Review: RUM COMPANY Aficionado – #78 hit

Never would I have thought that my favorite Rum would come from a European country. Least of all Germany. Aficionado is a blend of 3 to 25 year old Rums and slightly reminds me of the 12 year old Dictador with its characteristic burnt and roasted flavor. Even though there is some resemblance Aficionado has a lot more going on; instead of following a single line this rum implements both sweet and sour notes of caramel, spicy vanilla, fudge, and cocoa into the very predominant taste of roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate. You can easily discern the different layers that work so wonderfully together.  A very unique experience indeed.rum_company_aficionado

This Rum was originally intended to be enjoyed with a cigar. Taken that I am not a cigar enthusiast – yet – I cannot say how they work together. What I can say however is that Aficionado works VERY well without a cigar. It is deliciously smooth and full bodied, almost syrupy, and has an exquisite complexity that will fulfill most rum lovers demands. The only reason why you would not enjoy/buy this rum would be if you are poor (it is pretty expensive), not into dark rums with burnt flavors or hate coffee.

VERDICT: This Rum reminds me of the 12yo Dictador, just a sweeter variant with more complexity. Its ability to combine different flavor profiles, like coffee and caramel, without ruining the experience is truly impressive. GREAT complexity, GREAT balance, GREAT Rum period!



Review: FLOR THE CAÑA 18yo – #75 hit

The 12 year old Flor the Caña did not leave any lasting impression; at least not a very good one. Hence the expectation level for this 18 year old Nicaraguan rum was relatively low! While being one of the most popular rums in Central America Flor the Caña has also won more than 100 international awards since the year 2000. This is pretty impressive! Why all this recognition?Flor the Cana.

As a rule of thumb I would always say that rum gets better the more time it spends in the barrel – granted there are exceptions. Because of this I was surprised to read that the majority of people prefer the 12yo Flor the Caña over the 18yo.  Again my expectations were lowered. Now, after having tasted it, I can honestly say that I couldn’t disagree more. The 18 year old is definitely superior in my opinion.

Even thought there is a resemblance in taste between the 12yo and 18yo the latter is far smoother, creamier and more complex. One thing that I especially appreciate is the dryness that appears because of the longer maturation process. Common notes of cocoa, vanilla, spices, dark chocolate and hints of leather come together in a very balanced way. The flavor of this rum is not revolutionary in any way and actually pretty common I would say. Still the balance between the different flavors is superb and combining that with the creamy texture and lack of alcoholic punch I can almost understand why it is so popular. The only thing that curbs your enthusiasm is the short and vague aftertaste. Almost watery.

VERDICT: The 18 year old Flor the Caña is a good everyday rum. I could imagine that some people would be put off by the leathery notes and dry taste but in my book this is just extra points. I still can’t grasp its huge success though. Especially considering its brief and watery finish.


Review: FLOR DE CÃNA 12yo – #48 hit

Flor De Caña, one of the most praised rums in Latin America!

It is rums like the 12 year old Flor De Caña that makes me start questioning the integrity of my taste buds. Sometimes, I have noticed, you just have to force yourself to like things. Like with eggplants, humus, cabbage, cauliflower and asparagus (I still haven’t gotten completely used to these long weird green things). It took me years before I actually started to enjoy these vegetables. I guess the same goes for spirits.  But it is not like I haven’t given this Nicaraguan rum a chance. Now, a half bottle later, I still haven’t been able to fully appreciate the supposedly outstanding flavor of Flor De Caña. So I give up.Flor da Cana

First let me state that I don’t find this rum to be of poor quality. Not at all. But I do think it lacks character. In addition it is very light bodied, almost watery, and the finish is one of the briefest I have encountered. On the palate there is burnt vanilla and allspice but that is about it.

VERDICT: I really can’t see why this particular bottling gets so much attention. It is not like it is bad in any sense but at the same time I don’t find it remotely impressive either. Oh well again I am reminded about the subjectivity of taste.


Review: EL DORADO 12yo – #15 hit

I tasted this rum some years ago and at that time I did not consider it being anything special. The other day I found it on discount and couldn’t resist. It was meant as a gift but weak as I am I “accidentally” opened it. I am glad I did. This is truly an amel-dorado-12azing rum and I really wonder why I never realized this. I guess my taste buds have been refined throughout the years. This multi-award winning rum is remarkably smooth and right from the start you are overwhelmed by the taste of dark brown sugar and vanilla. There is also a later entry of nuts and raisins as it gently continues down your throat. Not the slightest burn. Even though I usually refrain from drinking soft and mellow rums, mainly because I find them too dull and one dimensional, El Dorado is my one exception. There is something about the taste that I can’t put my finger on, but it is just so darn good. It is like being in love with a woman without knowing quite why.

VERDICT: The taste of El Dorado 12yrs is unexcelled and I can’t recommend it enough. Period.


Review: PYRAT XO – #33 hit

Image yourself standing in the kitchen peeling a dozen of oranges and chopping the peel into small pieces. Imagine the aroma that would follow. If you add some vanilla and butterscotch to that then you have Pyrat XO. Brilliant!1829

Pyrat XO came out in 1998 and is a blend of 9 different rums from 7 distilleries around the Caribbean where it has matured in French Limousin and American sweet oak barrels for up to 15 years. I can honestly say that this is the most unique rum I have ever tasted. The Citrus fruits are overwhelming, in a good way that is, and I can certainly understand if people misjudge it for being a liqueur or something else. Entwined with the vanilla-citrus are less apparent notes of raisins and nuts that give the rum good depth. There is no burn and it is also very smooth and round bodied.

VERDICT: Even though I have to be in a certain mood to have a Pyrat I take my hat off for what they have accomplished here. The mouthwatering citrus flavors together with heaps of vanilla and butterscotch makes it downright delicious. Highly recommendable if you want to taste something out of the ordinary.


Review: DOORLY’S XO – #30 hit

You never go wrong with Barbados rum, it is said. Doorley’s XO is no exception.

Doorly’s XO is a blend of different aged rum – 6 to 12 years – where the oldest has undergone a second maturation in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks making this Barbados rum very unique. The quality of this masterpiece is also backed up by severarum_doorlys_xol gold medals including from San Francisco Wine & Spirits, IWSC, Monde Selection and BTI.

Doorly’s XO is best characterized as a round, mellow, medium bodied rum with rich flavors of lush tropical fruits on the palate. It also has a certain sherry-laden complexity to it on top of the underlying bed of vanilla and butterscotch. The finish is light and soft with creamy toffee being most apparent.

VERDICT: Doorly’s XO is good, mild, and creamy and will satisfy most rum drinkers’ needs. The only reason to why I am not giving it a higher rating is because of its mild and light character and to a certain extent lacking complexity.



“You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover”, it is said. Well this is exactly what I did with Pampero Aniversario when I first laid eyes on it and I am glad I did. Not only does this Venezuelan gem come in the coolest and most innovative bottle design ever it also delivers one of the most rewarding experiences you can get from a <10 yo spirit.Pampero

It took me 28 years before I discovered the wonderful world of Rum. I still blame my abusive teenage relationship with Bacardi for this but I guess I should just be grateful for eventually stumbling into this beautifully crafted Venezuelan Rum. Pampero Aniversario was my first and set the whole Rum exploration in motion. Let me first point out that this is NOT why I rate it so high (I can’t rule out the influence of the leather pouch though).

Distilled and matured near the Equator, Pampero Aniversario is a blend of rums that have aged between 2 and 8 years in American oak casks. Its name literally translates to “intense storm” which I think fits the description perfectly; this is spicy vanilla mayhem. An later entry of toasted bananas and toffee engage the palate while the upperfront gums are assaulted by a light bite. I know some find it a bit harsh (which is understandably considering its young age). This is of course relative so comparing it to rums like El Dorado and Ron Zacapa this is certainly true. Personally however I don’t mind an alcoholic punch as long as it doesn’t conceal the essence of the rum which is not the case with Pampero Aniversario.

VERDICT: The more I drink Pampero the more I like it. It is neither smooth nor complex but still such a delightful experience that you can’t walk away easily.  Un top of all this you can get it for around 30 dollars which is a real bargain if you ask me.


Review: CONTESSA RUM – #47 hit

I picked this one up in New Delhi airport. The salesman was very convincing and told me that it was the best rum in Incontessadia. Apparently the competition cannot be that high because Contessa Rum is nothing spectacular. Also the label seems to be a bit outdated since it boasts “Gold 1972 medal, Monde Selection”. A lot has happened since 1972! However, this rum has actually won a Bronze medal at the IWSC 2007 and silver at Monde Selection 2008. I can’t really see why though. I guess if you see past its harshness there is a nice flavor of roasted raisins. It also finishes of with a bit earthiness and nuts mixed with a touch of tobacco. All in all a mildly below average experience.

VERDICT: I have certainly learned one thing from tasting Contessa Rum and that is: NEVER believe a salesperson, especially not in New Delhi airport. Oh well I guess it was worth 7 quids to taste the best rum in India.


Review: ANGOSTURA 1919 – #46 hit

What is all the rave about?Angostura 1919

I had heard so many praising words about this Trinidad rum.  Naturally I had to have it. However, the regrets that followed have led me to wonder whether or not there is something wrong with my taste buds!

It started off good on the nose. Then after having had a sip or two the disappointment came over me. There was something missing. Heaps of delicious vanilla flushes over you yes -in accordance with the nose – but not much else. This is really a shame. You can vaguely discern notes of oak, cocoa, and some exotic spices underneath the bed of vanilla and this gives Angostura 1919 some complexity that it desperately needs, but not nearly enough.

VERDICT: Having tasted Angostura 1919 I was once again reminded about the subjectivity of taste. I do not share the popular opinion about this rum primarily because I find it extremely one dimensional. That said, the vanilla do dominate the palate in a very delicious way. There is no arguing in that. So if you are searching for a simple and light rum this one may be worth checking out.


Review: DICTADOR 12yo – #56 hit

This Colombian rum is named after Severo Arango y Ferro who was nicknamed “Dictador” after his success with establishing trades with Spain in the 18th century. Just like its attractive bottle this rum is very dark both in taste and color. I would even go as far as to say that this is definitely the “darkest” rum I have tasted. When I say dark I refer to a very piercing taste of burnt cocoa and oak. Still it is uniquely balanced with a delightful taste of caramel and as it drools down the throat it leaves traces of toasted nuts, tobacco leafs, and creamy toffee that fades away slowly. I love this rum not only for its unique taste but also dictador-12for its darn cool bottle design.

VERDICT: I can sincerely say that I have never tasted rum more roasted and burnt than this one. The flavor is unique and I warmly recommended this rum to people who don’t mind going beyond the beaten path. I should mention though that some friends of mine (who love Zacapa 23yo and El Dorado 12yo) did not fancy this one at all for some reason. Personally I can’t wait to taste its eight year older brother!