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Rum Nation Peruano

Review: Rum Nation Peruano (8 Year Old)     (84/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted May 24, 2015

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 winemaking). 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 rare limited edition rum bottlings.

One such bottling is Rum Nation Peruano (8 Year Old).

The spirit is produced in the northern Peruvian region of Lambayeque from molasses produced from sugarcane grown in the region. It is distilled on old Scottish column stills in a Peruvian distillery founded in the first half of the 20th Century. Although the rum bears an 8-year-old age statement, the spirit is actually aged in a solera-like style in various kinds of different barrels blended to a recipe which is almost as old as the distillery which produces it.

Based upon my correspondence with Fabio Rossi of Rum Nation, I can safely say that he considers this an entry level sipping rum with a good price/quality ratio ideal for the connoisseur on a budget. I guess, I will examine that claim and see if I agree.

PERUANO_8YO_newIn the Bottle 4/5

As you can see the bottle which houses the Limited Edition Rum Nation Peruano is solid. The short squat bottle has a look and feel which implies ‘substance’. I like the postage stamp label which brings some Peruvian heritage to the presentation. A wooden topped natural cork stopper seals the bottle.

I have noticed that in my somewhat dry climate, that low quality stoppers tend to become brittle quickly, and when they do they break rather easily. Unfortunately this happened to my bottle after it had sat on the shelf for a few months (see photo below right), and I was forced to take that into account in my presentation score. The stopper problem seems to be a consistent criticism of the more recent Rum Nation products, and I hope that Fabio switches to a better quality corkage in future bottlings.

In the Glass 8.5/10

The Limited Edition Peruano Rum displays itself with a medium dark brown colour which is perhaps past that to turn to copper and heading firmly toward bronze. A tilt and slow swirl of my Rum Chums glass showed me that the rum has a thickened somewhat syrupy look and the thick crest which formed in my glass dropped fat leglets which ambled down the inside of the glass. The rum is darker and more heavily bodied than a typical 8-year-old rum.

Peruano Cork SAM_1557

Peruano Cork

When I brought my glass up to my nose I noticed firm dark brown sugar scents drifting upwards which were accented by caramel, vanilla and baking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of clove). There is a pleasant backdrop of oak spice, although I think it would be fair to say that the oak spice takes a backseat (in terms of aroma) to the rummy caramel and rich brown sugar scents apparent in the breezes.

When I gave the glass a few minutes to breathe, I noticed a firmer push of oak in the breezes as the smells from the glass become richer and fuller. There are also a few bits of dark fruit with scents which remind me of dry raisins and sweet figs developing in the air above the glass.

All in all the overall aroma is pleasant, and it would be fair to say that this Peruvian rum leans on the sweet side of the fence rather than upon the dry side.

In the Mouth 50.5/60

The first sip of rum brings a pleasant sweetness forward with flavours of dark caramel and rich brown sugar. Alongside the sweetness is a spicy bite which surprised me as this heat was only hinted at upon the nose. I checked the bottling proof and realized that part of the answer was the alcohol content of the Peruano which at 42 % alcohol by volume is a little stronger than regular 40 % alcohol by volume I was expecting. I suspect the apparent sweetness of the rum is also a factor as the heavier body of the lightly sweet rum may have inhibited the rum’s spicy nature from manifesting itself in the air above the glass to its full extent. I don’t want anyone to misunderstand me, the presence of this light sweetness is not a bad thing. In fact, in this case, the brown sugar and caramel flavours within the Peruano Rum have acted as a very nice counterbalance to the firm spiciness that I have encountered.

Although the rum is enjoyable as it is, I found that adding a couple of ice-cubes to my glass brought forward a better balance as the cold ice helped to subdue both the spiciness and the sweetness. Within the chilled rum I could now also taste fruity flavours of orange marmalade mixed with raisins and dates as well as some lovely dry flavours of dark tobacco and fine bittersweet chocolate.

I decided to test the rum in a few cocktails and found that a couple of ounces of Peruano with an ice-cube, a splash of cola and a wedge of lime was a very nice sipping drink. This encouraged me to explore further and the result of this exploration can be found below in my Fancy Cocktail.

In the Throat 12.5/15

Sipped neat, the Peruano perhaps taps at my tonsils and heats my palate just a little more than I personally prefer. There is also a touch more brown sugary sweetness than I would like. However, with those ice-cubes added the rum is delicious featuring ebbing bittersweet chocolate flavours which delight me.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

I think Fabio Rossi nailed it when he described his Peruano Rum as a nice entry level sipping spirit. Although it perhaps needs a little ice to soothe its rough spots, the Peruvian nevertheless satisfies both my palate and my budget. I have scored it 84 points out of a possible 100 which represents a rum suitable for sipping over ice, as well a rum which makes a wicked cocktail (see below).

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


Suggested Recipe

In the beginning (in the early to mid 1800s) cocktails were a simple bar drink which were put together using just a base distilled spirit, sugar, water and bitters. In those days a ‘Rum Cocktail‘ differed from a ‘Whisky Cocktail‘, only in that Rum was used instead of Whisky as the base spirit. However, very early on (sometime around 1850) bartenders began to use liqueurs (typically Orange Curacao or Benedictine) either in conjunction with or sometimes in place of the ‘sugar’ in the recipe. Soon thereafter, a sour fruit garnish was added and the more complicated bar drink was called a Fancy.

Fancy Cocktail

Fancy Cocktail

This is a modern version of the traditional Fancy Rum Cocktail.

Fancy Rum Cocktail

2 oz Peruano Aged Rum
1/4 oz Orange Curacao
1/4 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/8 oz Sugar Syrup
2 drops Angostura Bitters
1 dash Maraschino Liqueur
Orange Peel

Add the first seven ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the sides frost
Strain the contents of the shaker into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a spiral orange peel and a lump of ice
Please Enjoy Responsibly!

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


Suggested Chocolate Pairing

Noir guyanajaFabio Rossi (the owner of Rum Nation), has asked me to choose chocolate pairings for his rums when I review them. To that end, he sent me a selection of Rum Nation – Valrhona Chocolate samples to nibble and taste as I sample each rum. Valrhona is a chocolate maker in much the same vein as Fabio Rossi is a rum producer. Since 1922, Valrhona has been creating special chocolates from selected rare cocoas from around the world. As each selected cacao has its own unique taste characteristic, Valrhona is able to create a variety of special chocolates to choose from depending upon your mood and food selections.

For the Limited Edition Peruano 8-year-old Rum, I selected the Valrhona Noir Guyanaja, which is a Bittersweet Dark Chocolate from the Island of Guyanaja (Honduras). Its cocoa content is a full 70 %, and the chocolate appears to feature hints of espresso coffee within its intense dry cacao flavour. I found the dry elegant flavour of the Noir Guyanaja provided an interesting and enjoyable contrast to the lightly sweet and spicy flavour of the Peruanao Rum.


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.


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