Rum Tasting Notes is a complete rum application, available on IOS and Android. With RTN, you can manage your rum cellar, get detailed information about the evolution of the prices of your bottles and much more. Meet Oliver Gerhardt, its creator.
Adrien Bonetto: Hello Olivier, can you introduce yourself and tell us about the Rum Tasting Notes project?
Oliver Gerhardt: Hello, my name is Oliver and I am an enthusiastic rum lover. My first contact with rum was during my computer science studies – not very spectacular in the form of cocktails and long drinks. At that time I stamped rum as the main ingredient of a Cuba Libre.
The gateway to the pure enjoyment of rum I got by chance at a friend’s place. Here I was able to try a “Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva” and was thrilled that rum can be very good even in its pure form. With the help of forums – and their great possibility of bottle splitting – I became aware of the insane variety and refinement of single cask rums. As my sample cabinet filled up more and more, I had the probleme that it became harder and harder to keep track of my samples and the tasting impressions I gathered. So the personal need for a “collection management” and a “tasting diary” was the birth of “Rum Tasting Notes”.
I developed the first version of Rum Tasting Notes during my studies and finally released it on the iOS App store at Christmas 2018.
In the following year, I received support from Benoit Bail, who as an industry and marketing expert is the ideal addition to my technical background. At that time, also my friend and software engineer Vincent Kesel joined the team and played a major role in making “Rum Tasting Notes” available in the Android Play Store. Together we now form the team of Rum Tasting Notes.
AB: Can you present us the features of the application ? And tell us concretely, how it works ?
OG: I think every rum enthusiast has asked himself the same question: “I have already tried this rum before. How did it taste to me then?”. Rum Tasting Notes offers the perfect solution to keep a digital diary of your impressions and share them with other rum aficionados. You can decide whether you just want to make a quick rating or write a detailed tasting note. If you like, you can also share your impressions with the community and get inspired by the tastings of other rum lovers. To avoid making a bad buy, you can check the taste impressions of the community before buying a rum and find out if you like the taste profile of the rum.In the future, you will even be able to get personalized suggestions for new rums based on the ratings you added.
Besides this use case, the app also offers you the possibility to keep track of your rums (bottles and samples). So you can always check which bottles you currently have in your cellar and which bottles are currently open to offer them to your friends. You can also find out the value of your collection and see where and at what price you bought your bottles. Also interesting for collectors: You get interesting statistics about the composition of your collection (prefered countries, distilleries, …). In the future you will also receive detailed information about the price development of your bottles and can compare the purchase prices of your bottles with the current value trends.
If you have not yet bought a rum but would like to keep an eye on it, you can add it to your “personal wish list”. Here you can also see if the rum is available at our partner Excellence Rhum and at what price.
AB: Let’s talk more precisely about the barcode scanner, how does it work and what is its purpose ?
OG: With the help of the integrated barcode scanner it is even easier to find a rum in the database. Just open the barcode scanner and point the camera of your smartphone at the EAN code. The app will then automatically guide you to the corresponding rum in the database. By using AI algorithms we have optimized the scanner to get good results even in difficult lighting conditions.
We have currently – especially thanks to the great support of the community – collected the EAN codes of over 2500 rums and linked them to the database. This has enabled us to increase the hit rate for scanning a code to almost 80% in recent months. We are very proud of this.
However, there are still some bottlings on the market that do not have an EAN code on the label. We are therefore currently working on a mechanism that also makes it easier to find rums without EAN codes. You can be curious…
AB: How did you choose the tasting criteria? Aren’t you afraid of scaring/drowning the most novice rum drinkers in so much information?
OG: Our tasting feature allows the detailed capturing of tasting impressions. The inspiration for it was based on the procedure known from professional tastings. So the app guides you step by step through the phases “appearance”, “smell”, “taste”, “finish” and “overall impression”. By integrating a digital Tasting Wheel, tasting notes can be recorded very quickly and precisely. This and other features help you to describe the aromas and tastes you perceive.
To make tastings more accessible for beginners, we have included a assistance option. If you want, you can see what other users have smelled or tasted while tasting this rum. So you can get inspired if you have an association on your tongue but you can’t really name it.
AB: Let’s talk about “database”, how many references do you have in your database ?
OG: There are now over 7100 rums in our database. We attach special importance to the fact that also rare single cask bottlings can be found in the database. For example, we currently have listed 308 bottlings of Velier, 282 bottlings of Caroni Distillery and 126 bottlings of Silver Seal. Most of the bottlings are from Martinique (885 rums), followed by Jamaica (789 rums) and Guyana (656 rums).
The database of Rum Tasting Notes is the most comprehensive in the world. In addition to basic facts such as distillery, age statement and alcohol strength, we also provide exciting information about the production process (raw material, distillation method or barrel types during maturation). Thanks to our partnership with the auction platform Rum Auctioneer you will be able to find thousands of high-resolution product images in the database. This makes browsing and discovering new bottlings even more fun.
With the help of the community we add about 250 new references every month. To ensure a high quality of the database and to avoid duplicate entries, we check each entry manually and add additional information if necessary.
AB: You have recently developed the Android version and established a partnership with Le blog Préférence Rhum, other development projects in progress?
OG: We are very pleased to work with Simon from Préférence Rhum and our fellow partners from “Barrel Aged thoughts”, “In Spiritus Veritas”, “Le Blog A Roger”, “Single Cask Rum” and “Who Rhum The World”. The integration allows you to access articles from your favorite blogger directly in the app. We are already in contact with other bloggers to offer our users even more exciting resources.
To help rum lovers to find a specific rum in the database more easily, we introduced the so-called “Rum Tasting Notes ID” in June. Each rum has been given a unique, short number, which allows the rum to be found quickly in the database. This ID can now also be shared in form of a QR code. For example, our partner “Bar 1802” will use these QR codes at the upcoming “Rhum Society” event to offer their visitors the best possible tasting experience. We have also partnered with a number of independent bottlers and distilleries who are placing the QR Codes on the labels of their new bottlings.
Our biggest project at the moment is a complete redesign of the app, both functionally and visually. We have received so much great feedback from the community in the last months that we have decided to redevelop large parts of the app. We are currently in the middle of the implementation, but will give you first previews soon. Besides this development we are also working on a web version to make parts of the app accessible on the PC.
We can’t wait to present you the new functionalities and are looking forward to your feedback!