We first tasted Papa’s Pilar Rum at the San Antonio Cocktail Conference and, being fans of all things Hemingway, we were intrigued. The new rum pays tribute to one of history’s greatest adventurers, writers and rum drinkers, channeling Hemingway’s spirit and even naming itself after his boat, “Pilar.” The brand is currently producing two rums: a 24 year old dark rum and a three year old blonde rum. We’ll start with the latter.
Papa’s Pilar Blonde Rum is sourced from various distilleries throughout the Caribbean, Florida and Central America. They hand-pick rums between three and five years old, and once procured, the rums undergo a unique solera blending process that employs bourbon barrels, port casks and sherry casks.
The result is an off-white rum that’s full of sweet molasses, vanilla and citrus on the nose. It’s creamy on the palate with flavors ranging from vanilla, coconut and key lime pie to almonds, pineapples and mangoes. It’s very sweet and doesn’t seem particularly balanced, but before things get too off-kilter you’ll find a welcome rush of oak and pepper. That helps to temper the sugar before a lingering finish of vanilla and sherried oak.
Papa’s Pilar Blonde is one interesting rum. It’s rich, creamy and intensely flavorful, and at 84 proof it’s easy enough to sip neat. But consumed straight, the sweetness is overbearing. We really enjoyed the tropical fruits, sherry and spice notes, but those elements are relegated to a background role and seem separate from the omnipresent sugar.
There really is a lot to like here, but it never quite comes together as a cohesive drinking experience. We wager that Hemingway would’ve preferred something drier for his famous daiquiris.
– 42% ABV