Papa’s Pilar Dark Special Edition (+120 days in the barrel)

Pilar Dark Re-aged +120-RG2

Product of:  Blended and produced in USA.  Distilled on various Caribbean Islands, Central America and Florida, USA.
Age:  Engineered solera blend of rums aged up to 24 years
Price:  $39.99 (SRP)
Alcohol: 43% ABV
Context:  Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating: 9

Tasting Notes
In appearance, Pilar Dark Special Edition is robust looking, dark, reddish mahogany in color.  Swirling produces many thick legs and a heavy film inside the tasting glass walls, perhaps indicating a sweet rum.

This special edition Pilar Dark delivers a complex mix of none-too-shy aromas, yet they’re well behaved and harmonious in the tasting glass, as none of the many scents competes with the others for your attention. One sniff and the Sherry and Port cask influences become immediately apparent, the rum delivering a sweet wine-like scent to your nose.  Also prevalent is praline, roasted pecan, pipe tobacco, holiday baking spices, vanilla  and heavy flour pastry.  Lesser notes of overripe banana, green mango, coffee beans and leather round out the package. 

The Initial taste is clearly sweet and complex, biased toward long-aged column distilled rum and less of the pot still influence - not surprising given the the various rum sources and different types of used aging barrels. 
The rum coats your palate like a warm praline cheesecake or a draw from a pipe of sweet tobacco, and finishes long and smooth.

Pilar dark Special Editions-RG1

Secondary Maturation
Pilar Dark Special Edition is initially aged in used Bourbon barrels, Port and Sherry casks, blended and then re-aged in used Bourbon barrels for an additional 120 days.  That final three-four months aging time separates this Special Edition custom rum from the standard version of Papa’s Pilar that has rapidly gained popularity as a sipper and mixing rum.  

Note - A Pilar Dark special edition aged for 90 additional days is also available.

Lindsey Kops, National Brand Director for the Hemingway Rum Company, explained the development and intent of Special Edition during an exclusive interview she granted to The Rum Gallery,:  “Our rum makers didn’t set out with an exact plan but laid down several renditions to experiment with and create a few variations to share. We took the existing Dark and its already complex formula and process and further aged it. We only provide something we 110% love and stand behind which is how and why we landed on the 90 and 120 day [extended aging versions]. Many other variations were tried, but these two rose to the top yet differed enough from each other, and our flagship dark rum.”  

“We released only 2400 6-pack cases nationwide. Not only were they snatched up in record time, but there has been a huge demand for more. We are currently working on tripling that effort for 2016” 

Pilar Dark, Flemish Coil & Cleat-RG2

Pilar was Hemingway’s 38-foot motorboat (as well as the nickname of Pauline Pfeiffer, his second wife.)  Purchased in 1934 from Wheeler Shipbuilding company, Hemingway quite successfully used the boat in the waters off Florida, the Bahamas and Cuba, catching many record-size fish and performing research for the Smithsonian Institution.  Hemingway’s adventures on Pilar inspired at least two of his more famous works:  The Old Man and the Sea and Islands in the Stream

The Hemingway Rum Company impresses me, perhaps as much by their mission to support Erniest Hemingway’s legacy and the sports he pursued with passion  as I am by the rums themselves.  If your taste preference tends toward the more robust, sweet(ened) rums (think Ron Zacapa, Botran, El Dorado 12 and 15 year olds), then treat yourself to a bottle of Papa’s Pilar Dark Re-aged rum.  

I suppose you really want to know: "How different does the Special Edition taste from the standard edition Pilar Dark?"  Well, as you’d expect, the two rums are very similar, the two notable exceptions are: the Special Edition has a more potent vanilla aroma, and overall it’s a little less edgy in both aroma and flavor, perhaps due to the extra time the blend was married in used Bourbon barrels.  Call it more sophisticated if you prefer.  Personally, I’d choose the re-aged edition every time.  But I’d never turn down a dram of any Pilar Dark rum.

Reviewed: In September 2015 fewer than 15,000 bottles of Pilar Dark Special Edition custom-aged rum were released, and one lucky bottle washed up on the Rum Gallery’s shores for review in December 2015.

© Dave Russell 2017