Welcome to the fifth entry in my continuing series where I will give you the skinny on the good, the wretched, and the divine concerning what you should be drinking: rum.
It was currency in the Caribbean in the old days, George Washington demanded it be served at his inauguration, Ernest Hemingway lived off a diet of rum and shark flesh during his stint in Cuba, and now I'm here to help you navigate the top, the bottom, and all shelves in between concerning one of the world's greatest treasures.
Nothing fruity here, no flavored spirits to hide terrible production, or inept craftsmanship, just the booze. Feel free to suggest what you will for future installments and liquor representatives are more than welcome to provide me with your product concerning tasting and review.
It comes in short chubby bottle that's hard to describe as anything but cute, and this bottle is enclosed in a leather pouch for no apparent reason. Odd packaging aside, this is tasty stuff. I'd call this one a man's rum. It's a rich, full-bodied 'old world' style rum. Heavy-ish, but that it's well made is unquestionable. It is a bit chaotic on the palette; there are some very unfocused flavors, but not to the point of being offensive.
It's sweet as hell…
Having said that, the upfront burn still makes this saccharine treat a mans drink. After a long hard day at work when you need something stronger than beer, the Anniversario is a great muscle relaxer.
Verdict: It's missing the final bit of refinement that would make it 'top shelf' but the price tag is also missing the top shelf extra $20. It really didn't mix particularly well, but if you play to it's strengths, is it great at what it does.
Appelton's Jamaican Rum Special
This one is in limbo: somewhere between the bargain and budget rums; I'll come up with new nomenclature shortly. It's all around good, but not a stand out in any one area. It is decidedly mixing rum (think Mai Tai). It's medium bodied, goes well with everything, adds a nice color, and is soft enough to not scare anyone away, but has enough bite to let you know your drinking liquor.
There are others in Appleton's portfolio that I want to try and this is obviously their cheap seat as far as entry is concerned. It's not bad, but hard to justify considering the price of what a few dollars more or less could offer.
Verdict: Decide ahead of time, what you're buying rum for. If it's a party and you're on a budget buy something a bit cheaper or a handle of something else at the same price. If you're buying rum to sit in the pantry for a while so you can relax with an occasional drink from time to time with friends, spend a few more dollars (unless your friends are cheap bastards…) I'll conclude with, while it seems like I'm saying 'avoid,' I'm not; it's good but there is too much competition in the market place for this one to standout.
Zafra Master Reserve
This is what scotch drinkers would drink if they weren't so high and mighty as to try something other than scotch. It's an out-of-nowhere effort that claims to have been aged a true twenty-one years. I didn't expect such a product from Panama. It's a new-age rum, one catering toward American palettes. It's just as well made as the Mount Gay extra old, but not rooted in the old world flavor, but something a bit lighter.
It's as full bodied as they come; and you may want to give those ice cubes in your glass a moment to disperse all the flavors before sipping as to get maximum enjoyment.
Verdict: It's not everyday sipping stuff; it is--possibly--the best bottle of high end rum you'll find.
You'll want to check out previous highlights if you missed them (January, February, March, April ) and while this may be a temporary end to the rum reviews feel free to use me as a reference should you have questions concerning rum: what you should be drinking.