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Archive for the ‘Dark Rums’ Category

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

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# 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.

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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

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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

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#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

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#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

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#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

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#63 Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 23, 2015

Fabio Rossi began his life in the spirits trade as a Oenologist (one who has studied winemaking). 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 and a few years later Ron Millonario.

When I contacted Mr. Rossi about the Millonario rums, he was very accommodating about providing me with information about their production including photographs of the old Scottish column stills which are used by the distillery to distill the Millonario rum from sugar cane molasses (utilizing a slow distillation process). The distillery uses its own specially selected yeasts in the fermentation process, and utilizes their own coopers to construct the aging barrels from American and Slavonian oak.

Millonario Sistema Solera 15 Reserva EspecialRon Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial in particular, is produced 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.)

Here is a link to the review of the #63 spirit in my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#63 – Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial

“… the immediate nose was full of spiced oak, dark caramel, molasses, licorice, allspice, and cloves. When I tilted and swirled the glass I was greeted by moderately thick droopy legs which moved rather slowly back into the glass. As the glass breathes baking spices build with scents of vanilla, dark brown sugar, orange peel, cinnamon, cola, and dry fruit (prunes, dates and raisin) …”

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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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#67 Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 19, 2015

Cognac Ferrand  has long had a special relationship with a variety of Caribbean rum producers. This relationship is based upon the rum producer’s need for quality oak casks to age their rum. Based upon this relationship, Cognac Ferrand is able to acquire certain old and unique batches of rum from various Caribbean sources, which they bring back to France and finish in their own warehouses and of course their own Cognac Casks. These special rums form the basis for Cognac Ferrand’s growing line-up of Plantation Rum..

Plantation Gran Anejo GuatemalaThe Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo is a Guatemalan rum blend which is produced from sugar cane syrup (rather than molasses) on a short column still. The rum is aged for a minimum of four years in bourbon casks in Guatemala after which it is transported from Guatemala to France to be placed in used Cognac casks for a finishing time of five months.

Here is a link to the review of the #67 spirit in my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#67 – Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo Rum

“…The initial nose is of rich molasses accented by dark tobacco and cocoa. A certain fruitiness rises into the air with scents of raisins and dates accompanied by the more pungent aroma of prunes. The chocolate aroma seems to grow in the glass more quickly than I was expecting, and I am really loving the effect it is having on my senses …”

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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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# 68 Ron Zacapa Centenario XO 15

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 18, 2015

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

SAM_0295 Zacapa 15Zacapa rums are matured using a complicated process they call ‘Sistema Solero’. The subject of my review, Ron Zacapa Centenario 15, is produced from rums which range in age from 5 years to 15 years. The barrels used for aging are a mixture of American Whisky casks, and Sherry and Pedro Ximenez wine barrels. The combination of high altitude aging and the variety of reused oak barrels creates a complex rum with a rich aroma and flavour. This rum is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume, and available through the duty-free trade (at major airports).

Ron Zacapa is owned by Rum Creation and Products Inc. (RCP), who have signed a global distribution and joint marketing agreement with Diageo.

Here is a link to the review of the #68 spirit in my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#68 – Ron Zacapa Centenario XO 15

“… The aroma which rises from the glass is full of rich brown sugar, dark tobacco, molasses, baking spices and wiffs of chocolate. As I let the glass sit, I seem to be able to distinguish spicy hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and vanilla as well as the Christmas-like scents of dark fruitcake and fresh broken nut shells …”

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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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