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El Pasador de oro XO Rum

Review:  El Pasador de oro XO Rum    (92/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted February 3, 2017

El Pasador de oro XO is a new rum brand brought into Western Canada by Charton Hobbs. The rum is produced by Les Bienheureux S.A.S. (in Paris France) and (according to the information sheets given to me) is a blend ‘grand XO’ Guatemala rums aged from 6 to 15 years in oak barrels at selected Guatemalan distilleries. The rum undergoes a final aging process in France where the spirit is rested in used cognac barrels in the cellars of Les Bienheureux.

sam_2909In The Bottle 4/5

El Pasador de Oro XO arrives in the oval bottle/decanter shown to the left. The bottle has a heavy glass base for stability and a wood topped cork stopper which seals it.

Unfortunately I do not like the beige label with the gold printed script font. It’s bland appearance cheapens what is otherwise a very nice bottle presentation. This is the second rum from Les Bienheureux S.A.S. that I have reviewed, and it is the second time I have been disappointed by a below par label which doesn’t pop and which is very low on qualitative information about the rum inside the bottle.

In the Glass 9.5/10

The Guatemalan Rum reveals itself with a rich copper/bronze colour in the glass which looks very appealing. When I tilt my glass and give it a bit of a twirl, the rum shows moderately thick legs which move slowly down the inside of the glass. The breezes above the glass bring yummy scents of oak spice, dark tobacco, and rich baking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and vanilla). There are hints of licorice and raisins in the air as well as luscious chocolate notes.

As the glass breathes I sense growing impressions of fruity oranges and canned apricots the combination of which reminds me of marmalade, and another growing impression of crushed walnuts. The most impressive feature of the nose is how well all of the scents and smells are melded together.

The empty glass (after I finished my sampling session) is full the lingering smells of rich oak and baking spices, dark bittersweet chocolate and broken walnuts. I am enjoying the aroma from the empty glass as much as I did the previously filled glass.

In the Mouth 55.5/60

The rum features a light caramel sweetness which runs through the sipping experience. The mouthfeel is creamy and I begin to notice fine oak spice unraveling from the sweetness and heating my palate. Orange marmalade, caramel toffee, oak and baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg) are all melded together into a very nice rum elixir which is not only easy to sip, it is also very yummy. Other flavour impressions drift into the menagerie of flavour, both milk and bitter chocolate, walnuts and pecans, and perhaps a smattering of Oolong tea and sweet cola, and a ribbon of frangipani.

The more bitter flavours of bitter chocolate, Oolong tea, chopped walnuts and pecans and oak seem to grow just a little faster than the sweet caramel and marmalade bringing about a better overall balance of flavour after the glass has rested for ten minutes or so. And quite interestingly, I have no impulse to add ice to my glass nor to mix a cocktail.

In the Throat 13.5/15

The exit is shorter than I expected. The rum brings a rush of oak spice which is almost immediately tempered by sweet butterscotch and a hint of menthol. Left glowing on the sides of the palate is a lightly heated residue of oak and oak spice, orange peel and bits of cinnamon and raisin.  The throat feels none of this heat which makes the finish very enjoyable.

The Afterburn 9.5/10

El Pasador de Oro XO is an excellent rum sipping rum which I enjoyed a little more each time I sampled it. This is a rum which grows in the glass tasting great when sipped immediately after the pour, but tasting  even better if it is allowed to breathe for ten minutes or so. Although it is early in the year, I suspect I will be re-visiting this rum when I publish my year-end Rum Howler Awards!

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


My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score 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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