Falling Into You - (M)orning. (A)fternoon. (E)vening.
- Zacapa is a city in southern Guatemala that lent the spirit its name. The "Centenario" you see is in honor of the 100th anniversary of Zacapa's founding (est. 1876). Notably, Ron Zacapa rum was the first rum to be inducted into the International Rum Festivals' Hall of Fame (h/t to DrinkUpNY for many of these details), and the brand itself is one of the most distinguished rums in the world. The Beverage Testing Institute awarded this thing a ri-God-danged-diculous 98 points, and you can read the reviews on Master of Malt for yourself. Alas, it is (sigh) a Diageo spirit, be we won't hold that against them. And don't believe Master of Malt's price tag - I found this one in town today for $47, so it just takes a little searching.
- "Sistema Solera 23" - whew, that's one loaded expression. Because this magnificent rum has enamored me to the solera system for once and for all, I'm going to be covering the details of solera vatting on the main blog page to coincide with this review. For now let's just say that the solera system amps up the richness of spirits that endure the process, resulting in astonishing depth and complexity on the palate. Unlike whisky (which by law must be labeled the age of the youngest whisky in the bottle), the 23 here actually represents a blend of 6 to 23-year-old rums that come from the solera process.
- Producto de Guatemala - ten guesses what that means.
- "From virgin sugar cane and aged at high altitude." Okay, let's dissect. Not all rum comes from sugar cane, as many rum distilleries (actually, about 90% of them) use molasses. There's not a HUGE difference on the palate, but there is definitely a difference. To achieve alcohol and distillation from virgin sugar cane, Ron Zacapa presses the cane stalks into a juice which is then converted into a honey which is then fermented (with pineapple yeast) for 5 days - at least 2 days longer than most whiskey wort. In whiskies, an extra day or two of fermentation is commonly associated with sweeter and richer flavor profiles in the finished product, and I'm assuming something like also that applies here. I'm also assuming the high altitude aging matures the spirit more quickly than at sea level warehouses, but I'd have to ask an expert as Guatemala has an interesting annual delta T.
- 40% ABV - definitely not cask strength here folks. If you're adding water, add sparingly, and I definitely recommend drinking this neat (at least on the first occasion). To mix it in a cocktail would almost be a sin (don't you have Bacardi for that?), but I could definitely see drizzling this on some vanilla ice cream :-)
On the nose:
On the palate (my favorite part!):
This rum edges out pressed sugar cane competition from the likes of Clement (Martinique) to become my favorite rum to date. Do yourself a favor: jump Captain Morgan's ship sometime, fend off the Kracken, and forego a little Cruzan to enjoy a world-class rum for only a slightly higher price.