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Mocambo 20 Anos Anejo Rum

Review: Mocambo 20 Anos Anejo Rum 87.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted June, 2010 (revisited August, 2013)

The Ron Mocambo 20-year-old rum is distilled by Licores Veracruz, S.A. de C.V.  According to their website the 20-year-old edition which I sampled is called The Art Edition. The Art Edition is a throwback style of rum which uses old techniques of production, and then combines those techniques with modern aging to produce an aged rum of unique taste and character.

I began my review of the Mocambo 20 Anos Anejo Rum (the Art Edition) by closing my eyes, and letting my imagination takes me where it willed. Perhaps because I was tired and have been working hard, my imagination brought me to the end of a dusty desert trail in the low mountains. I sense that I have been hiking the mountain trails all day, my wife beside me sharing the journey. Now we sit by a campfire with our throats full of dust and the sweat clinging to our faces. Scraps of old dried wood found nearby are used to feed the fire which burns low to the ground and is mostly ash and coals and smoke now. Our leather rain coats are rolled up and will be used as pillows tonight. I smell the mountain air, and it is mingled with the smells of the desert; the dusty trail, the dry sage brush, even some long abandoned wooden barrels that lie at the side of the campsite. My wife is boiling some tea by the campfire. I am chewing on some raisins and caramels. I take a small sip from a long slender bottle of Mexican rum.  Everything feels and tastes just about right. We will sleep well tonight under the starry Mexican skies….

In the Bottle  5/5

Artist, Victor Fernández, was selected to decorate the rum bottle with natural fibers to represent old Mexican handicraft in a modern art style. Each bottle is a unique artwork. The bark fibers cover each glass in a different style and every bottle will have a slightly different presentation.

And to make things even better, the bottle is corked with a quality high density cork. I am impressed with the care and attention to detail shown.

In the Glass  8.5/10

The Mocambo rum displays a leathery brown colour, with a distinct grey pallor. When I swirl the glass, I am rewarded with moderately thick legs which trickle back down the sides of the glass. The scents and smells which rise from the glass are very unique, and the overall effect is unlike the aroma of other spanish style rums which I have come across.  Wisps of wood smoke and rawhide drift into the air in front of a lightly sweetened caramel and dried raisin.  This is pungent more so than sweet; and I can almost smell desert dust and sagebrush. It is as if I really am traveling along an old forgotten trail through the low desert mountains of Mexico.

In the Glass  52/60

The Mocambo 20 Art Edition is a style of rum that genuflects at the altar of old wood without apology. The rum embraces its age, and its time spent in wooden casks. In fact, I would say the Mocambo Art Edition is a celebration of old wood and cask aging.

In the mouth, the rum feels old and tastes aged. The old wooden casks have been allowed to set their mark firmly into the flavour profile. There is a soft mild leathery (tobacco?) bitterness; but, this is a mild approachable bitterness of older wood tannins, and earthy smoke. Whispers of ripe freshly cut cocoa bean and Oolong tea set vague impressions of their presence into the rum but do not try to overwhelm it. Caramel accents are far back in the flavour profile, sitting behind the old woody tannins, and leathery tobacco smokiness. Yet… that whisper of caramel sweetness is not lost. Even in its minimized form, it acts to support the other flavours allowing that mellow bitterness to become more than it was.

In the Throat  13/15

The finish brings to mind dry fruit and roasted nuts. Sweetness seems to be absent as the rum exits my mouth, but the mildly bitter tea and cocoa flavours identified on the palate seem to stay on the back of the palate well after the rum is gone. I just cannot escape that feeling of long dusty desert mountain trails followed by wood smoke campfires.

The Afterburn  9/10

This is one of those rare rums which tastes a little better each time you try it. The first impressions are of a rum that is too woody, with unsettling, unfamiliar flavours. This unfamiliarity seems to belie its nature as a cane spirit. But with each return to the Mocambo my palate adjusted, and I found myself enjoying the rum more and more. I know many persons will not easily adapt to this style, but if you are patient with your palate, I believe that the rum has many rewards to offer.

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


Suggested Cocktail

Picture Courtesy Rum Connection

The rum has an excellent woody and mildly bitter character which may be easily destroyed in a typical cocktail.  I want to embrace the unique character of the rum in constructing a cocktail, and perhaps bring that character to a wider audience. What I have come up with is a gloriously uninhibited cocktail that combines Rum, Gin, Scotch Whisky and Grand Curacao.  Because I could not get the imagery of dusty Mexican trails and campfires out of my mind as I sipped the Macombo,  I decided to name the cocktail after the Mexican Cowboys who may still ride those trails:

Vaquero Magnifico

1 3/4  oz Mocambo 20 Anos Anejo Rum
3/4 oz Bombay Blue Sapphire Gin
3/8 oz Old Parr Superior Scotch (Sub Johnny Walker Gold Label)
1/4  oz Grand Curacao
Angostura Bitters (dash)

Mix over two ice cubes in a rocks glass and enjoy.


Picture Courtesy Rum Connection

The Last Vaquero

1 1/2 oz Mocambo 20 Anos Anejo Rum
3/8 oz Old Parr Superior whiskey
3/4 oz ice-cold water

1 large Ice cube

Build on ice and Enjoy!

I should note that if you do not happen to have Old Parr Superior Scotch, I also had great success with Johnnie Walker Gold and Black.


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)

6 Responses to “Mocambo 20 Anos Anejo Rum”

  1. JonR10 said

    I really enjoy the Mocambo 20 yr., and I particularly appreciate that it’s not as sweet as many rums can be. I enjoy both Scotch and Bourbon, so the heavy wood influence, complexity, and slightly smokey character appeal to me.

    To me it does have significant sweetness and some dried fruits (date, raisin and prune) in the flavor profile, but that’s just my opinion. It may be worthwhile to note that these are single barrel bottlings and so there will be variances between batches.

    For a real treat, I like this rum in an old fashioned, using turbinado instead of refined sugar. Absolutely fabulous!

    • Thanks for the comment JonR10

      I can not confirm that the Mocambo Art Edition is a Single Barrel Rum. Although I have seen some pictures of the Mocambo 20 Year Old where the bottle appears to be labeled as a Single Barrel Rum; both times I received samples from my friends, their bottles (obtained in Mexico) were labelled instead as “Selected Barrel” Ultra premium rums. Since I do not know what to make of the different labels in different markets, I am reluctant to state the Art Edition is a single barrel offering.

      • Jon Rosenthal said

        Hi Chip,
        The label says “Selected Barrel” up at the neck, but around the side the label is marked with a barrel number and bottle number (it might even be lettered by hand). To me this would seem to indicate a single barrel offering but I would be pleased to send you pictures so you could decide for yourself.

        • Thanks Jon

          I have seen pictures online of bottles which were labeled in a similar manner to which you describe. However, the bottles which I had a chance to sample and taste did not appear to have the same label (perhaps they were an older version). It is not unusual for rum bottles to be labeled differently in different markets, or for the labeling to change as manufacturers allow their brand to evolve. However, my reviews must reflect the actual bottles which I sample and taste.

  2. rus said

    hi from oliphant in the fishing islands of lake huron…must agree with the first comments of its woodiness and dryness…in one of our tastings the bottle and cork designs were the best features when we reviewed our collective notes…the bottle was purchased at top sail liquors near homestead and was our first and suspect will be our only mexican entry…in our boat drink meetings it was 5th behind diplomatico,atlantico,plantation[guyana],and zafra…these are devoured neat in whisk[e]y glasses and as the day developed this particular bottle did not really get any more popular…one of us,zel,who really enjoys peaty scotch did like it but the other 4 of us who are highland park 18 and cardhu lovers prefer the others…by the by..can you give us any help in acquiring dictador 12 or 20? thanx rus

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