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Santa Theresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera 

Review: Santa Theresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera  (92.5 pts)
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Published May 11, 2022

Santa Theresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera is a self described Super Premium Venezuelan rum which traces its ancestry back to the year of 1796 when the Santa Theresa Hacienda was created.  It was in 1996 (200 years later) that the Hacienda created this rum to commemorate the bicentennial anniversary of the Hacienda.

This is a true solera rum with 4 rows of aging barrels set one atop each other. As the rum ages, a portion of the rum moves through each row until it reaches the final solera row at the bottom years later. The barrels are not emptied fully and only a portion of the rum from the previous or higher row is moved to the lower row each time. The solera process ensures that the oldest rums in the solero are slowly married with the younger rums while they continue to mature within the same barrel. The final rum is a blend of rums from up to 30 of these solera barrels.

Santa Theresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

IN THE BOTTLE    (5/5)

The super premium rum arrives in the stately red wax sealed bottle and attractive blue cylinder shown to the left.  Although there have been minor changes in this presentation over the past decades, the essential concept has remained unchanged.

One of the small changes which I appreciate is  the heavier glass base at the bottom of the bottle with the elegant edge cuts which give it a look which reminds me of a tall crystal bottle. This added weight at the bottom of the bottle gives the bottle more stability on my rum shelf as it lowers the center of gravity of the presentation.

IN THE GLASS (9.5/10)

Colour: Copper with a distinct reddish tone

Legs: When the glass is swirled a thick crest forms which drops fat sluggish legs.

Nose: The rum has that distinct reddish tone and that colour and the initial scents and smells that rise into the breezes seems to indicate that the spirit has at some point in its journey passed through an exotic wine cask which left an imprint of fruity dark cherries and plums upon the scent and colour of the rum. Rich aromas of butterscotch and light smells of molasses join with these fruity scents and the result is most appealing. Wood spices and rich baking spices abound which give us additional impressions of cinnamon and cloves.  Canned apricots, roasted nuts, dollops of vanilla and rich tobacco complete the nose which was delightful to experience.

IN THE MOUTH (55/60)

The entry onto the palate is rich with peppery wood spices and flavours of dry fruit and toffee. The dry fruit flavours seem to hint at a sherry-like influence. If this is the case, it was masterfully accomplished as the the dry fruitiness is wonderfully melded with the with more rum-like caramel flavours of the rum (and the wood spices) to give us an exotic treat. There are also more fruity flavours of tart orange peel and fresh overripe banana. Baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, and perhaps some nutmeg) merge into the flavour profile adding to its richness. Finally there are notes of chocolate and tobacco completing the rum.

There is not too much sweet, not too much spice and not too much bitterness. The solera process has brought us a wonderfully balanced rum!

IN THE THROAT (13.5/15)

The complexity of the rum continues through the exit. Wood and baking spices, dark fruit, layers of chocolate and rich butterscotch seem to linger and linger after the swallow.

The Afterburn 9.5/10

Santa Theresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera is one of those very first rums which I tasted and reviewed very early in the life of this website fifteen years ago. I have re-visited the bottling several times since, and it has improved its score each time. I suspect that as time has went by the average age of the solera has slowly crept upwards giving the rums within an added level of maturity, and perhaps the mastery of the blenders has increased as well.

My score of 92.5/100 places this rum firmly in the territory where I remove it from my regular barshelf, and place it in my special cabinet with the rums I do not share. Yeah, I definitely want to hoard the rest of this one for myself.

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

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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)

 
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