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Archive for the ‘Rum Reviews’ Category

#24 Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 1, 2015

In the late 1950s, the main companies involved in the production and distribution of alcoholic spirits in Venezuela were grouped into one organization called Licorerias Unitas S.A. by the initiative of Seagrams who owned 51 % of the new entity until 1992. After a series of mergers and acquisitions involving Seagrams, Diageo, and Pernod Richard, a decision was made to divest in facilities and to instead concentrate on brand commercialization. The result was a group of local investors who purchased the manufacturing assets of Licorerias Unitas S.A. and formed Distilleries Unitas S.A. (DUSA) on August 22, 2002. Although this company is relatively new, the tradition of making quality rum in Venezuela using the these facilities which is not. In fact sugar cane has been cultivated in Venezuela perhaps as early as the 16th century.  Systematic rum production in Venezuela can be dated to 1896.

Diplomatico Exclusiva SAM_1418Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva is a premium rum which is produced from both column still rums and pot still rum. Within the blend are rums which are aged up to 12 years. The combination of tropical aging, batch still production yields an exquisite rum which has long been one of my favourites.

Here is a link to the review of the #24 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#24 – Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva

“… There is a nice underlying nuttiness (walnuts and hazelnuts), some sweet caramel and some very delicious baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar). As the glass breathes, The richness of the rum builds and I taste even more brown sugar and cinnamon with butter.  Mmmmm! …”

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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, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

#25a Reimonenq Vieux 9 Year Old Rhum (1999)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 30, 2015

Distillerie 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_1385Incidentally, the word “rhum” is the French spelling for our English word “rum”. However, the differences between Rhum and Rum are much deeper than just a twist in spelling. This is because the french traditions of making rhum in the French West Indies differs from the Spanish and English traditions of rum production in the rest of the Caribbean. A major difference in the production of agricole rhum is that it is distilled from fermented sugar cane juice rather than fermented molasses. As well rhum agricole is usually single distilled to 70 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV), and then brought to bottling proof (50 % ABV) after it is aged. These differences in production translate into a very different flavour profile, one that is more floral than molasses based rum.

Here is a link to the review of the first of two #25 spirits on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#25a – Reimonenq Vieux 9 Year Old Rhum (1999)

“… The glass keeps sending new signals into the air as impressions of anise and licorice begin to appear with persistent aroma of fresh green spearmint as well. Hints of cinnamon and cloves, and traces of freshly ground black pepper keep the aroma fresh and inviting. A light mustiness seems to be anchoring all of these scents and smells, and I cannot help but think of forgotten wooden granaries sagging in the sunlight with dusty old burlap sacks gathered in the corners …”

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

Note: Time for a bit of a confession. After compiling and beginning to publish my list, I realized that I had neglected to sample the spectacular rhum from the Distillerie Reimonenq (located on the isle of Guadeloupe) when doing my summertime examinations. To remedy this situation I tasted it alongside similar scoring spirits afterwards, and then added it upon my list creating a tie for the #25 position. Thus we will call Reimonenq Vieux 9 Year Old Rhum (1999) the #25a spirit, and the spirit which has shared its place upon the countdown will be the #25b spirit (to be revealed later today).  

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#28 Appleton Estate Extra Old 12 Year Jamaican Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 27, 2015

It was in April of 2009, that I wrote my first rambling reviews on the Ministry of Rum. If you search their old threads you will come across my original write-up on the Appleton 12 year Old Rum. It was in truth the first ‘review’ I ever wrote. It really wasn’t meant to be a review; but more of a fun write-up to let the members of that forum know what I liked and didn’t and why. That rambling thread is responsible for all that followed. About 6 months later I started this website and that write-up on the Ministry of Rum became the first review I placed on my website, just a little more fleshed out but in essence that same ‘review’ I wrote originally.

Appleton Estate 12 Year OldIn November 2012 I revisited the Appleton 12 year Old Rum and found that my appreciation of the rum had increased substantially. Another visit to the bottle this year only reinforced that opinion. The Appleton 12 Year Old XO Rum has improved over the years (or perhaps my taste has).

Here is a link to the review of the #28 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#28 – Appleton Estate Extra Old 12 Year

“… The aroma has a firm spicy backbone with a deep dark brown sugar and strong indications of baking spice alongside. Oak tannin and citrus zests arise in the aroma as well as a darker more burnt smell akin to charred coconut and caramelized sugars. As the glass breathes , marmalade-like smell well up and a rich underlying almond/marzipan nuttiness builds …”

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

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#34 Cubaney Ron Tesero Grand Reserve 25 Year Soleras Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 21, 2015

In 2010, a friend of mine who lived in the Dominican Republic arranged for a local rum company, Oliver and Oliver, to supply me with a bottle of their top rum, Cubaney Ron Tesero Grand Reserve 25 Year Soleras Rum. At the time, Oliver and Oliver were an independent bottler of rum who operated in the Dominican Republic.  They bought barreled rum from major rum producers, and then aged it themselves using a solera aging system in what they called the “Cuban” style.

Cubaney 25I am not sure exactly what happened to Oliver and Oliver as current information about their company is very hard to find. However, the Cubaney Rum brand appears now to be centered in Australia. The Grand Reserve 25 Year Tesero has been discontinued, although both a 21 Year and a 25 Year Solera are available. Perhaps I shall be able to taste and review each of these at some point in the future.

Here is a link to the review of the #34 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#34 – Cubaney Ron Tesero Grand Reserve 25 Year Soleras Rum

“… A faint smoke is present which carries scents of dried fruits, raisins, and a soft and subtle cherry-like aroma in the background. A little wave of soft tobacco is mixed in, as is an ever present woody backdrop which seems to tie everything together. I even sense a smidgen of brine and tar in the breezes; almost, but not quite reminiscent of Islay peat …”

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

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#38 Renegade Rum Panama (Don Jose) 1997

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 17, 2015

The Renegade Rum Panama (Don Jose 1997) from the Renegade Rum Company was distilled at the Don Jose Disatillery (also known for the production of Ron Abuelo) in the Pese region of Panama on the Azuero Penninsula. This distillery was established around 1940 by the Spaniard Don José Varela Blanco who emigrated from Spain to Panama in 1908. Don José settled in the village of Pese and proceeded to establish one of the country’s first sugar mills (in the Village of Pese). It was about 30 years later that Don José and his Sons began to distill rum from the excess sugar cane and molasses. Today (nearly 75 years later), the Don Jose Distillery controls and/or produces about 90 % of all Rum in Panama.

Renegade Panama 1997 SAM_1714The Renegade Rum Panama (Don Jose 1997) was first distilled in a column still, and then aged for ten years in Panama in used bourbon barrels. The rum was then shipped to Scotland for finishing in a Port pipe at the Bruichladdich Distillery.  The Rum is bottled in the 700 ml squat decanter style bottle shown below at 46 percent alcohol by volume

Here is a link to the review of the #38 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#38 – Renegade Rum Panama (Don Jose) 1997

“… My tasting notes include main flavours of brown sugar and oak spice, accented by exotic flavours of oriental 7 spice mixture, and sweet cherries! The complimentary flavours are extremely nice! What I like most about the Port enhanced Renegade Rum from Panama is the way the regular rum-like flavours of molasses and caramel are in the forefront, and how the the Port flavour introduced acts as an enhancement and not a competing element. …”

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

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#40 Ron Zacapa Centrenario 23 Anos

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 15, 2015

Ron Zacapa rums are made from sugar cane harvested in southern Guatemala, which is pressed into virgin sugar cane honey. The fermentation process uses a yeast strain (saccharomyces cerevisae) isolated from pineapples to transform sugars within the ‘honey’ into alcohol. This fermentation process takes approximately 5 days after which the fermented ‘wine’ is distilled in a single continuous column.

Ron Zacapa 23 AnosAfter distillation, the Zacapa rum is transported to the ‘House above the Clouds’ in the Guatemalan mountains for maturation. Special cellars age the rum at an altitude of more than 7000 feet above sea level where the ambient temperature is much more stable and the oxygen levels are lower than at lower elevations. The more stable ambient temperature ensures that the aging barrels are subject to less differential air pressure between the outside and the inside of the barrel.

I should note that this version of Ron Zacapa Centrenario is an older vintage from the one currently available for sale. This version is labeled 23 anos rather than 23 solero.  The older vintage received a higher score when I reviewed it, and when I tasted it side by side with the newer version, I found that I indeed preferred slightly drier and less sweet flavour.

Here is a link to the review of the #4o spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#40 Ron Zacapa Centrenario 23 Anos

“… This is very rich and very complex.  Nutmeg and allspice swirl around vanilla and dark molasses.  There is also an earthy, oak filled taint to the nose which is most pleasing.  I think I catch hazelnut and pecans in the air as well, but then again I might be imagining that I can actually tell the difference …”

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

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#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

#49 Rum Nation Caroni 1998 (Bottled in 2014 @ 55%)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 6, 2015

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.

RN Caroni 1998 SAM_1706The 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).

Here is a link to the review of the #49 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#49 – Rum Nation Caroni 1998 (Bottled in 2014 @ 55%)

“… A mellow corn whisky is up front on the palate, but rich soft butterscotch, caramel and sweet brown sugar sit under the corn flavour supporting and enhancing the experience. A nice spicy bite which has the hallmarks of pears and grapes grabs at the taste buds. Carrying all of this flavour forward is a wonderful mild oak presence that never dominates. The oak acts as it should, as a garnish which heightens the other flavours with its presence …”

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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, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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