Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 4, 2014
Ron Matusalem prides itself on being a Cuban style of rum with a history in Cuba they trace back to 1872 when two brothers, Benjamin and Eduardo Camp, together with a partner, Evaristo Álvarez opened a distillery in Santiago de Cuba. According to the information I found last April on the Matusalem website, the rum they were producing began to win acclaim by the first quarter of the 20th century. The distillery apparently operated until the 1960′s when due to the Cuban Revolution the Álvarez family was exiled, and the rum they made disappeared from the landscape.
Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 18 is aged according to the Matusalem company’s own style of solera aging process. According to the Matusalem website the average age of the rums (not the minimum age) which make up this Solera Blender is 18 years.
Ron Matusalem Old Fashioned
Here is a link to my recently written review which I wrote earlier this Year:
” … The initial aroma carries a nice mixed aroma of caramel, oakspice and vanilla. The rich scent is complimented by dabs of marmalade and banana. As the glass sits, the oak spices build in the air, and the rum scents in the air are enriched by added impression of maple toffee, hints of cinnamon and cloves, some pipe tobacco and perhaps a bit of roasted walnut as well …”
This is a relaxing rum with just enough nuance to keep the glass interesting as you sip, but restrained enough that the sipping experience never becomes demanding. It also makes a tremendous Rum Old Fashioned!
Cheers everyone, enjoy my countdown of the World’s Best Rums!
Posted in Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Old Fashioned, Ron Matusalem 18, Rum, Rum howler, Rum Review, Top 25 Rums | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 3, 2014
Havana Club’s Selección de Maestros is an authentic Cuban rum that has replaced the Havana Club Barrel Proof in the portfolio of Havana Club Rums. It is my understanding that the Selección de Maestros is produced in the same manner as the discontinued Havana Club Barrel Proof, and any differences between the two rums are more a matter of normal variation in batch production than any real difference between the rums.
This Havana Club rum undergoes a rather unique maturation process where it is first aged in old white oak barrels, and when the final rum is blended, it is then finished in specially ‘selected’ younger finishing casks. I have heard of this ‘Double Barrel’ approach with whisky, but , the Selección de Maestros, is one of the first rums that I know of which uses older white oak maturation casks and then younger fresh oak finishing casks.
Here is a link to my review:
” … The immediate nose is of sweet toffee, with a nice complement of cinnamon. Nutmeg and cloves work their way into the breezes along with a little oak, some hot orange peel and a touch of green tobacco. As the glass sits, the aroma of toffee intensifies making the rum seem very attractive, which of course leads me to steal a sip …”
The Havana Club Selección de Maestros really is a fine rum. It is a little spicier than most well aged rums in the market, but the spiciness (for me) works very well within the context of the overall flavour profile. The spirit is an excellent sipper, and if you wish to explore the cocktail rum just a bit, you will find the spiciness of this Cuban spirit works wonders in that realm as well. In fact I created a new cocktail recently, Cuban Style, which uses this Havana Club Rum’s spiciness to great effect.
Cheers everyone, enjoy my countdown of the World’s Best Rums!
Posted in Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Cuban Style, Havana Club, Rum, Rum howler, Rum Review, Selección de Maestros, Top 25 Rums | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 2, 2014
Dictador is produced in Colombia on the Caribbean coast at Cartagena de Indias City. Rather than being produced from molasses, the rum is produced from the virgin honey of sugar cane which has been distilled upon a stainless steel alembic, and aged using Dicatador’s unique take on the solera-style aging system. Although the rum is produced upon a stainless steel alembic, the inner workings of this still contain more than enough copper such that it functions in basically the same manner as a copper pot still.
Statements on the Dictador website speak to a difference in the aging regimen used for their XO rums. Although the information is not specific, it appears that the major difference is in the oak selected. The intent seems to be to create a different rum flavour profile for the rum connoisseur.
This new rum flavour profile is (in my opinion) very appealing, and it has landed the Dictador XO Perpetual at the number 23 spot on my 2014 countdown:
Here is a link to my recently revised review I wrote for this outstanding rum:
” … I sense a wonderful butterscotch sweetness underneath a bouquet of oak and baking spices (vanilla, brown sugars, and cinnamon). Orange peel wells out of the glass, but if you are patient the orange peel soon melds with the butterscotch to give the air a lovely impression of marmalade …”
The Dictador XO Perpetual is a rum which carries a bit of flamboyance through its delivery. I found it especially good in an Old Fashioned cocktail the recipe of which is shared at the conclusion on my review.
Cheers everyone, enjoy my countdown of the World’s Best Rums!
Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Rums in the World here: The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Dictador Perpetual, Old Fashioned, Rum, Rum howler, Top 25 Rums | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 30, 2014
Once again, I have prepared my annual listing of the best rums available in the world, this time for the year ending, 2014.
If you have followed any of my year-end countdown lists over the past few years you will have noticed that they are ever evolving as new spirits become available for me to taste each year, and as previously reviewed spirits disappear (for example: Appleton Estate 50 Year Old Jamaica Rum – Jamaica Independence Reserve) or become unavailable in my market for me to re-evaluate.
Another factor causing change in my rankings each year is the evolution of the various spirit brands which, contrary to popular opinion, do not necessarily remain consistent from year to year (or even from batch to batch). Within spirit companies, and within individual distilleries, philosophies and styles change as does the quality of the spirit produced from year to year (and from batch to batch).
My list as usual will be presented “Countdown Style” beginning on November 30th, and then through the month of December with the best rum of 2014 revealed on December 24, 2014 just in time for you to grab a bottle for Christmas and New Year’s cheer! As you return to this page each day (beginning November 30th), a new spirit will be revealed as we count down to the best rum I have personally tasted in 2014!
As so with no further ado, allow me to present my countdown list of
And of course, allow me to present my choice as the 25th best rum in the World:
Note: I will be publishing two additional advent lists in the run up to Christmas, my 2nd annual Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014, and my newest review series, The 12 Cognacs of Christmas!
Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Flor de Caña Centenario 12, Flor de Cana Rum, Rum, Rum Howler Awards, Rum Reviews, Top 25 Rums | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 6, 2014
The Caroni Distillery in Trinidad and Tobago was established in 1918, and was operated at near full capacity until 1993. Unfortunately, due to industry consolidation, rum production at the facility began to decline late in the 20th century and the distillery was closed in 2002. As a matter of interest, the consolidation of the rum industry during the last two centuries is amply illustrated in Trinidad and Tobago where there this small country featured 50 distilleries at the turn of the 19th century. One hundred and fifty years later (in 1950) only 8 had survived, and today there is but one, Angostura. It seems a pity that so much tradition and history has vanished. Although I guess we can count ourselves lucky that some of the rum barrels from the Caroni distillery are still finding their way into the market place.
The Rum Nation Caroni 1998 is one such offering from the folks at Rum Nation. This is an old-style heavy column still rum which was distilled in 1998 and aged for nine years in American Oak casks on the Caribbean Island of Trinidad. From this tropical locale, the rum was transported to Europe for further aging in refill American Oak (bourbon) casks which had been also previously used to age Rum Peruno (8YO). The resulting Rum Nation Caroni 1998 rum was bottled at cask strength (55 % alcohol by volume).
The Caroni Cocktail
You may read my latest review by clicking on the following link:
” … I left the glass to sit and breathe and noticed that the oak I had sensed in the breezes grew stronger demonstrating scents of freshly cut wooden planks which were dripping with wood sap. I could also sense fresh tar-like aromas, more dark licorice and light smells of camphor winding through the air … “
Although it may seem a sacrilege to some, I did a fair bit of experimentation in the cocktail realm with this particular spirit, and I found this Caroni Rum tasted extremely good when I poured a couple of ounces of the spirit over a few cubes of ice (in my rocks glass) and then added a small splash of cola and lime. A sipping Cuba Libre’ if you will. I added this Caroni Cocktail at the conclusion of my review for those who do not mind the occasional sacrilege of mixing great rum into an equally great bar drink.
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: 1998, Caroni Cocktail, Caroni Rum, Cocktails, Cuba Libre, Rum, Rum Nation, Rum Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 9, 2014
1 Barrel Rum is a product of Belize, the northernmost mainland country of Central America. A former British Colony, Belize lies just south of Mexico with the Caribbean Sea to the east and Guatemala to the west and south. Travellers Liquors Limited has been involved in the production of 1 Barrel Rum in Belize since the early 1960s originally working with independent distillers. In 1989, Tavellers acquired full control of their own distillery and has remained in full control of the brand ever since.
The 1 Barrel Rum is made from locally grown Belize sugar cane. According to the Travellers’ website, this cane is cut and crushed in a manner which retains its natural flavors, and the all of the rum is aged in Kentucky oak barrels for at least one year.
You may read my review of 1 Barrel Rum by clicking the following excerpt link:
“… The aroma from the glass is not overly complex; but it is nice with what I will call a laid back, lightly sweet quality. The initial scents and aromas I receive are very reminiscent of butterscotch and caramel, and I notice some subtle baking spices and a touch of tobacco appearing after I allow the glass to decant …”
Note: Included in the review is a nice tall cocktail (Baron Bliss) which pays homage to Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss, more commonly known as Baron Bliss. He was a British-born traveller who bequeathed approximately two million dollars ($US) to a trust fund for the benefit of the citizens of what was then (March 9, 1926) the colony of British Honduras. That colony of course is now known as Belize.
Please enjoy the review!
Posted in Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: 1 barrel Rum, Baron Bliss, Cocktails, Rum, Rum Review, Traveller's Rum | 3 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 23, 2014
This past May, I was invited by Thirsty Cellar Imports, to attend a Rum Master Class hosted by Hernan Parra Arango, Rum Master for Dictador Colombian Rum. At the event, the attendees were given the opportunity to taste the entire Dictador line-up which of course included not only the Dictador 12 Year and the Dictador 20 Year Solera Rums, but we also tasted and learned about the Dictador XO Perpetual and XO Insolent Rums.
At the Rum Master Class, I learned that for the Dictador XO Insolent in particular, the aging barrels used are pre-used oak barrels which have a significant percentage of oak obtained from Jerez Spain, as well as pre-used Port Wine Barrels. Near the end of the aging process, the barrels earmarked for the XO Insolent Rum are emptied (and the rum stored of course), and these barrels are subjected to an open flame process which caramelizes the rum soaked oak fibres on the interior of the barrel. These barrels are then refilled with the same rum allowing the spirit to draw the sweet caramelized flavours from the interior of the oak barrel. The final rum is blended and barreled at 40 % Alcohol by volume.
You may read my full review for the XO Insolent Rum by clicking on the following excerpt:
“… luscious with sweet toffee smells rising from the glass tainted with impressions of butterscotch, vanilla, corn syrup, creme de brulee, maple syrup and peanut brittle. There is a backbone of firm oak sap and spice melded wonderfully into these sweeter butterscotch like aromas with delectable baking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves) and hints of milk chocolate …”
Please enjoy my latest review!
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Aged Rum, Dictador, Insolent, Rum, Rum Review, Solera | 6 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 14, 2014
In my part of Canada, Lamb’s is one of the most popular rum brands. The brand is owned by Corby Brand, and they the rum’s history all the way to 1849 when Alfred Lamb opened his wine and spirits business in London, England. Apparently Alfred stored his rum barrels (which had been imported from the Caribbean) in his underground cellars which were directly beneath the Thames River. The cool underground air which did not experience large seasonal fluctuations in temperature nor large fluctuations from day to night is reckoned to be one of the secrets behind the unexpectedly smooth taste of his rum.
Of course the rum no longer is aged under the Thames River in Britain; but it does maintain its Caribbean heritage as the Lamb’s blend is sourced from a variety of Caribbean rums which have been aged for a minimum of one year in oak casks. The final rum is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume and sold as Lamb’s Palm Breeze.
You may click on the excerpt link to read the full review:
“… When I bring the glass to my nose, I notice light smells of butterscotch, sandalwood and spice. It is the sandalwood and spice (rather than the butterscotch) which grows in the breezes as I let the glass breathe. I soon notice traces of white pepper and cinnamon as well as building citrus zest and banana peel. Interestingly, a plastic-like scent reminiscent of faux leather seems to be entwined within the spiciness. Hints of vanilla and almond round out the aroma, which if I had encountered it in a blind format, I might just have mistaken it for a light Canadian whisky …”
The Master Blender (Joy Spence) for Appleton Estate Rum shared her favourite cocktail with me during an interview I conducted a few years ago (See interview here). I found it nice to know that those who make great rum, also agree with me that it is more than acceptable to mix their great rum into a cocktail. At the conclusion of my review, I share the Spence Cocktail as my suggested recipe for for Lamb’s Palm Breeze.
Please enjoy my review and Joy Spence’s great cocktail!
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Amber Rum, Cocktails, Gold Rum, Lamb's Rum, Palm Breeze, Rum, Rum Review, Spence Cocktail | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 2, 2014
Angostura Distillers Limited have been producing rum on the Island of Trinidad since the 1930s. Although the company was originally more famous for its production of Angostura Bitters, it has over time also become one of the major producers of rum in the Caribbean. Their rum is produced on a large 5 column still which is located near Port of Spain, on East Main Road, and (as noted on the Ministry of Rum) it is directly east of a coconut-processing plant. The five-column still used by Angostura is capable of producing many marques of rum which range from very light bodied to heavy bodied distillates. This varied production allows the distillery to produce many different styles of rum with differing characteristics depending upon the aim of the final product.
The Royal Oak Select is a light bodied, amber rum which does not carry an age statement. The Angostura website notes that the rum is: “a blend of carefully selected Trinidad rums aged for a maximum of 5 to 7 years by the Master Blender.”
Sloe Lime Daiquiri
I note that this statement stresses the oldest rum in the blend and not the youngest. I suspect (based upon my tasting notes) that this blended rum is on average, 3 to 4 years old.
You may read my full review of by clicking on the following review excerpt:
“… I notice strong butterscotch and caramel scents rising into the air above the glass accented by orange peel and wood spice. There is a nice mellow coconut aroma laying within the caramel, and I wonder if the scents and smells of the coconut processing plant which resides next to the distillery have set their subtle imprint upon the rum as it aged …”
I hope you enjoy this review of the rum which many believe is Angostura’s signature rum blend. And of course, please enjoy my suggested cocktail which I have included at the conclusion of the review, the Sloe Lime Daiquiri.
Posted in Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Amber Rum, Angostura, Cocktails, Royal Oak Select, Rum, Rume Review, Sloe Lime Daiquiri | 4 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 26, 2014
Havana Club is a Cuban Rum produced by Havana Club International (a joint venture between the Cuban Government and Pernod Ricard) currently produced in two Cuban locations, San José de Las Lajas and Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba. According to tradition the production of the rum which was to become Havana Club began in 1878 when Spanish immigrant José Arechabala established Destileria La Vizcaya in the port city of Cárdenas, Cuba. The distillery remained in the hands of the Arechabala family and in 1934 José’s grandson (also named José Arechabala) apparently created the recipe for Havana Club Rum and began to market it throughout the world. However, the family lost control of the distillery and the brand when after the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the Cuban Government nationalized the distillery and company.
Mojito Tonic with Havana Club Anejo 3 Anos
Havana Club Añejo 3 Años is a pale straw coloured rum spirit which has been aged for 3 years in Cuba. Because of the current difficulties between USA and Cuba the distillery which produces the rum must source its aging barrels from outside of the USA. This means that first fill American oak is almost certainly not used in the aging process, more likely the distillery uses second or third fill barrels which would be sourced from its Caribbean neighbors. Although the rum exhibits some colour it is nevertheless sold as a white cocktail rum which is said to be particularly well-suited for the Cuban Mojito.
You may read my full review by clicking on the following link:
“… The breezes above the glass are lightly sweet with hints of cotton candy, butterscotch and a light vanilla. Although it takes a minute or two the scent of fresh-cut grass becomes stronger as the glass sits, as do impressions of fresh plantain and canned pears. Bits of sandalwood struggle out of the glass which indicates that although the spirit appears to be filtered, some indications of wood aging are apparent in the air above the glass …”
Please enjoy the review which includes a nice Mojito style cocktail completed with Tonic Water rather than soda. I call it, the Mojito Tonic.
Posted in Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: Havana Club, Havana Club international, Rum, Rum Review, White Rum | 2 Comments »