Tasting a distilled spirit is a bit different than tasting wine, although the basic premise is the same. Since the alcohol levels are much higher, at 40% versus your standard wine around 14%, the first thing you smell is the ethanol. That being the case, a taster must adjust their method in order to identify the unique aromas. I have personally found that keeping my nose above a tulip shaped glass while employing short controlled sniffs, allows me to pick up the aroma better than swirling and sticking my head in the glass. That said, the complexity and nuances that can be found in any distilled alcohol, rum included, are amazing. Sometimes, just touching the liquid to your lips and licking is enough to experience the flavor.
That brings me to Matusalem, a distillery operating out of the Dominican Republic. I received this 15 year old French Oak cask blended rum as a press sample, and didn’t know what to expect. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised, as I thought only pirates could drink rum straight up. The company has a rich past, dating back into the 19th century in Cuba, where their production methods still have roots.
…the company’s founders borrowed the Solera techniques used to produce Europe’s finest wines, cognacs and sherries.
The following are my notes on this delightful effort.
Matusalem Rum – Gran Reserva 15 year
Retail: $28 USD
Notes: This golden hue color rum has a revealing aroma of vanilla, cream, and caramel with a hint of smoke. Although smooth, the rum tingles on your tongue, and leads into a raisin flavor that finises with a warming sensation on the back of the throat. This Rum is a blend of aged French Oak casks which lend to the complexity of the finish, which is quite long. This Rum is great for sipping neat or on the rocks, but would also work as a fine addition to a mixed drink.
Score: 90 (A-)
Update: Imported by Proximo Spirits
(P.S. I checked out the website and a lot of the descripters I used are also used by the company. That’s the first time in a while I have seen my palate match up with that of the marketing department. Grab a bottle, set these notes aside and see what you come up with.)