First up today is Zacapa 23, a 80-proof super aged rum hailing from Guatemala. Rums from Central America tend to be quite distinctive and heavier in comparison to rums from Mexico, Puerto Rico and elsewhere in the Caribbean. Zacapa 23 is no different, being aged an extensive 23 years. Typically, rums and tequilas are more difficult to age given the climate in which they’re stored and the phenomenon known as “angel’s share” aka the evaporation of liquid due to heat and other conditions. The longer the rum ages, the heavier and more concentrated it becomes.
In the glass, Zacapa 23 has a luscious mahogany appearance with long sticky legs. On the nose, there are strong notes of vanilla, caramel, dried fruits, and various layers of wood from the aging process. As it hits the palate, there is a smooth transition of full-bodied flavors ranging from honey, to apricot, to nutmeg, to oak, finishing with a hint of spice. Overall, it’s a beautiful dark rum that holds a steady balance from nose to throat.
At an MSRP of less than $40, you’d have a hard time finding a better aged rum for the price.
Overall grade: 9/10
You can try Zacapa as a substitute for Goslings in a dark and stormy too.
1 1/2 ounces Zacapa Rum 23
3 ounces Ginger Beer
Lime wedge for garnish
1. Combine Zacapa Rum 23 and Ginger Beer over ice in a Collins Glass.
2. Garnish with a lime wedge.
PYRAT XO RESERVE RUM
Next up is Pyrat Rum, an 80-proof Caribbean dark rum from Patron’s portfolio of spirits. The first thing to notice is the short, fat bottle resembling the same jugs used by pirates and rumrunners in the 1800’s. Pyrat is a blend of nine different rums aged at an average of 15 years.
On the nose, cutting through the vanilla are strong notes of citrus. It’s noticeably sweeter than Zacapa 23, and a noticeably lighter in the glass. On the palate, the warm and inviting liquid comes in with sweet notes of citrus, which continues to be a focus until the molasses comes through towards the end.
At only $21, it’s a fantastic bargain and a great rum for mixing as well as drinking on the rocks. If you're on a budget, this is your rum.
Overall grade: 8/10