Named for Ernest Hemingway's famed fishing boat and developed in conjunction with his estate, Papa's Pilar rum emerged in Florida last year and slowly spread across the country landing in major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and New York soon after. We're guessing its makers thought haste would kill the vibe: rugged but smooth, kind of like an indefatigable war vet who can't stop writing stories.
Most rums are indigenous to their countries of origin (Barbados-made rum, for instance, follows entirely different production rules than Nicaraguan-made rum, which is in turn quite different from Matinique rum)but Papa's Pilar is a blend of rum from the Caribbean, Central America, and Florida – all areas Hemingway spent significant portions of his life in.
The two rums in the collection, Blonde and Dark, serve their purposes well. The Blonde, aged three to five years, is a light sipping rum with strong strokes of vanilla and wafts of coconut – ideal for summer cocktails. The Dark, which is a blend that includes some 24-year-old rum, is caramel-y, and stands up nicely in highballs, but sips fine on its own.
Though neither will replace our favorite super-premium rums, the price-points do well to justify their allure: the character of one of our favorite writers, now available in liquid form.
[Dark, $40; Blonde, $30; papaspilar.com]