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Cihuatan Gran Reserva 8

Review: Cihuatan Gran Reserva 8   83/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on December 18, 2020

Cihuatan Gran Reserva 8 is produced by El Salvador’s first ever rum distillery, Licorera Cihuatán. After a little research I was able to discover that the RON DE EL SALVADOR CIHUATÁN trademark was filed for on September 16, 2014 and this trademark was granted in August 30 2016 (see here and here). This type of Trademark is normally applied for when a company wishes to export products outside their home market which would indicate that the company which owns and produces Cihuatan Rum began to export the rum out of El Salvador in 2016. Presumably the distillery has been operating for a longer time than this, and according to Drink Hacker (see here), Cihuatan was established in 2004.

According to the producer’s website:

All of our rums are handcrafted in El Salvador, and we watch over every step of the process from the seed of the sugarcane to the bottle.

Cihuatan Gran Reserva 8 sold in Alberta carries an 8 year age statement and is bottled at 40 % abv..

In the Bottle 4.5/5

Cihuatan 8 Gran Reserva Is housed in a medium tall stubby bottle with attractive labeling. I have see images online which couple this bottle with an attractive cardboard display canister.

I should note that in my market Cihuatan 8 is listed, and the bottles for sale carry a 8 year age statement with the label stating that all of the rum is aged for 8 years in bourbon casks.

However, I note that the bottle also carries a ‘solera’ statement implying that the rum may be a blend of rums of different ages.

In The Glass  8.5/10

Colour:  Golden straw

Legs: Somewhat thickened

Nose:  Caramel, almond, oak spice, vanilla, baking spice and orange peel. Light notes of banana and coconut as well. There is a hint of alcohol astringency which surprised me. Perhaps some of the blend is younger than 8 years, although it could also be true that I am being fooled by the fine oak spice which has been building as the rum breathes.

In the Mouth  50/60

The rum is heated as it crosses the palate and again I seem to notice some undo astringency.  The flavour is nice as fine oak spices mingle with vanilla, butterscotch and almond. Hints of baking spice (cinnamon in particular) and orange peel zest seem to add to the heated feel of the spirit. Coconut and banana and a light grassy quality is apparent as well. When I add add I notice the rum becomes slightly creamy and I find it much easier to sip.

In The Throat: 12/15

I just can’t seem to shake the impression of youth in this expression. The rum just doesn’t taste 8 years old, it tastes more like a 4 or 5 year old rum. A light alcohol burn haunts the finish. I taste the typical triumvirate of oak spice, almond and vanilla though the exit with oak spice and orange peel lingering.

The Afterburn  8/10

Although I was critical of that light burn which I could taste throughout my tasting sessions, I should point out that the Cihuatan Gran Reserva 8 is not a super expensive rum. It is being sold at the LCBO at less than $40.00 per bottle. In that price range it is certainly competitive with other brands in terms of quality. With ice the rum can be sipped enjoyably, I will probably mix cocktails with the rest of my sample bottle.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.


You may (loosely) interpret the scores 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 rum or whisky.  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


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