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Zaya Gran Reserva 12-Year rum
Zaya Gran Reserva 12-Year rum

Zaya Gran Reserva 12-Year

Trinidad and Tobago | Aged

Zaya Gran Reserva Rum is a blend of rums distilled from molasses in a five column still, the rums are aged in white oak barrels for a up to 12 years.

Zaya rum was initially distilled by Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala in Guatemala. The brand was acquired in 2008 by Infinium Spirits and is now produced in Trinidad and distilled by Angostura.

7.2/10 (553 ratings)
Recommendable to most


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553 Zaya Gran Reserva 12-Year ratings

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Posted over 2 years ago by Jim Barker from United States with 1 rating

This was purchased in hopes there was some potential. Nope, this is not worth 1/3 of its cost. Had hoped it would be a zacapa or flor de Cana. I'd rank it at a Castillo level. Very disappointed! This is not 12 yr rum. It is a blend of 12 rums.....don't bother.

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Posted almost 3 years ago by Vin from United States with 14 ratings

Pretty bottle, but this isn't aged 12. You can definitely tell they've artificially enhanced this to taste like a 12. Strong Vanilla Extract with a end that has a flavor of dates but with a cough syrupy finish. It is smooth tho, definitely drinkable by itself..

But I would not buy this again. I kept mine in the freezer to try and tone down that artificial taste so I could finish it.

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Posted over 3 years ago by Russell from United States with 25 ratings

Zaya needs 2 different rating sites. wish I had bought multible bottles of the original ( a 9 rating) The new Zaya GR is just bad only give it a 3. If any body knows what happened (beverage insider) would like to know. I resampled this is better than thought at time!

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Posted over 3 years ago by piratejabez from United States with 314 ratings

Update (3/2018):
Got to try one of the older bottles with grass around the neck and the script-style logo. Just how I remembered it—vanilla, coconut, banana, sweet. Even this version wasn't good, though it was an eye-oper to me as my first "sipping" spirit.

Update: (4/2017):
Wow, having been paying closer attention to retail prices for this bottle of late, they really seem to have plummeted. It's not unusual to see it going for $23USD. I think that's commensurate with what's inside the bottle—or, at least, what we know is inside the bottle, which is very little. This tells me that the makers are capitalizing on the brand reputation they've worked to establish over the year, have drastically reduced production costs (presumably with a blend of younger/inferior rums), and are now going after a (much) larger, lower-end market segment.

And it should do well there. I think for many this bottle would still be a huge step up for their rum game, but it's still just a rung on the ladder; a reference point; nothing to stick with. At the expense of exactly one "I'll drink to that!" I'm letting go of some of the sentimentality I have for this vanilla-banana liqueur and docking it one point.

Update (12/2016):
Yes, the packaging has changed, and not for the better. What's inside is still very good, but not quite as smooth or flavorful as the previous incarnation. I do think it's still a decent value, if you can find it in the USD $30–35 range (I've seen it online for much higher). If you're a fan of the "old" version, now's the time to track down the remaining bottles! And if you have your doubts about the new one, might be time to spring for something a little higher. Cheers!

Original (~2011):
This was the first sipping rum I ever tried, long before I was even a novitiate. I had no expectations. Imagine my surprise when I first smelled the banana, vanilla and caramel. The flavor profiles in this rum are very distinct, and can easily transport you to another place. (Perhaps this contributes—along with good old-fashioned marketing—to such a wide price range for this product, compared to other aged rums.) In the mouth, it's sweet, and oh-so-smooth.

The bottle is nice and heavy, with a straw lattice around the neck [edit: womp, womp...]. Looks good on the shelf (if the shelf is tall enough) and feels good in the hand.

I'd rate it higher if I were a bigger fan of vanilla and banana aromas (which I think most people are), but still, it's a solid bottle.

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Posted almost 4 years ago by Doug Cook from United States with 1 rating

Bought a bottle of Zaya rum at BevMo only to find that it has changed:
No cork - now a scew top
No twine on neck - now a label
Rum has changed - now a so so rum - Not worth the price

Zaya used to be my go to rum - Now I'm no longer a customer!

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Posted over 4 years ago by Tommy from United States with 12 ratings

The added sugars - and probably coloring - massacre what seems to be a decent rum hiding in the cellar from the onslaught. My diabetic friend loves it, but I feel guilty about killing him and so, will not purchase another bottle merely to transfer to him. Doorly's XO, for example, is three times the rum at 1/2 the price. I will go out of my way to avoid sipping this again.

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Posted over 4 years ago by Beukeboom from United States with 305 ratings

Vanilla and caramel aromas permeate this in the snifter. Hints of major sweetness.

And the flavor bears that out. Very sweet (sugar added?) along with that overabundance of vanilla and caramel flavors...a little toffee, too...not too much of a burn but when that fades you are back with the vanilla and caramel. Especially the vanilla.

This might be a tad too sweet even for fans of sweet rums but who knows. It is not a bad rum but seems to go overboard on the sweet vanilla flavors. I don't see this working as well with either colas or fruit-based drinks unless you're into sweetness. Seems to be a cheaper cousin to Zacapa.

My recommendation: pass on this if Zacapa or something better is available (like El Dorado or Dictador for instance). However if it's down to this or Capt. Morgan/Bacardi/Malibu then pick this up).

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Posted about 5 years ago by Ni Stu from United States with 1 rating

New bottles are not very good, although last year's bottling is fine. New ones taste like alcohol with imitation caramel flavor added. Doesn't taste like a legitimate aged rum.

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Posted about 5 years ago by Marc Cardinal from Belgium with 401 ratings

The vanilla flavor is very strong and also the caramel but the taste is good.
Great experience to taste this Zaya rum.

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Posted almost 6 years ago by Lars Stougaard from Denmark with 1 rating

I was looking forward to try Zaya 12 after reading the good impressions on this site and other, so I choose to buy a bottle instead of Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva that I know and love. Must say Zaya is a very smooth rum, but I´m real disappointed that a rum costing around 80 $, here in Denmark, doesn´t have more to offer. I tasted it up against my Plantation 20 Anniversario, Eldorado 12 and Millonario 15 Reserva Especial, where Plantaion cost the same and the two other are cheaper. They all 3 have fine complexity and the afterburn is good compared to zaya 12 that almost has none other than a sweet taste. Maybe zaya is cheaper else where in the world or they have cut down quality to fulfill demands. To me Zaya 12 is sweet, smooth, anonymous and way to expensive. I will buy good old Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva next time, that´s for sure.