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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
Ratings are all over the board on this one. It really depends on your taste. Sweet cane nose. Very sweet flavor with hints of caramel and vanilla. Not terribly complex but not at all as bad as some of the ratings make it out to be. I think this is more of a middle of the road rum. Not world class but definitely not swill. Warming approaching hot. Slightly bitter finish but not unpleasent. A decent sipper if you really like it sweet and simple but it would be much better served with cocktails wanting a fuller bodied sweet rum.
Edit 9/25/19 - rating above is for old Guatemala rum. Recently tried the new Trinidad version. Not at all the same. Over sweet and artificial. No depth just sweet vanilla. Sadly this is giving rum the wrong reputation. I lower my rating for the new formula from a 6 to a 4. If you like real rum do not spend $30 on this.
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.
Zaya is a rum I love to go to when I want richness with a hint of spice and nothing more. Not much complexity but still a great rum on it's own. In cocktails the strength and taste holds up but without complexity it becomes just a backbone.
Nice and sweet but not too sweet. Definitely has a taste of caramel and maybe some vanilla. Had this neat at a bar and it was smooth.
Zaya is a decent offering. Sweet nose with heavy vanilla. Smooth finish with very little alcohol burn. I would always drink this one neat. Similar to Ron Zacapa but not as good.
I love Zaya...always have. It was an awesome experiencce when I first had it and I was blown away. That was when it was still produced in Guatemala. After the move to Trinidad, the formula changed and the luster that once was left. Don't get me wrong, this is still an excellent rum but in contrast from where they started its a little less stellar. Its still smooth, sweet and very light on the boozy finish. Still has a nice level of vanilla and spice notes which warm and inviting any day of the week
Unfortunately, this rum was acquired by a large conglomerate who switched distilleries, changed the underlying rum, and dumped in a ton of sugar. They took what used to be a solid 8.5-9 rated rum and turned into and overly sweetened vanilla extract syrupy mess. I was hoping that after a couple years they would realize the error of their ways and return to the old formula...but they haven’t. Accordingly, I have to change the review to reflect the currently available version of this with the green label. Below is the review for the previous version.
**The old formula comes in a bottle with a woven wicker sleeve, cursive writing, and a cork top. So if you find a bottle of Zaya with a wicker sleeve, get it; if it doesn’t have the wicker sleeve pass it over for now. This was my favorite rum until I tried Plantation XO. If you didn’t know any better and picked up a glass of this blindfolded you could be forgiven for thinking you were drinking a smoother more subtle version of a dry subtle version of vanilla cherry coke with a hint of oak. My only issue with it is the finish. Towards the end of a glass it leaves a slight pucker but it is otherwise an outstanding rum. 8+
After opening the bottle, I was immediately assaulted by a strong smell of imitation vanilla extract. My wife was observing and immediately asked " Do I need to go and buy something else?" without me even saying a word. Despite my better judgement, I poured a taste. The first thought that came to mind was "Why did I put this in my mouth?" I struggled through another sip. I did get the lightest hint of oak, but then an annoying astringency on the back of the tongue. This is now going to my mixer well.
I hear this used to be a great rum. Sadly, I never got to drink that rum. The Zaya I had wasn’t overly sweet but did have a fake sweetness about it. It has a rough finish and an alcohol burn that I wouldn’t expect in a 12 year rum. That finish makes this a terrible sipper. The fake sweetness contrasts poorly with sweet mixers like colas. It is particularly delicious in black coffee, where the strength of the coffee covers the imperfections in the finish and the sweetness of the rum provides a nice balanced sweetener to the coffee.
That being said, this is too expensive to be a 1-trick pony and I don’t expect I’ll buy it again unless I hear rumors that the old blend is back.
Used to be good, was twelve years old now a blend of twelve different Rums. Same premium price. If you like this jut go to you local gas station and fill up a jerrycan it will taste better
"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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