Panamanian rum tops Polished Palate competition

Entries in the 5th annual Polished Palate International Rum Competition were divided into seven categories, but a discerning panel of judges did what doesn't happen nearly enough in wine and spirits tests. They did not award a "best of" in every category.

However, they did select a "Best in Show," honoring Master Distiller Francisco Fernandez's Zafra Master Reserve 21 Rum from Panama.

The event, held in the historic Ybor City area of Tampa, FL, drew 42 different rums. They were evaluated on five criteria: appearance, aroma, taste, mouthfeel and finish.

Khukri Rum from the tiny Himalayan nation of Nepal earned its fifth consecutive gold medal as well as its second "best of category" category Award.

Dori Bryant, president of the Polished Palate said, “It is obvious that rum’s star has already risen," said Dory Bryant, president of the Polished Palate. "The quality of new products entering the market, including those from Panama, Venezuela, Florida and Hawaii, bodes well for the industry."

The award winners ("best in category" listed in bold type, although as noted that designation was not awarded in all categories):


• Gold: Don Q Cristal, Puerto Rico; Diplomatico Blanco, Dominican Republic.
• Silver: Siesta Key Rum, Florida; Ron Barcelo Gran Platinum, Dominican Republic.
• Bronze: Carta Viejo Claro, Panama; Koloa White Hawaiian Rum, Hawaii.


• Gold: None.
• Silver: Bacardi Gold, Puerto Rico; Koloa Gold Hawaiian Rum, Hawaii.
• Bronze: Don Q Gold, Puerto Rico; Old Lahaina Premium Gold Hawaiian Rum, Hawaii.


• Gold: Khukri Rum, Nepal; One Barrel Rum, Belize.
• Silver: Koloa Dark Hawaiian Rum, Hawaii; Carta Vieja Anejo, Panama.
• Bronze: Old Lahaina Premium Dark Rum, Hawaii.


• Gold: Ron Abuelo 7 Años, Panama; Bacardi 8, Puerto Rico; Ron Abuelo Añejo, Panama; Ron Medellin 8 Year Old, Colombia.
• Silver: Ron Barcelo Imperial, Dominican Republic; Plantation Barbados 5 Year Grande Reserve, Barbados; Ron Medellin 3 Year Old, Colombia; Ron Viejo de Caldas 3 Year Old, Colombia; Ron Viejo de Caldas Grand Reserve, Colombia.
• Bronze: Don Q Añejo, Puerto Rico; Ron Carupano Oro Reserva Especial, Venezuela.


• Gold: Ron Abuelo 12 Años, Panama; Don Q Grand Añejo, Puerto Rico; Ron Carupano Solera Centenaria Reserva Limitada, Venezuela.
• Silver: Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, Venezuela; Plantation 20th Anniversary, Barbados; Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 Cuban Style Rum, Dominican Republic.
• Bronze: None.


• Gold: Zafra Master Reserve 21 Rum, Panama; Ron Añejo Carupano Legendario, Venezuela
• Silver: Bacardi Reserva Limitada, Puerto Rico; Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial, Peru.
• Bronze: None.


• Gold: None.
• Silver: Don Q Coco, Puerto Rico; Don Q Limon, Puerto Rico.
• Bronze: Aguardiente Antioqueño Sin Azucar, Colombia.

The Polished Palate company has been hosting spirits competitions and tasting events since 2005, educating consumers on all aspects of each distilled spirit category. Through events and seminars hosted by recognized industry professionals, guests learn about the history & culture of each spirit, their impact on society, current trends and appropriate tasting techniques, while promoting responsible consumption, all in a festive format.

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