Say hello to Paul Senft. He’s an Atlanta-based cane spirits enthusiast, world traveler and founder of RumJourney.com. Here’s our interview.
How and when did you become interested in rum?
Nine years ago my wife and I started hosting our annual Tiki party. Friends would bring me new rums to try and we always had more rum at the end of a party than when we started. Then some of them started asking my opinion about rums and good cocktails to have with them. Since I hate giving or receiving bad advice, I started researching different rums, cocktails, and its history. From then on I was hooked.
How many rums are in your collection?
We currently have around 80 rums in the collection. We are constantly experimenting so the numbers fluctuate a bit.
What is your favorite rum (or rums) in each category and why?
White Rum: Siesta Key Premium White – the uniqueness of the rum from nose to finish is unlike anything out there. It mixes extremely well and has made every cocktail I have used it in better. Lately my default white rum for mixing cocktails had been Don Q Cristal.
Aged > 10 years: I am really fond of Trouvadore from the Turks and Caicos. It is one of my favorite special occasion sipping rums. However, it is not easily replaced so I tend to default to Zaya 12 year or El Dorado 15 for casual sipping. I recently enjoyed Rum Sixty Six from Foursquare Distillery in Barbados. I look forward to playing around with it in the home bar.
Aged < 10 Years: Dos Maderas PX 5+5 and 5+3 are favorites for when I want to sip or mix something special for guests. For general mixing I use Mount Gay Eclipse Gold or Brugal.
Spiced: Hands down Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum is my go-to Spiced Rum. It is a cut above anything else I can easily get in Georgia. I have used it in cocktails, baked with it and it’s one of the few spiced rums I will recommend for sipping.
Do you have a favorite rum bar?
For rum cocktails in Atlanta, Trader Vic’s is our best choice. The food is great and it’s a nice place to go with friends. I love the history and décor of the restaurant and it was the inspiration for our annual Tiki Party.
What is your regular cocktail?
At the moment, if I am in the mood for a Tiki drink I like a Mai Tai or Suffering Bastard. As far as regular cocktails, a classic Daiquiri or Pina Crush.
Where is the best place to buy rum in your area?
In Downtown Atlanta, “Tower Beer, Wine and Spirits” has an excellent selection. South of Atlanta, Camp Creek World of Beverages has a good selection and some of the best prices in the city.
Which rum would you travel to buy?
Some would say rum is the side effect of my travelling. I love to visit a place and see what they have that I cannot get in Atlanta. At the moment, I would like to visit the Turks and Caicos to pick up more Trouvadore and the entire Bambarra line.
When did you launch RumJourney.com and what is your focus?
I started building Rum Journey in November of 2010 and went public that December. In 2010 my wife and I took a cruise down the Leeward Islands and the idea of rum and travel really came together for me. I wanted to be able to share unbiased opinions about my experiences with the rums we tried and places visited. This later expanded to cocktails we liked and sharing books or artists we enjoyed. After this year’s Rum Renaissance Cruise I am becoming more comfortable with the idea of sharing my thoughts so I expect to blog a bit more moving forward.
What should we watch out for from RumJourney.com in the coming year?
More Rum Reviews, and hopefully more travel. I really want to get small groups together and visit some of the U.S. Distilleries next year as well as festivals such as Tales of the Cocktail. I am looking forward to evolving the site visually and expanding the content with book reviews and articles about subjects that will be helpful for someone who is new to rum or cocktails in general. I would like to weave a little Tiki magic throughout the pages since I have so many pleasant memories tied to the subject.
Words of wisdom…
Pick your own paths, find your own truths, you will be happier for the trouble. This has led me to making some bold choices and taking leaps of faith that have made the ups and downs of our adventures absolutely worth it.