REVIEW – Papa’s Pilar Rum

DISCLOSUREIt is Cocktails, 365′s policy that it always disclose when we receive samples of liquor to review for the Website. As we tell those who offer samples: we will accept the liquor for review, but that does not guarantee a positive review. Listed below are the opinions of Cocktails, 365 and no one else. And always, thanks and drink up!

The world of premium spirits continues to grow, and in general, that’s a good thing. It’s encouraging to see spirits that were once considered the lone property of drunken nights of regret expanding and developing. Just as the tequila industry has done an excellent job of distancing themselves from the dark days of body shots, so has rum begun to push beyond its borders in the United States. For a good amount of the US, Bacardi and Captain Morgan are the main rums in people’s glasses.

But what about something for the more discerning rum drinker? Just in time for National Mojito Day, we’re looking at one of the more recent entries into the market.

Papa’s Pilar is a rum officially licensed by the estate of one of the world’s most famous rum drinkers – the eponymous “Papa,” Ernest Hemingway. The name derives from Hemingway’s boat, what the brand describes as his one constant.

Papa's Pilar Blonde and 24 Solera

Papa’s Pilar Blonde and 24 Solera

Papa’s Pilar currently produces two different offerings – The Blonde and the Dark. Both offerings are sourced from several distilleries across the Caribbean, Central America, and Florida, and both are then blended with older rums via the solera method.

So, does that mean that the Papa’s Pilar Dark, emblazoned  is actually aged 24 years? Certainly not, however, it does mean that somewhere in the blend it’s entirely possible there’s a 24-year-old rum kicking around.

We’re using both in some mojito recipes we’re working on, but we want to be sure everyone has a good view of they taste.

Papa’s Pilar Blonde

Cocktails, 365 Rating: ★★★★☆


Wonderfully sweet, and a bit bitey. There is a clear sugar cane scent, with bits of citrus and oak.


The vanilla dominates along with a stronger sweetness than some other rums we’ve had in the past. The oak leans more on the back end and gets somewhat lost. Hints of tropical fruits finish it out, while it has a very pleasant burn.

On the Rocks

The oak becomes much more prominent, the colder the rum becomes. A quick little dash of ice-cold water is actually preferable over ice for this, as it deepens the sweeter flavors, but definitely pushes the wood flavors forward.


Papa’s Pilar Dark

Cocktails, 365 Rating: ★★★★☆


Much, much deeper than the Blonde, the Papa’s Pilar Dark pushes closer to a molasses scent than it’s younger brother. There are bits of coffee, and you can even get a whiff of the sherry and port casks. Much like the blonde, it smells sweeter than some other rums we’ve sampled.


Strong vanilla, caramel, and oak flavors dominate. Again, the nose reveals the sweetness inherent in it, and it is a heavier, sweeter mix than the Blonde. It has a heavier mouth feel as well, but lingers pleasantly on the tongue. The hints of sherry come up just a bit on the end.

On the Rocks

Unlike the Blonde, we don’t recommend cooling this one down. With the addition of ice, it becomes more leaden in the mouth and you lose some of the complexity you get when it was neat. Definitely to be enjoyed neat, or in a cocktail. Don’t lose the great heaviness by watering it down.

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