Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 22, 2012
The Demerara Distillers Ltd. Master Blender is credited with the creation of El Dorado 21-Year-Old Rum which uses a blend of rums selected from their world-famous stills: their ancient Enmore (wooden Coffey still) and Versailles (single wooden pot still); and the metal Albion (Savalle still). All of the rums in the blend have been aged in oak for a minimum of 21 years, making this one of the oldest production rums in the world. This 21 Year old Rum is part of a family of luxury cask aged rums which also includes a 12-Year-Old Rum, a 15-Year-Old rum and a 25-Year-Old Rum, all of which have previously set their mark upon my countdown of the 30 best rums in the world. In my opinion (and in the opinion of all but one of my judges) this 21 Year Old Special Reserve Rum is the absolute best rum that Demerara Distillers produces. It is also number 3 in my list, of the best rums in the world:
“… The immediate nose is full of baking spices, orange peel, vanilla, and dry fruits. There are absolutely no medicinal notes or harsh scents associated with the aroma. As the rum decants, I begin to sense glimmers of almonds and hazelnuts weaving through the tapestry of smells, and I sense a building oakiness which is bringing more spice to the fore. The fully decanted glass is steeped with brown sugars and toffee and even features a vague impressions of anisette and apricot brandy …”
Nosing the glass is delightful!
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Dark Rum, El Dorado Rum, Guyanese Rum, Rum, Rum Awards, Rum Review, Top 30 Rum | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 21, 2012
Earlier in my countdown when I introduced Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solero), I spoke of Ron Zacapa’s ‘House above the Clouds’ and the aging process known as Sistema Solera. It turns out that Ron Zacapa produces not just one outstanding luxury sipping rum, but two. The Ron Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) is blended from solera aged stocks which range in age from 6 years to 25 years. This rum, like its slightly younger sibling, is aged in a mixture of solera aging barrels which include American Whisky casks, and Sherry and Pedro Ximenez wine barrels. However, the difference is in the finish, which is where, for the Ron Zacapa Xo (25 Year Solera), cognac casks are introduced into the aging regimen.
It is probably just a matter of preference, but for the record, every Judge (including myself), on my Judging Panel, showed a slight preference for the Cognac finished Ron Zacapa XO which arrives in the number 4 spot in the Rum Howler Top 30 Countdown of the Best Rums in the World.
# 4 – Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) Rum
“… Scents of mild toffee and spice combined with a rich oak and vanilla aroma rise from the glass to the delight of my nostrils. There seems to be a light orange citrus weaving through the aroma. The spices I can identify by smell are vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg with just a hint of cloves. The toffee smells of deep dark brown sugar with the firm imprint of real dairy butter. The aroma has nice nutty accents tempering the oak and holding its harsher tannins at bay …”
A rum full of complexity with almost perfect balance and smoothness. A delicious, sweet rum that had my taste buds absolutely reeling with delight.
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 20, 2012
The El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum is blended from aged stocks (the youngest being no less than 12 years old) from the original Wooden Enmore Coffey still, the original metal Diamond Coffey still, as well as from the ancient Port Mourant double wooden pot still which was used to produce ‘navy’ rum for the English Admiralty. All of the Demerara Rum produced by El Dorado is aged exclusively in American oak (bourbon barrels). Demerara Distillers Ltd. (DDL) has built a reputation for outstanding quality. Their use of old traditional stills in conjunction with modern stills and distilling techniques have helped them earn world-wide acclaim for their Luxury Cask Rums.
I guess I am adding to that acclaim, by declaring the El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve one of the top 5 rums in Rum Howler Top 30 Rums of the World countdown:
# 5 – El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum
“… Oak and wood spices provide a nice backdrop for the sweet baking spices (vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves) and rich molasses that rises into the breezes above the glass. There are hints of spicy orange peel, and fresh citrus fruit which appear and disappear within the aroma …”
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Dark Rum, Demerara Distillers Limited, El Dorado Rum, Guyanese Rum, Rum, Rum Review, Top 30 Rum | Comments Off
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 18, 2012
The Panamonte Reserva XXV is a new well aged Panamanian rum from PANAMONTE BRANDS. This is a molasses based rum produced from sugar cane grown and distilled in Las Cabras de Pese. Handcrafted by Master Blender, Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez Perez, this rum is very special, as every drop of the Panamonte Reserva XXV rum has been aged for a minimum of 25 years in used bourbon casks.
In case you are not familiar with Don Pancho, I should mention that he has built up quite an impressive track record of late, helping to bring to the market two of my more favoured rums, Panama Red 108 and Zafra Master Reserve.
This well aged rum has a robust, complex flavour which is full of character. The oak is strong and present at all times, yet the wood does not devour the rum; instead, it is an integral part the flavour having merged with the other flavour impressions rather than dominating them. My Judging Panel agrees and the Panamonte Reserva was declared the 7th best rum on my countdown list:
# 7 – Panamonte Reserva XXV (25 Year Old Rum)
“… Thick droopy legs run down the sides of that glass after I give it a quick tilt and twirl, and the initial aroma from the glass is steeped in sweet molasses and tainted with oak spice. Dark brown sugars, orange peel, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves all drift upwards from the glass reminding me of the sticky cinnamon buns that my mother used to bake on special occasions … “
The rum tempts me with sweetness, beguiles me with softness, and then warms me with oak spice!
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Dark Rum, Panama Rum, Panamonte Brands, Rum, Rum Awards, Rum Review, Top 30 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