As a result of the recent review from SKU and because I liked the Pineau des Charentes Vieux he reviewed a while back so well I sought out a couple of bottles of the Ron Navazos Palazzi even though they were a bit spendy. Very glad I did. In fact, I kinda wish I had bought more now! Needed a few minutes in the glass to "breath" but once it opened up it was superb. Wonderful sweet fruit notes from the sherry but not overwhelming in any way. As SKU noted the rum shows up towards the back of the palate although it is definitely not the predominant player here. Densely oily mouthfeel with a lovely finish that really lingers.
In filling up the box I also picked up a cheap rum from Madagascar just because. Haven't tried it yet and don't have high expectations although you never know. Just liked the novelty of having a rum from Madagascar. Didn't get any when I traveled there a few years ago so kind of a belated memento.
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Found a bottle of Guatemalan Zaya today, rather excited to try it as I have only heard good things about it.
Zacapa went from a 23yo rum to a 23 year "solera" rum meaning that most of it was really made from much younger rums and only a little of the actual 23yo rum made it to the new bottles. To make room for more Zacapa the production for Zaya was completely eliminated from Guatemala and moved to Trinidad.
Many feel the original Guatemalan Zaya was a superior product but it is now a dusty. At the very least it is certainly different from what it once was. Would almost have to be given it is made and aged in a completely different location.
Many feel Zacapa suffered as well from the change from a full 23 yo rum to a solera style rum and seek out the original 23yo which is also a dusty now.
I believe Mike is drawing a distinction from the Guatemalan made Zaya before Diageo moved to using a blend of Trinidad rums made by Angostura.
Man, learning stuff is cool. Love this place.
Very cool, thanks for the detailed post and all the info! I guess I'm kinda glad I enjoy the current Zaya as it is, I find it a very tasty and reasonably priced rum. That being said, I will be on the lookout for a bottle or a sample of the original as it's always fun to try the older offerings.
Rums are almost always blends of different ages and from different sources. Some of the Rum used to blend Zaya used to come from excess aged Zacapa stocks. Zacapa was winning awards and was acclaimed by Rum geeks but it was not widely known, distributed or promoted.
When Diagio bought Zacapa they increased production and distribution. To support their push they stopped sales of bulk stock to other labels and Zaya had to scramble to come up with stock to continue production. Like Transtfaal noted they also began using much younger juice in the blend that went into the Zacapa bottles.
Remember that with Bourbon an age statement denotes the youngest whiskey in the bottle while in the Rum world an age statement only means that there is some juice that age in the bottle. And it could be a very very small amount. Even with that loose definition of an age statement Diagio had to change the designation from 23 years to 23 solara on Zacapa. In this case 23 solara is a completely meaningless designation that is an attempt to mislead.
The current Zaya (Trinidad) is sweeter and a little less complex than the previous version (Guatemala). The older version is dryer as you would expect from a product with older Rum dominant in the blend. The new version has a much better nose and is delicious, but it is different. It's blended from different Rums.
The difference between the Zacapa 23 anos (old version) and the 23 solara (new version) follows the same pattern except that the old version is superior in every regard. Sometimes subtly so but still a more desirable pour. In a blind test I was part of with 6 people we tasted three Zacapa Rums, 23 anos. 23 solara and the current XO. The old 23 anos was picked as best by every participant. Of course YMMV.