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Rum Nation Guatemala Gran Reserva

Review: Rum Nation Guatemala Gran Reserva (86/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published December 8, 2020

Rum Nation is an Italian company created by Fabio Rossi, who began his life in the spirits trade as a Oenologist (one who has studied wine-making). After his studies, Mr. Rossi left the wine business and started up a whisky company in Edinburgh (Wilson and Morgan) acting as an independent bottler of Single Malt Scotch Whisky. His interest turned to rum, and in 1999 Fabio Rossi founded Rum Nation. His company is headquartered in Italy; but Fabio purchases select rums from various distillers in the Caribbean and the Americas. As a result Rum Nation provides a rather unique assortment of limited edition bottlings. One such bottling is Rum Nation Guatamala Gran Reserva

This is a non age stated rum bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In The Bottle 5/5

As you can see the bottle which houses the Limited Edition Rum Nation Guatamala Gran Reserva  is solid. The short squat bottle has a look and feel which implies ‘substance’. I like the postage stamp label which brings some Guatemalan heritage to the presentation. A glass stopper seals the bottle which really pleases me. In the past I have criticized the low quality cork stoppers used previously by Rum Nation (on their premium products). This is because in my somewhat dry climate, low quality stoppers tend to become brittle quickly, and when they do they break rather easily. This is especially the case with high strength offerings where the high alcohol content speeds up the process of cork deterioration. It is very refreshing to me that Fabio has taken my previous criticisms seriously and took steps to improve his products.

In The Glass: 8.5/10

Appearance: coppery

Legs: Slender legs

Nose: Light honey and butterscotch with vanilla and almond notes. Indications of dates and raisins hinting at french oak perhaps? Treacle, orange peel zest and touches of oak spice mixed with baking spices. Herbal notes of menthol and camphor with a touch of grassiness

Quite nice and quite unexpected from Guatemala.

In The Mouth 51/60

The mouth feel is light but the flavours are firm with heated oak spices mingling with citrus zest. A ribbon of orange liqueur, mint and menthol with dark treacle and dark licorice welling up from underneath. Herbal flavours resonate with the second sip with bitter chocolate and espresso come though in spades when ice is added.

The rum is a spicy sipper which I suspect would taste very well mixed with chocolate bitters in an Old Fashioned Cocktail (see below).

In The Throat 13/15

According to the Rum Nation website, the exit becomes more tannic and toasted, with the herbal notes and some black pepper coming to the fore. I agree wholeheartedly but would add that semi sweet treacle also appears at the ending giving the spirit a soft landing.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

A light to medium bodied rum full of flavour. There is a little bitterness in the dram, however their is just enough sweetness to offset.

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


Suggested Recipe:

Orange Chocolate Old Fashioned

2 oz Rum Nation Guatamalan Rum
1/3 oz Triple Sec (Orange Liqueur)
2 drops Chocolate Bitters

Build in a Rocks Glass
Stir to mix and allow the flavours to mingle

Please enjoy slowly and responsibly!

If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


As always you may (loosely) interpret the scores I provide 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 more 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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