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Clavius

No luck finding the 15yr El Dorado in my area. Gonna see if a store can special order it for me.

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tanstaafl2

Although I know it is probably a couple hours up the road if you happen to be headed up that way TPS shows it in stock although they are a good 30% or more higher than the local price I remember here in Atlanta. Most of the big internet stores have it although the price is generally higher than I remember. I will have to recheck the local price as I stocked up a while back at under $30 a bottle.

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WhiskyToWhiskey

I bought 2 rums yesterday. Angostura 1919 (8yr old) and Ron Zacapa 23 Solera. Tried them head to head to compare them. The 1919 was great, way better than Bacardi 8 anos that I had open previous. When I tried the RZ 23...noticed not as strong a nose, no alcohol...only sugars. After a taste it stood out from all other rums I have ever had. Must be making it from cane sugar instead of molasses creates a profile that makes it much different. Definately one to have in the cabinet.

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tanstaafl2

RZ 23 Solera is made from "fermented sugar cane syrup" as opposed to molasses like most other rums or fresh sugar cane juice as the french rhum agricoles are. Ed Hamilton provides some interesting details in the video at the link.

There has been some speculation that additional sugar is added to it after the fact to give it that profile after Diageo got involved and production increased (Ed says that they don't. Then again he sells rum these days and may be more inclined to toe the party line! I think that added sugar is a possibility but have no proof. It really is sweet though!). It was also rumored to be a true 23yo rum at one time but has changed to the blended 6yo to 23 yo "solera" version that it is today. That it is made from sugar cane syrup tends to make it have a higher sugar content to start with compared to a rum made from molasses but I don't think it is quiet the same as the fresh sugar cane juice used for rhum agricole that gives those rhums their distinct "vegetal" or "grassy" notes.

The Ministry of Rum website is, or at least used to be, Ed Hamilton's website. A pretty decent resource for info on rums.

Edited by tanstaafl2

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Kalessin

Is anyone else making a rum similar to the pre-Solera-style Ron Zacapa?

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tanstaafl2
Is anyone else making a rum similar to the pre-Solera-style Ron Zacapa?

Lots of companies make rum that is fully aged (meaning the youngest rum in the bottle is the age stated on the bottle, a bit like bourbon). Just a couple of examples include El Dorado which comes as a 12, 15, 21 and 25 year old rum among others (as well as lots of other Demarara rum variations out there) and Appleton from Jamaica which has a 12, 21, 30 and even 50 year old rum. These are both molasses based rums.

Making rum from fermented sugar cane syrup is unusual. All Franco-Carribean rum (primarily Martinique and Guadaloupe with some question about Haiti and its locally made Barbancourt rhum) is supposed to be made from fermented sugar cane "juice" as opposed to "syrup". That is apparently a small but significant difference as Rhum Agricoles tend to be quite different and less sweet than Zacapa. Agricoles aged 10 to 15 years or more can be found but tend to be pretty pricey and uncommon.

The majority of rums are made using fermented molasses. So I suppose the short answer is there isn't a well aged rum that I know of made from fermented sugar cane syrup as Zacapa purports to be.

Edited by tanstaafl2

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sailor22
Is anyone else making a rum similar to the pre-Solera-style Ron Zacapa?

Do you mean aged at altitude, similar manufacture (sugar cane juice), age stated at youngest in the bottle or similar in taste and character. If your referring to the latter give El Dorado 25 a try. Or better yet, there is still some 23 anos out there to be found on the shelves. I found two bottles last week - it's worth the effort to find the anos version.

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Kalessin

Thank you tanstaafl2 and sailor22! I haven't seen any older bottles of Ron Zacapa around when looking.

However... I'll look around for a bottle of the El Dorado 25 (shopping for premium bottles around here can mean visiting seven or eight stores) and give it a try!

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Rutherford

A few notes:

* Ron Zacapa 23 has gone through several labels through the years. Earlier bottles were completely covered by woven palm, while recent iterations have only had the band. The 23 solera is the most recent label, while 23 anos was the same blend with different wording. It was not a 23-year age stated rum.

* The character of the blend has changed throughout the years. Older bottles are generally reported to be more complex and less sweet.

* Some of the sweetness comes from Zacapa re-charring their barrels, which many rum producers do not do. The re-charring adds wood sugars to the final product just like the first charring for bourbon contributes to its sweetness.

* Other "solera" rums include Santa Theresa 1796 (which is less sweet, and overall does not taste like Zacapa. Nonetheless, it is a fantastic rum), the Dictador line (the 12 is fantastic) and Millonario 15 (which has a similar flavor profile to Zacapa, and in my opinion is a better rum). Diplomatico Reserva Exlusiva has a similar flavor profile to both Zacapa and Pampero, and I prefer it to both, although it is harder to find.

El Dorado is amazing and age stated. Abuelo is amazing and age stated, and is rumored to use both sugar cane and molasses distillates in their rum. Abuelo 12 is currently my gold standard.

Another line always worth considering is Plantation. These rums are finshed in cognac casks. Different geographic locations (Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad are easy to find in my neck of the woods. Others are available. If you find Guyana or Panama, grab them immediately) are used to create vintage bottles marked with the year of distillation. They also produce an aged-stated Barbados 5-year and a 20th anniversary rum, both of which are fantastic.

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tanstaafl2
Rutherford said:
A few notes:

* Ron Zacapa 23 has gone through several labels through the years. Earlier bottles were completely covered by woven palm, while recent iterations have only had the band. The 23 solera is the most recent label, while 23 anos was the same blend with different wording. It was not a 23-year age stated rum.

* The character of the blend has changed throughout the years. Older bottles are generally reported to be more complex and less sweet.

* Some of the sweetness comes from Zacapa re-charring their barrels, which many rum producers do not do. The re-charring adds wood sugars to the final product just like the first charring for bourbon contributes to its sweetness.

* Other "solera" rums include Santa Theresa 1796 (which is less sweet, and overall does not taste like Zacapa. Nonetheless, it is a fantastic rum), the Dictador line (the 12 is fantastic) and Millonario 15 (which has a similar flavor profile to Zacapa, and in my opinion is a better rum). Diplomatico Reserva Exlusiva has a similar flavor profile to both Zacapa and Pampero, and I prefer it to both, although it is harder to find.

El Dorado is amazing and age stated. Abuelo is amazing and age stated, and is rumored to use both sugar cane and molasses distillates in their rum. Abuelo 12 is currently my gold standard.

Another line always worth considering is Plantation. These rums are finshed in cognac casks. Different geographic locations (Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad are easy to find in my neck of the woods. Others are available. If you find Guyana or Panama, grab them immediately) are used to create vintage bottles marked with the year of distillation. They also produce an aged-stated Barbados 5-year and a 20th anniversary rum, both of which are fantastic.

Some great information.

I don't know if there is much info known about the history of Zacapa going back to the beginning as it has been around in much more limited numbers since probably the late 70's. However it has certainly been a blend for many years now and perhaps it always was. As noted the bottles with the woven palm covering the entire bottle are typically regarded as superior. I have never been fortunate enough to try one so I can't say. Needless to say they are getting rare and have a place as a great "dusty" find should you come across one.

I also think Santa Teresa 1796 (they make a nice rum based orange liqueur as well) and Diplomatico Reserva Exclusivia (both are Venezuelan like Pampero) are excellent rums and the Diplomatico, despite being a molasses based rum, is probably a good comparison to Zacapa. It didn't occur to me previously.

Not familiar with the Milonario and not as big a fan of the Dictador line. It is a Colombian rum that used to be called Ron Baluarte and then got a fancy bottle makeover and name (along with a fanciful and largely made up history. That sounds familiar...). Nice enough rum but I think there are better options.

I can also strongly endorse the Plantation rums. I have several and really like what Ferrand does with rum (as well as other spirits like Citadelle gin and barrel aged Citadelle gin. Just got a bottle of their Pineau des Charentes today and looking forward to popping that open!).

In the Plantation line my current favorite is the Plantation Guadeloupe 1998, one of the vintage line mentioned. A marvelous rhum agricole aged 12 years including the last year in cognac casks.

 

I liked my first bottle so well I went back and got two more bottles (all that was left, along with the CEHT Sour Mash I stumbled upon at the same time)!

Edited by tanstaafl2

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Clavius

Thanks for the info on Plantation rums. I saw those at a store when looking for El Dorado 15yr and didn't know anything about them. May go back and pick one up.

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WhiskyToWhiskey

The stores here stock the Plantation Old Reserve (reg 55 on sale for 40) and Plantation Barbados Aged 5 years ($26). I seen a post on another whiskey forum that said the old reserve was not that good. Any opinions from the members here. Should I buy 1 or both?

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IronHead

Clavius,

If you ever get down to Nashville you will probably be able to find several El Dorado offerings. Last time I was there I stocked up on a couple bottles of the 12, 15 and a 21 yr. all at reasonable prices. I do know of one store here in Louisville that carries the 15 year but they want 50 some odd dollars a bottle. IIRC i paid under 40 in Nville. While all 3 are among my favorite rums I give the nod to the 12 year over the 15 but not by much.

If you're considering the Zacapa you might want to see if Zaya is available in your AO. It's a nice, reasonably priced aged agricole.

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tanstaafl2

Zaya is indeed another rum with a sweeter profile like Zacapa but just to clarify, it is not a rhum agricole. It is a molasses based rum made in Trinidad from a blend of rums from other distillers from Trinidad and other islands where each rum is reportedly aged for at least 12 years in used whiskey and/or bourbon barrels and then blended together to make the final private label product. The biggest difference is that each rum is at least 12 years old compared to Zacapa which uses a blend of 6 to 23 yo rums.

Technically a rhum agricole must come from freshly pressed sugar cane juice only (not molasses or processed sugar cane syrup) and most comes from Franco-Caribbean islands like Martinique and Guadeloupe. Other French possessions like Mauritius and Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean also make a rhum agricole using sugar cane juice. But Martinique is probably the largest producer.

It is definitely different in taste from molasses based rums.

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sailor22

By way of further clarification. Zaya used to contain a lot of Zacappa juice that they purchased in bulk. When Diagio bought Zacappa the bulk sales stopped and Zaya had to source from other producers. The older Zaya will say Guatemala on the bottle the current offerings say Trinidad. Obviously the old blend has much more in common with Zacappa. The new blend is sweeter than the old and has a marvelous nose. Zacappa has also gotten sweeter post Diagio.

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Rutherford
The stores here stock the Plantation Old Reserve (reg 55 on sale for 40) and Plantation Barbados Aged 5 years ($26). I seen a post on another whiskey forum that said the old reserve was not that good. Any opinions from the members here. Should I buy 1 or both?

Get the 5 year first. If you like it but want an older, more mature option for better sipping, get the extra old.

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IronHead
Zaya is indeed another rum with a sweeter profile like Zacapa but just to clarify, it is not a rhum agricole.

Apologies. It's a decent pour, though.

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Clavius

Any thoughts from you rum experts on Cruzan Single Barrel?

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Rutherford

Cruzan Single Barrel a good-quality clean tasting rum and is fairly priced. I enjoyed it but did not replace my bottle as it (like most rums from Spanish-speaking islands) is a bit light, probably due to the high degree of distillation. I find myself wanting more body, funk, and complexity than came with this rum. Flor de Caña 7 is a similar rum that I prefer for a similar flavor profile.

Conversely, Cruzan Black Strap is a beast, and my favorite black (molasses added) rum. It is rich, buttery, and sweet but with the sweetness balanced by the heavy molasses profile.

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tanstaafl2
Cruzan Single Barrel a good-quality clean tasting rum and is fairly priced. I enjoyed it but did not replace my bottle as it (like most rums from Spanish-speaking islands) is a bit light, probably due to the high degree of distillation. I find myself wanting more body, funk, and complexity than came with this rum. Flor de Caña 7 is a similar rum that I prefer for a similar flavor profile.

Conversely, Cruzan Black Strap is a beast, and my favorite black (molasses added) rum. It is rich, buttery, and sweet but with the sweetness balanced by the heavy molasses profile.

Thought I posted here but I guess not! I agree the Cruzan Single Barrel is good but not great as a sipper for the reason Rutherford mentioned. Not much hogo found in it or most Cuban/Spanish style rums. It is pretty much the top of the Cruzan line but still nicely priced and makes a great mixer.

Blackstrap is a great mixing and tiki rum and perfect for a Dark and Stormy but perhaps too rich and one dimensional for a sipping rum. Also good for flavoring in cooking. It has no doubt been colored heavily with caramel and there is some discussion of how much extra molasses is used to give it that remarkably heavy syrupy texture.

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sailor22

A friend keeps a Cruzan Black Strap in the freezer and always pours me some neat when I visit. Served crazy cold without ice it's a fun unusual pour.

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Kalessin

El Dorado 15 and 25 located, but they're going to have to wait, as I just bought an awful lot of Four Roses LE's in the past few weeks...

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tanstaafl2
El Dorado 15 and 25 located, but they're going to have to wait, as I just bought an awful lot of Four Roses LE's in the past few weeks...

El Dorado 25 is quite a find! Uncommon and typically costs well north of $200. I have never seen it, much less had any. The 21yo is superb, much more affordable and readily available. But for the cost the 15yo is just about it's equal and by far the best value since I can buy two and half to three bottles of the 15yo El Dorado for the price of one 21yo. So I typically buy the wonderful 15yo without a second thought.

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WhiskyToWhiskey

The El Dorado 25 here is $360. El Dorado had 3 minis in a set; the 12, 15, and 21. These sets were reduced to 1/2 price over a year ago and I picked up my share. Out of all the rums I had so far, the El Dorado 21 has been the best.

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sailor22

I ran across that same set of ElDo minis last year, also on sale and scooped them all up for Christmas presents. Was surprised to find that all the 21's were only about 1/2 full. Still not clear if they were packaged that way because it was the most expensive juice or if someone at the liquor store helped themselves.

To my palate the progression of El Dorado Rums is dryer, richer and more complex as they get older with the exception being the 12 which to me seems to be a little dryer than the 15. Each is a different blend with a different target taste and they are all excellent. Are the older ones worth the added cost? Everyone will have to make their own decision on that.

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