View Full Version : Is There an Anejo Rum Style?
By this I mean, do people interested in rum think there is an international anejo style? So far I have had two anejo rums, made relatively far afield: Havana Club's Anejo from Cuba, sourced in Ontario, and one bought in Miami, Ron Abuelo Anejo from Panama. I really like both and they seem quite similar yet with some differences. There seems a hazelnut-like quality to both of them, or perhaps cocoa-like is a better term (aromatic cocoa) with a tangy but tamed cane undertone. Both are blends of different ages with no age statement shown. Abuelo's anejo is paler than the Cuban one and perhaps a tad sweeter but there is something that unites them (beyond the values common to all rum or even all amber rum). I wonder if a common blending style has worked its way around the Islands and adjoining or outlying nations who distill rum.
P.S. I saw an Anejo sold here (Miami) from Bacardi, made in Mexico of course, but did not try it. Would it be similar to those mentioned above?
Doesn't anejo just mean aged? If so, it could apply to almost any type of aged rum.
The short answer is no, but the article linked above give a great deal more information than I could easily summarize. Cigar Aficionado's website has quite a bit of good reading on rum if you search, but that article's the most complete resource I've seen online.
There are obviously many factors at work (not least of which is the different climates of areas where the rum is aged), but the article in particular gets at the stylistic variations from one region/island to another.
In addition, in a thread from a cigar forum that I can't link to from here, there is a good discussio of the variations in terms of pot vs. column stills. Barbados (Mt. Gay is the most widely available and possibly the oldest distiller available statewide), Guyana, and Martinique brands typically use both. Most other islands/regions use column stills. The exceptions (generally) are Haiti and Jamaica. The result of pot stills couple with additional aging makes their anejos more full-bodied. They also tend to distill to a lower proof, retaining more cogeners.
That said, I've not sampled nearly the variety of rums (especially anejo) discussed in the article, but there is not (to my palate) the range of flavors and variation found in whisk(e)y of any kind.
Thanks for the article reference, I will read it and comment shortly.
At Miami airport flying home today I did try Bacardi Anejo, at the Bacardi rum bar (there is one in Toronto's airport too and no doubt in others).
I found it similar to the other two anejo rums I mentioned, but not quite as good. It seemed more standardised, more bland although I still liked it.
Anejo means aged, yes, but the term has I think a more specific meaning in that it also refers (in the bottles I tried anyway) to a blend of rums of different ages with no age statement shown on the bottle. At the Miami Bacardi bar, they had white Bacardi, the regular gold-colored one, the anejo, an 8 year old Bacardi and a series of flavored white rums.
Based on tasting 3 anejos, I wonder if despite the fact that there are differences in the flavors of the underlying rums and that producers may not be consciously following a fixed style, there is emerging a style of rum with commonalities. This would offer a well-knitted, cocoa-like flavor (neither "gold" nor "molasses dark") achieved by blending different ages.
I will read this article with interest, thanks again.
On the no-age statement, I believe anejo rum must be at least 7 years old. There may be a blend of rums older than this, but that's my understanding.
Thanks, I did not know that, I wonder if that is so in each rum-producing country. If not, it would lessen the argument that a common style is emerging. Still, I was struck by the seeming "anejo" profile described earlier (admittedly based on a small sample!).
Actually Anejo (Old) is a rather slippery term. Anything over a year can qualify but many producers will state somewhere (on a bottle or website) the age of a anejo. To further complicate things many are blends of different anejo rums from the same distillery, and yes, they tend to blend to specific profiles (one reason Bacardi tastes the way it does) so there are no surprises year to year -much the way many bourbon distilleries blend barrels.I have one bottle that is a blend of 4 different outstanding vintages from the 1950's as an extreme example of age,however most anejos tend to be at least 5 and usually 7-12 years old (remember the youngest in the blend is the age statement too so you will have older ones in there too).
Each island,country,etc., have very different styles (my personal favorites tend to be Venezuelan like Anejo Reserva Diplomatico or Pampero Annaviserio).
The holy grail of rum websites and the repository of rum wisdom is: http://www.ministryofrum.com
Thanks for the info, Dangermonkey.
I wonder if the 7 year statement is specific to a particular country, or if I just remember incorrectly?
Oh, well. I'll have to spend some time w/the website you linked.
Yes, Ed Hamilton's site is great, idiosyncratic yet full of information. I do look in there from time to time and should check on his discussion of the anejo style.
Rum is a great spirit and has the same potential as bourbon for further growth, study and commercial development.
Good article in that the Cigar Aficionado website.
Interesting how many parallels there are with whisky production in Canada (the idea of blending low and high proof spirits, or adding back flavor after the impurities have been removed by a prolonged column distillation, etc.).
Although I know only a little about rum I find myself in disagreement however with some of what is said. I don't find national rum styles differ dramatically or even notably, for example. True, there are different flavors, but within an overall context.
These producers perhaps would be horrified when I mix 50 different rums but actually I get very good results. :)
I find Cuba rums not particularly light although my experience is limited mostly to Havana Club rums, so perhaps I should not say.
Nor does any rum remind me of "Irish whiskey".
I take the point though about the diversity of production practices. Although not mentioned in the article, I understand e.g. in some places they age rums in oak and then take the color out to appeal to the market for white rum yet give it sufficient body and smoothness.
I liked the point made about the value of one story warehouses (used of course in KY by Four Roses).
I will continue trying different anejos, i.e., ones which do not advertise an age expression, since I see the term can be used with an age-denominated rum.
As said I think anejo doesn't necessarily mean a great deal of age. What I am wondering if Gary might have been refering to was the "solera" process as opposed to the term "anejo".
No, I meant anejo. I meant, not that the term may denote a given age or range, but simply a taste.
I think that Anejo from a certain producer has some meaning in that it is older than some of their own bottlings or to denote a point in their own bottlings range but overall as I said it is a slippery term as there is only Anejo and/or a specific age statement (or even a vintage/production year) past a certain point of aging.There are no recognized older designations (example Cognacs VS, VSOP, XO designations).
As to an Anejo taste, I think it is more an expectation, again within a certain producers line, that a anejo would be more mellow, delicate and show a aged taste profile than their younger siblings again think of Cognac or Armagnac from a certain producer and how their various expressions compare to each other, and how the differnt producers have different flavor profiles (Hennesy vs Courvosier,Martell etc.,)
As to national styles,I certainly think so although there is a certain amount of cross pollenation as it were, plus what we get in the states is for the most part made with us in mind and OUR flavor profile (read what would sell).
There is also the question of what the rum is made from.A number of areas only use one type of production or are noted for that type of production(Rhum Agricole or Rhum Industriel to use the french terms) Each process yields a very different type of rum.
While not addressing Gary's question directly......Havana Club has both an Anejo bottling and a 7yo bottling. This implies, at least for Havana Club, that their "Anejo" has a stylistic difference from its other bottlings. I was down in the Caymans and saw numerous "anejo" bottlings but only tried the Havana Club.
BTW, the couples staying next to us would join Val and I every night for a "cigar and rum" hour after dinner. We tried aver 9 different aged rums during the trip and several cuban cigars. The highlight of the rums tasted was the Zacapa Centenario 23 yo (they also produce other ages in the Centenario line). The lowlight was a Barbancourt 15yo......it didn't standup to the cigars (or our expectations) which was a real dissapointment considering it was bottled at 86 proof. The Havana Club 7yo has to get a "best buy" rating as it was very good with that nice "juicy fruit" flavor and priced at $14. Good neat or in a Cuba Libre. Favorite cigar was the Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona......not as strong as many cubans but worked well with the rums.
Sounds good, Randy. I actually prefer the anejo of Havana Club neat to the 7 year version, but I could see the latter would go well with a cigar.
Barbancourt has somewhat disappointed me too. I like the younger expressions simply because it is somewhat delicate to begin with and too much age removes a lot of the character. The 8 year old rum is still a good dram. I believe I read on the brand's site that its distilling out proof is over 190 (or in that range), which may explain the mild character.
I'd have to say no - there isn't really a discernable characteristic in the term "anejo". I think anejo tequilas tend to have a heavier more noticeable oak punch than repasados or silvers of the same brand. I assume Rums would too in that comparison but for some reason on limited experience, I've found tequlia (generalization) by terminology "anejo" to have more in common by differing brands than the term playing a role in rums.
That thought might be a poor comparison as there appear to be quite a bit more tequilas with the term anejo attached to them.
Randy, not surprising at all about Barbancourt. Many seem to feel the 15 is too unassertive. I notice that a lot of rums around the 15 year mark are softer and less "rummy" than their 12 year or younger sibblings. Another great example is the rum El Dorado. The 12 year is much richer than the 15 year old.
What I honestly think is missing in rums is at that age, with the better rums that could stand up to it, I'm guessing those might live up to more expectations if they were run up to 90 º at least. Most of what's available to me is 40%, no matter the age.
For Tequila, anejo has a specific meaning, controlled by the authority that regulates all things Tequila. Since rum is produced in so many different countries there is no consistency to how terms are used and certainly no regulation. On a rum label, "anejo" is just a word that, at best, means the spirit has spent some time in oak.
Well, based on tasting 3 rum anejos, they seem to denote a kind of cocoa-like taste. The Havana Club anejo has more in common with the two others I tried (from different countries) than with Havana Club aged 7 years, to put it another way.
But this is a small sample. I will keep trying. :)
I think the choice to use the word "anejo" mostly has to do with whether or not the producing country is Spanish-speaking. Appleton V/X, for example, is classified by BarMedia as an anejo rum, but Appleton--from English-speaking Jamaica--doesn't use that term on the label.
As with Tequilas, the term seems to be applied to the older aged spirits, more than 8 years.
Style differences in rums seem most apparent when you sample the different language groups, i.e., Spanish, French and English.
So, if the question is, is there among long-aged rums a specific style that uses the term anejo, I have to say the answer is no. BarMedia, for example, uses the term generically to apply to any long-aged and, therefore, snifter-worthy rums, regardless of whether or not the word "anejo" appears on the label.
Frodo kindly gave me some samples of malt whisky and rum plus a bottle of Alberta Springs 25 year old Canadian whisky. (I will deliver the superannuated Alberta Springs to Tim Sousley in Chicago together with a bottle of the fine, Maryland rye-like Three Grain from Kittling Ridge).
The rum is a Brugal Extra Viejo (extra old) which possibly is in the anejo style even if not so-labelled. He said no age statement is on the bottle. This is rum from Dominican Republic. A version of Brugal is available here but the EV was sourced outside Canada.
I find it very good indeed. It is, first, rainwater soft, a trait I much admire in any distilled drink. Second, it has a fine flavor, well-aged with oak wood in evidence but with the rum esters still showing through. Dry and elegant, a rum to ponder and linger over.
This is for the setting sun or later in the evening when a coolness pervades the air.
Thanks again Frodo for this, I'll review over the next little while the other samples you gave me.
For a tequila to be considered an anejo is must be aged for at least one year. Many anejo tequilas today are aged 3+ years. It seems there is also an extra aged category emerging of 5+ years as well, although its not an official term...yet.
I`m not into rum but there is a site called www.therumportal.com (http://www.therumportal.com) perhaps they can help you.Good luck! mier.
This is also a great rum webpage. http://www.ministryofrum.com/
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