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Archive for the ‘Rum’ Category

Rum Howler 2014 # 9 Rum – Rum Nation Caroni 1998

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 16, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014The 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.

Rum Nation Caroni 1998-2014The 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).

Here is my review:

# 9 Rum – Rum Nation Caroni 1998

 “… I noticed firm oak firm oak scents drifting upwards alongside equally firm notes of baking spice (vanilla, cloves, nutmeg, and a touch of cinnamon) and molasses/licorice stained caramel toffee. 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 …”

This Rum Nation Caroni 1998 rum is very pleasing indulgence with an original, albeit somewhat dry and bitter flavour profile. Fortunately there is just the right amount of sweetness present to offset the bitter and I found myself quite smitten with the overall result.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Rums of 2014 here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

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Rum Howler 2014 # 10 Rum – Reimonenq Vieux 9 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 15, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Distillerie Reimonenq (also referred to as Musee Du Rhum) was founded in 1916 by the Reimonenq family. The distillery, like most others on Guadeloupe, produces Rhum Agricole from distilled sugar cane juice. The fresh-cut cane is crushed by electric mills and the resulting ‘honey’ undergoes a 24 to 48 hour fermentation in open air vessels. The fermented ‘wine’ is distilled in a stainless steel column in the traditional french manner.

Reimonenq 1999 SAM_1385Unfortunately for the rest of the world, this particular bottling seems to be only available in Italy (and in other small pockets of Europe), however the following review hopefully will provide some insight into the taste profile of the Guadeloupe Rhum produced at the Reimonenq Distillery.

Here is my write-up of the number 10 rhum in the world:

# 10 Rum – Reimonenq Vieux 9 Year Old

“… The rhum enters the mouth with the same intensity which it displayed in the breezes above the glass. I taste first and foremost the spicy sap of fresh wood chips, however, there is an obvious butterscotch sweetness which permeates the spirit, and this provides a counterbalance to the spicy rush of flavour …”

The Reimonenq Vieux 9 Year Old Rhum is wonderful complex, full flavoured, sipping spirit. What a pity that the spirit is not available in North America!

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Rums of 2014 here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

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Rum Howler 2014 # 11 Rum – Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solera) Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 14, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Ron Zacapa rums are made from sugar cane harvested in southern Guatemala, which is pressed into virgin sugar cane honey. They are aged using a process they call ‘Sistema Solera’ which is based on the system used to age Spanish sherry. Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solera) is blended from 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.

Ron Zacapa 23 SoleraThis year I took the opportunity to revisit a newer bottling of the Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solera) Rum as part of my Top Rums of 2014 Countdown series which I have been conducting through the month of December. My understanding based upon previous conversations with Zacapa Master Blender, Lorena Vásquez is that the flavour of the Ron Zacapa Rum varies slightly from year to year. Therefore, we may expect some differences in the rum since that last review over two years ago.

Based upon my latest scoring, Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solera) Rum, checks into my Top 25 rum countdown as the 11th best rum of 2014.

Here is a link to my latest review:

 # 11 Rum – Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solera) Rum

“… The initial aroma which rises from the glass is full of brown sugar, molasses and baking spices. Some lightly sharp notes of orange and banana peel work their way upwards with a mixture of crushed walnuts, and dried fruit (raisins, dates and a touch of prunes) …”

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Rums of 2014 here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

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Rum Howler 2014 # 12 Rum – El Dorado 25 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 13, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014The Diamond Distillery sits on the East Bank of the Demerara River near Georgetown, Guyana. The Distillery was originally part of the Diamond Estate which was the last of the Sugar Plantation Estates in Guyana to produce rum. Now, of course, it is home to Demerara Distillers Ltd. (DDL) who are popular across the world for their rich, Demerara Rum.

The El Dorado 25 Year Old Vintage Reserve Rum is a blend of aged rums created to mark the turn of the millennium. It is blended from 25-year-old rum stocks which have been aged in used bourbon oak casks. I have been fortunate enough to have been allowed to taste this vintage rum on several different occasions over the past several years.

El Dorado 25 Year OldMy review is based upon the most recent bottling available in here in Alberta, Canada, and that review score has placed the El Dorado 25 Year Old in the number 12 spot in my countdown of the Best Rums in the World.

Here is a link to my most recent review:

Review: El Dorado 25 Year Old Vintage

“… The immediate nose brings forward rich notes of dark caramel and molasses; baking spices (vanilla, nutmeg, brown sugar, and cinnamon); nuts (walnuts and pecans); dry fruit (dates, figs and raisins); smokey tobacco; and lots of rich oak spice. Allowing the glass to sit brings wisps of dark Christmas fruitcake and bittersweet chocolate into the breezes above the glass as well …”

Every time I taste this rum, I am reminded of another great El Dorado Rum, the El Dorado Special Reserve 15 Year Old. It seems to me that these two rums must share a similar heritage. Although the El Dorado’s 15 Year Old Rum is wonderful, their 25 Year Old Rum raises the bar even higher. Its flavour is more refined and elegant, and as a result the rum is wonderful sipping experience.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Rums of 2014 here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

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Rum Howler 2014 # 13 Rum – Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 12, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014When I contacted Fabio Rossi (founder Rum Nation who have already placed a couple of fine rums in my countdown) and asked him about his other Rum Company, Ron Millonario, he explained that although the parent company of the Ron Millonario brand (Rossi and Rossi S.R.I.) is headquartered in Italy, the rums of Ron Millonario are produced in Northern Peru. Because the rum produced by the Peruvian distillery (he declined to say exactly which distillery it is) are of such a high quality, he decided to market them on their own, separate from the Rum Nation Brand.

Millonario Sistema Solera 15 Reserva EspecialRon Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial, is produced in Peru 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 also bottled in Peru at 40 % alcohol by volume.

I agree that the Peruvian rum is of high quality, and this year the Ron Millonario Solera Reserva Especial is my # 13 Rum in my top 25 countdown of the best rums in the world.

Here is my review:

Review: Ron Millonario Solera 15

“… 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 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.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Rums of 2014 here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

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Rum Howler 2014 # 14 Rum – Rum Nation Panama (Aged 21 Years)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 11, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Rum Nation is an Italian company created by Fabio Rossi, who began his life in the spirits trade as a Oenologist (one who has studied wine-making). 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 limited edition bottlings.

Panama 21

Panama 21

One such bottling is Rum Nation Panama which (according to the information sent to my from Mr. Rossi) is made from sugar cane molasses, distilled in continuous column and aged in American oak barrels (Quercus alba) for 21 years in Panama. Fabio has a good nose for rum and his Rum Nation Panama 21 Year Old is the 14th best rum I tasted in 2014.

Here is a link to my original review:

# 14 Rum – Rum Nation Panama (Aged 21 Years)

“… 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 …”

Rum Nation Panama 21 Year Old has a complex flavour profile full of oak spice, tobacco, canned fruit and dry fruit. Everything works together seamlessly with no single element stealing the show. Fabio Rossi obviously takes great care in the selection of his rum. We can expect to see more of Rum Nation later in the countdown.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Rums of 2014 here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

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Rum Howler 2014 # 15 Rum – Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 10, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014The Plantation XO 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. The blended rum is matured a second time in small French oak casks for another 12 to 18 months. This “double aging” gives rise to a startling increase in both the body of the rum and its complexity, and is the signature of Cognac Ferrand’s Plantation Rum portfolio.

Plantation AnniversayThe Plantation XO Anniversary Rum received a facelift earlier this year with a snazzy new bottle; and the rum inside that snazzy bottle is a delicious as ever; in fact, it is the # 15 Rum in my Countdown of the Best rums of 2014.

Here is my 2012 review, which I have updated only by adding the new bottle shot:

# 15 Rum – Plantation XO 20th Anniversary 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. Then the oak wells up again and pours out of the glass …”

The Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum is an excellent way to cap off on evening. The rum is full of oak spice, and in some ways it reminds me very much of a fine oaky Cognac. But perhaps comparing this rum to a fine cognac is a little unfair to the rum. For unquestionably this is rum, not cognac. And a Rum this good, need not be compared to anything!

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Rums of 2014 here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

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Rum Howler 2014 # 16 Rum – Dicatador 12 Year Solera

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 9, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014We have reached number 16 in my Countdown, and this is already the third entry for Dictador Rum. 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.

Dictator’s solera aging system is a cascading process where younger rums are aged in oak casks and then blended with older rums. The aged rum are arranged in different flights with the oldest distilled rum on the lowest levels of the Solera. The younger rums are placed on the upper levels with the very youngest rums at the top. As the rum is pulled from the lowest barrels for bottling, the barrels are not fully emptied, and those barrels (about half full) are then topped up with rum from the levels just above. This marrying of old and new softens the fiery younger rum and provides the final blended rum with a refined smoothness and flavor not found in ordinary rums.

Dictador 12 SAM_1388Here is a link to my full review of the 16th Best Rum of 2014, the Dictador 12 Year Solera:

# 16 Rum – Dicatador 12 Year Solera

“… . The initial nose is very pleasant, full of rich baking spices which include a brown sugary toffee rising from the glass as well as cinnamon, and vanilla. There is a light accent of marzipan which reminds me of toasted almonds and charred marshmallow. I also sense fresh and dry fruit and a complex oak profile that is firm but not too strong …”

I am even more impressed now, than I was when I received my first taste of several of the Dictador 12, a few years ago.  I have been told by the producers of this rum that the average age of their 12 Year Solera Rum has increased by a few years since it was first introduced, which perhaps explains why its score has crept up in this most recent review. The Dictador 12 Year Solera is a complex rum full of oak nuances and dry fruit which achieves a full flavour while maintaining proper balance and complexity.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Rums of 2014 here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

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Rum Howler 2014 # 17 Rum – Angostura 1824

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 8, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014The House of Angostura traces its beginnings to 1824 when German doctor, Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, who was then a Surgeon-General in the Venezuelan Army, created a blend of aromatic herbs which he called “Amargo Aromatico” and which would become the world-famous Angostura Bitters. Although the company he created to manufacture these bitters was originally founded in the town known as Angostura (later to be renamed Bolivar City), the company was relocated by his successors (his younger brother and son), who  moved it to Port of Spain, Trinidad in 1876.

Angostura 1824 SAM_1380Of course the House of Angostura remains famous for its world-class bitters; however, it has also become well know for the rum which is produced by their five column still, under the direction of Master Distiller, John P. Georges. Angostura 1824 pays homage to the company’s humble beginnings in Angostura, Venezuela, and it is the #17 rum in my countdown of the best rums of 2014.

Here is a link to my new review:

# 17 Rum – Angostura 1824 (12 Years Old)

“… As the glass breathes, the breezes in the air begin to display a few more woody sap-like notes of cedar, a ripple of maple, and nice aromatic baking spices (brown sugar, cloves cinnamon and nutmeg). There are indications of tobacco and toasted walnut rising into the breezes as well a few hints of dry fruit and raisin, bits of licorice, and a tar-like scent …”

The Angostura 1824 is a magnificent rum. The flavours are rich and inviting, and although we taste a strong impression of oak and orange peel spice, the complimentary flavours of caramel and chocolate bring the rum into a wonderful balance making the spirit easy to sip and enjoy.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Rums of 2014 here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

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Rum Howler 2014 # 18 Rum – Rum Nation Barbados Anniversary Edition

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 7, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Rum Nation is an Italian company created by Fabio Rossi. 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 rums from various Caribbean producers. His Rum Nation Barbados Anniversary Edition (12 Years Old) celebrates the first 15 years of Rum Nation (2001 to 2014) as an independent bottler of unique rum.

This Bajan rum was distilled from sugar cane molasses upon a column still in Barbados at the facilities of R.L. Seale in 2001 (Batch Number L14/059). It was matured in the Caribbean (in Ex American Bourbon casks) for the majority of its aging life. However the rum was transported to Italy to be finished in Piedmont (the Italian area of the Nebbiolo Wine) for the last 18 to 24 months. For finishing, the rum was transferred to Ex Spanish Brandy and Ex sherry Oloroso casks before being bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

SAM_1126 FINE DALLIANCE

A Fine Dalliance

The Rum Nation Barbados Anniversary Edition (12 Years Old) enters my Countdown of the Best Rums of 2014 as the 18th best in the world.

Here is a link to my recent review:

# 18 Rum – Rum Nation Barbados Anniversary Edition

“… Within the rum, flavours of oak spice and dark brown sugar take center stage with wonderful accents of vanilla and baking spices. Butterscotch, toffee and molasses lie underneath. My palate was also tickled by black licorice, hints of salt, some zesty orange peel and a dollop of marmalade …”

Rum Nation has never failed to disappoint me with any of their rum offerings, and the Rum Nation Barbados Anniversary Edition is no exception!

The review contains my new cocktail recipe which, just like this bajan rum, surely is A Fine Dalliance.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Rums of 2014 here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

 

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