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Archive for the ‘Dark Rums’ Category

Review: Havana Club Añejo 7 Años

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 14, 2016

Havana thumbSometimes when I take the first sip of new rum, I close my eyes; and I let the rum show me where it belongs. This rum brought me to an old tavern, close to the docks.  The kind of place you see in old movies where the rum flows and stories get taller in the telling.  The place has an oily, tobacco stained floor. Cigarette smoke drifts up to the ceiling mingling here and there with the occasional smell of a Cuban cigar.

A girl sits on a boardwalk stage, singing slightly out of key, as the patrons in the tavern pay more attention to their stories than to her. A burly bartender, who looks like he can handle whatever trouble comes his way, wipes the sweat from his brow, and then with the same towel wipes the bar-top. He glances at me playing solitaire in the corner of the room and sipping the rum he served me. I had told him I would stay and pay him well if the rum was good.

He served me a soft oily, smoky rum called Havana Club.  I smile… the tip will be generous tonight.

Review: Havana Club 7 Year Old Cuban Rum

“… The nose displays a moderate amount of smoke which seems to subdue the aroma from the glass to a certain extent. Over time, molasses, dark brown sugary baking spices, dried fruit (raisins and prunes) and a lurking tobacco all find their way out of the glass and into my nostrils. I would have scored this a little higher had the nose been more assertive …

Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

#7b Diplomatico Single VTG 2000 Rum (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 18, 2015

The Diplomatico Single VTG 2000 was produced from a blend of rums which were all distilled in the year 2000. This limited edition rum was created by DUSA Master Blender, Tito Cordero and follows on from his first limited edition rum, the VTG 1997, which (unfortunately for the rest of us) was only released in Venezuela. The distillate from the year 2000 was chosen to be featured in a Single Vintage bottling because of the tremendous sugar cane harvest which was produced that year. Apparently a series of climactic factors in Venezuela combined to produce exceptional growing conditions which led to the bountiful cane harvest. The Limited Edition Single VTG 2000 Rum is a celebration of that exceptional year.

Spanish Diplomat SAM_1677The bulk of the distillate for this particular rum was apparently produced upon copper pot stills, with a smaller portion of the distillate produced upon copper kettle stills. The spirit spent the first 10 years of its aging life in American ex-bourbon barrels, after which it was finished for another 2 years in Sherry casks (Pedro Ximénez). The final rum was bottled in 2012.

Here is a link to the review of the #7b spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#7b – Diplomatico Single VTG 2000 Rum

“… The initial scents are aromatic and fruity. There is a beguiling butterscotch sweetness underneath a triumvirate of oak spice, dark sherried fruit (raisins and dates) and luscious baking spices (vanilla, brown sugars, nutmeg, and cinnamon). Orange peel and almond scents entwine themselves into the aromatic breezes melding into the oak and butterscotch giving me impressions both of marmalade and marzipan …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Note: I admitted earlier in the countdown that I had to place two spirits in the #25 spot because I had inadvertently failed to re-taste one extremely good spirit, and this necessitated a correction and addition of one extra spirit upon my list. 

I have to confess that another minor error occurred which requires an addition. When I constructed my list, I made a counting error and halfway through the countdown I realized that I had one too many spirits upon the list. Because I felt the number 7 ranking in my Countdown caused me the most anguish, I decided to fix my error and score two spirits (a tie) at number 7.

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

#15 Glenmorangie Tùsail (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 10, 2015

Glenmorangie Tùsail is a member of the company’s Private Edition Range (the sixth in the series). The Private Edition Range features limited edition whiskies which are meant to bring a new or unique characteristic to the Glenmorangie line-up. In the case of Tùsail, its unique character is derived from the barley from which it is distilled, Maris Otter Barley. Maris Otter was derived in 1965 as a cross between two other barley varieties, Proctor and Pioneer. It is a two-row varietal designed as a low nitrogen barley with superior malting characteristics. Whisky distillers experimented with the Maris Otter variety briefly in the 60s and 70s as the grain was noted for its ability to impart strong robust flavour and character to the malt; however its usage as a malt barley for production whisky was widely discontinued due to its low yield characteristic.

TusailAlthough this variety of barley fell out of favour for production whisky, its strong flavour characteristic caused it to remain in high demand for premium products especially in the home brewing sector and as a key ingredient for traditional ales in micro breweries. Because of this strong flavour characteristic, Glenmorangie’s Director of Whisky Creation and Distilling, Dr. Bill Lumsden, decided the time was right to produce a premium Single Malt using the premium Maris Otter grain. The resulting whisky, Tùsail was created exclusively from this barley grain which during production was floor malted (by hand), distilled upon Glenmorangie’s unique high, long-necked copper pot stills, and then matured in a small amount of specially selected casks.

Here is the review for a wonderful whisky which arrives as the #15 Spirit in my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#15 – Glenmorangie Tùsail

“… The initial breezes bring scents of fresh-baked bread crust into the air pushed ahead of peppery oak spices. I soon begin to notice impressions of granola perhaps with a bit of Cap’n Crunch cereal along for the ride. there are hints of milk chocolate and a discernible nutty element which reminds me of fresh slivered filberts (hazelnuts) …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

 

 

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Rum Howler Top 25 Rums of 2015 – #’s 20 thru 16

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 9, 2015

This posting will help catch up my Top Rums of 2015 Countdown with the other two countdowns currently underway, The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits Countdown and the Rum Howler 2015 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies.

I thought at this time that I should make one thing clear to everyone. Whereas my 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown is a compilation of the best spirits I have ever tasted, the 2015 Top 25 Rum and Canadian Whisky Countdowns are compilations of the best spirits (in those categories) which I have both tasted and which are currently available in the year 2015.

Pumpkin 23This means that the astute reader, when utilizing the various list to do their Christmas shopping, should take into account that my Top 100 Spirits list contains great spirits which are no longer available to the public. However, every rum and whisky listed on the Top 25 Rum And the Top 25 Canadian Whisky lists are currently available for retail purchase somewhere in the world. Some may not be available in your locale, but they are available.

Which brings us on to the next batch of great rums. Here are the links to the reviews for the # 20 through to the #16 ranked rums in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Rums:

20)  Rum Nation Panama (Aged 21 years)
19)  Pumpkin Face 23
18)  Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum
17)  El Dorado 25 Year Old Vintage Reserve Rum
16)  Ron Zacapa Centenario XO 15

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You may read about and follow the Top 25 Rum Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Rums

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Rum Howler Top 25 Rums of 2015 – #’s 20 thru 16

# 18 Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof Rum (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 7, 2015

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.

Havana Club BP SAM_1733The Havana Club Barrel Proof Rum underwent 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 Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof Rum, was the first rums that I know of which used older white oak maturation casks and then younger fresh oak finishing casks.

Here is a link to the review of the #18 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#18 – Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof Rum

“… As I poured the rum into my glencairn glass my nose was immediately swatted with a sweet toffee updraft.  Hints of cinnamon spice compliment the aroma, and I am very pleased with the complete lack of any charred or burnt notes.  This is intense, sweet and clean.  I let the drink sit for just a moment, and a pleasant liquorice aroma reminiscent of Sambuca enters the fray.  I even catch just a smidgen of raw oak sitting at the very back of the nose.  This is marvellous …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Note: The Havana Club Barrel Proof brand was replaced a few years ago by Havana Club Selección de Maestros Rum. Although the Selección de Maestros is reported to be made from the same stocks and in the same manner as the original Barrel Proof Rum, whenever I have had occasion to taste the two brands side by side, I always have a firm preference for the older brand.

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on # 18 Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof Rum (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

The Rum Howler Top 25 Rums of 2015 – #’s 25 thru 21

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 6, 2015

Ron Zacapa 23 SoleraI was not sure I would be able to complete my listing of the top 25 Rums of 2015 this year. This fall has been so hectic. My retail store where I sell sports and movie memorabilia has been extremely busy and the ramp up to Christmas was crazier than ever. As well, on my website, I embarked on the ambitious plan to countdown the best 100 spirits I have ever tasted. The Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown fortunately afforded me the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. As part of the process of compiling my list of the best 100 spirits ever, I was able to taste everything I needed to compile my list of the best rums of 2015.

I will begin my The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 25 Rums Countdown by revealing numbers 25 though 21.

25) Santa Teresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera 
24) Dictador 20 Year Solera Rum
23) Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solera) Rum (Re- scored in 2015)
22) Dictador 12 Year Solera
21) Angostura 1824 (12 Years Old) Rum

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You may read about and follow the Top 25 Rum Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Rums

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Rum Howler Top 25 Rums of 2015 – #’s 25 thru 21

#41 Rum Nation Demerara 23 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 14, 2015

The Rum Nation Demerara 23 Year Old, is quite an interesting rum. According to my correspondence with Mr. Rossi (of Rum Nation) he purchased 3 casks of this rum from a vendor in the United Kingdom in 2002. The barrels bore the marque from Demerara Distillers Limited’s famous Double Wooden Pot still of the Port Maurant Estate (PM). These ex bourbon casks were transferred into a Sherry Butt (Oloroso N. 61)  in 2004 and were left to age in an underground cellar in Bristol, England where “early landed cognac” (Hine and Delamain) was also aged. The cellar in Bristol was closed in 2007, and the rum was brought to the Piedmont area of Italy (famous for the nebbiolo grape varietal) where it continued to age until 2012 when it was bottled in Italy.

Demerara 23 1989The  age statement on the rum is based upon certification in the United Kingdom (I note that the UK customs system is very stringent). Unfortunately there is no record of when the rum was shipped from Guyana to the UK, but my speculation is that it was probably meant to be part of the blend of a ‘navy style’ rum as Port Mourant Rum (from the Double Wooden Still) is one of the key ingredients in those British Navy Rums.

Here is a link to the review of the #41 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#41 – Rum Nation Demerara 23 Year Old

“… The initial aroma is perhaps a little daunting as rising from the glass are rich caramel scents laced with the smells of wood sap and resin. Felled poplar trees, spruce wood chips, and fresh unstained oak all seem to be part of that wood filled onslaught in the breezes above the glass. Wisps of dry fruit and licorice mingle within the breezes as does a faintly sappy, mildly acrid, vaguely rubbery tar-like scent …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #41 Rum Nation Demerara 23 Year Old

#43 El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 12, 2015

Demerara County (in Guyana) is popular across the world for its rich, three hundred year history of rum production. Using a combination of old wooden stills in conjunction with modern stills and distilling techniques, Demerara Distillers Ltd. (DDL) has built a reputation for outstanding quality and consistent production. In fact, Demerara Distillers is the currently the largest supplier of bulk Caribbean rums to Europe and North America.

El Dorado 12 SAM_1389The  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).

Here is a link to the review of the #43 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#43 – 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, and I have a hard time finding fault …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #43 El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum

#46 Juan Santos 21 Year Antigua Reserva Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 9, 2015

The rums of Juan Santos are produced in Colombia, South America by Santana Liquors. The 21 Year Antigua Reserva is a molasses based rum which has been apparently been aged for up to 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.

Juan Santos 21 SAM_1397Although Juan Santos is relatively unknown outside of the Western Canadian market I have discovered that these rum brings an astounding level of smoothness and depth to the rum glass.

Here is a link to the review of the #46 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#46 – Juan Santos 21 Year Antigua Reserva Rum

“… This rum is wonderfully delicious! It is very soft and smooth on the tongue. Soft caramel notes are mingled with light spices, and the whiskey character I noted in the breezes above the glass has in fact melted into the rum creating a buttery praline cream. The result is a well-balanced rum with remarkably deep flavour. Vague hints of almonds and cinnamon are apparent with ghostlike vestiges of caramel, nutmeg, allspice, and rye spice …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on #46 Juan Santos 21 Year Antigua Reserva Rum

#61 Pusser’s 15 Year Old Navy Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 25, 2015

Pusser’s Rum is advertised as the original rum of the British Royal Navy. And it is a fact that for over 300 years it was a tradition of the British Navy that each member of the crew was issued a daily ‘tot’ of rum. This tradition began in 1655, and by 1731, the tradition of the daily ‘tot’ was in general use throughout the British Navy. As it was the ship’s purser who was responsible for issuing the rum. The Rum became known as Pusser’s Rum in a sort of slang derivation of the term ‘Purser’s Rum’.

Pusser's 15 SAM_1703Although the naval tradition of the daily tot had ended, in 1979  Charles Tobias obtained the rights and the blending information for the British Naval Rum, and formed Pusser’s Ltd. on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. His company produces their Pusser’s Rum following the blending information and the traditions of the Admiralty, including producing the rum from wooden pot stills just as the had been the tradition for over 200 years.

Here is a link to the newly re-tasted and res-cored #61 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#61 – Pusser’s 15 Year Old Rum

“… My word what a taste experience. A full thrust of spice and brown sugar. Not that pale yellow-brown sugar you buy in most grocery stores; but the rich dark brown sugar you find in specialty shops and bakeries. The spices remind me of hot cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, allspice and cloves; and the mouth-feel is oily leaving these spices lingering …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Spiced Rum | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on #61 Pusser’s 15 Year Old Navy Rum

 
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