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National Rum Examiner Robert A. Burr

Robert A. Burr

Robert Burr is the National Rum Examiner. He travels the world in search of the finest rums.

Together with his wife Robin and son Robert they publish Rob's Rum Guide with notes on hundreds of fine rums.

Rob's Rum Guide

They also host the annual Rum Renaissance Fest

Rum Wreck Dive Bar

2011 Articles

Trendy Cocktails for your 2012 New Year Celebration

December 19, 2011 at 2:15pm

Esteban Ordonez, master mixologist and rum ambassador for DonQ rumWhat will the coming year hold in store for modern revelers as we turn the corner into 2012?

Now famed mixologist and brand ambassador for DonQ rum, Esteban Ordoñez brings us his take on several new age cocktails for the coming year.

We survived The Rapture in 2011, but with a new year comes a new prophecy. Ancient Mayans and Nostradamus predicted the Apocalypse would strike on December 21, 2012, while many new-age spiritualists and philosophers believe humankind will enter enlightenment in 2012. Perhaps spiritual enlightenment involves the discovery of really good rum.

Regardless of your beliefs, Esteban has created for you three fun cocktail recipes featuring DonQ Gran Anejo, DonQ Cristal and BlackBeard Spiced Rum to help ring it in.

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Appleton Estate 20 Year Single Cask Rum from Jamaica

November 30, 2011 at 5:15pm

Appleton Estate Signature Marque 20 Year Old Single Cask RumRum collectors and enthusiasts will be delighted to hear of an exclusive marque of 20 year old single cask rum from Appleton Estate in Jamaica, now available for a limited time from an exclusive source.

New York City's iconic Park Avenue Liquor Shop has the pleasure of introducing a very unique offering of Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum that was bottled exclusively for them -- Appleton Estate Signature Marque 20 Year Old Rum -- Single Cask. This rare marque of aged rums from the Appleton Estate has been resting and carefully aging in a single American oak barrel since 1990.

The Appleton Estate Master Blender, Joy Spence, selected this limited edition marque as a testimony to 20 years of authentic aging in a single barrel resulting in an exquisitely smooth rum. Only 180 individually numbered bottles of this rarity have been produced and bottled. The 90 proof, 750ml bottle will retail for $130 and is available for purchase now. It's the ideal gift for the spirit lover who thought they had everything.

The rum will be sold only through Park Avenue Liquor Shop and interested customers -- whether in New York or across the country -- need only to call the shop at...

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Geneva's Holiday Rum Balls

November 29, 2011 at 4:15pm

Geneva's Holiday Rum BallsIf your memories of holidays long past are anything like mine, home-made rum balls were a stand out favorite at family gatherings. With the current renaissance of abundant high quality rums at the local liquor store, Grandma's old recipe can be kicked up a notch to create some truly delicious -- if not decadently dangerous -- spirited treats.

Most rum ball recipes are based on vanilla wafers and corn syrup, with crumbled pecans and vanilla added for rich flavor. We typically roll them in powdered sugar and/or cocoa powder to finish these uncooked delicacies.

My Grandmother Geneva and Great Aunt Marnie took a different tact by substituting shortbread cookies and sweetened condensed milk as the base ingredients. Pecan Sandies cookies provide a great foundation for pecan goodness and the condensed milk adds a creaminess that corn syrup can't match.

Experiment with your favorite rums in these holiday treats to bring the finest flavors of the Caribbean to the party. Don't use the cheapest rum you can find. Choose a rum you really enjoy and let the essence shine through.

Deep, rich overproof rums like Lemon Hart 151 or Gosling's 151 begat a true bonanza of flavor -- and big rum kick. Dark rums like Meyers's or Cruzan Black Strap also deliver intense rummy molasses goodness. Delicious spiced rums like Sailor Jerry, Bacardi Oakheart, Kraken and Blackbeard will infuse a complex bouquet of baking spices in your balls. Classic rich rums like Barbancourt, Appleton Reserve, Diplomatico Reserva, El Dorado 5 or Mount Gay Black...

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Holiday Libation: Pom Passion Punch

November 29, 2011 at 2:15pm

Pom Passion PunchThe history of the communal tipple is long and storied. Many fancy punch bowls of luscious libations have enlivened mirthful gatherings for holidays and special occasions over the centuries. Whether a dram, a draft, a nip or a shot -- when such gleeful liquid is consumed in a ritual sharing of spirited merriment, soulful jubilation creates fond memories.

Here's a merry prescription for Pom Passion Punch -- a delightful recipe for good times -- that's as easy to make as it is to enjoy.

Pom Passion Punch
(combine ingredients in a large bowl)

6 parts Welch's passionfruit juice
2 parts pure pomegranate juice
1 part fresh lime juice
4 parts Jamaican aged rum
4 parts Barbadian aged rum
several healthy dashes of orange bitters

Add large chunks of ice and stir the mixture gently until well chilled. Garnish with thin orange slices and white grapes. Ladle into punch cups with some medium ice cubes.

Option: rum lovers might add a thin floater of dark overproof rum to their glass for extra good measure.

Pom Passion Punch brings tropical tones to friendly gatherings and pairs well with rich slow roasted meats, spicy barbeque, curried dishes and other piquant exotic offerings from around the globe. Enjoy!

Holiday Rum Cocktail: Shipwrecked Toddy

November 28, 2011 at 4:15pm

Shipwrecked ToddyGatherings during the holiday season with good friends deserve special theme cocktails. Some of the best libations are simple and easy to create, deliver "comfort food" style deliciousness and elicit warm memories of times gone by.

A hot toddy is a timeless classic that evokes All-American themes. The combination of fresh apple cider, good quality spiced rum and distinctive spices can't be beat.

The Shipwrecked Toddy
(serves 4)

3 cups apple cider
4 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup Brinley's Shipwreck spiced rum
1/2 cup cinnamon schnapps

In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine all ingredients and heat through. Do not boil. Mull for 45-60 minutes. Serve warm with cinnamon sticks or nutmeg to garnish.

For more spiced and flavored rum recipes, visit the Brinley's Gold Rum web site:

Dave Wondrich's Trident holiday rum cocktail

November 28, 2011 at 2:15pm

Mount Gay Trident holiday rum cocktailRum brings cheer to holiday gatherings. As the season approaches, everyone is checking their recipe cards and comparing turkeys and whatnot. Sure, the food aspect is important, but really, what is a holiday without cocktails?

Famed mixologist and drink historian David Wondrich has created a slew of great cocktails for the holidays and beyond. Here is Dave's Mount Gay Trident, which combines the cask-aged, smooth flavor of the Mount Gay Rum Extra Old ($49.99) with coffee liqueur and sweet condensed milk. Together, the ingredients make for an utterly delectable cocktail, easy to make and a fantastic treat to serve. The recipe follows...

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RumXPs dominate Golden Rum Barrel Social Media Awards in London

November 4, 2011 at 2:15pm

Members of the International Rum Experts Panel (RumXPs) dominated the nominations and the social media awards given out recently at the annual dinner ceremony that is part of the RumFest UK experience in London.

Rum ExpertsAll the outstanding social media sites nominated for Golden Rum Barrel Awards -- and their respective writers, journalists and bloggers -- are members of a unique consortium of international judges of rum tasting competitions around the globe. The awards, nominated by outstanding members of the spirits and beverage trade, recognize excellence in reporting and writing about developments in the category of rum throughout the world.

Nominations for Rum Blogger of the Year (Europe) 2011 included A Mountain of Crushed Ice (Helena Tiare Olsen, Sweden), The Floating Rum Shack (Peter and Pauline Holland, London), Rum Pages (Rene Van Hoven, Amsterdam) and Refined Vices (Tatu Kaarlas, Finland, now Australia). The winner of the category is...


Panamonte XXV Reserva Preciosa aged rum from Panama

November 1, 2011 at 2:15pm

Panamonte Reserva Preciosa aged rum from PanamaA luxury blend of rare Panamanian aged rums, Panamonte XXV Reserva Preciosa is the masterful result of artful aging and blending by famed master blender Francisco "Don Pancho" Fernandez.

Aguardientes from molasses are matured for twenty five years in premium American white oak barrels once used for bourbon. There are no additives, colorings or other barrels used in this slow aging process.

This product appeals to rum connoisseurs, collectors and those that appreciate the finest expression of luxury sipping rums without regard for price.

Panamonte XXV Reserva Preciosa enjoys a deep amber mahogany color with thick, slow moving legs on the glass. Aromas of charred oak, honey and bourbon lead...


Altantico Platino white rum from Dominican Republic

Ocotber 31, 2011 at 2:15pm

Atlantico Platino Ron Artesanal frmo Dominican RepublicA high quality smooth white rum from Dominican Republic, Atlantico Platino Ron Artesanal is made from a blend of fresh cane juice and molasses based rums, designed to make great cocktails.

This aged blend is filtered to a clear transparent color. In the glass, a significant viscosity produces fine legs. The initial aromas of citrus and vanilla dominate. These notes are evident in the palate as well as molasses, spice and creamy caramel. The finish is notably warm and smooth.

Atlantico Platino was nominated for a prestigious Golden Rum Barrel Award in October, 2011 at London's RumFest UK in the category of...


Altantico Solera Reserva aged rum from Dominican Republic

October 31, 2011 at 2:15pm

Atlantico Solera Reserva aged rum from Dominican RepublicMiami-based Atlantico brand presents an accessible and well designed aged rum expression featuring a slightly dry blend designed to make robust, full flavored rum cocktails.

The blend for Atlantico Solera Reserva was made from aged cane juice based and aged molasses based rums matured in a solera system in the Dominican Republic to produce a complex and balanced spirit. Once these specified marques reach their peak of perfection, they are removed from the barrels and bottled by hand.

The solera style Reserva is slightly dry with aromas of light oak and tropical fruits. In addition, the palate finds a familiar baked spice bouquet and earthy richness...


Diplomatico Ambassador luxury rum from Venezuela

October 28, 2011 at 2:15pm

The legacy of Señor Melendez continues as Destilerías Unidas releases it's finest expression of the Diplomatico brand. Ambassador luxury aged blend is 100% heavy pot still rum first aged in oak barrels, then finished in Pedro Ximenez Sherry barrels and bottled at the cask strength of 94 proof.

Here is a truly memorable rum that exudes perfection and balance in every drop. Blended from rums that are aged for up to 12 years, only casks that evoke the exceptional soul of the Ron Diplomatico family are selected for this prestige rum. Once chosen by Master Blender Tito Cordero, the rum then spends a further minimum of two years aging in barrels once used to age Spain’s greatest sherry.

This exquisite spirit leads with a wonderfully pungent nose, featuring subtle aromas of dried and candied fruit...

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Vizcaya Cristal white rum from Dominican Republic

September 19, 2011 5:15pm

Vizcaya Cristal white rum from Dominican RepublicThe well-known Vizcaya brand of luxury rum from Dominican Republic has a new expression, a white rum that is smooth enough to sip straight.

The company recently announced Vizcaya Cristal, a clear rum made with the same dedication to detail and quality as their award-winning Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 luxury rum.

Rested intently in select oak barrels, this white rum is distilled from cane juice (guarapo), not molasses. No additives are used in the process.

The color is quite clear, with a medium viscosity. Initial aromas of vanilla, sherry and walnut are present. The taste is ever so slightly sweet with subtle notes of vanilla, sherry and walnuts, plus a hint of marshmallow. The finish is surprisingly smooth and slightly warm.

This white rum makes fine cocktails and can be enjoyed straight or on the rocks.

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Enrique Iglesias partners with Atlantico Rum

September 8, 2011 2:15 pm EST

Atlantico Private Cask rumThe smooth sexy voice of Enrique Iglesias is speaking out about a smooth luxury rum from the Dominican Republic that strikes his fancy. The love affair has apparently become serious as Iglesias recently announced a partnership with the up and coming new Atlantico brand of rum.

With more than 58 million albums sold worldwide, Enrique Iglesias is an icon of the Latin music business. His latest release, Euphoria, includes songs in English and Spanish featuring numerous duets with superstars produced by big-time record executives.

His appreciation for luxury rum is no secret. "I was introduced to Atlantico by friends in Miami, quickly became a fan, and followed its development over the last couple of years," says Iglesias. "I was recently introduced to its co-founders, Brandon Lieb and Aleco Azqueta, and was immediately drawn to their entrepreneurial spirit and passion for developing a world-class product. I am now delighted to be a partner in this top-quality rum."

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Bacardi Oakheart spiced rum from Puerto Rico

August 10, 2011 2:15 pm EST

Bacardi Okaheart Spiced RumThe secret of the bat is out. The new Bacardi Oakheart El Ron del Murciélago Smooth Spiced Rum delivers a rich and flavorful, well blended smokey bouquet of tropical tones to cocktails and mixed drinks.

Intended to reflect both legendary and modern day adventurers of stout heart and unwavering resolve, the rum is rested in double charred barrels to elicit timeless qualities of sturdy oak and mellow flavor.

White and gold rums are blended with select spices (maple, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, vanilla and caramel) at 35% abv (70 proof) to bring a slightly peppery and potent profile...

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Brugal 1888 Gran Reserva Familiar luxury rum

August 8, 2011 5:15 pm EST

Brugal 1888 Gran Reserva Familiar luxury rumTruly a prestige expression that spotlights a great Caribbean rum family's legacy, double distilled and double aged Brugal 1888 aged rum delivers first-class upscale flavor at a surprisingly affordable price.

After selecting their finest rums created by double distillation, the best spirits are skillfully aged first in medium roasted American white oak casks (quercus alba) up to eight years. At the peak of perfection, the spirit is subsequently matured in European oak casks (quercus robur) that have previously been used for aging Sherry wines for another six to eight years. This artful process is guided by Don Gustavo Ortega Zeller Brugal, a 5th generation member of master distillers within the Brugal family.

Select wooden casks are either hand-crafted or hand-picked under the guidance of George Espie, The Macallan Master of Wood...

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Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum Centennial Celebration

July 27, 2011 2:15 pm EST

Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum Commerative BottleSailor Jerry Spiced Rum is celebrating the 100th birthday of its namesake famous tattoo artist with a special issue of three commemorative bottles displaying his iconic flash artwork. The rum brand, owned by William Grant & Sons, is also kicking off "Hold Fast" -- a season long celebration of the man who started it all -- tattoo artist Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins.

The limited edition collector's edition bottles feature the bald eagle, the mermaids and the sparrows, among the most popular of his iconic old school tattoo designs. The suggested retail price for the limited edition bottles is $17.50.

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Black Roberts Spiced Rum from Florida

July 27, 2011 2:15 pm EST

Black Roberts Spiced RumNamed for legendary pirate Bartholomew Roberts, this flavorful and accessible new spiced rum from Florida Caribbean Distillers brings rich tones of the tropics to delicious cocktails.

With a list price of $7.95, you might feel like a pirate stealing this delicious liquid from your favorite liquor store. The blend features vanilla and almond flavors, spiced up with cinnamon and nutmeg for a well balanced sultry and satisfying Caribbean experience.

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Blackwell Jamaican rum debuts in US

July 27, 2011 2:15 pm EST

Blackwell Black Goold rum from JamaicaAn iconic rum label of Jamaica, Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum is now available in the United States. Domaine Select Wine Estates (DSWE) has been named the exclusive importer in the U.S. as Blackwell Rum joins their Classic & Vintage Portfolio.

This medium bodied, flavorful expression is the creation of Music industry legend and founder of both Island Records and the award-winning Island Outpost hotel group, Chris Blackwell.

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Ultimate Challenge rums available online

July 10, 2011 2:15 pm EST

Ultimate Beverage Challenge judgesOnline rum shoppers might benefit from a new partnership between a top rated online spirits store and a beverage rating firm.

The Ultimate Beverage Challenge is a well-respected competition for spirits of every category with the stated goal to demystify beverage competitions for consumers and make results truly useful to them so they can make better informed purchasing decisions.

The group rates hundreds of beverages annually based on blind tastings by seasoned professionals.

UBC has recently announced a partnership with Astor Wines & Spirits of New York, making it easy for people to see what’s been rated tops in their category by the world’s top judges and then point, click and buy.

Among the notable rums available online from Astor are Mount Gay 1703 from Barbados, Zafra 21 Master Reserve from Panama...

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Panama Red overproof rum

July 8, 2011 2:15 pm EST

Panama Red overproof rumFrom master blender Francisco "Don Pancho" Fernandez of Panama, this bold and smooth overproof rum delivers great taste, big flavors and a smooth finish.

Panama Red is bottled at 108 proof. Despite it's higher alcohol content, Panama Red is easy to enjoy straight or on the rocks.

With a lovely vermilion shade of amber, the rum displays great legs in a tasting glass. Initial aromas of honey, charred oak, vanilla and dried apricot are inviting. On the palette, there is a bold and bright entry of warm sweetness and spice, accented by oak barrel, a touch of citrus and a distinct earthiness. The finish is unexpectedly smooth with a slow fade that leaves a pleasant echo of the flavor profile in the mouth for some time.

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Smith & Cross traditional Jamaican rum

July 8, 2011 2:15 pm EST

Smith & Cross traditional Jamaican rumA flavorful pot still rum from Jamaica bottled at 57% (navy strength), Smith & Cross represents the distinctively aromatic and less refined style that made Jamaica rum famous in the late 19th and early 20th century.

This bold blend, a favorite of noted bartenders and mixologists, stands up to pronounced ingredients in classic cocktails.

Smith & Cross is a blend of spirits from the Plummer and Wedderburn pot stills in Jamaica. Famous for notes of exotic fruits and spice, it delivers a tour de force of flavor and complexity that historically made Jamaica rum a cornerstone of many vintage cocktails.

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Mount Gay Black 100 proof rum debuts

June 14, 2011 3:15 pm EST

Mount Gay Eclipse Black rum is 100 proofA new addition to the popular Mount Gay brand of rums from Barbados has been released. Mount Gay Eclipse Black is a distinctive new rum bottled at 100 proof featuring a blend of two to seven year old rums.

With a medium amber color, the spirit leads with aromas of smoky charred wood, ripe banana, pepper, cinnamon and ginger. Flavors are more intense and complex than 80 proof Eclipse but the finish is long and surprisingly smooth.

Chilled on the rocks, the rum develops increased tones of vanilla, bourbon and toffee, perhaps more reminiscent of Mount Gay Extra Old than 80 proof Eclipse. It stands up when mixed with cola or ginger beer and remains distinctive in cocktails with its boldly elaborate smoky oak profile.


Zacapa rum and Diageo continue agreement

June 13, 2011 3:15 pm EST

Zacapa Solera 23 rum will continue to be distributed and marketed by DiageoThe notable rise of Zacapa brand rum from Guatemela in the past three years can be attributed to a three-year global distribution and joint marketing deal between Diageo, the world's largest spirits company and the Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala group (ILG), which produces of the iconic luxury rum matured in the house above the clouds.

In 2008, Diageo announced it had an option to buy a 50% equity stake in the brand at the end of the three years, subject to performance metrics.

According to David Ferreira, Reserve Rums Global Brand Manager for Diageo, the arrangement will continue into the future. Diageo reportedly acquired a 50% stake of the brand and controlling interest recently, as was expected by industry analysts.

"We are all very proud to have reached this milestone in the brand's rich history," Ferreira said.


Rum Renaissance Cruise explores Eastern Caribbean

May 31, 2011 1:15 pm EST

Rum Renaissance Caribbean CruiseEven as rum is enjoying a renaissance of appreciation among spirit enthusiasts, a group of notable rum explorers are organizing a special adventure through the Eastern Caribbean to visit the celebrated terroir of cane spirits.

Robert and Robin Burr are publishers of an award-winning guide to rum and are hosts of the annual Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. They're inviting their friends from around the world to join them on a special luxury cruise ship itinerary to some of the Caribbean's most interesting islands to study, savor and collect authentic spirits of the region.

They call it the Rum Renaissance Caribbean Cruise.

"We're excited to be partnering with Celebrity Cruises on our island-hopping rum-theme adventure aboard the Celebrity Summit in mid-November. This is the most efficient, compelling and fascinating way to truly appreciate great rums of the Caribbean while enjoying a world-class cruising experience...


Bacardi promotes togetherness

May 27, 2011 1:15 pm EST

Bacardi Together CampaignAs we reflect this Memorial Day weekend on the value of spending quality time with friends and family, Bacardi reminds us that social interaction is a paramount element in our goal to enjoy life to the fullest.

The National Rum Examiner had an opportunity recently to discuss the new Bacardi Together campaign with Billy Melnyk, Senior Brand Manager of Bacardi Rums.

Rum Examiner: What are the qualities of Bacardi rums that make them accessible, enjoyable and desirable for occasions when friends get together?


Bacardi Facebook page

Rum icon Captain Morgan re-imagined

May 25, 2011 3:12 pm EST

Captain Morgan Original Spiced RumHe lived his life to the fullest and left behind a legacy unrivaled in blustery lore. Now Captain Morgan is back, and bigger than ever as Diageo re-imagines his adventures plundering and privateering his way across the Caribbean.

The National Rum Examiner had the opportunity recently to engage in conversation with Tom Herbst, Brand Director for Captain Morgan USA. Here's the latest scoop on new developments of how Captain Morgan has been re-invigorated and re-aligned as a symbol that rum is fun.


Life, Love and Loot web site