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Rum Review: Santiago De Cuba Ron Anejo

Rum Review: Santiago de Cuba (Ron Anejo) 82.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 5, 2010

Pictured to the right is a bottle of Ron Anejo Santigo de Cuba, an authentic Cuban rum which was provided for me to sample. I was asked me to take the bottle home with me, try a few ounces and to provide an opinion. I decided it would be nice to share this opinion on my blog as well.

I have found very little information about the rum, other than what I can decipher from the label and the smattering of information on the internet where it is sold by some internet dealers as an 11-year-old rum, and others as simply an anejo rum without age statement.  I also ran across claims that this was Fidel Castro’s favourite rum.  A claim which I can neither confirm nor deny.

In the Bottle 4/5

The bottle describes the rum simply as ‘Ron Anejo’, which usually means an aged rum of  one to three years. The label also says it is bottled a 38% alcohol by volume.

It is a regular flagon style bottle made for easy pouring and comes with a plastic diffuser in the stem to prevent refilling.  The label looks nice enough, but as usual I am not enamoured with the pressed on metal cap.

In the Glass  8/10

In the glass, the rum is a medium coppery brown colour with persistent flashes of amber. The nose is clean and light, but I do detect some harsher medicinal elements underneath. As well I sense a mild oakiness, some bittersweet toffee, and hints of banana and nuttiness which round out the nose.

Some leglets form when the glass is swirled but we do not have an abundance of legs.

I guess do not believe this rum is 11 years old as some internet sites are claiming.  From my perceptions in the glass, I think we are probably more in the 2 to 3 year age range.

In the Mouth 50.5/60

The mouth is clean and slightly sharp with orange peel, lime and oak spice.  Mild toffee and almonds combine with  charred coconut, and perhaps a hint of treacle.  There is the vaguest hint of leather and smoke but these elements are underdeveloped. This tastes pretty much as I expected it to based upon the earlier nosing.

A miserly bitterness is apparent which disappears with the addition of an ice-cube.  A splash of cola in the glass tastes great as the rum mixes extremely well with the caramel in the cola.  It seems to me that this rum will be a great rum for mixing.

In the Throat 12/15

The rum exits with a touch of acidity from the orange peel noted in the mouth and a bittersweet harshness as well.  This is not a rough rum, but neither is it as smooth as the websites I visited suggested.  I  encounter a light burn in the throat but I can still sip the rum straight if I wish with no discomfort.

The Afterburn 8/10

I think, perhaps a respectable pirate would enjoy this rum. It has that slightly harsh, slightly tasty appeal to it. When it is sipped it braces your gullet; When it is mixed it goes down very smooth. Personally, I preferred to mix the rum, as for me  it seems to lack the character and complexity to make it interesting as a sipper.

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


Suggested Recipe

Although I was given a full bottle to sample from, I was asked to only sample a few ounces. (I cheated and sampled about four ounces in all.) As such, I could not do my normal experimentation with cocktails.  So I am going to stick with two tried and tested cocktails as my suggestions.  I firmly endorse this rum in a Mojito or a Cuba Libre’.  Here are my mixing suggestions with these cocktail when using this rum:

Mojito Simplistic

1 1/2 oz light Rum (preferably Cuban)
3 Large Ice Cubes
1 Tsp Simple Syrup
1 Slice of Lime
4 oz sparkling Lime Water
3 sprigs of mint

Add the light Rum to a highball glass over the ice
Add the simple sugar
Place the Slice of Lime into the glass
Add the sparkling water.
Gently bruise the mint between the fingers and add it to the glass
Stir lightly
Enjoy Responsibly!

Cuba Libre’

1 1/2 oz. light Cuban Rum
4  oz  Cola
Lime wedge or slice
3 -4  Large Ice-cubes

Rub the rim of a standard rocks glass or highball glass with lime
Squeeze the lime over the glass to release some juice into the drink and  fill with the glass with ice
Add Rum and fill with Coca Cola
Drop in the lime wedge and stir lightly

Please remember that the aim of my blog is to help you drink better spirits…. not more spirits!


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)

3 Responses to “Rum Review: Santiago De Cuba Ron Anejo”

  1. Tim said

    I second Sandro’s opinion. I have an 11 here that I brought back from Havana. The front label has an 11 stamped into it, otherwise very similar to your photo. The back label states the 11.
    It stood fiercely independent in my snifter last night. I chased it with a little Ron Vigia Gran Reserva 18 because I wanted to know which I would ask a teatotaler friend to pick up when returning from Havana. Hands down the 11; the 18 was a bit too woody for my taste. In fairness, I’ll reverse the tasting order tonight!

  2. Sandro said

    This it is not the 11 Years aged, this is aged normal that it constitutes the base of the line, after him are the 11 years, 12 years, 20, and to finalize 25 years, nobodies of them products of enormous quality and that the pain is worth to taste, single that to the being produced in Cuba does not have access to the great routes of distribution in the United States, thus being not known for its great public. It will send the photos of all and each one to him of the products that integrate the Santiago mark.

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