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Ron Abuelo Rum Napolean XV

Review: Ron Abuelo Rum Napolean XV    90/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on December 24, 2019

Ron Abuelo Rum is produced by Varela Hermanos SA in Panama, Central America. This company has a history which dates back to 1908 when Don José Varela Blanco launched the first sugar mill in the then recently formed Republic of Panama. In 1935, the site began to distill sugar cane juice for the production of various kinds of spirits. Now today, the company produces an impressive array of products which includes over one million boxes of spirits and of course a strong variety of rums. The Ron Abuelo brand is just one brand from this wide assortment.

The Ron Abuelo Finish Collection is a family of rums which have been aged in white American Oak barrels and then finished in either sherry, cognac or porto barrels. The name of each represents both the added wood character of the finish, and also the places that the finishing barrels came from, Oloroso for Jerez and Spain, Napoleon for Cognac and France, and Tawny for Porto and Portugal.

Ron Abuelo Napolean 15 Anos is a well aged rum which was aged first in Ex-American oak barrels and then finished in Cognac barrels.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

The rum arrives in a tall dark brown long necked style bottle which is sealed with a standard cork. This style of bottle is designed to easily fit upon the bartenders shelf, and this style of bottle is also easy to pour into my glass.

The label on the bottle is very simple, and lacks any frills. I would prefer a little ‘pop’ on the label with perhaps more colour and perhaps a little history of Ron Abuelo Rum on the back label to entice me to buy the rum. However, I admit there is also a certain charm in the simple approach.

I am slightly put off by the Anos XV declaration on the label which seems to indicate the rum is aged for 15 years. Unfortunately the label does not explicitly say this, and because of this the wording cannot be taken as a true age statement. (The producer’s website only says that the rum is aged up to 15 years which again is not really a statement of age at all.)

In The Glass 9/10

Colour:  Bronze

Legs: Mid sized droplets which fall rather quickly

Initial Nose: Oak spice, caramel and vanilla with figs and raisins

Decanted Aroma: Smells become deeper and richer, a bit of port cigar mingles with Christmas cake and rich baking spices

In the Mouth 54/60

Alcohol push and Spice: Smooth, sweet and moderately spicy

Initial Taste: Mingling of raisin, caramel, cocoa, oak spice and Port Wine

Follow up: Melded flavours with an added richness which implies luxury

With Ice: More cocoa and raisin and hints of licorice

In The Throat: 13.5/15

Body and Length: Full bodied with a long spicy raisin and chocolate finish.

Flavours during Swallow: Sweet chocolate caramel, coffee and luscious baking spice

Lingering Flavours:  Oak spice and baking spice, raisins and chocolate

The Afterburn  9/10

Final Thoughts:  A very nice (if somewhat sweet) rum oozing luscious baking spices, raisins and chocolate. A great after dinner treat.

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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