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Cihuatan Reserva Especial 12

Review: Cihuatan Reserva Especial 12    90/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on December 23, 2019

Cihuatan Reserva Especial 12 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.

and with respect to their Cihuatán Reserva Especial 12 the website tells us:

We have taken our aging methods further to bring you a complex rum, awarded all over the world. Cihuatán 12 Years is proudly handcrafted in the Cihuatán Valley, from the seed of the sugarcane to the bottle.

I should note that the Cihuatan 12 Reserva Rum is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

Cihuatan 12 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 12 is generally available and the bottles sold carry a 12 year age statement with the label stating that  all of the rum is aged for 12 years in bourbon casks. I note that almost all images I have found online (including this one from the producer) carry instead a 12 year solera statement with no specific age claim.

In The Glass 9/10

Colour:  Golden straw

Legs: Somewhat thickened

Initial Nose: Caramel, almond, oak spice, vanilla, baking spice and orange peel. Light notes of banana and coconut as well.

Decanted Aroma: The oak spice becomes dusty and more pronounced

In the Mouth 54/60

Alcohol push and Spice: Smooth and spicy

Initial Taste: Melding of fine oak spice, vanilla, butterscotch and almond with light baking spices and orange peel. Banana and light coconut flavours as well.

Follow up: Yummy notes of milk chocolate caramel bar have evolved. The rum contains subtle nuances which are hard to quantify with flavour descriptors, but which I nonetheless enjoyed very much.

With Ice: Milk Chocolate is more noticeable. This would be my preferred way of sipping the rum.

In The Throat: 13.5/15

Body and Length: Medium bodied rum with a smooth somewhat spicy finish.

Flavours during Swallow: Oak spice, almond and vanilla

Lingering Flavours: Oak spice lingers with vanilla fade

The Afterburn  9/10

Final Thoughts: A very nice rum which I would probably serve neat, in an Old Fashioned Cocktail or over ice.

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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