Tanduay Gold Asian Rum
Review: Tanduay Gold Asian Rum 83.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published March 2014
Last year, Tanduay Holdings began its American Invasion by placing two new rums into the North American market. For those who do not know, Tanduay is one of the largest Rum producers in the world. (The reason they have been relatively unknown in North America is because their Asian rum is produced in the Philippines, and it sells almost exclusively into Asia.) The Tanduay invasion was launched with two premium rums (a Silver, and a Gold). The Silver Rum (reviewed here) is a blending of rums which have been aged up to 5 years and filtered to be a pale straw coloured spirit meant for mixing high-end cocktails. The Gold Rum is a blending of rums aged up to 7 years and is meant to be a spirit to be enjoyed neat or over ice, although the makers of the rum do not shy away from recommending their Gold Rum for quality cocktails as well.
Note: The origin of Tanduay Holdings Inc. can be traced to 1937 when The Manilla Wine Merchants Inc. was incorporated. This company was basically an amalgamation of several business interests, the important one for our discussion being the Manilla Steamship Company which held agricultural interests in the Western Visayas and had been producing rum (and other spirits) in the Philippines since at least 1893.In 1999, the Manilla Wine Merchants Inc. formally changed their name to Tanduay Holdings. For more information please visit the Tanduay USA Website.
In the Bottle 4/5
The Tanduay Gold Asian Rum arrives in a tall, clear bottle bearing a simple black label and easy to read gold and white fonts. There is a thin red strip under the brand name which serves as an attractive accent. The label informs me that the rum has been imported (into the USA) and that it is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume. There is some sort of design embossed upon the glass above and below the label which is helpful as it makes the bottle easier to grip. The bottle is sealed with a metallic pressed on screw cap which is the only deterrent to an otherwise smart presentation.
In the Glass 8.5/10
The rum displays itself with a light golden colour which pleases me. When I tilt the glass and give it a slow twirl, I note that the crest which forms half way up the glass is reluctant to release its small droopy legs. When these legs do drop, they move sluggishly back into the rum.
When I bring the rum to my nose, I sense a light honeyed brown sugar and toffee aroma rising from the glass with spicy accents that are enticing. The spiciness carries impressions of ginger, cardamom, vanilla, clean oak and orange peel. There is also a bit of an exotic flair within this spice hinting that the rum may have a few surprises for me when I taste it. Alongside this exotic spiciness are impressions of charred coconut, grilled banana and hints of green tobacco. The overall effect is very nice and bodes well for the tasting to follow.
In the Mouth 50/60
The Tanduay Gold Asian Rum offers a flavour profile which is familiar to any rum drinker, yet at the same time it perhaps features a hint of the exotic with respect to fruit and spices which makes the rum somewhat unique as well. The overall flavour features a subtle, but welcome departure, from the flavour profile of the typical Caribbean Rums which are more prevalent in North America. Please do not misunderstand, the nuances are minor, and the Tanduay Rum is definitely at home on my bar shelf beside the other rums.
The entry into the mouth was crisp with flavours of fine oak and sandalwood that mingled with butterscotch, honey, tropical fruit, and coconut. Underneath, I could taste a light bitterness of molasses and treacle, and also more than a few hints of cocoa and oolong tea. Although the rum carried a little heat and astringency through the delivery, nothing dissuaded me from enjoying myself as I sipped upon the gold rum. The balance between the sweet honey and butterscotch and the fine oak spices within the spirit is very good.
After the first glass, I decided to add a splash of cola and some ice to the second pour. It was immediately apparent that I could easily relax with the Tanduay Gold in the evening mixed just this way. Next, I mixed the rum with some fruit juice (orange and lime) in a daiquiri style cocktail, and then I lengthened that cocktail with a splash of ginger-ale. Both variations of the mixed drink tasted very nice, and it is more a matter of mood than taste as to which version of cocktail that I preferred.
In the Throat 12.5/15
The finish is crisp with flavours of butterscotch and spice dominating the exit. In fact, the finish features more spiciness than was apparent through the delivery which is probably why I enjoyed the splash of cola and the lump of ice in my glass so much and the daiquiri style mixed drink as well. (I usually find that a light but firm spiciness makes any spirit very accessible for cocktails.)
The Afterburn 8.5/10
I enjoyed the tropical fruit flavours and the touch of exotic spice which I noticed within the Tanduay Gold Asian Rum. These aspects of its flavour made the spirit interesting (and tasty) as I sipped over ice. Although the rum is a mild departure from your average Caribbean rum; it is nonetheless a most pleasant indulgence.
I also found that the rum serves very well as a base for mixed drinks and cocktails (see recipe below). My score of 83.5/100 recognizes both sipping potential and the mixing quality of the Tanduay Gold Asian Rum.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
The Brandy Crusta is a classic cocktail traced back to Joseph Santini (circa 1840) who was a celebrated bartender and caterer in New Orleans (see Leo Engels, American and other Drinks, 1878). This classic recipe has of course evolved over time, and I have seen many modern variations all over the internet. The recipe I am sharing below is based upon an 1878 variation of the Crusta developed by Leo Engels who almost certainly used Santini’s 1840 Brandy Crusta recipe as his inspiration for the Rum Crusta. (see the Leo Engels Brandy Crusta recipe here)
The Rum Crusta
2 oz Tanduay Gold Rum
1/4 oz Orange Curacao
1/4 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Fees Cocktail Bitters
1 dash Maraschino Liqueur
Add the first seven ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the sides frost
Strain the contents of the shaker into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a spiral orange peel and a lump of ice
Please Enjoy Responsibly!
Note: If you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!
My Scores are out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret them 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 spirit. 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)