii)
  • Tommy Bahama White Sand (Barbados)

Dark Rum

  • Gold: Khukri Rum (Nepal)
  • Maui Dark (Hawaii)
  • Silver: One Barrel Rum ( Belize)
  • Tommy Bahama Golden Sun (Barbados)
  • Bronze: Rogue Dark Rum (Oregon, USA)

Gold Rum

  • Gold: Sunset Captain Bligh Rum (St. Vincent & The Grenadines)
  • Silver: Bacardi Gold (Puerto Rico)
  • Sergeant Classick Gold Rum (Hawaii)
  • Bronze: Carta Viejo Claro (Panama)
  • The Old Mill Gold Rum (US Virgin Islands)

Rum Aged Up To 8 Years

  • Gold: Ron Peruano 8 Year Old (Peru)
  • Diplomatico Reserva (Venezuela)
  • Ron Barcelo Grand Anejo (Dominican Republic)
  • Silver: Bacardi Select (Puerto Rico)
  • Carta Viejo Anejo ( Panama)
  • Mount Gay Eclipse ( Barbados)
  • Prichard’s Private Stock (Tennessee)
  • Ron Barcelo Imperial (Dominican Republic)
  • Ron Botran 8 Year Old (Guatemala)
  • Ron Medellín 3 Year Old ( Colombia)
  • Ron Viejo de Caldas 3 Year Old (Colombia)
  • Ron Viejo de Caldas 8 Year Old (Colombia)
  • Bronze: Ron Barcelo Anejo (Dominican Republic)
  • Ron Medellín 8 Year Old (Colombia)

Rum Aged 9-15 Years

  • Gold: Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum (Venezuela)
  • Mount Gay Extra Old (Bahamas)
  • Ron Botran 12 Year Old (Guatemala)
  • Silver: Ron Medellín 12 Year Old (Colombia)

Rum Aged 15+ Years

  • Gold: Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial (Peru) BEST IN SHOW

Overproof Rum

  • Gold: Braddah Kimo’s Extreme 155 Rum (Hawaii)
  • Bronze: Sunset Very Strong (St. Vincent & The Grenadines)


  • Gold: Antioqueno (Colombia)
  • Silver: Cristal (Colombia)

Flavored Rum

  • Gold: Prichard’s Key Lime (Tennessee, USA)
  • Silver: New Grove Orange Bliss (Mauritius)
  • Bronze: New Grove Lime (Mauritius)

Rum Liqueurs

  • Gold: Mauricia Tamarind Liqueur (Mauritius)
  • Silver: Empire Limonela (Florida, USA)
  • Bronze: Empire Lemonela (Florida, USA)

Spiced Rum

  • Silver: Kilo Kai Spiced Rum (Curacao Netherland Antilles)
  • Bronze: Horne Spiced Rum (US Virgin Islands)
  • Rogue Hazelnut Spice Rum (Oregon, USA)

Other Spirits

  • Gold: Ocucaje Pisco (Peru)
  • T&W Grappa Di Muscatto (Florida, USA)


Upcoming Events
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San Diego, CA
Sept. 11–17 2011
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New York, NY
October 13, 2011

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