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Juan Santos Coffee Infused Rum

Review: Juan Santos Coffee Infused Colombian Rum Review     (89/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted October 2009

Juan Santos (Coffee Infused Colombian Rum) is produced by Casa Santana, a rum company born in Columbia in 1994.  On the Casa Santana website the stated goal of the company is to produce the finest rum in Columbia. In line with this goal the Canadian Importer ‘The Liber Group’  plans to introduce a premium line of rums (5yr, 9yr, 12 yr and 21yr) into Canada. This Rum invasion begins in my home province of Alberta (Canada) in November of this year. With lofty goals and new premium rums on the way I decided to see if the rum lived up to the stated goals of its company.

Juan Santos 2In the Bottle (4.5/5)

Juan Santos is currently redesigning their bottle.  When I first contacted the distributor in my country about my review I mentioned that I was going to be slightly critical of their simple label, and a more critical of a  diffuser that seemed to want to keep rum in the bottle rather than to let it out.  To my amazement they acknowledged the problems with the packaging, and showed me what the bottles will look like in a few months time.  The diffuser is being replaced by a cork.  The bottle is being reshaped to look more like a traditional squat rum bottle, and the label has been completely redesigned.  It was great to have ones concerns addressed even before they were raised.  I tip my hat to a company that is constantly trying to improve.  I am giving Juan Santos an extra half a point for being ahead of the game.

In The Glass (9.0/10)

The aroma from the glass is steeped with rich coffee. I love coffee, and I love the aroma. It smells rich and sweet, more like a liqueur than the type of rum spirit I am used to. The rum notes are there as well, complimented by the coffee but not drowned in it. I catch ribbons of spices; in particular vanilla, perhaps a hint of hot cinnamon, and a finally right at the end I catch a touch of something nutty as well. In all, the nose is very nice.

In my Mouth (53.5/60)

In my mouth the rum is very sweet; it has a creamy, buttery texture as well . Coffee and rum play a very nice duet upon my tongue. The vanilla and spiciness I noticed in the glass wrap around the coffee and rum in my mouth, and the sensation is very enjoyable. I taste the nuttiness as well. In all this reminds me a little of Kahlua, but Juan Santos is richer and more assertive. The alcohol bite is muted reflecting a lesser alcohol content of 34 % versus the 40 % I am used to. I really enjoy the drink, but I must admit my palate becomes a little exhausted with the overwhelming rich and sweet infusion. This is like a decadent dessert which should be sipped and sampled discretely.

In the Throat (13.5/15)

The buttery, creamy texture really coats the throat. The burn is very gentle. Imagine you are eating a coffee and rum flavoured whipped cream and you will get the idea. I like that the rum and spice notes stay with me as long as the coffee does.

The Afterburn (8.5/10)

I love Juan Santos, but the decadent rum and coffee sweetness has its drawback. When I sip rum, I usually do not indulge my sweet tooth quite this much. In no way is this an indictment of the rum, it is just that the flavours are so rich and deep that it is more of a dessert than a main course. In fact, served with ice-cream, the Juan Santos Coffee Infused Rum is absolutely fantastic!

You may read some of my other reviews of Liqueurs and Flavoured Spirits (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


As always you may 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)

8 Responses to “Juan Santos Coffee Infused Rum”

  1. Eduardo Vela said

    This rum has been one of my favorites for years. You too stated that it was one of the best coffee flavored spirits you’ve tasted.

    But I can’t find any others here on your site. What others have you tasted and what did you think of them? And have you ever tried Brinley’s or Ron Bustelo’s coffee rums? Excellent.

    • Hi Eduardo

      At the time of writing that review I had tasted most of the usual suspects for coffee liqueurs, Tia Maria, Kahlua and the like. An interesting Liqueur from Kittling Ridge called Bolivar is pretty good but I would rate Juan Santos higher. More recently I have been sampling a few Tequila based coffee liqueurs (One from Patron is very good) but again I really prefer the Juan Santos. I think it is the 7 year old rum base that is making all the difference.

  2. Josh westrop said

    I really like the coffee infused rum but can’t ffigure out how to open it without tools? Is there a trick?

    • The Plastic ball in the diffuser gets stuck easily, Just put the cap back on and tip the bottle over and then give it a good shake. That should loosen the diffuser ball.

  3. Please forward

    Nicol ? and Mike Dowell have provided the Clan Rugby with a game score board and we are very grateful for this and we need to make due recognition of this sponsorship.

    I prepare a newsletter for the Clan and maintain an interim website at where recent newsletters can also be viewed. I would appreciate receiving by email promotional material for Jaun Santos for the newsletter. May be business cards or such directly and perhaps something for an article during the winter months when we are sometimes short of copy.

    I have a rather immediate deadline for copy so would value an immdeiate response but if this is not possible there will be another letter in a month.

    Thanks for the score board and anything you can emai immediately.

    David Walker
    780 434 7615

  4. John Dawdy said

    On my last trip to Canada I was given a bottle of the Santos Coffee Infused Rum. I live in the Los Angeles, California area.
    I was wondering if you sell this in my area. I would love to get my hands on some. I have told my friends about it and looked for it at a company called Bevmo here locally with no luck. Can you help me?

    John Dawdy

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