Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 9, 2016
Vizcaya Rum is produced in the Dominican Republic for a third-party (the neck label says “Imported by Amex Spirits“) by the independent company Oliver and Oliver. Oliver and Oliver produce a variety of rum brands using distillate from various Caribbean producers which they age in their own warehouse facility. Many of these rums are produced using what is called a solero method which blends rums of various ages in single barrels and then continues to age them together to create consistent flavour profiles combining both the complexity of aged rums and the brashness of younger rums together in the aging barrel.
According to the Vizcaya website:
“Vizcaya VXOP is one of the world’s finest sipping rums. It is distilled in small batches according to time-honored rum making methods in which the fragrant juice extracted from pure sugar cane is fermented and aged in select oak barrels.”
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The initial nose is rich with caramel and maple scents accented by raisins and dates. Some orange peel and marmalade scents well up as do some luscious cinnamon bun smells (vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon. and roasted pecans). The only flaw in the aroma is a few underlying grassy notes and some alcohol astringency which each hint at a larger portion of younger rum used in the blend than I was expecting …”
Please enjoy my latest review!
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Cask No. 21, Oliver & Oliver, Review, Rum, Vizcaya | Comments Off on Review: Vizcaya VXOP Cask No. 21
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 8, 2016
Amaretto is a sweet almond flavoured liqueur which I like to mix with well aged oaky spirits. The sweet almond flavour tends to meld into the sappy oak notes and the combination results in a wonderful sipping (slightly sweet) cocktail. This is not a new idea, the classic scotch whisky cocktail, the Godfather, is exactly this style of bar drink. Several years ago I built a very similar cocktail using a well aged rum instead of whisky as its base. A good friend of mine named Forrest (see his website here) helped me tweak the recipe, and we gave the bar drink the new name, El Padrino which of course, is Spanish for Godfather.
When I was thinking of a suitable cocktail for my latest rum acquisition, Vizcaya VXOP Cask No. 21, I wanted to explore this theme with a similar cocktail. However, I hoped for a bar drink which would showcase the flavour of the Dominican Rum. I decided that adding a second complimentary flavour, Orange Curacao, might be a good idea. The almond notes within the rum would be accented by the Amaretto, and the orange peel notes within the rum would be accented by the Orange Curacao. When I experimented, I found that a single dash of Fees Cocktail Bitters (with its cinnamon and clove flavours) enhanced the cocktail even more.
As this cocktail was a shortened (albeit more complex) form of the original El Padrino (Godfather), I settled upon the shortened (perhaps also more complex) name El Padre’ (Father) for my new cocktail.
I hope you like it.
2 oz aged Vizcaya Cask 21
1/8 oz Luxardo Amaretto (see review here)
1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao (see review here)
few drops Fee’s Cocktail Bitters
crushed ice (1/3)
ice cubes (2/3)
Add the first four ingredients into a metal cocktail shaker
Add both crushed ice and ice cubes
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Double strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a slice of lime
If you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!
Note: My review for Vizcaya V.X.O.P. Cask No. 21 Rum will publish tomorrow.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: Cask No. 21, Cocktail, El Padre, Rum, Vizcaya | Comments Off on Cocktail Hour: El Padre’
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 27, 2016
In 1862, Facundo Bacardi and his brother José bought the Santiago de Cuba Distillery and began to distill what would become the most popular commercial rum in the world. Using a method of charcoal filtering, and oak barrel aging along with a still of copper and cast iron, Facundo Bacardi created a smoother more refined version of the locally made rum. His smoother version of the spirit became local favourite, and over time, an international sensation.
The Bacardi Gold Rum is produced using column still distillation and oak barrel aging (for one to two years). The final rum is further ‘shaped’ by filtering the aged rum through a secret blend of charcoal. This charcoal filtration helps to blunt some of the harsh flavour characteristics of a young rum. Along with Bacardi Superior White Rum, this spirit forms the backbone of Bacardi’s portfolio of brands which includes more than 200 different labels.
Here is a link to my latest review:
“… The rum translates well from nose to palate. Leading out is a soft butterscotch flavour melded with banana and orange peel with a smattering of oak, cardamom and ginger spices following. Almond and vanilla ride along with hints of brown sugar spice and cinnamon …”
Please enjoy the review!
Posted in Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Bacardi Gold Rum, Rum, Rum Review | Comments Off on Review: Bacardi Gold Rum
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 16, 2016
Ron Abuelo Rum is produced by Varela Hermanos SA in Panama, Central America. This company has a history which dates back to 1908 when Don José Varela Blanco launched the first sugar mill in the then recently formed Republic of Panama. In 1935, the site began to distill sugar cane juice for the production of various kinds of spirits. Now today, the company produces an impressive array of products which includes over one million boxes of spirits and of course a strong variety of rums. The Ron Abuelo brand is just one brand from this wide assortment.
According to the website, the Ron Abuelo Anejo 7 Anos is produced from molasses and aged for 7 years in white oak bourbon casks.
Here is a link to my latest rum review:
“… Dark brown sugary baking spices have evolved with vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and hints of clove. There is also an impression of pecans. The menagerie reminds me of the smells of cinnamon buns baking in the oven. Hints of orange marmalade rise up as well …”
Please enjoy may review of this Panamanian Rum!
Posted in Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: 7 Year Old, Panamanian Rum, Ron Abuelo, Rum, Rum Review, Varela Hermanos | Comments Off on Review: Ron Abuelo Anejo 7 Anos
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 14, 2016
Sometimes when I take the first sip of new rum, I close my eyes; and I let the rum show me where it belongs. This rum brought me to an old tavern, close to the docks. The kind of place you see in old movies where the rum flows and stories get taller in the telling. The place has an oily, tobacco stained floor. Cigarette smoke drifts up to the ceiling mingling here and there with the occasional smell of a Cuban cigar.
A girl sits on a boardwalk stage, singing slightly out of key, as the patrons in the tavern pay more attention to their stories than to her. A burly bartender, who looks like he can handle whatever trouble comes his way, wipes the sweat from his brow, and then with the same towel wipes the bar-top. He glances at me playing solitaire in the corner of the room and sipping the rum he served me. I had told him I would stay and pay him well if the rum was good.
He served me a soft oily, smoky rum called Havana Club. I smile… the tip will be generous tonight.
“… The nose displays a moderate amount of smoke which seems to subdue the aroma from the glass to a certain extent. Over time, molasses, dark brown sugary baking spices, dried fruit (raisins and prunes) and a lurking tobacco all find their way out of the glass and into my nostrils. I would have scored this a little higher had the nose been more assertive …
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Añejo 7 Años, Dark Rum, Havana Club, Review, Rum | 2 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 7, 2016
Flor de Caña has a history of rum production which is dated to 1890 at the San Antonio Sugar Mill, in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. The company was founded by Francisco Alfredo Pellas and today, over 120 years later, the company is led headed by the fifth generation of the Pellas family. It has grown to be not only one of Central America’s leading brands of rum, it is also one of the most recognized rum brands in the world.
Recently, the entire Flor de Caña line-up has received a make-over with splashy new bottle designs. Part of this redesign was the elimination of a definitive age statement upon the new labels. Correspondence with the company indicates that the Company wanted to modernize the bottle presentation; but they maintain that no changes to the flavour profile of their rums has occurred. Further persistence on my part has revealed however that the age profile of their rums has indeed changed. Coinciding with the bottle modernization was a new blending regimen. In the previous iteration of the Flor de Caña Centenario 18 Year Old Rum, the entire contents of the bottle were stated to be a minimum of 18 years old. The new bottling however, the Flor de Caña Centenario 18 is now blended to an average age of 18 years. It is a subtle, but meaningful difference which strongly implies that the brand is across the board is younger than it was before.
I decided that it would not be a bad idea to investigate the newest iteration, and I shall begin the review with a brand new bottle of Flor de Caña Centenario 18.
Here is a link to my first new Rum Review of 2016:
“… This is a clean dry rum displaying a strong fine oak spice personality. This spicy personality is tempered slightly with mild indications of butterscotch accenting the oak spice. There is a lightly bitter flavour of poplar sap and tobacco keeping the mouth dry and heated. As I let the rum breathe the butterscotch sweetness grows slightly in intensity providing a nice foil for the dry spicy bitterness. I can taste a ribbon of orange peel and vanilla and a growing impression of marzipan …”
Please enjoy my review!
Posted in Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Aged Rum, Centenario 18, Flor de Caña, Rum, Rum Review | 6 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 31, 2015
I have come at last too what is regularly the most popular posting on my website, my annual Year in Rum – Rum Howler Awards which recognize those brands which have achieved excellence in the production of rum. For the second year in a row, sadly, I have eliminated the Regional Rum Awards as once again time simply has gotten the best of me, and tomorrow I must forge on into the year 2016 and leave 2015 behind.
This year, to determine my Rum Howler Award Winners I first checked my review scores in all of the categories of each rum I had sampled in the last two years and chose for each category the 5 top spirits based upon those review scores. Then I asked two friends of mine to rank each of the rums I had chosen within each of the categories. The only category in which cocktails were constructed to help assist in the rankings was for the white rums, and the cocktail constructed was a simple daiquiri. All other rum categories were judged neat.
I compared the rankings assigned by my two jurors for each spirit within each category with my review rankings and determined the Winner as well as the Runners-up and the Honourable Mentions for each category. The results turned out to be very consistent with my review scores although there are a few exceptions. No system is perfect, but I believe my friends and I did a thorough job with good results.
It is time for me to bring forward my 2015 Rum Howler Awards Winners. These are the spirits which have risen to the top and provided us with our greatest enjoyment.
Here is a link to my Year in Rum Awards Page:
Please remember, that the aim of my website is not to help you drink more spirits, it is to help you drink better spirits! (Wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable New Years.)
Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: 2015 Rum Howler Awards, Review, Rum, Rum Awards | Comments Off on The Year In Rum – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 24, 2015
I have noticed that the El Dorado 21 Year Old (like most well aged spirits) is subject to some amount of batch variation each year. As a 21 Year Old rum which blended from various marques from various stills, this is not to be unexpected. However, I have also noticed that despite these variations in taste profile, my appreciation for this particular rum is always very high, and every year when I do my rum rankings it is right near the top. This year it reached the pinnacle, and I have named it, The Rum Howler 2015 Rum of the Year!
As a bit of background information, the DDL Master Blender is credited with the creation of El Dorado 21-Year-Old Rum which uses a blend of rums selected from their world-famous stills, the Enmore (wooden Coffey still), the Versailles (single wooden pot still), and the Albion (Savalle still). All of the rums in the blend have been aged in oak for a minimum of 21 years, making this one of the oldest production rums in the world.
Here is a link to the Rum Howler 2015 Rum of the Year:
“… my first impression is that I am sampling a yummy oak and toffee extract filled with rich brown sugar. The oak is at the center of the flavour, yet the tannins do not inhibit the other flavours in the rum from forming and delighting me. Raisins, prunes, and dates give the rum an almost smoky quality while the impressions of nutty elements adds softness to the mouth-feel. Cinnamon, vanilla, and brown sugar create a wonderful baking spice flavour which weaves throughout, and the rum is an absolute marvel of complexity and balance …”
You may read about and follow the Top 25 Rum Countdown here:
The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Rums
Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: 2015 Top 25 Rums, 21 Year Old, El Dorado, Review, Rum, Rum howler | Comments Off on The Rum Howler’s #1 Rum of 2015 – El Dorado 21 Year Old
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 23, 2015
The Flor De Cana Centenario 21 Commemorative Edition was produced as a special edition bottling near the turn of the century. The number 21 refers not to the age of the blend (which is 15 years), rather it is a nod to the 21st Century and the prestige which the Flor de Cana Rum Company had began to earn as a world-class producer of rum.
When the FDC 21 Rum was introduced at the turn of the century it created quite a splash winning accolades not only for the rum inside the bottle, but also for the stunning porcelain decanter which it was sold in. Unfortunately, this spectacular rum is no longer widely available, and full sealed bottles have become collectors items within the rum world with current (2015) pricing that ranges from $100.00 to $250.00 per bottle depending upon your locale.
If you can find one of these rare bottles within a price range which you can justify, then I suggest that you pick it up. This is (in my opinion) the best rum that Flor de Cana has ever produced, and it is a rum spirit that easily sits beside the best spirits ever produced by anyone, anywhere in the world.
Here is a link to the review of the best rum I have ever tasted, and the #2 Spirit in my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.
“… The initial nose brings forward a dominant triumvirate of oak sap, semisweet butterscotch, and spicy tobacco aromas. It is really quite nice especially how neither the sweetness of the butterscotch, nor the sharpness of the oak sap, nor the spiciness of the tobacco takes control of the breezes above the glass. Rather, each partner in this dance acts in concert with the others resulting in a melding of scents which smells quite delicious …”
You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits
Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Centenario 21, Flor de Caña, Review, Rum, Rum howler, Top 100 Spirits | Comments Off on #2 Flor De Cana Centenario 21 (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 22, 2015
For those who do not know, Fabio Rossi who is the mastermind behind Rum Nation, is also the founder of Ron Millonario. When I asked Fabio why the Ron Millonario Brand was not part of Rum Nation, he explained to me that when he was developing the Ron Millonario Rums (working in conjunction with a small to mid-sized distillery in Northern Peru) he felt the quality of the rum was such that Ron Millonario should be set apart from the Rum Nation Brand and take its own place as a premier sipping rum brand.
I find it very hard to disagree with Fabio’s assessment, as whenever I taste the Ron Millonario rums, or serve them at tasting functions, they are always crowd favourites. My friends hold these rums in high esteem as well, so high in fact that we have chosen Ron Millonario XO Reserva as the #2 Rum in my Top 25 Rums of 2015 Countdown.
Here is a link to my review of this fabulous rum:
“… When I took my first sip of this rum, my immediate reaction what to exclaim, “Oh, that is lovely!” and subsequent sips and samplings have done nothing to dissuade me from this initial reaction. The main flavours of caramel/molasses, oak spice and baking spices seem to be perfectly melded together. Hints of raisin, figs, tobacco and chocolate seem to provide just the right accent to make this a suave mouth watering rum …”
You may read about and follow the Top 25 Rum Countdown here:
The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Rums
Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: 2015 Top 25 Rums, Review, Ron Millonario, Rum, Rum howler, XO Reserva Especial | Comments Off on The Rum Howler’s #2 Rum of 2015 – Ron Millonario XO Reserva