11 January 2024

Barbados Rum Experience

Barbados Rum Experience 2023

After a non-stop couple of months, I can finally take a breather and reflect on one of my biggest highlights of last year. Back in November I was lucky enough to attend the 2023 Barbados Rum Experience (BRE). Now when I say lucky, I mean lucky, as this all came about by winning the inaugural IWSC Barbados Rum Experience Bursary, in partnership with the Foursquare Rum Distillery.

As someone who is now equally and genuinely as passionate about his rum as his whisky, to find out that I had won was a very surreal, shocking surprise to say the least. Also being selected by the panel of judges; Richard Seale, founder of Foursquare Rum Distillery, Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador and founder of The Rumfest and Laura Richards, Editorial Director of Club Oenologique, as the unanimous winner, still has me pinching myself in belief.

Last years event was the third outing for the Barbados Rum Experience, which it has to be said is a spirit’s event like no other. A convivial and fully immersive week of distillery visits, meeting the makers, seminars, evening events and even a rum cruise to finish off a week that was as fun as it was informative.

On the distillery front we were treated to a trio of bucket list visits to three of the four rum distilleries in Barbados; Mount Gay, St Nicholas Abbey and Foursquare. These three also just happen to be the only distilleries on the island that produce truly authentic Barbados rum. In fact the authenticity and the integrity of Barbados rum is what the BRE is all about. Maybe one day there might be a further inclusion of the islands fourth distillery; West Indies Distillery, should they decide to change some of their rum production practices.

Stills at the Mount Gay Distillery

Given that the seminars were held in a room located only a few meters away from one of the best beaches in Barbados, and that the weather was terrifically tropical, you might of thought that these factors would have proved to be somewhat of a distraction. Actually far from it, the three days of lectures were just as much a highlight as the distillery visits. It was such a privilege to hear Dr Richard Drayton, Dr Lennox Honeychurch, Dr Geoff Ward, Michael Delevante, Dr Tara Inniss and Richard Seale (the rockstar of rum), talk about the production, people and place of Barbados rum.

Richard Seale walking the talk

It has to be said that the binding factor which brought all the magnificent parts of the week together was the camaraderie and shared passion of the rum fam, who came far and wide to attend the event. I was very fortunate to make new friends from the US, Canada, Netherlands, Mexico, New Zealand, and a few new ones too closer to home from the UK. Many an evening rum was shared! 

A huge thanks to Gayle and Christian Seale, who put together what I have to say is the best spirits event I’ve had the good fortune to ever attend. Very much hoping my first BRE wont be my last! Also a mahoosive thanks to the IWSC and Foursquare Rum Distillery for this amazing opportunity!

You can catch up on all the posts, stories and reels from our trip to Barbados over on our socials!