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When I first saw this one on the shelves months ago with the green print for Vermouth Cask Finish, it reminded me of the days when I was young and stupid and tried getting drunk on a bottle of dry vermouth. Being only 18 at the time, I had absolutely no idea that it is no longer officially a wine and is used as a mixer for Manhattans and Martinis. In my more than 50 years of drinking, I have never heard anyone order a Manhattan down here in the south where I live. On the other hand, Martinis seem to rum amok and I have always thought of them as disgusting drinks.
So I had to read up on this rum to get the courage to buy it. I will quote exactly from the label on the back of the bottle. "Aged in Puerto Rico for 5 to 8 years in American white oak barrels, this rare blend of rums is then finished for 4 to 6 weeks in 600 liter Mancino Vecchio vermouth Italian oak casks crafted in Canelli-Asti, Italy". After researching that vermouth, it is the color of a fine tawny port to create a sweet vermouth. A bottle of this vermouth sells for almost $200 US (and it must be refrigerated after opening!). It looks like Don Q really took the chance with this one after careful research and I would say that it paid off.
The aroma is of a fine sweet vermouth with no ethanol vapors. The taste is the same and one can barely tell that it is rum. So far, this would rate as an 8 by me, but the very slightly bitter after taste drops it down to a high 7. For those looking for a rum that is different from all the rest, give this one a try at only $45 US. Adding a few small ice cubes to this one in the snifter does not bring the rum flavors out, but only serves to subdue some of the vermouth flavors. My guess is that they should have only used two weeks in the final finishing in vermouth casks instead of 4 to 6 weeks. This lesser finish would also have allowed the rum flavors to reveal themselves.
Update May 8, 2019: I just cannot get over the vermouth dominating this rum and have no other choice except to drop my rating from a 7 to a 6. No matter what one does to this spirit, rum never reveals itself. Can't sip it neat. On the rocks is just okay. I could never guess what to mix it with. Adding a few squirts of lime juice only makes it worse, so try going with a sweeter rum such as a spiced one.
Finally opened this bottle. I tried the double cask sherry a few days back and it was very good. This Don Q Vermouth is super smooth and light. The aroma is herbal and the finish is sweet and short. A very surprising drink from Don Q.
Happy National Rum Day
I was looking forward to trying this finished rum, and I found a rum very different from most finished rums.
Don Q Double Aged Vermouth Cask Finish rum is aged for 5 to 8 years in white oak barrels, finished for 4 to 6 weeks in 600 liter Italian vermouth oak casks and then bottled at 40%. The rum is a beautiful clean light burnt sienna color, and appears thin in the glass.
Things get strange when I start to nose this rum. Fresh out of the bottle, there was a bit of an ethanol burn. After sitting, the ethanol faded and the scent of the Vermouth was dominant. There was a hint of traditional rum highlights like coconut and vanilla, but they struggle to stand out because of the scent of dry white wine.
The palette is sharp and dry, and dominated by the flavors of dry white wine.
The surprisingly strong Vermouth scent and flavor is strange given the short time of secondary aging. I'd believe you if you told me that the Vermouth was blended into the rum.
The finish is short to medium and also mimics the mouth feel of a dry white wine.
I'll give this rum another try, but I'm disappointed.
$50 - Was purchased at the Duty Free Shop in San Juan Airport. Nice dark amber color. Pleasant nose with a hint of sweetness. Upon tasting, the flavor is not harsh and rather smooth. Quite smooth with a very nice finish.
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