Winners revealed in Golden Rum Barrel Awards

St Nicholas Abbey, Plantation and Appleton Estate rums were among the winners of last night’s Golden Rum Barrel Awards, held as part of Rumfest in London.

Alexandre Gabriel, the founder of Cognac Ferrand in France, was named rum blender of the year for his work on Plantation rums. Best new white rum went to Plantation 3 Stars, made with rums from Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica.

The award for rum distillery of the year went to St Nicholas Abbey in Barbados. It also won an award for the best white rum at Boutique Rumfest, the trade-only part of Rumfest at London ExCel this weekend, pictured below.

The title of best new gold rum went to Appleton Estate 50 Year Old. Only 800 bottles, selling at £3,500 each, were released around the world, made from rums especially set down 50 years ago for celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence this year. It also won last night’s award for best new packaging.

The Golden Rum Barrel Awards also recognised the efforts of brand ambassadors in promoting rum both in the UK and globally. The award for best UK brand ambassador of the year went to Shervene Shahbazkhani, who became brand ambassador for Bacardi after being general manager of Edinburgh’s rum and tequila bar The Voodoo Rooms.

The title of best international brand ambassador of the year went to Stefanie Holt, another former bartender, for her work on El Dorado rums. She has represented the brand for nearly five years, first as UK brand ambassador and then, for the past two years, as international brand ambassador.

Roberto Serralles of Puerto Rico’s Serralles Distillery was named master distiller of the year for his work on rums such as DonQ, Palo Viejo, and Caliche. He also won the Rum Experience Pioneer Award for his work on improving environmental standards in the production of rum. Click here for an article on his achievements.

The award for best gold rum at this week’s Boutique Rumfest went to Bristol Spirits’ Rockley Still Barbados 1986, which has been matured for 22 years and finished in madeira casks.

The award for best rum blogger of the year went to, a blog specialising in rum by Tatu Kaarlas.

Presenters of awards at last night’s ceremony included leading bartenders Salvatore Calabrese and Peter Dorelli. It was hosted by Ian Burrell, global rum ambassador and founder of Rumfest, with a performance by Mobo-nominated singer Delilah.

Shervene and Stef as well as the winning rums can all be seen at this weekend’s Rumfest and Boutique Rumfest, which runs at London ExCel today until 7pm. Visit

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