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Ron Esclavo XO Rum

Review: Ron Esclavo XO Rum (90.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published December 12, 2020

Ron Esclavo XO is a premium rum produced in the Dominican Republic and distributed by 1423 World Class Spirits based in Denmark. According to the 1423 World Class Spirits website, Ron Esclavo Rums are produced by Alcoholes Finos Dominicanos who harvest their own sugarcane from within Dominica. Alcoholes Finos Dominicanos is the largest producer of alcohol in the Dominican Republic, and thereby the company plays a significant role in the Dominican community

The rums which make up the Ron Esclavo Blend were column distilled and were aged up to 15 years (some of the rums in the blend would be younger) in both American and French oak barrels. The final rum is bottled at 42 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 3.5/5

A bottle shot for the Ron Esclavo XO rum is shown to the left. Its hard for me to be excited about what I see. The bottle and the label seems as though it were designed for a cheap perfume, not an elegant sipping rum. The only redeeming feature is the corked closure which adds a bit of class to an otherwise terrible presentation. (It’s the label more than the bottle that disturbs me.)

Note: I have seen bottle shots online of a much nicer bottle which may mean that a change is underway. I hope so)

In the Glass 9/10

Colour: Bronze

Legs: Fat droplets form releasing thick legs

Nose: Oak spice, dark brown sugar and baking spices (vanilla, allspice and cinnamon). Lightly smokey with scents of dried fruits and raisins. Tobacco and a smidgen of brine and tar. Marzipan, apricots and crushed walnuts.

Very similar in feel to Dominican brands blended and produced by Oliver and Oliver. I suspect they are behind this brand as well.

In The Mouth 54.5/60

The rum displays a firm but soft sweetness as well as a oaken spiciness that have sort of melded together to give the rum a ruch mouthfeel. Mixed with the oak is a dollop of vanilla and some pungent baking spices (clove, cinnamon and allspice). I taste leather and tobacco and a sherry cask influence which brings raisins and sticky dates into my consciousness. Lightly bitter flavours of roasted walnuts, cocoa and coffee seem to bring it all together. I am impressed by intermingling of flavours which all seem to compliment each other. The Esclavo XO Rum is complex, but well-balanced!

In the Throat 14/15

Very smooth ans spicy with bittersweet chocolate flavours dominating the exit complimented by oak spice and vanilla. Lovely!

The Afterburn 9.5/10

Although I dislike the bottle presentation for Ron Escavo XO, this is one of those spirits which delighted me once it was opened and I could taste the wonderful rum inside. As stated before, I sense the blending prowess of Oliver and Oliver at work here. They rarely make a mistake and this certainly is proof of that. Well Done!

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

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