Members of the International Rum Expert Panel (RumXP) have announced details of their 2013 blind tasting competition at the Miami Rum Festival, to be held at the Doubletree by Hilton Miami Airport Convention Center in mid-April.
More than two dozen of the world's most experienced rum judges will be sequestered in their tasting chambers at the hotel for three days, April 16-18, evaluating cane spirits which will be on exhibit at the world's largest rum festival April 19-21. In addition to the competition, the group gathers in Miami once a year for a week of special meetings, VIP parties and briefings on new and emerging products.
The winners of the forth annual RumXP Tasting Competition will be announced immediately after the Miami Rum Fest Trade Day exhibitions on Friday, April 19 at 7pm before a gathering of more than 4,000 industry professionals at the convention center. Medals, ribbons and certificates will be distributed to the winning brands, to be displayed at the Grand Tasting Exhibition sessions on Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21 from noon to 7pm.
RumXP judges are leading rum experts and key influencers from California, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Germany, Australia, The Dominican Republic, The United Kingdom, Holland, Sweden and the Turks & Caicos Islands.
Their RumXP awards and accolades create great value among consumers and the spirits trade, similar to the popular housekeeping seal of approval for consumer goods.
"It's always a pleasure and a privilege to be amongst such an august group of serious rum fanatics, world travelers and experienced tasters," said Robert Burr, organizer of the international rum expert panel and the Miami Rum Festival. "Their depth and breath of practical knowledge is unparalleled in our industry. These proficient judges bring great credibility and sophistication to our tasting competition.
Judge Bernhard Schäfer of Germany has been a professional spirit judge since 1997. "In my opinion the big advantage of RumXP tasting is the mix of experienced judges from all over the World. This assures that the results are not biased by a cultural preference and gives the opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience. Therefore the Miami Rum Festival is top of the range!"
Judge Paul McFadyen of London opined, "The RumXP is a unique collaboration in the world of spirits by like minded individuals from all walks of life, united by a lifetime of dedication to their love of rum. Bloggers, producers, bartenders and just deeply knowledgable fans from across the world, the RumXP group are uniquely knowledgeable and committed to cane spirit and its lifestyle. Through their ego-free association they have significantly contributed to the rum industry's incredible growth and I'm proud to be associated. The RumXP deliberations on their rum awards form an unequalled assessment on the best rums available -- which is why the Miami Rum Awards are held in such regard. Scrupulously conducted, without any bias, their conclusions guide both the uninitiated buyer and more knowledgeable to the best rums available in the world today. If they say its hot, you can be damn sure its the best money can buy."
Tatu Kaarlas studies rum in Australia. "The Miami Rum Renaissance RumXP tasting competition is an eclectic gathering of the world's finest rum connoisseurs and experts offering the collective knowledge and expertise of the best products the rum industry has to offer."
Judge Forrest Cokely hails from California. "Having had the pleasure of judging at several RumXP Tasting Competitions, I can say it is the most comprehensive group of select, experienced experts on Rum gathered to honestly evaluate this noble spirit I have ever seen. I am honored to be part of the RumXP, it is easily the most authoritative competition for rum in the world and the awards bestowed are certainly the most prestigious."
From Sweden, judge Helena Tiare Olsen wrote, "Don't miss the annual RumXP Tasting Competition where some of the world's most experienced rum judges evaluate the best and finest rums available today! This is a seriously prestigious event awarding the finest rums in the world."
Joe Desmond of New York's famed Rhum Rhum Room is a rum judge. "The Miami Rum Renaissance brings together the finest panel of experts from around the world to evaluate multiple categories of sugar cane spirits in an unbiased environment. The professional execution of this multi-day blind-tasting competition, as well as the number of judges involved and the wide variety of their individual experiences as well-known spirits writers, world-renowned bartenders and bar owners, amateur collectors and other experts ensures that each spirit is thoroughly evaluated within its respective category and is the source of the prestige associated with the medals awarded at this festival."
Ian Williams, author of Rum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776 said, "When I began writing, "Rum" the book, it was a lonely experience. I met few people who could appreciate my enthusiasm for the "Global spirit with Its warm beating heart in the Caribbean." Since then, judging rums with the RumXP team, sharing our finds, and comparing all that the world of cane spirits has to offer has been a heartening experience. RumXP judges know their spirits and are usually in good spirits too. The Miami Rum Renaissance attracts Renaissance men and women of whose wide experience rum is just one, albeit highly focussed facet."
Judge Paul Senft of Rum Journey stated, "For one week judges from around the world gather in Miami with the goal of finding some of the best rums the spirits industry has to offer. The annual RumXP Tasting competition is a rigorous evaluation of these spirits and only the elite are awarded a coveted RumXP medal."
Paul Artrip "The Rum Daddy" is one of the original RumXP judges. "The attraction of the Miami Rum Festival to serious rum lovers is the depth of participating distilleries from around the world. Rum and cane spirits are pan-global; Miami is the perfect global American city to host this event."
Judge Chris Carlsson of Spirits Review said, "The annual RumXP Tasting Competition at the Miami Rum Festival is a gathering of some of the finest rums and rum experts from all over the globe; the result of which is some of the most authoritative rum judging and ranking in the world."
Juan del Busto is a world traveler and serious rum collector. "As an International Rum Expert I have had the opportunity to sample fine rums all over the world. At the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, judges have the unique pleasure of evaluating new and established rums in a controlled environment. We then award the best of the best! It's great to gather with fellow rum experts from around the world in such a first-class event."
"Bahama" Bob Leonard hails from the Rum Bar at the Speakeasy Inn in Key West. "I always enjoy the blind tasting, it is helpful to me in determining my real tastes as compared to my perceived ones. I am sometimes surprised by the reveal on rums that I felt were personal favorites that I find ranking lower than perceived or rums that I had only passing interest that I rank high. This is always an enlightening experience."
"The discovery of rum is an ongoing journey for me. My year flows with trips to island distilleries and far away events. Yet the grandest highlight of each year comes in Miami at the Rum Renaissance Festival where there is more discovery, more learning and more friends than anywhere. It's a cannot miss event and one I am pleased to play a role in." - Carlton Grooms (Author, "Rum & Contemporary Cuisine")
"The most prestigious rum tasting competition in the USA returns to Miami Rum Festival where RumXPs will evaluate the world's finest rums and discover several new surprises coming to market soon. The RumXP's are indeed a focused group of rum professionals with tremendous collective experience. I look forward to joining my colleagues as we raise the rum judging competition to an even higher level." - Dave Russell, Rum Gallery.