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Cihuatan Obsidiana – Exclusive Travelers Edition

Review: Cihuatan Obsidiana   84.5/100
(Exclusive Traveler’s Edition)
a review by Chip Dykstra
Posted on January 29, 2021

Cihuatan Rum 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 Obsidiana is produced for the “Travel Market” and is available through duty free retail outlets. The bottle does not appear to contain an age statement; however, the company’s website states the spirit is produced from a blend of 3 rums aged between 11 and 14 years. These rums have been aged in new American Oak and ex-Bourbon barrels.

Cihuatan Obsidiana is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle  4/5

Cihuatan Obsidiana is sold in the squat short necked bottle shown to the left.

The label is apparently a reference to the Mayan legend of the Goddess Itzpapalotl who is the embodiment of Obsidiana, the glass-like stone forged in the sand by lightning. The Goddess Itzpapalotl, known as the “Obsidian Butterfly”, possesses ornate wings which were carved out of this precious stone. She would rise from the Xilbalba to keep travelers company and protect them under these magnificent wings.

I like the reference to Mayan heritage and culture. However the presentation has its problems. The first is the lack of an age statement which surely should be help to promote the spirit especially if the minimum age of spirit within the bottle is 11 years as per the website information. As well, I dislike the short neck which makes pouring without spilling rather difficult.

In the Glass  8/10

The rum is a golden amber colour which helps to hide the stated age of the spirit. The aroma seems to hint at a younger spirit as well as the breezes above my glass do not speak to me of any lengthy stay in new oak barrels (which surely would have imparted a firmer woodiness). Perhaps the barrels were re-used American oak which would better account for the fine spiciness I perceive.

Putting the lack of overt oakiness aside, the breezes are quite nice beginning with sandalwood spice and vanilla accented by cane and corn. Coconut seems to pour out with banana and orange peel following. Almond scents are trying to move towards marzipan, and fine baking spices have begun to gather (cinnamon with hints of nutmeg).

In The Mouth 51/60

The fist sip brings fine spice and orange peel zest forward which gives the spirit a lively mouthfeel. Coconut and vanilla mix with butterscotch and almond. Some leathery bitterness evolves which pleases me as this is the first indication that the spirit may indeed have spent a longer period of time in the oak casks than the nose had implied. There is a light herbal grassiness, and scattered baking spices which continues to liven the palate.

The spirit reminds me of the rums of Angostura and Cruzan especially with the coconut leading out. I enjoy sipping the rum over ice, although I expect I will be mixing more than  a few cocktails with the remainder of the bottle. The spirit seems suited to high end daiquiri style servings, and I have shared one which appeals to me down below.

In The Throat 13/15

The rum is medium bodied with a smooth spicy finish. Fine oak spice and orange peel zest seems to linger with lightly sweet butterscotch and vanilla. Remnants of coconut and almond seem to fade out at the very end.

The Afterburn  8.5/10

Cihuatan Obsidiana seems to be a somewhat paradoxical rum. I liked the melded flavours of vanilla, butterscotch and coconut which the spirit brought forward; but I was hoping for more complexity and depth which seemed to be lacking in a spirit which has matured for longer than eleven years in oak.

My score of 84.5/100 represents a spirit which can be sipped or mixed in cocktails. For sipping I recommend a little ice in the glass, and for cocktails I recommend my creation down below:

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

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Recommended Serving:

Night Cap Daiquiri

1 1/2  oz.  Cihuatan Obsidiana Rum
3/8 oz.  Lime Juice
3/8 oz.  Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
3/8 oz.  Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
1/4 oz.  Bols Triple Sec
Ice
Citrus Peel

Add all of the ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake vigorously until the outside of your shaker begins to frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a coil of Citrus

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

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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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