Papa's Pilar Blonde and Dark Rums are produced by the Florida Based Hemingway Rum Company. Named for Ernest Hemingway's beloved yacht, Pilar, the company challenges the consumer to live life as fully as Hemingway did. In their rums they succeeded in creating two dynamically different products. The dark is supposed to embody the land and the blonde the sea. Both are a blend of rums sourced from Florida, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, and Panama using a complex Solera method that involves aging the rums in Bourbon and Port Wine barrels, blending them, and finally finishing them in Spanish Sherry casks.
The 750 ml bottle is shaped like a 20th century Infantry Canteens. This shape honors Hemingway's time as an ambulance driver in World War I and journalistic coverage of Normandy in World War II. The cap is secured to the bottle with a chain. Originally the company was going to use natural cork but has since switched to synthetic. Centered high on the bottle, a silver medal with red ink features a rooster states "Solera Blended in the USA". Each bottle provides the details of the rum with a side label that provides the basic information of the product's creation. On the other side of the bottle you will find the required legal information. The back has a small statement and features Hemingway's signature.
The Dark Rum uses a combination of pot and column distillation. Blended to 86 proof using a variety of hand selected aged rums with the oldest coming in at 24 years old.
In the bottle the rum has a lovely chocolate hue as the sherry refracts through the bottle. In the glass the darkness of the rum balances with the sherry and transitions to a pleasant cherry wood color.
The aroma of the rum has a dynamic complexity. I pick up coffee, cinnamon, chocolate, orange, charred oak, tobacco leaf, vanilla, nutmeg, with a light kiss of sherry.
The first sip provides a full buttery caramel feel, followed by notes of chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, molasses, smoky oak, bourbon, orange peel, that transitions into a long dry sherry finish.
There is a lot going on with this rum. The spiciness of the flavors could easily slide it into the spiced rum category. The aroma promises a rum that has multi level complexity which leads to a surprise on the palate as it is a bit sweeter than expected. The spiciness and sweetness balance into an interesting flavor experience. If you are drinking it neat I recommend it as a dessert rum or if you prefer experiment with it in any cocktail that calls for a aged gold rum.