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Cubaney Ron Tesero Grand Reserve

Review: Cubaney Ron Tesero Grand Reserve 25 Year Soleras Rum  94/100
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Revised November, 2012

I have a friend in the Dominican Republic with a website called Rums of the Dominican Republic (Drums).  His name is Pavol Kažimir.  Pavol and I have exchanged emails a few times, and we met in Miami at a rum festival where we seemed to hit it off with each other quite well. But, I was very surprised when he emailed me during the summer (of 2010) and asked me which bottle of Dominican Rum I would like to receive when his friend visited Edmonton. I stated a preference for something that maybe wasn’t available in my locale, and Pavol promptly arranged for Oliver and Oliver to provide me a sample bottle for review.

The bottle that was chosen surprised me all the more, the Cubaney Ron Tesero Grand Reserve. A solera style with aged rum as old as 25 years in the blend. In fact, I do believe (at the time of this writing) this may be the top of the line as far as Oliver and Oliver is concerned. If you have not heard of Oliver and Oliver, I should explain that they are an independent bottler of rum operating in the Dominican Republic.  They buy barreled rum from major rum producers, and then age it using a solera aging system in the “Cuban” style.

(Note: this review was revised in in November of 2012 based upon the latest bottling available to me.)

In the Bottle 4/5

The Cubaney Ron Tesero Grand Reserve arrives in a tall, slender, flagon style bottle. The glass is clear allowing us a look at the rich dark rum inside. Protecting the bottle is a slender black rectangular box which will allow me to keep the spirit protected from the light as I slowly sip its contents over the next several weeks and months. The plastic screw cap which seals the bottle has me a little concerned. It has a flimsy feel to it and I am thinking the plastic diffuser may have to be replaced with a solid cork at some point on my shelf.

Overall I am pleased with the presentation, although perhaps it is a little understated considering the premium nature of the run inside.

(I admit that I have trouble with the Spanish on the label but even I can see that the  label clearly states the  Cubaney Ron Tesero is solera aged, and bottled at 38 % alcohol by volume.)

In the Glass  9.5/10

The rum in the glass is a deep, rich, bronze color which carries the rich aroma of dark brown sugar and wonderful baking spices. A faint smoke is present which carries scents of dried fruits, raisins, and a soft and subtle cherry-like aroma in the background. A little wave of soft tobacco is mixed in, as is an ever present woody backdrop which seems to tie everything together. I even sense a smidgen of brine and tar in the breezes; almost, but not quite reminiscent of Islay peat.

This is a truly great nosing rum, and although I have used words like tobacco, tar, and woody, you will have to trust me that everything is meant in a most wonderful way.

In the Mouth 57/60

Photo Courtesy

The rum carries a firm but soft sweetness forward, as well as a nice spiciness that coats the tongue and the sides of the mouth as the first sip is taken. I taste rich baking spices wrapped inside a deep dark brown leathery toffee and molasses. The smoke I noticed on the nose seems to be a sherry cask influence which provides a bevy of dry fruit with little packets of cherry flavour hidden within. Leather and tobacco underpins the flavour profile rising and falling with my mood, but without ever appearing bitter. I even taste that smidgen of tar and brine buried deep in the woody spices.

This reminds me of a really good scotch whisky, not in flavour, but in approach. The underpinning elements of smoke, leather and tobacco appear to act in the same manner that light smoky peat does in whisky. They carry the sweeter flavours forward and embrace them rather than trying to devour them. I am impressed by the way that no particular flavour exists at the expense of another. This is extremely complex, but very well-balanced!

In the Throat 14/15

The strong complexity continues all the way through to the exit. My mouth is left with a sweet and spicy afterglow. My throat feels a very light burn and I can taste fleeting mirages of cocoa, dry fruit, and wisps of that brine tar. There is absolutely no bitterness in the exit which amazes me given the flavour profile and age of the rum.  When sipping the rum neat at room temperature, the finish is absolutely divine.

The Afterburn 9.5/10

As a general rule, I avoid rums which carry excessive age, and strong notes of tobacco and wood. I find these rums have a tendency to go bitter in the finish and the oak takes more from the spirit than it gives. I was fearful that this rum would show too much oak in its delivery as the age of the rums in the blend seemed to me to be almost excessive. But my fear was entirely unwarranted. In the solera style, the blender seems to have captured just the right amount of old age to give the rum character and depth, and just enough younger rum to add enthusiasm and vigor. Yet I taste no duality of style. The rums have been blended into a harmonious balance which is flavourful and complex with neither aspect being at the expense of the other.

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


Suggested Recipe

My first suggestion is to enjoy Cubaney Ron Tesero Grand Reserve neat at room temperature in your favourite chair while reading a good book.  This rum is one of the two or three best tasting rums I have encountered thus far.  My only cocktail expression I allowed myself was a simple cocktail which I call  The Perfect Moment.

The Perfect Moment

2 oz Cubaney Ron Tersero
Slice of Lime

Fill a Rocks Glass half full of ice
Spear a slice of lime with a long toothpick
Place the lime into the ice
Pour the rum over the ice.
Enjoy the Perfect Moment

This Review was first published on Rum Connection!


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 and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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