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Posts Tagged ‘Rum Awards’

Top 30 Rums Countdown # 6 – Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solero)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 19, 2012

Top 30Ron Zacapa 23 SoleraThe rums of Ron Zacapa are made from virgin sugar cane honey which is harvested and processed in southern Guatemala. The cane honey is fermented, distilled and then brought to maturation at the ‘House above the Clouds’ through the aging process known as Sistema Solera. The Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solero) is blended from these solera aged stocks which range in age from 6 years to 23 years. The aging barrels used are a mixture of American Whisky casks, and Sherry and Pedro Ximenez wine barrels.

The combination of solera aging and the variety of reused barrels creates a highly complex rum with a rich aroma and flavour which my Judging Panel and I have ranked as the number 6 rum in my Rum Howler 2012 list of the Best Rums in the World:

# 6 – Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solero)

“… The initial aroma which rises from the glass is full of brown sugar, molasses and baking spices. Some lighter notes of orange peel and marmalade work their way upwards with a mixture of toasted walnut, and dried fruit (raisins, dates and a touch of prunes). The rum grows in the glass with the baking spices (nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and deep dark rich brown sugar) in particular gaining strength and vigor in the breezes above the glass …”

About the only flaw this rum has is that it is so hard to find in my locale!



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Top 30 Rums Countdown # 7 – Panamonte Reserva XXV (25 Year Old Rum)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 18, 2012

Top 30Panamonte RESERVA  XXVThe Panamonte Reserva XXV is a new well aged Panamanian rum from PANAMONTE BRANDS. This is a molasses based rum produced from sugar cane grown and distilled in Las Cabras de Pese. Handcrafted by Master Blender, Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez Perez, this rum is very special, as every drop of the Panamonte Reserva XXV rum has been aged for a minimum of 25 years in used bourbon casks.

In case you are not familiar with Don Pancho, I should mention that he has built up quite an impressive track record of late, helping to bring to the market two of my more favoured rums, Panama Red 108 and Zafra Master Reserve.

This well aged rum has a robust, complex flavour which is full of character. The oak is strong and present at all times, yet the wood does not devour the rum; instead, it is an integral part the flavour having merged with the other flavour impressions rather than dominating them. My Judging Panel agrees and the Panamonte Reserva was declared the 7th best rum on my countdown list:

# 7 – Panamonte Reserva XXV (25 Year Old Rum)

“… Thick droopy legs run down the sides of that glass after I give it a quick tilt and twirl, and the initial aroma from the glass is steeped in sweet molasses and tainted with oak spice. Dark brown sugars, orange peel, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves all drift upwards from the glass reminding me of the sticky cinnamon buns that my mother used to bake on special occasions … “

The rum tempts me with sweetness, beguiles me with softness, and then warms me with oak spice!


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Top 30 Rums Countdown # 8 – Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 17, 2012

Top 30Plantation Gran Anejo GuatemalaThe Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo is a Guatemalan rum produced from sugar cane syrup (rather than molasses) on a short column still. The rum is aged for a minimum of four years in bourbon casks in Guatemala after which it is transported from Guatemala to France by Cognac Ferrand to be placed in used Cognac casks for a finishing time of five months. The rum was bottled at 42 % alcohol by volume as part of Cognac Ferrand’s growing line-up of Plantation Rum.

The Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo is proof positive that column distilled rum does not necessarily have to be aged for 8, 10 or 12 years to reach full flavour and complexity. Although the rum in this blend was stated to me as being aged for four years, I (and my Judging Panel) tasted a complexity and balance of flavour which is normally associated with much older rums. The proof is in the bottle:

# 8 – Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo Rum

” … The initial nose is of rich molasses accented by dark tobacco and cocoa. A certain fruitiness rises into the air with scents of raisins and dates accompanied by the more pungent aroma of prunes. The chocolate aroma seems to grow in the glass more quickly than I was expecting, and I am really loving the effect it is having on my senses …”



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Top 30 Rums Countdown # 9 – Appleton Estate Master Blender’s Legacy

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 16, 2012

Top 30appleton-master-blenders-legacyIn 1749, in the Nassau Valley of Jamaica, the Appleton Estate Sugar Factory was founded. The Nassau Valley is a fertile, interior valley with a special mild micro-climate which is ideally suited to the growth of sugarcane. A water source which wells from a limestone rock formation provides an exceptionally soft pure water which used for the production of Appleton Rums. The Appleton Estate Rum is crafted from pot stills in small batches. After blending and aging the rums are ready for bottling. Unlike most rums produced in the Caribbean, Jamaican law forbids the use of an age statement unless the entire contents of the bottle are aged at least as long as the stated age.

The Appleton Estate Master Blender’s Legacy was produced to recognize three generations of Appleton Estate Master Blenders, Joy Spence, the current Master Blender, Owen Tulloch, the  previous Master Blender, and David Morrison the current protégé of Joy Spence. All three Master Blenders have set their mark on this fantastic rum which, on my countdown list of the Best Rums in the World, checks in at Number 9:

# 9 – Appleton Estate Master Blender’s Legacy

“… The flavour carries the tart spiciness of orange peel and lemon which are laid behind a backdrop of clean pure oak. Sweet flavours of baked fruit (apples and pears), brown sugar and honey are melded into this spiciness. I have read other reviews where the rum is said to have a smoky quality. I understand this perception, but to me I taste a presence tobacco mixed with pungent spices (nutmeg and allspice) …”



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Top 30 Rums Countdown # 15 – Dictador 12 Year Solera

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 10, 2012

Top 30Dictador_12yearsI was first introduced to the Dictador Rums when I convinced the local distributor to drop in on one of the monthly gatherings of my Rum Club. Two bottles of the new Dictador Rum (The 12-year-old and the 20-year-old) were brought to the club for us to taste and provide feedback. Later I also sampled the Dictador rums in Miami, at the Rum Festival. Both times I remember being taken in by the Dictador style and the rich vibrant rum inside the bottles. So far I have tasted and reviewed only three of the Dictador bottlings, the Perpetual XO, the 20 Year Old, and of course the Dictador 12 Year Old. It speaks to the quality of manufacture that all three have landed in my Top 30 Rum Countdown:


# 15 – Dictador 12 Year Solera

“… A yummy marzipan which reminds me of toasted almonds smothered in roasted marshmallows is nestled nicely under the oak and spice.  A touch of coffee, a hint of ripe cherry, and more charred flavours  (perhaps some toasted coconut) seem to arrive at the end with a sherry-like smokiness which also brings nuances of dry fruit and cocoa to the fore…”

The Dictador 12 Year Old Rum is a solera aged rum with the oldest rum in the bottle being at least 12 years of age. It is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume in a stylish black 700 ml bottle.



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