Aged Rum
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Best Aged Rum

Rum is the second largest selling spirit category in the U.S. with over 25 million cases sold during 2012, but most people have the impression that rum should only be used in cocktails. Aged rum offers a full spectrum of flavors ranging from butterscotch and cinnamon to tropical fruits and tobacco— best enjoyed straight or on the rocks for casual sipping.

Rum is a sugar cane distilled spirit that is directly influenced by terroir, tradition and technique. Most rums are bottled directly from the still, but some are aged in charred oak barrels. Typically, these barrels were previously used to age bourbon (from the U.S.) or scotch, cognac and sherry (from Europe).

In some cases, the rum is allowed to blend and mature in another barrel for a second maturation. This rum is designated as “single barrel”. Occasionally distillers will top off their barrels with rums of the same age. Or in the case of a “solera”, with rums that is one year younger. Bottling occurs straight from the barrel. In the U.S., the age is determined by the youngest spirit in the bottle, and must be indicated by an age statement.

The distillation process, the barrels, and warm climates produce rums that are darker color and richer in flavor, mellower and more aromatic than clear rums.

The spirit of choice by pirates and princes, rum has earned its place in history:
In 1493, Columbus brought sugar cane to Hispaniola.
140 years later, in 1636 - Sugar became the chief crop of Barbados and of all the Caribbean islands.
Soon after, in 1687 - Rum is officially adopted as the daily ration for the Royal Navy.
50 years later (1740) - The Royal Navy’s dilutes rum rations with water, calling it “grog”.
At that time, Massachusetts had 63 distilleries that produced rum made from molasses. (Another reason why the British colonies in New England were very important to Britain.)

After the American Revolution, the British enforced a naval blockade to the Caribbean, restricting access to sugar plantations in the West Indies. So what did the American colonists do? They used their chief crop corn to make bourbon, marking the beginning of bourbon's popularity and the decline of distilleries in the Northeast.

Flash forward to 1980– Rum outsells vodka in the United States and outsells whiskey for the first time since the early nineteenth century.

 

The Fifty Best Aged Rum Tasting 2013

 

The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 24 premium aged rums with 18 pre-qualified judges. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Each of the aged rums were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and served at slightly above room temperature. Only ice water and neutral unsalted chips and crackers were available to cleanse the palate. The judges tasted through 3 flights of 7 rums each and 1 flight of three rums.

The judges wrote down their impressions of each product on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the best. Double-Gold, Gold and Silver medals were awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no Bronze medals awarded in this tasting.

The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The countries of origin are identified for each brand.

 

AGED RUM TASTING RESULTS:

 

Zaya 12 yr.

DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNERS:

Zaya 12 yr.
(Trinidad & Tobago)

Nose: Toffee, caramel, vanilla, honey, cake icing, milk chocolate bar, brownie, fudge, maple syrup, citrus.
Palate: Butter, caramel, toffee, cocoa, milk chocolate, creamy, honeycomb, raisin, fig, pineapple, coconut, walnuts, coffee, spicy, balanced.
Finish: Nutmeg, clove, hazelnut, clean, fresh, smooth.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Cubaney Centenario 25
(Dominican Republic)

Nose: Subtle, floral, grain.
Palate: Pineapple, dried apple, banana, creamy, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, maple, ginger, spicy, oak, distinctive.
Finish: Treacle, hazelnut, marzipan, decadent, brilliant.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Cubaney Centenario 25


Presidente 23


Presidente 23
(Dominican Republic)

Nose:Banana, apricot, dark fruit, butterscotch, brown sugar, caramelized sugar, Port barrel, toast, light cinnamon.
Palate: Black strap molasses, brown sugar, butterscotch, toffee, caramel, vanilla, banana, dark fruit, marzipan, nutmeg, hazelnut, cinnamon, perfect.
Finish: Molasses, spicy, excellent.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal




Opthimus 25
(Dominican Republic)

Nose: Toffee, molasses, cane, brown sugar, caramel, honey, vanilla, plum, nutmeg.
Palate: Toffee, maple, brown sugar, honey, vanilla, cocoa, butter, caramel, milk chocolate, fudge, raisins, cinnamon, coffee.
Finish: Vanilla cream, buttery, builds to candied finish, smooth.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Opthimus 25


Ron Millonario 15 yr Solera



Ron Millonario 15 yr Solera
(Peru)

Nose: Tropical fruits, banana, caramel, molasses, cola, hay.
Palate: Banana, pear, coconut, raisin, dark fruit, cherry coke, honey, black strap molasses, caramel, cocoa, maple.
Finish: Buttery, sherry, smooth, mellow.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal




Ron Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
(Venezuela)

Nose: Soft fruit, pineapple, caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, toffee, cinnamon, toast, subtle vegetal notes, smoky.
Palate: Molasses, sugar cane, honey, salted caramel, vanilla, banana, spicy plum, marzipan, hazelnut, peanut butter, cola, coffee upfront, balanced, ultra-smooth, delicious.
Finish: Cola, honey, brown sugar, nutty, smooth, gentle, fantastic.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Ron Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva


Debonaire 21 yr.




Debonaire 21 yr.
(Panama)

Nose: Subtle caramel, hints of vanilla, toffee notes, toasted sugar, honey, faint cinnamon, citrus.
Palate: Orange, banana, dried fruit, coconut, cane sugar, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, caramel, nutmeg, spice, nice balance of flavors.
Finish: Coffee, spicy, cinnamon, toasty notes.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS:

Dos Maderas PX 5+5
(Blend of Barbados & Guyana, bottled in Spain)

Nose: Banana, butterscotch, molasses, Port barrel, dry Oloroso, sherry.
Palate: Molasses, dark butterscotch, honeycomb, maple syrup, chocolate, figs, dates, raisin, cinnamon, walnut, cashew, nutmeg, sour apple, sherry.
Finish: Molasses, stroope honey, prunes.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Dos Maderas PX 5+5


Bacardi 8 yr.



Bacardi 8 yr.
(Puerto Rico)

Nose: Caramel, honey, cocoa, cashew, hazelnut, coffee, cinnamon, tea leaves.
Palate: Orange marmalade, orange, plum, tropical fruit, hints of mango & pineapple, butterscotch, caramel, honey, brown sugar, toast, bread, spicy, oaky.
Finish: Marzipan, sweet, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Don Q Gran Añejo
(Puerto Rico)

Nose: Blossoms, fruity, green apple, apricot, coconut, vanilla, sugar cane, brown sugar, spicy, peanut oil.
Palate: Brown sugar, molasses, caramel, toffee, vanilla, honey, honeycomb, buttered popcorn, banana, spice, sherry barrel, spicy upfront.
Finish: Sherry cask, creamy coconut, herbal, smooth, great, elegant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Don Q  Gran Añejo


John Watling's Buena Vista 5 yr.



John Watling's Buena Vista 5 yr.
(Bahamas)

Nose: Dried fruit, raisin, prune, banana, sweet tea, cherry coke, cola, burnt caramel, molasses, mint, smoky.
Palate: Mango, cherry, plum, prune, dates, coffee, hickory, herbal, spice, allspice, hint of smoke, well-balanced.
Finish: Cola, cinnamon, nutmeg, eucalyptus.

Gold Medal
Gold medal





Don Reyes 2 yr.
(Dominican Republic)

Nose: Cotton candy, cream soda, cane, sweet ice cream cone, vanilla, toffee, coconut, fruity, floral.
Palate: Sugar cane, strong vanilla, caramel ice cream, white chocolate, creamy, coconut, biscuit, light oak.
Finish: Coconut, sweet, mellow, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Don Reyes 2 yr.


Debonaire 15 yr.



Debonaire 15 yr.
(Panama)

Nose: Green leaves, vanilla, subtle honey & brown sugar, sandalwood.
Palate: Molasses, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, orange, banana, coconut flakes, dried apricot, cola, maple, butter pecan ice cream, honey tea, licorice.
Finish: Vanilla, cinnamon, eucalyptus, tea leaves, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Debonaire 8 yr.
(Panama)

Nose: Faint sherry notes, subtle vanilla, oak.
Palate: Pineapple, dried fruit, vanilla, caramel, cocoa, grassy, spicy citrus, clove, vague oak, balanced.
Finish: Almond, pine resin, clean, smooth, outstanding.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Debonaire 8 yr.


Pyrat XO Reserve



Pyrat XO Reserve
(Various Caribbean Islands)

Nose: Banana, orange, candied orange, citrus, cherry, vanilla, toffee.
Palate: Floral, elderflower, orange peel, orange, pineapple, mango, butter, cinnamon, spice.
Finish: Elderflower, orange, honey, minty, spice.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Pusser’s 15 y.o.
(Tortola, B.V.I.)

Nose: Tropical fruit, dark fruit, orange peel, citrus, vanilla.
Palate: Ripe banana, dark fruit, raisin, chocolate covered cherries, sherry, walnuts, almond, nutmeg, spearmint, spicy, woodsy, flavorful, wow.
Finish: Black cherry, spicy, well-balanced, superb.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Pusser’s 15 y.o.


Cockspur 12



Cockspur 12
(Bsrbados)

Nose: Honey, honeycomb, caramel, treacle, brown sugar, sugar cane, banana peel, toast, coffee bean, herbal, grassy, sherry barrel.
Palate: Vanilla, cherry, cola, maple, sherry & bourbon barrel, brandy, roasted coffee beans, oaky, hint of robust spice.
Finish: Apricot, citrus, coconut, vanilla, nutty, spicy, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal




SILVER MEDAL WINNERS:

English Harbour 5 year old
(Antigua)

Nose: Green tea, citrus, vanilla bean, nutmeg, delicate.
Palate: Banana, butterscotch, honey, vanilla, custard, faint caramel, dark chocolate, roasted caramel, grassy, late spice.
Finish: Vanilla, woody, spicy, light.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



English Harbour 5 year old


Pusser’s 3+ yrs



Pusser’s 3+ yrs
(Tortola, B.V.I.)

Nose: Tropical fruit, dark fruit, raisin, dates, banana, coconut, butterscotch, honey, vanilla.
Palate: Coconut, apricot, apple, orange peel, marmalade, mango chutney, honey, caramel, cinnamon, intense spice, eucalyptus, unique, elegant.
Finish: Soft, spicy, woodsy notes, smooth.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Bermudez Añejo
(Dominican Republic)

Nose: Subtle caramel, light vanilla, pine notes, vague clove.
Palate: Papaya, prune, cherry, rum raisin, vanilla, butter, walnut, cashew, vegetal, grassy, spicy.
Finish: Spice, pepper, smooth.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Bermudez Añejo


Ron de Jeremy



Ron de Jeremy
(Panama)

Nose: Toffee, caramel, vanilla, honey, cake icing, milk chocolate bar, brownie, fudge, maple syrup, citrus.
Palate: Butter, caramel, toffee, cocoa, milk chocolate, creamy, syrup, honeycomb, raisin, fig, pineapple, coconut, walnuts, coffee, spicy, balanced.
Finish: Nutmeg, clove, hazelnut, clean, fresh, smooth.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Debonaire 5 yr.
(Panama)

Nose: Faint vanilla, sugar, light.
Palate: Creamy vanilla, crème brûlée, custard, white chocolate, coconut, marmalade, dried fruit, almond, anise.
Finish: Toast, smooth, mellow.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Debonaire 5 yr.


Dos Maderas 5 + 3



Dos Maderas 5 + 3
(Blend of Barbados & Guyana, bottled in Spain)

Nose: Chocolate, raisin, dried fruits, coconut, ginger root, toasted bread, hay, leather.
Palate: Apricot, apples, toffee, burnt caramel, chocolate, coconut, buttered toast, tobacco, spice, woody, subtle smoke.
Finish: Creamy, toasted barrel, cinnamon, spicy, licorice.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



English Harbour 10 year old
(Antigua)

Nose: Citrus, fruity, caramel, brown sugar, faint vanilla, honey, cinnamon, spice, minty.
Palate: Coconut, crème brûlée, caramel, toffee, cinnamon, eucalyptus, hot pepper, oaky, smooth.
Finish: Brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, spicy.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



English Harbour 10 year old

 

 

 

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Comments or questions welcome, please e-mail to: editor@thefiftybest.com

 

Comments and Suggestions:

 
Thu. July 31, 2014 8:12 PM - by: calvin
el dorado 21 yrs is the#best there is
 
 


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