Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial
Review: Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial 92.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published on December 14, 2012
Fabio Rossi 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 and a few years later Ron Millonario. The parent company of each brand (Rossi and Rossi S.R.I.) is headquartered in Italy. Although the parent company of the Ron Millonario brand is Italian, the rums of Ron Millonario are produced in Northern Peru.
When I contacted Mr. Rossi about the Millonario rums, he was very accommodating about providing me with information about their production as well as photographs of the old Scottish column stills which are used by the distillery to distill the Millonario rum from sugar cane molasses (utilizing a slow distillation process). The distillery uses its own specially selected yeasts in the fermentation process, and utilizes their own coopers to construct the aging barrels from American and Slavonian oak.
The subject of this review, 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. (Based upon the information sent to me by the brand owner, the youngest rum in the blend would 8 years.) The rum is bottled in Peru at 40 % alcohol by volume.
In the Bottle: 4/5
I was given a bottle of the Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial Rum for the purpose of a review upon my website. That bottle is contained in a hand-woven grass bag as shown to the left. Opening my bottle proved to be a bit of an annoying adventure as the hand-woven bag did not seem want to release its contents. It turns out that the top ‘cap’ of the bag is held on with a dab of glue which was quite stubbornly holding its grip.
Initially I liked the grass covering over the bottle; but to be honest, it lost its appeal quickly. The grass handle sort of hangs there limp spoiling the look on my shelf and the label quickly separated from the woven grass covering leaving it looking rather plain. I say kudos for something unique; but I guess I would have preferred a different arrangement, and I would have preferred if the bottle under the grass covering was not sealed with a metallic screw cap.
In the Glass 9/10
Getting past the bottle presentation, when I poured my rum into my glass it displayed a rich dark caramel colour, and the immediate nose was full of spiced oak, dark caramel, molasses, licorice, allspice, and cloves. When I tilted and swirled the glass I was greeted by moderately thick droopy legs which moved rather slowly back into the glass. As the glass breathes baking spices build with scents of vanilla, dark brown sugar, orange peel, cinnamon, cola, and dry fruit (prunes, dates and raisin).
In many ways this rum is very similar to the more premium Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum. However, the Solera 15 Reserva seems portray more oak and orange peel rising from the glass and perhaps a bit of brash character which its older sibling does not possess. I found the nose very appealing.
In the Mouth 56.5/60
The character of this rum did not disappoint me as I began to sip. 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 find very interesting.
In the Throat 13.5/15
If there is a small flaw in the Solera 15 Rum, it arrives at the exit which brings about a moderately bitter mixture of burnt caramel, allspice, cloves, licorice, tea leaves and cocoa. My palate is left puckered by the spices, and the moderately bitter aftertaste seems to leave mouth and throat dry. Despite the light bitterness of the finish, it must be a good thing, because I am drawn to take another sip…. and another.
The Afterburn 9.5/10
The Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial is a wonderful Rum. It is rich, full of strong flavours and carries just a bit of rough and tumble character forward with impressions of dark treacle, licorice laced molasses, and a firm oakiness set firmly into the rum. I find the combination very appealing which is reflected in my high score.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)