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Archive for the ‘Dark Rums’ Category

#70 El Dorado 25 Year Old Vintage Reserve Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 16, 2015

The 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. Using a combination of venerable old wooden stills in conjunction with modern stills and distilling techniques, DDL, has built a reputation for outstanding quality and consistent production. In fact, Demerara Distillers is currently the largest supplier of bulk Caribbean Rum to Europe and North America.

El Dorado 25yo PackThe 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. This is quite different from those rums which feature a solera style age statement which highlights the oldest rum in the blend but also usually includes a high percentage of rum which is much younger.

Here is a link to the review of the #70 spirit in my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#70 – El Dorado 25 Year Old Vintage Reserve Rum

“… As I let the glass breathe, the tobacco and the oak scents deepened. They were joined by wonderful sweet baking spices filled with rich brown sugar, spicy cinnamon, light vanillans and hints of nutmeg.  This one of those rums that grows in the glass as it breathes. The aroma is rich and deep and wonderfully in balance …”

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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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#73 Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 13, 2015

Plantation 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 AnniversayHere is a link to my review of the #73 entry in my 2015 Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#73 – Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados 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. I love the aroma, and I could sit for hours just nosing the glass without taking a sip …”

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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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#75 Pumpkin Face 23

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 11, 2015

Pumpkin Face Rum is a new brand of rum being distributed in Canada by Pure Global Imports. It is an ‘ultra premium’ Dominican rum which was produced in 1980. The rum was aged in oak for 23 years, however it was also at some point during the maturation process ‘rested’ in stainless steel vats for 10 years before being bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Pumpkin Face 23Just so we are clear, there may be additional benefits gained by resting a spirit in airtight vats; however, it is widely accepted that no further maturation of the spirit occurs in an airtight container. Pumpkin Face 23 is (according to the information provided) a 23 Year Old Rum based upon how long it was resting in oak barrels; the 10 years the rum spent in the stainless steel vats are not included in the age statement.

Here is a link to my review of the #75 entry in my 2015 Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#75 – Pumpkin Face 23

“… the oak spices seemed to meld into the chocolate caramel as the rum decanted. Rich toffee and tobacco aromas evolved from the glass with hints of treacle, brown sugar, and baking spices straining to push through as well. I sense whispers of vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg within the toffee-like aroma as well as an underlying nuttiness which resembles fresh roasted walnuts …”

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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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#77 Rum Nation Panama (Aged 21 years)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 9, 2015

Rum Nation has invaded my home Province of Alberta with a very interesting assortment of aged rums from the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. The man behind this invasion is Fabio Rossi, who turned to rum in 1999 and 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 rare limited edition rum bottlings. One such Bottling is the Rum Nation Panama 21 Years.

Panama 21

According to the front of the bottle (translation provided by Fabio Rossi):

” Rum Nation Panama 21 years is a blend created from the expert hands of Don Francisco (Pancho) Fernández, Master Blender born in Cuba, with 40 years of experience in production of aged rums in central and south America. Rum Nation Panama 21 years is made from sugar cane molasses, distilled in continuous column and aged in American oak barrels (Quercus alba) for 21 years in Panama.”

Here is a link to my review of the #77 entry in my 2015 Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#77 – Rum Nation Panama (Aged 21 years) 

“… Dark caramel, baking spices, walnuts and rich oak notes all build up as the glass sits. I also notice a flamboyance in the air as tropical fruit, canned apricots, orange marmalade and the rich aroma of pipe tobacco have also reached up into the breezes above the glass. There may even be a hint of decadent dark chocolate in the air …”

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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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#79 Angostura 1824 Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 7, 2015

The 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.

Of 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 SAM_1380Angostura 1824 pays homage to the company’s humble beginnings in Angostura, Venezuela. It is a premium rum produced from molasses. All of the spirit within the blend has been aged a minimum of 12 years in charred American oak bourbon barrels, after which it is hand drawn from the barrel, filtered and then bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my review of the #79 entry in my 2015 Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#79 – Angostura 1824 Rum

“… When I take my first sip, I am pleased by the smooth flavour which seems to present me with a combination of zesty orange peel and oak spice which are melded into butterscotch with hints of maple, all of which are underlain by a oozing chocolate flavours (both bittersweet cocoa and creamy milk chocolate) …”

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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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#83 Dictador 12 Year Aged Solera Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 3, 2015

Dictador’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_1388A unique feature of the Dictador Solera System is that in addition to the younger rums being married with older rums, the barrels of similarly aged rums along one level of the solera are periodically consolidated to keep the barrels as full as possible to maintain fuller contact with the wood, and to inhibit the acceleration of the evaporation within the barrels. The Dictador 12 Year Old Rum, is a solera aged rum which is taken from the solera at the point where the average of the rum within that solera row is at least 12 years of age.

Here is a link to my review of the #83 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#83 – Dictador 12 Year Aged Solera Rum

“… There is a good amount of oak tannin and citrus zest which leads out and makes everything mildly spicy. This sensation is quickly followed by flavours of dark toffee which have turned slightly to treacle, and a moderate amount of vanilla oak. A yummy marzipan which reminds me of toasted almonds smothered in roasted marshmallows is nestled nicely under the oak and 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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#90 Ron Bermudez Anniversario

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 26, 2015

The Ron Bermúdez Company has a long history that stretches back to 1852. This is almost as old as the Dominican Republic itself, and I think it is easy to suggest that the Ron Bermudez Company is an important part of the history of the Dominican Republic. Don Erasmo Bermudez apparently created the company’s first rum, sold as Bitter Panacea which quickly became extremely popular and provided the foundation for the company’s  success. The Company is currently in its fourth generation of management, still represented by the Bermudez family.

bermudez-aniv-botellaThe Ron Bermudez Anniversario carries no age statement, however it sits atop the ladder of the Bermudez Rum line-up. Carrying heavy oak accents, it was suggested to me by the local distributor that the rum would be comparable to a fine oaky cognac, full of character and flavour.

Here is a link to my review of the #90 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#90 – Ron Bermudez Anniversario

“… The rum is spicy with hints of cinnamon and orange peel. Toffee and caramel sit in the background supporting the spicier flavour of the oak. There is also a firm leathery smoke in the rum which is full of the flavours of dried fruits (raisins, dates, and prunes) …”

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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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#93 Dictador 20 Year Old Solera Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 23, 2015

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. Although the rum is produced upon a stainless steel alembic, the inner workings of this still contain more than enough copper such that it functions in basically the same manner as a copper pot still.

Dictador 20 SAM_1387Interestingly, the choice of the distillery to use sugar cane honey rather than molasses is based upon a peculiarity of Colombian government policy. It seems that the country has mandated that automobiles in Colombia must use a certain percentage of biofuels in conjunction with gasoline as their fuel source. As molasses is the most readily available source of biofuel, almost all molasses produced in Columbia is earmarked for biofuel production. This means that the folks at Dictador Rum have little choice but to produce and use their own sugar cane honey for rum production.

The Dictador 20 Year Old Rum, is a solera aged rum which is taken from the solera at the point where the average age of the rum within that solera row is at least 20 years of age.  (Some older rum is certainly within those barrels as well.)

Here is a link to my review of the #93 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#93 – Dictador 20 Year Old Solera Rum

“… The aroma from the glass is heavily tainted with oak and baking spice. I smell dark brown sugars and toffee which grow stronger and deeper as the glass decants. A hint of maple sits in the breezes, and accents of cinnamon, nutmeg as well as a firm dash of vanilla rise up to complement the strong oak aroma. There is a light smokey element as well which seems to imply sherry like scents of dried currants and raisins …”

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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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#97 Santa Teresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 19, 2015

The Ron Santa Theresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera is a Venezuelan rum which can trace its ancestry back to the year of 1796 when the Santa Theresa Hacienda was created. It was of course, 200 years later that the Ron Santa Theresa 1796 was created to commemorate the bicentennial anniversary of the Hacienda.

Santa Theresa 1796 SAM_1710This is a true Solera rum with 4 rows of aging barrels set one atop each other. As the rum ages, a portion of the rum moves through each row until it reaches the final solera row at the bottom years later. The barrels are not emptied fully and only a portion of the rum from the previous or higher row is moved to the lower row each time. According to the Santa Theresa website, a very small portion of the rum reaches an age approximating 25 years before bottling.

Here is a link to my review of the #97 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#97 – Ron Santa Teresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera

“… The rum has a different reddish tone and the initial aroma seems to be hinting that the spirit has at some point in its journey passed through an exotic wine cask which left an imprint of fruity dark cherries and plums upon the scent of the rum. Rich aromas of butterscotch and light smells of molasses join with these fruity scents and the result is most appealing …”

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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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#99 El Dorado 8 Year Old Cask Aged Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 17, 2015

The Diamond Distillery sits on the East Bank of the Demerara River near Georgetown, Guyana. The Distillery, originally attached to the now closed Diamond Sugar Estate, is home to Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL). Two years ago, I was invited by DDL and Woodman Wines and Spirits to travel to Guyana for a very exclusive tour of DDL’s facilities with a small group of Canadian Spirits Writers and Restauranteurs. It was in Guyana that I encountered their new 8 Year Old Rum.

SAM_1070According to the El Dorado Website, the El Dorado 8 Year old Cask Aged Rum is blended from selected stocks of rum which were produced from no less than four of DDL’s traditional Heritage Stills including both the original Wooden Coffey Still which was rescued from the Enmore Estate and the Double Wooden Pot Still which was rescued from the Port Mourant Estate. Each of these stills is well over 200 years old and they represent the last of their kind operating in the world today. The use of these ancient stills ensures that the Demerara Rum produced at DDL’s Diamond Distillery is unlike anything produced anywhere else in the world.

(For more information on the unique Heritage Stills in operation at the Diamond distillery you may read my first hand account here (Diamond Distillery Tour).

Here is a link to my review of the #99 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#99 – El Dorado 8 Year Old Cask Aged Rum

“… As I let the glass sit and I enjoy the breezes above the glass, I notice that the oak spices are building and they have begun to meld into the brown sugar and toffee. As I let the breezes drift about, it is almost as though I can smell fresh cinnamon buns baking. I notice a few new nuances in the breezes as well; some mild indications of dry fruit (raisins and dates), the aroma of milk chocolate, and a delicate scent of tar and tobacco. …”

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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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