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Tasty, but not quite great
First, I'm fairly liberal. I figure I'm not the final word when it comes to judging what others will like. But the Zaya Grande Reserva 16 Year deserves to be called out. First, make sure it's the new green necked/labeled iteration that we are talking about and second, it's NOT A 16 YEAR OLD RUM! It is a solera rum. They are being quite cute by putting the "16 Years" in a much larger font than the tiny print of the warning, "A blend of Rums aged up to".
It seems that the move from Guatemala has resulted in a continued loss of positive character in this sad Rum.
Don't get me wrong. I agree, a solera rum can definitely be a good rum. But it's insulting to other correctly labeled rums to hide behind a tricky label.
That said, the Zaya Grande Reserva I tasted was sickly sweet and overpriced even for $26. But, if you are someone who mixes all the flavors at the Slurpee machine and would pay $26 for that, I apologize.
Excellent flavour, pairs very nice with cane cola. Smooth with subtle notes of Carmel and vanilla. Smooth finish as well. Reminds me a bit of the original smoothness of the first Zaya, before the distillery moved, but something else I can’t put my finger on yet...more testing required!
After more testing (2 years later) I have moved from a 8 to a 7, not sure if it changed or me. Now a little too much blending, too much vanilla...just not the same. :-(
It tastes unbearably forgettable and artificially sweet. I don’t even remember the tasting notes. This is one of my first sipping rum, I remember when I first opened the bottle as a mewbie I enjoyed rums like this and bumbu. I forgot about it and started trying out new rums, and when I sampled this again a month later, I poured it out.
The bad: Initially, the smell is strong, with a touch of vanilla scented cleaner or disinfectant, which seems to dissipate a little after a few minutes. The good: However the taste is quite good and pleasant. I rated it a 6 due to the sharp initial impression, but the taste is a solid 7. I'd be happy to drink this straight after letting the glass breathe for a bit. The price is good, so I'll probably purchase it again.
I don't find it "sickly sweet" as some others here do. I do find the taste seems like it has vanilla in it, which I really like.
Zaya Grande Reserva 16 year old rum is a great starter rum for your rum collection. Reasonably priced at $28 per bottle and now easily available in most liquor stores. Original Zaya 12y was pretty good, but now the new version struggles to earn a 7 since it's very overpowering sweet flavor profile. Zaya 16y is definitely on the sweeter side also, plenty of vanilla and butterscotch for sure but it has a very nice flavor profile and hardly any burn. Buy this bottle and compare it to Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, and the massive difference is obvious. Then go to your liquor and buy Diplomatico going onwards.
Saw this in my local liqour store and the green label stood out on the Zaya bottle. 16 yr??? Decided to give it a try. I am very impressed. A lot of forward apple and vanilla flavors. Very complex profile. It is a 16yr blend, but this is a very nice, smooth rum that is great on the rocks. The finish is not as long and strong as the Zaya 12 yr, which is my favorite characteristic of the Zaya 12 yr. But this one is also much smoother... practically no burn. The finish is still relatively long and the apple and vanilla flavors linger. Overall at $23 USD (in Miami) this is a great value. I'll be buying more.
I wanted to like this rum because I spent a lot of money on it based on its attractive bottle and name. As others have noted, this rum is very sweet, although the sweetness is partially masked by the alcohol. On the nose one can immediately detect the sweetness, but underneath there is an unpleasant odor of cleanser which is astringent. On the tongue the high sugar level is immediately apparent followed by what can only be described as an unpleasant slightly bitter aftertaste reminiscent of cleaning fluid. This rum is a great disappointment and barely drinkable. Avoid it. I will use this bottle, if it all, in mixed drinks and coffee - perhaps, but a shame to ruin good coffee so only instant.
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