YBOR CITY, FL — I’m in this Tampa Bay nightlife hotspot, once again judging in the annual Polished Palate International Rum Tasting Competition that is part of the three-day International Rum Festival that culminated with a citywide food-and-drink-and-music blowout last night.
This is year No. 4 for this event, called the International Cane Spirits Festival in its first two years. It is run by organizer Dori Bryant’s Polished Palate company and hosted by Dori and writer Jack Robertiello.
We’ve completed the blind judging, and now we’re simply awaiting the tabulation of the judges’ scores and the assignment of medals that we can share with you.
Part of the anticipation of judging any wine or spirits competition is looking forward to experiencing some new brands. And part of it is champing at the bit as we await the unveiling of just what we’ve tasted and what we thought of it. Everything is done via coded samples, divided into categories — light rums, dark rums, aged up to 8 years, aged 9-15 years, aged over 15 years, overproof, liqueurs, spiced, etc.
Rum consumption is on the upswing in this country, and not just as a seasonal treat. As more and more companies expand their brand portfolios as well as their distribution efforts, Americans are being exposed to — in many cases treated to — a wider variety of rums that appeal to a wider range of consumer preferences.
Check back over the next week to see which rums took home the medals. Meanwhile, check the Polished Palate> Web site for a set of podcasts being done today in conjunction with the festival and with rum itself.
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Going for the rum gold in Tampa
William M. Dowd photos
Posted by William M. Dowd at 8:54 AM