Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Jenny Gardener of Vanquish Brand Management visits St Nicholas Abbey

Vanquish were very proud to have St Nicholas Abbey 10 Year Old Rum from Barbados join the Vanquish Brand Management portfolio. The Rum fitted our profile perfectly - rare, artisanal and authentic as well as great liquid and stunning packaging.

We have since seeded SNA (St Nicholas Abbey) into many top venues throughout London (Paramount, Zuma, Movida, Artesian, Mahiki, Tramp.....:) and gained many, many more fans along the way.
RumFest 2010 was the first time I'd seen the Warren's since... well.... ages!

It was while chatting to Robert A. Burr at this year's RumFest that I was made aware of the Rum and Beer festival in Barbados in November.... It occurred to me then that I should perhaps take myself on holiday to Barbados, The Rum and Beer Festival and most importantly - St Nicholas Abbey....

My first sighting of Barbados, this is the highly desirable West Coast.
To find out more about the island please visit:

One of the first things I did was go on a boat trip from the capital Bridgetown up round the West coast to moor off Sandy Lane beach - awesome. I was staying in the district of St Peter in the apartment of Andrew and Karene - they made me feel very welcome and the invitation to join them on this boat trip introduced me to lots of the locals, who are all rum ambassadors!

Everyone goes off the side and into the water!

After training and talking to so many people about St Nicholas Abbey and it's rum it was incredible to finally visit in person. I went on the tour which explains the history of the Abbey and the people who owned it and I even picked up a few new anecdotes along the way.

The film they show is quite incredible, dating back to 1935 the footage is consequently extremely rare. It was made by the previous owner Charles J.P. Cave when he took his family from England all the way to the Abbey filming the whole trip on a recently acquired cine camera.
When you are next planning a holiday think about Barbados and a visit to St Nicholas Abbey, I can honestly recommend it! Check their website for more information and history:

Anna has done a really amazing job in the gardens.

The grounds of SNA

The tropical jungle just beyond the grounds of SNA

The Still - "Annabelle"

It was a real pleasure to see the still not only up close and personal but actually distilling! It had been a long struggle for Larry to get the still licensed but perseverance and Larry's indomitable spirit eventually paid off. On the day of the Wine, Food and Rum Festival lunch at the Abbey "Annabelle" was fired up! She worked very hard turning St Nicholas Abbey's very own produced sugar cane "honey" (the juice is extracted using an original steam mill, the water is then evaporated off and the juice becomes concentrated) into fine rum! Of course, it will be a while before it's ready but the best things in life are worth waiting for.....

Now you may be a bit confused if you were paying attention earlier.... Didn't I say it was the Rum and Beer Festival I was off to visit not the Food, Wine and Rum Festival....? True, all true - it was very confusing for everyone! There were indeed two festivals on the same weekend - what a double whammy! In fact it was a Rum, Beer, Food, Wine, Rum Fest!

Every aspect of producing the Rum at St Nicholas Abbey is hand crafted.

Theses are the hand embossed leather caps that fit into the mahogany tops of the Rum bottles.

This is the bottling line..... tiny production indeed!

Kathy in the bottling room, after hand filling the bottles she engraves the date and number onto each bottle.

The Abbey is now a big tourist attraction for visitors to the island and what better souvenir than a bottle of St Nicholas Abbey 10 Year Old Rum engraved with a personal message! Above is Michael engraving a couple of bottles for me.... If you take the empty bottle back they will refil for a reduced price.... what perfect recycling.

Cherry Tree Hill Reserve

The Warren family is keen to preserve the national heritage of St Nicholas Abbey and the plantation. The historic site of Cherry Tree Hill, which has been growing Mahogany for generations, is consequently assured a future for generations to come under their guardianship.

East Coast view from Cherry Tree Hill
The East Coast is very different from the glamour of the West Coast - it's rugged and wild and as you can see quite mountainous.

Foursquare Distillery
I'd heard lots of things about Foursquare Distillery - Disney World and twinkle town were common descriptions and they were not wrong. Fairy lights adorn the outside of buildings and while there's an obvious sophistication in the high tech eqipment, it's underpinned by a mischevious sense of fun. We were invited to a secret party and distillery tour with Richard Seale himself, which was a real honour. Above is some of the range of Rum that Richard makes and if you're wondering why St Nicholas Abbey Rum is there - where have you been!?
Follow Simon Warren at the Abbey on Twitter @snAbbeyrum
Follow Jenny Gardener in the UK on Twitter @StNichAbbeyRUM
Join the group on Facebook - St Nicholas Abbey 10 Year Old Barbados Rum (UK)
Join the page on Facebook - St Nicholas Abbey (Barbados)

Monday, 20 December 2010

La Maison Fontaine, Ed's Christmas Party, the new Shunt and Jimmy Wales.

On Sunday 19th December Ed Saperia hosted one of his amazing Acid Jam parties, "You won't survive outside, not on your own" was held at the new Shunt on Bermondsey Street to celebrate the holidays and raise money for Wikipedia.

Some of the fun included; a mulled wine hot tub, mulled wine (not the same source you'll be relieved to know), barbecue, great live bands, jamming room stuffed full of instruments, edible installations, hay bails, comedy, pegs (you had to be there), Christmas trees everywhere, hot cider, La Maison Fontaine Absinthe Bar and The Machine!

We were very pleased indeed to be invited to host a La Maison Fontaine Absinthe Bar and even more pleased to be given the upstairs of The Machine. If you have not yet been to the Shunt warehouse on Bermondsey Street, check it out! We all highly recommend it:

The Machine refers to a bespoke theatre set for the production of The Shunt Company show "Money" (I haven't seen the play yet but it's high on my 'to do' list - if they bring it back...) it's a massive construction on three floors - some of which are see through. We were on the top floor and could see down into the jamming room on the second floor - awesome!

We decked the bar out with lights, a fountain and La Maison Fontaine, providing revellers with the choice of a classic serve or a Pontarlier Mule - all the proceeds are going to Wikipedia, naturally!

The thing that made it really special for me was the people. Everyone I met was really genuine, friendly, open minded and agreeable - they were all just so bloody nice! So a big shout of thanks has to go out to Ed, all the Shunt team - Nigel, Will, Andrea, Daniel, Dan and the rest..., Madaleine, Nicola, Caroline, Manfred, Daryl, Clayton and Alex for helping! With a very special thanks to Jimmy Wales - he turned up to the party where others had failed due to the snow and happily partied with us all evening, he also posed for a squillion photographs.... what a gent!

Did I mention the edible installation? This is it - a huge edible snow scene with Christmas trees, yule logs, marshmallows, candy floss..... At several points there were also bubbling vats of dry ice billowing out white vapour - incredible!
for more info please visit:

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

La Maison Fontaine Infusion Competition - Extended Deadline!

This was a tasting we did recently in Gerry's. Yet again the infusion proved to be a major success! In fact, given the interest in general, we've decided to extend the La Maison Fontaine Infusion Competition deadline to the end of April 2011.
Given how much bar tenders are loving the La Maison Fontaine fountains we will also include a few amongst the prizes.....

The only rule is to use La Maison Fontaine with your infusion. Once you are happy with your infusion let us know and we'll check it out before the deadline..
To find out more in general about the Competition please go to this earlier update:

Get in touch if you'd like La Maison Fontaine in your bar.....