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Fortuna (Ron Reserva Exclusiva)

Review: Fortuna (Ron Reserva Exclusiva)   86.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra
Published January 15, 2013

Ron Fortuna Exclusiva is a new rum produced in Nicaragua which is being imported into North America by Berniko, LLC, a family owned and operated import company based in Florida. According to the Ron Fortuna website, the rum is produced upon a five column still from locally grown sugar cane. This is a true 8 Year Old Rum with the youngest spirit in the blend matured for at least 8 years in American Oak (in warehouses which share the same environment as the cane fields from which the rum was distilled).

The name for the rum apparently has its roots in Roman Mythology and the goddess Fortuna who is the Goddess of Luck and Fate. The fortune brought by this Goddess is apparently closely tied to a person’s strength of character, and as a result may be either good or bad. Hopefully my strength of character is sufficient that my sampling sessions are blessed with good fortune.

SAM_0594 Ron Fortuna ExclusivaIn the Bottle 4/5

The Fortuna rum arrives in a squat green dusky bottle which I find masculine and attractive. I also like the colour scheme of the printed label which works well with the darker bottle. However, the label doesn’t really grab my attention. I was hoping to glean a little more information about the rum from that label; but the only new information which turns up is that the rum is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume. The back of the label provides some ancillary information about the Goddess Fortuna and how she blessed the cane fields: however, I was hoping to learn more about the actual rum.

In the Glass 8.5/10

When I pour the rum into my glass I see that it has a lighter colour than I was expecting based upon similarly aged rums from Central America. Seeing a rum displaying a light amber hue consistent with a distilled spirit which has been in American oak for eight years is rather refreshing.

The initial aroma rising from the glass is a pleasing mixture of butterscotch, tobacco, light oak and baking spices. I was expecting more of an oak presence based upon eight years of aging in the tropics, but whomever crafted the rum has done a good job meshing the oak into the rum harmoniously. If you leave the glass aside for a few minutes the baking spices begin well up bringing sugar and vanilla forward along with hints of cinnamon and cloves. Some soft tropical fruit (banana, and mango), some nice citrus (orange and lemon peel) and perhaps a hint of dark fruit (raisins and dates) round out the nose which is very pleasant.

In the Mouth 52.5/60

The rum enters my mouth with a sweet honey and butterscotch flavour that contains a layer of zesty orange and lemon peel underneath. Some spicy toffee and tobacco are apparent as well. As I let the glass sit, additional flavours of dry fruit (raisin and date) evolve. Baking spices in the form of vanilla, brown sugar, and a light dusting of cinnamon appear in the rum as well as soft tropical fruit (in particular banana). Underpinning all of that flavour is a thin complementary layer of dry bitterness which reminds me of scattered tea leaves and cocoa.

The light astringency typical of a column distilled rum flows through the Fortuna which is light bodied and pleasant although not overly complex. This seems to be a rum which walks that line between a sipper and a mixer adequate for either purpose as the mood suits you. To that end, I mixed myself a Lemon Muddled Cuba Libre’ after my initial sampling session, and I thoroughly enjoyed the flavour of the Ron Fortuna with cola and lemon.

In the Throat 13/15

The rum exits with flavours of butterscotch accented by a bit of pepper and cloves. This is quickly followed by a light bitterness of cocoa and tea. The finish is rather short although pleasant. In particular the cocoa flavour at the end is quite pleasing.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

The Ron Fortuna Exclusiva is a very pleasant sipping and mixing rum. In some ways this style of rum appeals to me even more than would a more premium sipping rum. The Fortuna is very versatile and may find its way into a mixed drink or cocktail as easily as into my glencairn glass. About the only disappointing aspect of this rum is that it has not yet made its way into Canada.

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


Suggested Recipe

SAM_0596 Lemon Muddled Cuba Libre’This recipe is of course based upon the popular Cuba Libre.  Instead of lime, I suggest that you try lemon which gives the drink a slightly different, but delicious flair.

Lemon Muddled Cuba Libre’

1 1/2 oz Ron Fortuna Exclusiva
4 oz Cola
Large Ice-cubes
Lemon slice

Place the lemon slice into a tall bar glass and muddle slightly
Add Ice
Add the Rum
Fill with Cola


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)

2 Responses to “Fortuna (Ron Reserva Exclusiva)”

  1. russ said

    i wonder if u have thought about a list where value is the criteria…ie fotuna at $19,eldo12 at 18$, plantation barb 5 yr at $17,old monk 7yr at $15..i realize the local purchase price would be different in different locales but the point might be if a zacapa xo is 79$ and a diplo is $34 and a fortuna is $19 then an equation might be considered to clarify the ‘bang for the buck’….russ

    • The problem with such a list is that all these spirits have different prices depending upon where you buy them. Just in my neibourhood the price of ED12 ranges from $44 to $65 depending upon the particular store you pick it up at. Down in Florida it is apparently as cheap as $19. Fortuna is not even available in Canada…

      I would rather just give you a score and then you can decide what the ‘value’ is based upon what you have to pay in your locale.

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