Pilar Blonde

Pilar Blonde Bottle-RG2

Product of:  Secondary aging,  blending and production in USA.  Distilled and/or aged on Barbados, Panama, the DR,  Florida, USA, etc.
Aged:  Solera blend of rums aged 3-5-7 years
Price: $39.99 (SRP)
Alcohol: 42% ABV
Context:  Premium Pale Rum
RG Rating: 9.5

PILAR logo on black

Tasting Notes
Extremely Smooth, creamy in fact.  Pilar Blonde is just that, not colorless, but pale beige or straw-like.  Appearance wise, there is a surprisingly large quantity of legs, which form and run quickly, leaving behind pearl drops at the upper reach of the swirl’s film.  The bouquet is slightly floral, refined and sugary sweet with a faint dried tobacco leaf undertone that segues to sprightly plant aromas like the oily zest from citrus fruits (lemon, grapefruit and orange) then pineapple, coffee bean and grassy herbal tea.  Those latter notes are perhaps picked up from the used bourbon, port and sherry barrels.   Lesser notes of lemongrass, more dried tobacco and some oaken vanilla complete the aromas.  Taste it, and experience truly beautiful flavors, unique among white rums and surprisingly different from the aromas.  It enters clean with sweet vanilla, then a real white chocolate flavor fully envelopes your tongue, with coconut water, pineapple and mild pecan layered over a creamy body.  Those flavors continue throughout the long finish, like vanilla ice cream made with extra cocoa butter and milk fat, only warmer.

Hemingway Daiquiri-RG1

Daiquiri Challenge
Enough of this refined tasting - let’s get on with the drinking.  Any pale rum harkening the Hemingway legend damn well better work magic in a Hemingway Daiquiri, right?  “Never A Spectator” says the bottle.  “Roll up your shirtsleeves and join the fight” says I.  In this challenge, Pilar squared off against a formidable benchmark – the logical favorite and possibly most historically accurate daiquiri rum of all; Havana Club 3 Años.  Measure, Shake, Taste.  The verdict?  Try Pilar Blonde.  The Hemingway Rum company got it right.  Respect.

Papa's Pilar Rum and Pilar.RG1

Anecdotes 
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.

Pilar Blonde-Compass Cap-RG1

Bottle - If the shape looks familiar, that’s because it’s styled after the aluminum canteens carried by US infantryman for most of the 20th Century.  The bottle pays homage to Hemingway’s duty as an ambulance driver in Europe during World War I and his presence at the Normandy invasion during World War II.  Why the chain?  US infantry canteens used a chain to tether the screw cap to the bottle. The cap could be left slightly loose on the march - allowing drops of water to slosh out and soak the canvas covering.  Evaporation kept the contents cool.  Last but not least, etched into Pilar’s bottle cap is a compass - the simple yet indispensable tool that provides comfort and direction to adventurers on land and sea.  The compass on Pilar Blonde's cap has an anchor logo in its center, signifying Hemingway's adventures on the sea.

Pilar Blonde-Bottle backside detail-RG1

Ethics -The Hemingway Rum Company developed Papa’s Pilar in conjunction with Ernest Hemingway’s family, who will donate 100 percent of their royalty profits to organizations that embody the likes of adventure, literacy, and conservation, causes dear to Hemingway and his heirs.  Papa’s Pilar also plans to work with local charitable foundations that promote Hemingway’s spirit of adventure.

Opinion
Given the macho Hemingway marketing messages, I was expecting Papa’s Pilar Blonde to give my nose and mouth a brash lesson in respect.  What I found instead is entirely more pleasant.  Papa’s Pilar Blonde is one of the World’s most exquisite off-white sipping rums.  It’s complex, with intriguing aromas and dessert-like flavors.  The Hemingway Rum Company and team have created a wonderfully unique contribution to the art of rum.  I suspect Papa would be proud.  

Reviewed: March 2013 at the Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017