Rarely is an alcoholic spirit named for a writer. Sure, plenty of writers imbibe, but arguably one of the best known was Ernest “Papa” Hemingway. Hell, he even created the Papa Doble Daiquiri! So, it isn’t surprising to find some new rums that share the old man’s nickname. Pilar, by the way was the name of his fishing boat, and oddly enough his nickname for his second wife. His first wife’s nickname was “Tatie”. Of course, that doesn’t have the same ring to it.
The bottle of the rum is pretty captivating. Based on the design of a soldier’s canteen complete with a small chain, it also has a compass engraved into the metal cap. The rum itself is a blend of copper pot and column distilled rums from the Caribbean, Central America and the US aged in ex-bourbon and port casks, then topped off with a brief aging in sherry casks. Lastly, it makes its way to Kentucky where it is blended.
If you look at the front of the bottle you’ll notice the number 24. This is the oldest rum used in the blend, but that’s all it is. Being a blended rum, there is no actual age statement. On the other hand, the statement “Never a Spectator” sums up Hemingway the man. He was always on the move seeking new adventures. I think he would approve of this rum.
Papa’s Pilar Blonde (84 proof)
Visual: Pale yellow.
Nose: Sweet, fresh engaging rum with hints of butter, creamed corn, sweet tobacco and vanilla.
Taste: Initially very smooth, but then a peppery aspect takes over belying a hefty dose of pot-still rum. Nice vanilla and caramel tones with a goodly dose of minerality (unusual in a rum) and crisp edges.
Finish: Medium long with a lot of the sweet character lingering long on the palate. Far removed from a typical Cuban-style rum, this has a lot of friendly character.
Overall: Quite nice, and perfectly crafted for Daiquiris and Mojitos. The higher proof will shine through the lime juice.
GSN Rating: A-
Papa’s Pilar Dark (86 proof)
Visual: Rusty orange-brown.
Nose: Richer and darker than the blonde, this has more sherry coming through. Sweet and dessert-like with a raisin and current character.
Taste: Much sweeter than the blonde, with the port and sherry smoothing out the high notes and making for a relaxed and laid back entry. In a pinch this could almost pass for a spiced rum with the variety of woods, distilled wines and styles represented here.
Finish: Long with a lot of brown bread, molasses, baking spices and cracked pepper.
Overall: I’d easily have this as my nightcap in a snifter with a twist of lemon every night. A very unique and special rum that has so much going for it, that it’s truly one of a kind. Great stuff!
GSN Rating: A+
For more information go to: Papa’s Pilar