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Posts Tagged ‘Rum’

The Rum Howler Top 25 Rums of 2015 – #’s 10 thru 6

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 16, 2015

Appleton 12 YO CanisterWe have entered into the top 10 of my rankings of the Best Rums of 2015, and an intimidating 23-year-old masterpiece from Rum Nation (their Demerara 23 Year Old) leads us into the top 10. My favourite expression from Appleton Estate (the 12 Year Old) grabs the number 9 spot with a wonderfully complex 9 Year Old Agricole rum from Reimonenq (the only agricole Rhum to make my list) making it to number 8. Diplomatico’s sweet and succulent Reserva Exclusiva is always one of my favourites and one of the World’s most sought after rum’s the Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) just misses the top 5.

Any of these rums would make a wonderful Christmas Gift for any rum aficionado.

Here are the next five wonderful cane spirits in my listing of the Best 25 Rums of 2015:

10)  Rum Nation Demerara 23 Year Old
09)  Appleton Estate Extra Old 12 Year
08)  Reimonenq Vieux 9 Year Old Rhum (Distilled 1999)
07)  Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
06)  Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) Rum 

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You may read about and follow the Top 25 Rum Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Rums

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The Rum Howler Top 25 Rums of 2015 – #’s 15 thru 11

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 14, 2015

Millonario Sistema Solera 15 Reserva EspecialThe next 5 great rums in my countdown of the Best Rums of 2015 demonstrate a growing trend upon my website. Rums from South America are beginning to dominate the landscape of premium rum. Three of the next five rums are South American, one from Peru (Ron Millonario), one from Colombia (Juan Santos), and one from Guyana (El Dorado). It could be argued that there is a fourth South American Rum on the list as Pusser’s Navy Rum, although blended from rums of various Caribbean countries, receives the lion’s share of its taste characteristic from the giant wooden double pot stills of Demerara Distillers in Guyana, South America as well.

In fact, when I look over my list of top 25 Rums for 2015, over 50% of the rums I have selected are from South America. That’s quite a high percentage considering that 10 years ago I had never even tasted a single rum produced from the southern continent.

Here are the next five wonderful cane spirits in my listing of the Best 25 Rums of 2015:

15) Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial 
14)  Pusser’s 15 Year Old Navy Rum (Nelson’s Blood)
13) Rum Nation Caroni 1998 (Bottled in 2014 @ 55%) 
12)  Juan Santos 21 Yr Antigua Reserva Rum
11)  El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum 

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You may read about and follow the Top 25 Rum Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Rums

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The Rum Howler Top 25 Rums of 2015 – #’s 20 thru 16

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 9, 2015

This posting will help catch up my Top Rums of 2015 Countdown with the other two countdowns currently underway, The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits Countdown and the Rum Howler 2015 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies.

I thought at this time that I should make one thing clear to everyone. Whereas my 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown is a compilation of the best spirits I have ever tasted, the 2015 Top 25 Rum and Canadian Whisky Countdowns are compilations of the best spirits (in those categories) which I have both tasted and which are currently available in the year 2015.

Pumpkin 23This means that the astute reader, when utilizing the various list to do their Christmas shopping, should take into account that my Top 100 Spirits list contains great spirits which are no longer available to the public. However, every rum and whisky listed on the Top 25 Rum And the Top 25 Canadian Whisky lists are currently available for retail purchase somewhere in the world. Some may not be available in your locale, but they are available.

Which brings us on to the next batch of great rums. Here are the links to the reviews for the # 20 through to the #16 ranked rums in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Rums:

20)  Rum Nation Panama (Aged 21 years)
19)  Pumpkin Face 23
18)  Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum
17)  El Dorado 25 Year Old Vintage Reserve Rum
16)  Ron Zacapa Centenario XO 15

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You may read about and follow the Top 25 Rum Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Rums

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Rum Howler Top 25 Rums of 2015 – #’s 20 thru 16

# 18 Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof Rum (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 7, 2015

Havana Club is a Cuban Rum produced by Havana Club International (a joint venture between the Cuban Government and Pernod Ricard) currently produced in two Cuban locations, San José de Las Lajas and Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba. According to tradition the production of the rum which was to become Havana Club began in 1878 when Spanish immigrant José Arechabala established Destileria La Vizcaya in the port city of Cárdenas, Cuba. The distillery remained in the hands of the Arechabala family and in 1934  José’s grandson (also named José Arechabala) apparently created the recipe for Havana Club Rum and began to market it throughout the world. However, the family lost control of the distillery and the brand when after the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the Cuban Government nationalized the distillery and company.

Havana Club BP SAM_1733The Havana Club Barrel Proof Rum underwent a rather unique maturation process where it is first aged in old white oak barrels, and when the final rum is blended, it is then finished in specially ‘selected’ younger finishing casks. I have heard of this ‘Double Barrel’ approach with whisky, but the Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof Rum, was the first rums that I know of which used older white oak maturation casks and then younger fresh oak finishing casks.

Here is a link to the review of the #18 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#18 – Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof Rum

“… As I poured the rum into my glencairn glass my nose was immediately swatted with a sweet toffee updraft.  Hints of cinnamon spice compliment the aroma, and I am very pleased with the complete lack of any charred or burnt notes.  This is intense, sweet and clean.  I let the drink sit for just a moment, and a pleasant liquorice aroma reminiscent of Sambuca enters the fray.  I even catch just a smidgen of raw oak sitting at the very back of the nose.  This is marvellous …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Note: The Havana Club Barrel Proof brand was replaced a few years ago by Havana Club Selección de Maestros Rum. Although the Selección de Maestros is reported to be made from the same stocks and in the same manner as the original Barrel Proof Rum, whenever I have had occasion to taste the two brands side by side, I always have a firm preference for the older brand.

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on # 18 Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof Rum (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

The Rum Howler Top 25 Rums of 2015 – #’s 25 thru 21

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 6, 2015

Ron Zacapa 23 SoleraI was not sure I would be able to complete my listing of the top 25 Rums of 2015 this year. This fall has been so hectic. My retail store where I sell sports and movie memorabilia has been extremely busy and the ramp up to Christmas was crazier than ever. As well, on my website, I embarked on the ambitious plan to countdown the best 100 spirits I have ever tasted. The Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown fortunately afforded me the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. As part of the process of compiling my list of the best 100 spirits ever, I was able to taste everything I needed to compile my list of the best rums of 2015.

I will begin my The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 25 Rums Countdown by revealing numbers 25 though 21.

25) Santa Teresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera 
24) Dictador 20 Year Solera Rum
23) Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solera) Rum (Re- scored in 2015)
22) Dictador 12 Year Solera
21) Angostura 1824 (12 Years Old) Rum

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You may read about and follow the Top 25 Rum Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Rums

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#20 Ron Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 5, 2015

Ron Zacapa Rums are made from sugar cane harvested in southern Guatemala, which is pressed into virgin sugar cane honey, a process unique to the Guatemalan style of rum production. This liquid is then fermented, distilled and taken to the mountains for aging, where the flavor of the rums is further refined through the premium aging process known as Sistema Solera.

Ron Zacapa XO 25The Ron Zacapa Centenario XO is blended from these solera aged stocks which range in age from 6 years to 25 years. These stocks were aged in special cellars more than 7000 feet above sea level. The solera barrels are a mixture of reused American Bourbon, Sherry, Pedro Ximenez wines, and Cognac barrels. The combination of solera aging and the wide variety of reused barrels creates a highly complex rum with a rich aroma and flavour.

Here is a link to the review of the #20 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#20 – Ron Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) Rum

“… Richness and luxury ooze from the nose of this sweet nectar. Scents of mild toffee and spice combined with a rich oak and vanilla aroma rise from the glass to the delight of my nostrils. There seems to be a light orange citrus weaving through the aroma. The spices I can identify by smell are vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg with just a hint of cloves. The toffee smells of deep dark brown sugar with the firm imprint of real dairy butter …”

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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: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #20 Ron Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) Rum

#24 Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 1, 2015

In the late 1950s, the main companies involved in the production and distribution of alcoholic spirits in Venezuela were grouped into one organization called Licorerias Unitas S.A. by the initiative of Seagrams who owned 51 % of the new entity until 1992. After a series of mergers and acquisitions involving Seagrams, Diageo, and Pernod Richard, a decision was made to divest in facilities and to instead concentrate on brand commercialization. The result was a group of local investors who purchased the manufacturing assets of Licorerias Unitas S.A. and formed Distilleries Unitas S.A. (DUSA) on August 22, 2002. Although this company is relatively new, the tradition of making quality rum in Venezuela using the these facilities which is not. In fact sugar cane has been cultivated in Venezuela perhaps as early as the 16th century.  Systematic rum production in Venezuela can be dated to 1896.

Diplomatico Exclusiva SAM_1418Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva is a premium rum which is produced from both column still rums and pot still rum. Within the blend are rums which are aged up to 12 years. The combination of tropical aging, batch still production yields an exquisite rum which has long been one of my favourites.

Here is a link to the review of the #24 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#24 – Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva

“… There is a nice underlying nuttiness (walnuts and hazelnuts), some sweet caramel and some very delicious baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar). As the glass breathes, The richness of the rum builds and I taste even more brown sugar and cinnamon with butter.  Mmmmm! …”

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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: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

#28 Appleton Estate Extra Old 12 Year Jamaican Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 27, 2015

It was in April of 2009, that I wrote my first rambling reviews on the Ministry of Rum. If you search their old threads you will come across my original write-up on the Appleton 12 year Old Rum. It was in truth the first ‘review’ I ever wrote. It really wasn’t meant to be a review; but more of a fun write-up to let the members of that forum know what I liked and didn’t and why. That rambling thread is responsible for all that followed. About 6 months later I started this website and that write-up on the Ministry of Rum became the first review I placed on my website, just a little more fleshed out but in essence that same ‘review’ I wrote originally.

Appleton Estate 12 Year OldIn November 2012 I revisited the Appleton 12 year Old Rum and found that my appreciation of the rum had increased substantially. Another visit to the bottle this year only reinforced that opinion. The Appleton 12 Year Old XO Rum has improved over the years (or perhaps my taste has).

Here is a link to the review of the #28 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#28 – Appleton Estate Extra Old 12 Year

“… The aroma has a firm spicy backbone with a deep dark brown sugar and strong indications of baking spice alongside. Oak tannin and citrus zests arise in the aroma as well as a darker more burnt smell akin to charred coconut and caramelized sugars. As the glass breathes , marmalade-like smell well up and a rich underlying almond/marzipan nuttiness builds …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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#34 Cubaney Ron Tesero Grand Reserve 25 Year Soleras Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 21, 2015

In 2010, a friend of mine who lived in the Dominican Republic arranged for a local rum company, Oliver and Oliver, to supply me with a bottle of their top rum, Cubaney Ron Tesero Grand Reserve 25 Year Soleras Rum. At the time, Oliver and Oliver were an independent bottler of rum who operated in the Dominican Republic.  They bought barreled rum from major rum producers, and then aged it themselves using a solera aging system in what they called the “Cuban” style.

Cubaney 25I am not sure exactly what happened to Oliver and Oliver as current information about their company is very hard to find. However, the Cubaney Rum brand appears now to be centered in Australia. The Grand Reserve 25 Year Tesero has been discontinued, although both a 21 Year and a 25 Year Solera are available. Perhaps I shall be able to taste and review each of these at some point in the future.

Here is a link to the review of the #34 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#34 – Cubaney Ron Tesero Grand Reserve 25 Year Soleras Rum

“… A faint smoke is present which carries scents of dried fruits, raisins, and a soft and subtle cherry-like aroma in the background. A little wave of soft tobacco is mixed in, as is an ever present woody backdrop which seems to tie everything together. I even sense a smidgen of brine and tar in the breezes; almost, but not quite reminiscent of Islay peat …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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#40 Ron Zacapa Centrenario 23 Anos

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 15, 2015

Ron Zacapa rums are made from sugar cane harvested in southern Guatemala, which is pressed into virgin sugar cane honey. The fermentation process uses a yeast strain (saccharomyces cerevisae) isolated from pineapples to transform sugars within the ‘honey’ into alcohol. This fermentation process takes approximately 5 days after which the fermented ‘wine’ is distilled in a single continuous column.

Ron Zacapa 23 AnosAfter distillation, the Zacapa rum is transported to the ‘House above the Clouds’ in the Guatemalan mountains for maturation. Special cellars age the rum at an altitude of more than 7000 feet above sea level where the ambient temperature is much more stable and the oxygen levels are lower than at lower elevations. The more stable ambient temperature ensures that the aging barrels are subject to less differential air pressure between the outside and the inside of the barrel.

I should note that this version of Ron Zacapa Centrenario is an older vintage from the one currently available for sale. This version is labeled 23 anos rather than 23 solero.  The older vintage received a higher score when I reviewed it, and when I tasted it side by side with the newer version, I found that I indeed preferred slightly drier and less sweet flavour.

Here is a link to the review of the #4o spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#40 Ron Zacapa Centrenario 23 Anos

“… This is very rich and very complex.  Nutmeg and allspice swirl around vanilla and dark molasses.  There is also an earthy, oak filled taint to the nose which is most pleasing.  I think I catch hazelnut and pecans in the air as well, but then again I might be imagining that I can actually tell the difference …”

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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: , , , , , | Comments Off on #40 Ron Zacapa Centrenario 23 Anos

 
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