Archive for the ‘Extras’ Category
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 19, 2012
The rums of Ron Zacapa are made from virgin sugar cane honey which is harvested and processed in southern Guatemala. The cane honey is fermented, distilled and then brought to maturation at the ‘House above the Clouds’ through the aging process known as Sistema Solera. The Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solero) is blended from these solera aged stocks which range in age from 6 years to 23 years. The aging barrels used are a mixture of American Whisky casks, and Sherry and Pedro Ximenez wine barrels.
The combination of solera aging and the variety of reused barrels creates a highly complex rum with a rich aroma and flavour which my Judging Panel and I have ranked as the number 6 rum in my Rum Howler 2012 list of the Best Rums in the World:
# 6 – Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solero)
“… The initial aroma which rises from the glass is full of brown sugar, molasses and baking spices. Some lighter notes of orange peel and marmalade work their way upwards with a mixture of toasted walnut, and dried fruit (raisins, dates and a touch of prunes). The rum grows in the glass with the baking spices (nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and deep dark rich brown sugar) in particular gaining strength and vigor in the breezes above the glass …”
About the only flaw this rum has is that it is so hard to find in my locale!
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Dark Rum, Guatemalan Rum, Rum, Rum Awards, Rum Review, Top 30 Rum, Zacapa Rum | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 17, 2012
The Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo is a Guatemalan rum produced from sugar cane syrup (rather than molasses) on a short column still. The rum is aged for a minimum of four years in bourbon casks in Guatemala after which it is transported from Guatemala to France by Cognac Ferrand to be placed in used Cognac casks for a finishing time of five months. The rum was bottled at 42 % alcohol by volume as part of Cognac Ferrand’s growing line-up of Plantation Rum.
The Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo is proof positive that column distilled rum does not necessarily have to be aged for 8, 10 or 12 years to reach full flavour and complexity. Although the rum in this blend was stated to me as being aged for four years, I (and my Judging Panel) tasted a complexity and balance of flavour which is normally associated with much older rums. The proof is in the bottle:
# 8 – Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo Rum
” … The initial nose is of rich molasses accented by dark tobacco and cocoa. A certain fruitiness rises into the air with scents of raisins and dates accompanied by the more pungent aroma of prunes. The chocolate aroma seems to grow in the glass more quickly than I was expecting, and I am really loving the effect it is having on my senses …”
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Dark Rum, Guatamalan Rum, Plantation Rum, Rum, Rum Awards, Rum Review, Top 30 Rum | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 16, 2012
In 1749, in the Nassau Valley of Jamaica, the Appleton Estate Sugar Factory was founded. The Nassau Valley is a fertile, interior valley with a special mild micro-climate which is ideally suited to the growth of sugarcane. A water source which wells from a limestone rock formation provides an exceptionally soft pure water which used for the production of Appleton Rums. The Appleton Estate Rum is crafted from pot stills in small batches. After blending and aging the rums are ready for bottling. Unlike most rums produced in the Caribbean, Jamaican law forbids the use of an age statement unless the entire contents of the bottle are aged at least as long as the stated age.
The Appleton Estate Master Blender’s Legacy was produced to recognize three generations of Appleton Estate Master Blenders, Joy Spence, the current Master Blender, Owen Tulloch, the previous Master Blender, and David Morrison the current protégé of Joy Spence. All three Master Blenders have set their mark on this fantastic rum which, on my countdown list of the Best Rums in the World, checks in at Number 9:
“… The flavour carries the tart spiciness of orange peel and lemon which are laid behind a backdrop of clean pure oak. Sweet flavours of baked fruit (apples and pears), brown sugar and honey are melded into this spiciness. I have read other reviews where the rum is said to have a smoky quality. I understand this perception, but to me I taste a presence tobacco mixed with pungent spices (nutmeg and allspice) …”
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Appleton Rum, Dark Rum, Jamaican Rum, Rum, Rum Awards, Rum Review, Top 30 Rum | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 15, 2012
The rums of Juan Santos are produced in Colombia, South America by Santana Liquors. The Juan Santos 21 Year Antigua Reserva Rum is a molasses based rum which has been apparently been aged for 21 years in used whisky and bourbon barrels from Kentucky. At this time the Juan Santos brand is available only in Western Canada, although the Ron Santero brand from Santana Liquors is available in other markets. Although Juan Santos is relatively unknown outside of the Western Canadian market, I have discovered that this rum brings an astounding level of smoothness and depth of flavour to the rum glass.
The appeal of this rum is so strong in fact that my judging panel ranked it as the 10 best rum in my The Rum Howler 2012 Top 30 Rums Countdown:
# 10 – Juan Santos 21 Year
“… Rising into the air, with the smell light toffee and brown sugar, is a light touch of rye spices similar to Canadian rye whisky (wood spice, cardamom and ginger). The whisky like aromas and the rum-like toffee and brown sugar have in fact melted together giving the Juan Santos a very unique character in the glass. Notes of light sandal wood, some dried currants and a light smokiness round out my perceptions of the nose …”
The various flavours the Juan Santos 21 Year Old Rum possesses seem to melt and merge into each other wonderfully. This mixing and melting of flavours results in a truly wonderful rum.
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Colombian Rum, Dark Rum, Juan Santos Rum, Rum, Rum Review, Santana Liquors, Top 30 Rum | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 14, 2012
It was just a few short days ago that I spoke of Fabio Rossi, and his wonderful Rum Nation line-up. What I failed to mention is that Mr. Rossi is not just responsible for Rum Nation, but also for another brand of rum called Ron Millonario. The rums of Ron Millonario are produced ina distillery in Northern Peru on three old Scottish column stills from sugar cane molasses (utilizing a slow distillation process). The distillery uses its own specially selected yeasts in the fermentation process, and also utilize their own coopers to construct the aging barrels from American and Slavonian oak. The Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial, is produced from a 4 stage Solera process with the final stage bringing the oldest rum in the blend to 15 years.
In my opinion the rums of Ron Millonario are very special, and I was not surprised in the least when after tallying up the scores of my Judging Panel, the Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial scored this high on my countdown list:
# 11 – Ron Millonario Solero 15 Reserva Especial Rum
“… This is a full flavoured rum which features impressions of burnt caramel (treacle), licorice laced molasses, dry fruit, wood spice, marmalade, pungent baking spices (cinnamon, cloves and allspice), dribbles of coffee and chocolate and rich tobacco. A bed of freshly cracked walnuts lies underneath providing a ribbon of bitterness which seems work well with the sweet molasses and the spicy oak flavours … “
The oak spice and that licorice laced molasses seem to give the rum a full flavoured ‘rough around the edges’ quality which I found very appealing.
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Dark Rum, Peruvian Rum, Ron Millonario, Rum, Rum Review, Top 30 Rum | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 13, 2012
Cognac Ferrand has a special relationship with a variety of Caribbean rum producers. This relationship is based upon the rum producer’s need for quality oak casks to age their rum. Based upon this relationship, Cognac Ferrand is able to acquire certain old and unique batches of rum from various Caribbean sources, which they bring back to France and finish in their own warehouses and of course their own Cognac Casks. The Plantation 20th Anniversary Rum is a blending of the company’s oldest Bajan Rum reserves. These selected rums were first aged in the Caribbean (in ex-bourbon casks). Then they are transported to France to be blended by Plantation Rum’s Cellar Master at Château de Bonbonnet.
This is one rum which I really like a lot. It turns out that my judges loved it even more than I do, all that love resulted in the Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum placing number 12 in rum countdown.
# 12 – Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum
“… The initial nose surprised me a little with its strong oaky presence and luscious smells of caramel and toasted coconut. Some nice orange marmalade chimes in as well as hints of marzipan and tobacco. As the glass sits, rich baking spices full of dark brown sugar, vanilla, and dabbles of cinnamon and nutmeg rise into the breezes…”
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Bajan Rum, Dark Rum, Plantation Rum, Rum, Rum Review, Top 30 Rum | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 12, 2012
Rum Nation has recently invaded my home Province of Alberta with a very interesting assortment of aged rums from the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. The man behind this invasion is Fabio Rossi, who began his life in the spirits trade as a Oenologist (one who has studied winemaking). After his studies, Mr. Rossi left the wine business and started up a whisky company in Edinburgh (Wilson and Morgan) acting as an independent bottler of Single Malt Scotch Whisky. His interest turned to rum and in 1999 Fabio Rossi founded Rum Nation. His company is headquartered in Italy; but Fabio purchases select rums from various distillers in the Caribbean and the Americas. As a result Rum Nation provides a rather unique assortment of rare limited edition rum bottlings.
One such Bottling is the number 12 Rum in my countdown, the Rum Nation Panama 21 Years:
# 13 – Rum Nation Panama 21 Year Old Rum
“… Dry fruit in the form of raisins, dates, and prunes are rising which seems to hint at a sherry influence although I have learned that these sherry-like accent are very typical for Panamanian Rums. Dark caramel, baking spices, walnuts and rich oak notes all build up as the glass sits. I also notice a flamboyance in the air as tropical fruit, canned apricots, orange marmalade and the rich aroma of pipe tobacco have also reached up into the breezes above the glass…”
If this is an example of the care which Rum Nation is taking in selecting the rum for their limited edition bottlings, then I think they are on to something very good!
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Dark Rum, Panama Rum, Rum, Rum Nation, Rum Review, Top 30 Rum | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 11, 2012
Oliver and Oliver, are an independent bottler of rum operating in the Dominican Republic. They buy barreled rum from major rum producers in the Caribbean, and then age it using a solera aging system in what they call the “Cuban” style. The Cubaney Ron Tesero Grand Reserve is such a solera style rum which features rums as old as 25 years in the blend.
When I published my first Rum Howler Awards, this particular rum from Oliver & Oliver was declared the 2010 Rum of the Year. In 2012, I am naming it the 14th Best Rum in the World in my Top 30 Countdown!
# 14 – Cubaney Ron Tesero Grand Reserve
“… The rum in the glass is a deep, rich, bronze color which carries the rich aroma of dark brown sugar and wonderful baking spices. A faint smoke is present which carries scents of dried fruits, raisins, and a soft and subtle cherry-like aroma in the background. A little wave of soft tobacco is mixed in, as is an ever-present woody backdrop which seems to tie everything together…”
This is a rich, decadent rum, full of character, and it is amongst the best rums I have ever tasted.
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Dark Rum, Dominican Rum, Oliver & Oliver, Rum, Rum Review, Solera Rum, Top 30 Rum | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 10, 2012
I was first introduced to the Dictador Rums when I convinced the local distributor to drop in on one of the monthly gatherings of my Rum Club. Two bottles of the new Dictador Rum (The 12-year-old and the 20-year-old) were brought to the club for us to taste and provide feedback. Later I also sampled the Dictador rums in Miami, at the Rum Festival. Both times I remember being taken in by the Dictador style and the rich vibrant rum inside the bottles. So far I have tasted and reviewed only three of the Dictador bottlings, the Perpetual XO, the 20 Year Old, and of course the Dictador 12 Year Old. It speaks to the quality of manufacture that all three have landed in my Top 30 Rum Countdown:
“… A yummy marzipan which reminds me of toasted almonds smothered in roasted marshmallows is nestled nicely under the oak and spice. A touch of coffee, a hint of ripe cherry, and more charred flavours (perhaps some toasted coconut) seem to arrive at the end with a sherry-like smokiness which also brings nuances of dry fruit and cocoa to the fore…”
The Dictador 12 Year Old Rum is a solera aged rum with the oldest rum in the bottle being at least 12 years of age. It is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume in a stylish black 700 ml bottle.
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Colombian Rum, Dark Rum, Dictador, Rum, Rum Awards, Rum Review, Top 30 Rum | 2 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 9, 2012
It was in April of 2009, that I wrote my first rambling reviews on the Ministry of Rum. If you search their old threads you will come across my original write-up on the Appleton 12 year Old Rum. It was in truth the first ‘review’ I ever wrote. It really wasn’t meant to be a review; but more of a fun write-up to let the members of that forum know what I liked and didn’t and why. That rambling thread is responsible for all that followed. About 6 months later I started this website and that write-up on the Ministry of Rum became the first review I placed on my website, just a little more fleshed out but in essence that same ‘review’ I wrote originally.
In November 2012 I revisited the Appleton 12 year Old Rum and found that my appreciation of the rum had increased substantially. The Rum has improved over the last three years (or perhaps my taste has). Regardless of whether it is the rum or my taste preference (and that of my Judging Panel) the Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old Rum checks in as the 16th best rum in my 2012 Countdown of the Best Rums in the World.
“… The rum is nice and soft in my mouth. I taste a dominant trio of dark brown sugar, charred caramel, and a spicy oak which asserts itself firmly into the flavour profile. I found if I was patient, and let the rum sit in my glass and then sipped very slowly, I could catch the nuances of other more subtle flavours underneath… “
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Appleton Rum, Dark Rum, Jamaican Rum, Rum, Rum Review, Top 30 Rum | Comments Off