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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Ron Zacapa

New Arrival of the Week: Ron Zacapa Reserva Limitada 2019

A new week has begun, and as usual, we’re kicking things off by shining the New Arrival spotlight on a bottle that we’re particularly excited about. Today it’s a very…

A new week has begun, and as usual, we’re kicking things off by shining the New Arrival spotlight on a bottle that we’re particularly excited about. Today it’s a very special rum from Guatemala: Ron Zacapa Reserva Limitada 2019!

Ron Zacapa does things a little differently to most Latin American rums. For a start, the team uses only the first press of sugar cane juice rather than the molasses commonly used in the industry. This is then concentrated to make what is known as sugar cane honey. They use over 20 different varieties of cane all grown in Guatemala. That’s the country just below Mexico, just in case your Central American geography is a little shaky.

History of Ron Zacapa

The family-run company behind it, originally known as Industria Licorera Guatemalteca, dates back to the early 20th century but the Zacapa brand itself was launched in 1976 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the town of Zacapa, about 70 miles east of Guatemala City. Currently, Diageo has a 50% stake in the brand and looks after distribution and marketing.

The process to turn that sugar cane honey into aged rum takes place under the watchful eye of master blender Lorena Vásquez, a former chemist and food technologist from nearby Nicaragua. Fermentation takes place over 120 hours using a proprietary yeast strain that is, according to this article, extracted from pineapples. Ron Zacapa is made in a column still with the alcohol coming off at between 88 and 92% ABV.

Lorena Vasquez from Ron Zacapa

Lorena Vásquez from Ron Zacapa has a passion for maturation

Solera ageing

But it’s maturation that gets Vásquez particularly excited: “The fermentation and distillation are more of a mechanical process, the ageing process is where the passion comes in. The former is analytical whereas the latter is very creative and personal. Every day we blend rums and we have to try them halfway through the morning and halfway through the afternoon.”

Ageing takes place at a different facility high up in the mountains, 2,300 metres above sea level. Here you have warm days and cool nights which means the rum ages more slowly. The new make is diluted down to 60% ABV before going into cask. Zacapa uses a solera-style system, which Vásquez explains is similar to making sherry, but with some slight differences.

“We start by ageing [new make] in ex-bourbon American oak barrels. After that, we take it out of the cask and mix it with old rums. In this second ageing process, we use the same type of barrel but char it first for more vanilla, chocolate and toffee flavours. Then we take that rum out and mix it again with older rums,” she says. “For the final ageing process, we use barrels that held aromatic sherry, specifically Oloroso. And then we do a final mix in barrels that previously aged Pedro Ximénez wines. It makes the rum much more complex.” The rums, therefore, are blends of various ages, usually between about six and 23 years, though longer for the XO bottling.

Ron Zacapa Reserva Limitada 2019

It’s one of those rums best tried neat or in simple cocktails

Ron Zacapa Reserva Limitada 2019 is here!

Ron Zacapa also makes limited editions that are highly sought-after by rum fans. The Ron Zacapa Reserva Limitada 2019 is finished in sweet Moscatel wine casks which impart a glorious balance of sweet, floral fruit and rich oak. It’s bottled at 45% ABV, a little stronger than the core expressions. 

This is the bottle that has just landed at Master of Malt today. As its name suggests, it’s strictly limited edition. When it’s gone, it’s gone. It’s very much a sipping sort of rum though would be delicious in simple cocktails like a Palmetto or, Vásquez’s choice, an Old Fashioned.

Salud!

Ron Zacapa Reserva Limitada 2019 is from Master of Malt. Click here to buy. 

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Delicately balanced with plenty of sweet caramel and warming oak, hints of berries and floral orchard fruits poke through, with woody vanilla chewy butterscotch.

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10 deliciously warming rums

They’re warming. They’re delicious. And they’re not just for Christmas. But they are particularly delicious this time of year. Rum is a go-to for many who want a good winter warmer….

They’re warming. They’re delicious. And they’re not just for Christmas. But they are particularly delicious this time of year.

Rum is a go-to for many who want a good winter warmer. It’s versatile in cocktails, it’s often full of festive spices and it tends to satisfy those with a sweeter tooth. But there are so many expressions around now, it can be hard to narrow down which bottling you should go for. 

That’s why we’ve done the hard part for you and created this collection of some of the most sublime spirits we have at MoM Towers. Enjoy!

Rumbullion! Chilli & Chocolate

Chilli and chocolate is a winning combination, as we all know. That’s why it wasn’t a surprise when Abelforth’s decided to add that delicious duo to its already sublime Rumbullion! Criollo cocoa nibs, chipotle chillies and jalapeño chillies were used to create the profile that we reckon would be smashing in a deluxe hot chocolate…

What does it taste like?:

Intense bittersweet dark chocolate leads with earthy red chilli warmth, creamy vanilla. coffee beans, nutmeg, red cola cubes and orange zest in support. 

Ron Zacapa Centenario Sistema Solera 23

Ron Zacapa Centenario Sistema Solera 23, a sensational Guatemalan rum that’s won more awards than Meryl Streep, was blended using the solera system and matured in a mix of bourbon and sherry casks. It’s a firm favourite of ours for good reason and a real show-stopper at social occasions.

What does it taste like?:

Very sweet and nutty with honey, chocolate, dark brown sugar, pipe tobacco, molasses and gentle smoke.

Foursquare Spiced Rum 

Foursquare is one of the best spiced rums on the market from one of the best rum distilleries around. The actual recipe is a family secret passed down through five generations, but you should be able to detect cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg, which are gently blended among other ingredients at the centuries-old site.

What does it taste like?:

Spicy and sweet with notes of peppermint, nutmeg, toffee apples, gingerbread, Christmas cake, marmalade and parsley. 

Appleton Estate 12 Year Old Rare Blend

Appleton is one of the finest rum distilleries in the world and if you haven’t experienced any of its delightful expressions, then Appleton Estate 12 Year Old Rare Blend is a great place to start. Plus it was made by the wonderful Joy Spence, who were big fans of here at MoM Towers.

What does it taste like?:

A thick, nutty and spicy expression with notes of vanilla, salted butter, rich molasses and toasted oak.

Pineapple Grenade Spiced Rum 

Pineapple Grenade is a spicy, fruity and fun expression made with 100% molasses rum from the sublime Diamond Distillery in Guyana. The spirit is then imported into the UK where it was infused with a secret spice mix as well as a blend of pineapple and salted caramel. This is perfect for those who love a bit of Tiki in their lives.

What does it taste like?:

Tangy mango and pineapple, layers of caramel and a touch of ginger.

Five Hundred Cuts Botanical Rum

One of the more intriguing trends of 2019 was the emergence of botanical rum, such as this from bottling from the distilling arm of BrewDog. Five Hundred Cuts was distilled from sugar cane molasses, which was fermented with red wine yeast and rum yeast for seven days before it was then double pot distilled. Then botanicals, including orange peel, lavender, schezuan peppercorns and cardamom were then re-distilled in the spirit, while cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, tonka bean, ginger, and allspice, were steeped in the spirit for 14 hours. The two spirits were finally blended and finished off with a touch of muscovado sugar. It’s quite the process and the resulting rum is suitably delicious.

What does it taste like?:

Coca-cola, dark chocolate, caramel, cardamom and rich dark sugar combine with more aromatic notes like ginger, orange peel and cloves.

Cut Smoked Rum 

A rum that should appeal to fans of peated whisky is not something that’s usually readily available. However, those who prefer the smokier side of things should be satisfied with this tasty rum. The base of Jamaican rum was smoked using oak chips to impart that signature flavour.

What does it taste like?:

Struck match, coffee bean bitterness balanced by vanilla.

El Dorado 12 Year Old

Any fan of rum will have good things to say about the Demerara Distillers Limited distillery, Guyana, who produce the fantastic El Dorado rums. The 12 Year Old is the perfect introduction to its range, a rich, complex and downright delicious tipple.

What does it taste like?:

Sweet vanilla, dark chocolate and brown sugar, then some syrupy dried fruit, zesty notes of marmalade and rich spice.

Ron Izalco 10 Year Old

Ron Izalco 10 Year Old is a delightful blend of Central American rums produced from volcanic sugar cane molasses which were aged in ex-bourbon barrels oak casks for a decade. This is one to be sipped and enjoyed.

What does it taste like?:

Fresh red chilli heat balanced by sweeter tropical flavours and citrus, alongside creamy caramel and fragrant honey, with a pinch of tobacco and a handful of raisins.

Caroni 20 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company) 

As independent bottlings of rum go, Caroni 20 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company) might just be the finest you’ll ever have the pleasure of tasting. It’s hard to get your hands on spirit from the legendary closed distillery, such is the popularity of its rums, but thankfully That Boutique-y Rum Company managed to squirrel some away and it’s every bit as fantastic as you would imagine.

What does it taste like?:

Medicinal smoke, warm rubber, homemade blackcurrant and raspberry jam, ripe banana, manuka honey, muscovado sugar, rich vanilla, game meat, coffee beans, rancio truffles, drying wood spice and bread and butter pudding. 

 

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10 drinks that taste as good as they look

We all know that the most important feature of a spirit is how it tastes. But that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate an elegant or innovative bottle every now and…

We all know that the most important feature of a spirit is how it tastes. But that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate an elegant or innovative bottle every now and then…

Did you know that numerous studies have shown that when food or drink looks good it effectively makes it taste better, too? We just can’t help but be drawn by beautiful things, be it the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) or Beyoncé (Aurora Bey-ealis). So it stands to reason that a thoughtful, creative spirits presentation could make a difference. And we’re down for anything that means a more enjoyable dram…

Let’s be clear: we’re not judging a book by its cover. A truly great expression has to have the substance to match its style. We’ll only settle for a celebration of the complete package.

With this in mind, we thought we’d have a lovely little rummage through the shelves at MoM Towers to find the fairest of them all. We present to you our list of 10 drinks that taste as good as they look!

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For Christmas this year…

With plans to make Christmas 2013 closely resemble a night out with Charles Bukowski during his downtime, I’ve been thinking hard about what booze I want. Historically, I would have…

Dear Santa

With plans to make Christmas 2013 closely resemble a night out with Charles Bukowski during his downtime, I’ve been thinking hard about what booze I want. Historically, I would have written to Santa Claus, but I recently read a thought-provoking essay by biologist Dickie Dawkins and now no longer believe in his existence. This, then, is an open letter to anyone who knows me and wants to get me the boozes.

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Bar Review – Purl

Astonishing. It’s an easy term to bandy around (and god knows I’m possibly more guilty of doing so than most), but from time to time, one is simply so taken…

Astonishing.

It’s an easy term to bandy around (and god knows I’m possibly more guilty of doing so than most), but from time to time, one is simply so taken aback that the term “astonishing” is really all that fits the bill. I found myself using that particular word on approximately a dozen occasions, when my good lady wife and I visited Purl earlier this year.

Just as it is usually possible to accurately assess the competence of a curry house by ordering a simple Madras, the ‘control’ drink in any half-decent cocktail bar, for me, is a martini cocktail. Good glassware – points; correctly chilled glass – yet more points; really, really good Sicilian lemons for the twist, many points. If, however, as in the case of one restaurant recently visited who shall remain nameless – you serve it in a chipped glass, complete with crushed ice, and a slice of lemon, you’re scoring very low indeed.

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Making A Bitter Rum Chocolatsky – by Chris Hoban

Continuing on in our series of guest cocktail posts, we are thrilled to bring you Chris Hoban, who writes for the excellent Edinburgh Whisky Blog – a detailed, brilliantly written site…

Cocktail Ingredients

Continuing on in our series of guest cocktail posts, we are thrilled to bring you Chris Hoban, who writes for the excellent Edinburgh Whisky Blog – a detailed, brilliantly written site about all things whisky and drinks related.

Joshua Hatton

Chris’ brief was simple: concoct a delicious winter cocktail using our 8 Year Old Blend and our new Whisky Bitters. This is what Chris came up with…

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