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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.
Recommendable to most
First off, I have to say that I'm not a neat drinker. I like my booze on ice. So my review is based on how it tastes on the rocks; which is great! Nice taste, smooth finish and great value.
If you want a sweet rum that’s not too sweet, this is perfect. It’s also smooth with a good nose. As a trade off, it’s not very complex, especially for a twelve rum blend. It’s a one trick pony, but a very good one if that’s the trick you want.
So I'm no connoisseur by any means but I found it pretty boring. One dimensional. It was pretty sweet but that's fine, I like sweet. Pretty easy sipper, but like I said, just kinda boring.
Strong vanilla showing right from the first sip, caramel coming close behind. A bit sweeter than I like but would buy again nonetheless.
Had a glass of this neat and was hoping to be wowed, especially for the price. A decent taste but not great. Looks pretty in the glass, deep color but the flavor is not rich. Not a good value.
This was my third and final test of sipping rums as one shot neat for each from a well stocked bar. If you can separate yourself from the thought of what it used to be when it was distilled in Guatemala, you just may wind up enjoying it. On the other hand, the Guatemalan version must have rated as a 10 instead of a 7 here. Then again, maybe my first two stronger samples of different rums prior to that clouded my judgment.
The aroma is incredible and the taste is smooth and sweet with no burn on the tongue or throat. It has a very pleasant and unique artificial after taste which I cannot describe. It can be used as an affordable sipper at about $27 per bottle, but my shot ran me $9. I am on the fence about buying a whole bottle since I already have enough great rums in my collection. It is a decent rum, but not great. And believe me, I went searching all over some forgotten liquor stores for any remaining bottles from Guatemala with the straw on the neck and having a real cork. My shot was the version from Trinidad.
Update several weeks later: After researching how the parent conglomerate company has slowly degraded the quality of this rum since it was produced in Guatemala back in 2008, I won't be buying an entire bottle. The memory of some artificial taste in that one sample was enough to have me thinking that I would regret buying a whole bottle and having to finish it while paying a penalty each day after drinking it. Comparisons to Sailor Jerry have been made, how both start off deceptively appealing and then the next day it's "Gotcha!". That happened with my first and last bottle of Sailor Jerry. By the way, the bar where I had my glass of Zaya also has Sailor Jerry to sample because that is what the mostly hipster patrons want. I initially gave this Zaya a rating of 7 at best, but have now lowered it to a rating of 5 to match my empty bottle of Sailor Jerry. Any rum that I rate less than a 6 is one that I cannot wait to get rid of, either for bad taste or ill effects the next day.
"Review by Chris Carlsson of Spirits Review"
"Zaya rum review by Matt at A Jigger of Blog"
"Zaya Gran Reserva rum review by The Ultimate Rum Guide"
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