Hello all. I am considering a purchase for a special occasion and am in the $125 price range. Ron Abuelo Centuria and Diplomatico Single VTG 2000 are the top candidates. If I were only able to try one in this lifetime, which should it be? Thanks!
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Don't all answer at the same time now.
Sorry, haven't tried them, but since the Diplomatico seems to become less available, I would pick that one.
Thanks Dutch! Both brands claim that these are available in limited quantities but I come across them at local liquor stores frequently (FL, USA). Interested in getting a flavor comparison from someone who has been able to taste both.
Much better the Diplomatico. Now there are three vintage 1997, 2000 and 2001. I'll never tried 2001 but there is a slightly different between the 1997 and 2000,I prefer 1997 is less sweet.
Thanks Carlos. Was the Centuria any good in your opinion?
Hey Red...I haven't had the Diplomatico Single Vintage, but was really unimpressed with their Exclusiva Reserva, Reserva, and Anejo. Sweet, not much character.
On the other hand, I absolutely love Abuelo Centuria. Still, you should first try the Abuelo 12 Years, which has more flavor and complexity. The Centuria costs $140. The 12 Years costs $40. Both are, in my opinion, among the best rums I've ever enjoyed ...ever...but the $100 difference in price seems too much. And of course, they're best enjoyed neat.
And keep in mind, you're asking for people's personal tastes, which vary widely...and wildly. I'm shocked whenever I see an Abuelo review that's less than a perfect 10. What is wrong with these people?!
Thanks Mister Coughy. As you suggested, I was actually planning on buying Abuelo 12 this upcoming weekend to give the brand a test run. I will be making the big purchase in a few weeks. I am relatively new to the sipping game so my tastes lean towards the sweet side but I see that it's changing as I try more rums. Thanks again.
Mistercoughy I like the Abuelo 12 yr but I don't consider it a genuine aged rum and would never give anywhere near a 10 rating because of the ridiculous amount of added sugar. El Dorado 12 yr is very similar and used to be my favorite until I found out how much added sugar - both have around 30 grams/liter. If I want a rum old-fashioned I prefer to make it myself and not pay a premium price to have it bottled for me.
Real premium rums with no added sugar - Mount Gay XO or 1703, Appleton 12 yr, Brugal 1888, anything from R L Seales. Pusser's blue label has a little but only 1/5 what the Abuelo and ED 12 have.
Scott, if it makes the rum taste better I don't have a problem with added sugar. Too many people make an issue about that. Let's not forget that the ultimate reason why people drink liquor, whether rum or whiskey, is to get a buzz. A "sipping" spirit is just one that's doesn't taste as bad straight up when getting the job done. Let's not be like those pretentious scotch drinkers who pretend to think the flavor and peat and dirt is "complex". Peat tastes like shit if you ask me. Why did they drink wine in the Bible, why did British Sailors get rum rations? To get drunk. Bottoms up!
Redblaze, my issue is selling a rum as a "premium 12 yr old rum" when in fact it might have a few teaspoons of actual 12 yr old rum and added sugar to gived it that "smooth aged taste". I find it sad that to taste what an actual unadulterated Demeraran rum tastes like I have to spend over $100 for a private bottling like Samaroli or Berry Bros and Rudd.
I had a bottle of Plantation 5 yr old Barbados rum that sells for $20-25. It was pretty good but quite sweet. I also had a bottle of Doorly's 5 yr (by Seales) that sells for $20 for a 1.75 ltr bottle.. Out of curiosity I added some sugar to the Doorly's and it tasted exactly the same as the Plantation.
As it relates to the age classifications, I agree with you. There should be standards for labeling. With that, maybe you can answers this for me. Ron Abuelo Centuria or Diplomatico Single VTG 2000??
Red...I agree with you, rum is to be enjoyed without so much pretension and insistence on what is or isn't "authentic". As I said earlier, we're talking about personal tastes here, not scientific facts. Enjoy what you like and ignore the noise.
Scott...If you'd bothered to check out my rum cabinet you'd know that I'm very familiar with, and fond of, Seale's products. As for ED 12 and Abuelo 12, I think they're superb - in spite of the sugar - not because of it. Both rums are wonderfully complex and flavorful. On the other hand, I find the "Z" rums to be dreadful examples of bland, overly sweet syrup. (I use Zaya on vanilla ice cream. Yum!) When reviewers say a rum is sweet and smooth, I can guess it's a sugar bomb. But ED 12 and Abuelo 12 are definitely NOT "sweet and smooth". They demand a more nuanced response than that, and they are good examples of sugar used really well. I'm not afraid of sugar.
I get suspicious when people claim to know which rums are "authentic" and "real" and which aren't. I've been around for too many decades to believe that anyone has cornered the market on The Truth. And yet, certain makers of pot-still rum claim that their product is more "authentic" than column-still rum. Good grief. Drink what you like and enjoy the ride.
Mrcoughy, I did not intend to hijack this thread and turn it into a debate over the addition of sugar in rum, I merely wanted to address your disbelief that anyone wouldn't rate the Abuelo 12 yr as a perfect 10. We can continue this in another thread if you and redblaze like.
Redblaze, a few things you said make very little sense to me. If we just drink to get drunk, why bother to spend $100+ for a bottle of rum when a $30-40 bottle will do just fine? I was under the assumption you were out to choose a fine, complex rum, not just spend a lot of money for a lifestyle / status symbol. If you absolutely insist on one of those two rums, I would say I agree with Mrcoughy's assessment of the lower end products of both lines, go with the Abuelo. If it was me, I would either choose an excellent private bottler such as Berry, cadenhead, Samaroli, etc to get an amazing unadulterated rum. If it is not sweet enough, add a half teaspoon or so of simple syrup or sugar to simulate what the blenders do with the other two.
Also, I love the campfire and band-aid tasting Islay Scotches. In fact I just went to the kitchen and poured myself some Laphroaig 10 yr cask strength (114 proof). If I had to choose one and only one liquor to drink for the rest of my life it would likely be lagavulin 16 yr (though if price was an object Pusser's Blue label might be it). It was a taste of Ardbeg 10 five or so years ago that got me started down the path of exploring liquors. I now have a collection of Scotch, Bourbon, Tequila, and rum that would be the envy of most any bar. I almost never drink to get drunk, in fact I don't enjoy it anymore. I drink because I enjoy the taste of liquor. I don't claim to have a super refined palate or to be able to take a sip of Scotch and fire off a list of 20 descriptors. I also very rarely spend more than $60 for a bottle of anything (though I do shop online for great deals on high end liquor.) The most I have paid for a rum is $72 for Mt Gay 1703.
I will say that after initially liking the sweet rums, I have gotten away from them. I prefer the El Dorado 5 and 8 yr which have less than 1/3 the sugar of the 12 yr. They have all the flavors I like in the 12 yr without the cloying sweetness I now notice in comparison.
Hijack you did indeed, but enjoyable nevertheless. Believe me, I don't have $125 to throw away for a buzz at the bottom of the bottle. You are correct, I could do that with a $15 bottle of 99 Bananas. My point was that we drink alcohol because it makes us feel good. We drink "fine spirits" because it not only makes us feel good, but tastes good as well. But let's be totally honest, Scott. If those bottles of scotch and rum in your collection had no alcohol in them, you wouldn't be spending $50 For 750mls of weird tasting juice. That's a fact.
Hi Scott...I was joking about my shock and disbelief that folks wouldn't universally have the exact same tastes as I do. That was the point of the sentences before and after that one. I thought that the humor was pretty obvious but I was apparently mistaken! Anyway, I do share your fondness for fine scotch (Ardbeg in particular) and your attitude about getting drunk (thumbs down). Good talk!
Oh...and Hi Red!...I think you and I were typing at the same time, so I missed your latest comment. Of course you are right about why we choose booze. I don't imagine that there would ever be a market for alcohol-free rum, no matter how many years it had been aged. Anyway, thanks for getting this discussion started. Good luck on your quest for fine rum. Good talk!
Capn Jimbo's Rum Project
Scott is a well respected member over at the Rum Project, and let me know about this thread. The subject of rogue rum has long dominated discussion for good reason. Fine single malts, blended whisky, Scotch and Irish whisky and especially bourbon share one thing in common: they are made and labelled honesty and they are pure. As a group they are all pure, unadulterated with hidden and unlabelled additives, adulterants or artificial flavorings and spices. They are also labelled honesty, which includes an honest statement of age (the youngest spirit in the bottle). Bourbon is especially pure, and does not even allow coloring (E150a) of any kind.
Thus, when you buy any whisky you can be sure you are drinking real and pure whisky - no hidden and illegal additives. And why? The regulations which make it so and are enforced. Actually the regulations for rum are equally strict. Additives such as vanilla extract, prune extract, spices or flavorings mean that a "rum" must - by law - then be labelled as a "flavored rum", with the primary flavoring being identified eg "Vanilla Thrills", lol.
Unfortunately these regulations are flouted all the time, via a combination of cheating by the rum distillers, and very lax testing and enforcement by the ATB. Example: what if I told you the "rum" you were drinking was actually secretly altered with sugar, vanilla extract and prune extract, yet stilled labelled and sold as an ostensibly pure "rum"? No whisky or bourbon would ever do this, nor would we accept that.
Yet that example does exist: Ron Matusalem 15. And how do we know? Of course Matusalem has been cheating for years, but only until the brothers sued one another for changing their secret formula, we'd never have known. In this case the eighth district Federal Court published an opinion - dismissing their suit - but also revealing the "formula" ! Further, for years posters like JaRiMi, myself and others have suspected such funny business and accused Z23 for one, as cheating. They denied it. The Minister of Rum vehemently denied it, challenging posters to "prove it".
Finally ALKO of Finland and the Swedish government - who test spirits - finally published their tests and voila! Turns out that Zacapa, Diplomatico and other WERE secretly adulteraing their rums and adding the sugar that all the distillers and some webmasters were denying. Soon after Johnny Drejer established a protocol for accurate home testing. The result?
Over 500 tests have been performed by these governments, et al. These have been accumulated in a Master Sugar List, which the Project has been pleased to publish, and where anyone can look up their rum to see if it has been labelled honestly ("flavored"), or not. Two interesting facts resulted from these tests:
1. About half the rums tested were indeed pure and unadulterated with sugar, and hidden flavorings.
2. An examination of so called "premium" and "super premium" rums revealed that the more expensive the bottle, the more likely it was that it was heavily altered with sugar. And I don't mean a little. For example, Zacapa was tested with 43 grams of sugar per liter! That's like adding 11 teaspoons of sugar to a bottle of rum! Amazing but true.
Furthermore - and unlike bourbon, rye and whisky - no rums are bonded/stored under supervision, which means that there is no proof whatever that the age statements are accurate. The distillers refuse to bond their product, although the law allows them too. Escaping the bonds of bonding is their choice. So you really can't trust these age statements at all.
In sum, what this means is that the distillers are now taking lesser, younger spirits and then tricking them up with sugar, flavorings, glycerol, even wine - but especially sugar - all to make a younger rum more "tasty", "smooth" and apparently "rich". The hard way to produce a fine rum - like a fine whisky - takes much skill, time and expense, expensive cooperage, and long aging (with substantial angel's losses).
The easy way? Just toss in eleven teaspoons of sugar, some vanilla extract, prune or maple flavoring, a splash of sherry and you can sell a cheap rum for triple the price to the poor saps who are influenced by clever marketing and fancy bottles.
By the way, for those who wish to determine if their bottle of assumed pure "rum" has actually been play with, here's a link to the Master Sugar List of ALKO, Sweden, et al:
Guys, it is past time that we stop accepting inferior, altered, dishonest and WAY overpriced, so-called "premium" rums, that are premium only in the amount of additives used to alter its taste, and to buy instead real rum, that like real whisky is a true pleasure to imbibe. Cheers!
Capn Jimbo, thanks for the info. The one thing that your 5,000 word thesis failed to answer is - Ron Abuelo Centuria or Diplomatico Single VTG 2000? Feel free to cite statistics and Harvard studies related to that topic. Thanks.
My son, I did answer your short and entertainingly pithy, but mildly disrespectful question already: both are heavily marketed products by companies known for serious and secret adulteration with sugar. But to be specific:
Ron Abuelo 7 yr: 15g of sugar/liter (about 4 teaspoons)
Diplomatico Reserva: 12g
Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva: 41g
The Diplomatico single vintages tested have revealed about 21- 24g/liter (about 6 teaspoons of sugar.
Tests by ALKO (Finland) and the Swedes, et al, reveal that in general, the so-called "super-premiums" have been shown to be the worst offenders. Tests by "Che", confirmed by other very knowledgable tasters is that the addition of as little as 5 grams of sugar starts to mask the real taste of rum. The amounts used in the super premiums literally obliterates the true taste and complexity of the rum, and turns them into syrupy sweet liqueurs. I wouldn't waste my money on either.
Jimbo, I very much like your rum project site and have visited it a number of times. In this forum, I was seeking insight into two specific brands. I know you have a wealth of knowledge pertaining to rum and are eager to show it off. For future purposes, feel free to post a link to your page so that you can share your in depth opinions (however off topic they may be), but please refrain from pasting the contents of your entire website into my thread. If I didn't make it clear in my earlier post, I don't care about added sugar levels. I was seeking a comparison of the two rum selections from someone who had an opportunity to taste both.
Either way, Jimbo, I will continue to visit your rum site. Particularly your ALKO related entries when I need something to help me fall asleep. Cheers.
Mrcoughy, I got the tongue in cheek tone of your post. However, underlying the humor there is a prevailing sentiment of this site, that sweet rums are the best and an aged rum that is not sweet is inferior. I see it time and time again in reviews. Look at the top rated rums and compare them to Capn Jimbos' list, you will see most of the "super-premiums" at the top of the list have 40+ gr/ltr of added sugar. Perhaps you are OK with this, I am not. As cap'n said, if it is acceptable, why did the producers deny it for so long? One piece of good news, at some point in the last couple years the blenders of Zacapa drastically reduced the amount of sugar added to their 23 yr, from 45 g/ltr to around 20. I don't know when and I am not sure how to decipher their date codes.
When I first got into rum, I was all about the El Dorado 12 and 15, Zacapa 23, Zaya, etc. (I was never impressed by Diplomatico which so many love, found it bland and dull). Once I learned how much sugar is added the luster of these began to wear off, and cloying sweetness became hard to overlook.
What I would LOVE is to be able to taste what the ED 12 or 15, or the Abuelo 12, tastes like without all the sugar. If the flavors are strong enough to still be interesting even when turned into a syrupy sweet mess, I can imagine they are wonderful in their pure form. I could then be the one to decide if I want to add some sugar and bitters and make myself a rum old fashioned - which I do very often, but only after I have sipped on some good rum with a clean palate. I can do this with Bourbon and Scotch, but it is not so easy with rum.
The problem with secretly adding sugar, glycerol, artificial flavoring, maple syrup, vanilla or prune extract is twofold: first it allows the distillers to tweak younger rums - that do not deserve premium prices - in a vain attempt to taste older, longer aged and more complex. You can safely assume that unless otherwise labelled, your "super-premium" is actually a rather young, cheaply produced rum that has been sugared and altered within a millimeter of its life - but then dumped into expensive bottles with the usual super-hype.
This was personally demonstrated to me by Richard Seale who fooled our room full of experienced tasters into guessing the rum he was demonstrating was pot-stilled, complex and 10 years old. In truth it was a brand new, very inexpensive column-stilled industrial rum that he tricked up to fool us all. Why? According to him, this is commonly done an attempt to deceive buyers, to avoid years of VERY expensive Angel's losses, and to be able to charge prices three or four times the price the inexpensive base rum component is actually worth, simply by adding 50 cents worth of sugar and other adulterants.
It's sick, and still buyers argue over which unjustifiably sugared rum is better. The answer? None of them are better, unless one is rating flavorings instead of rum. These sugared super-premiums aren't worth the bottle they are sold in.
As a result, the buying public has been so badly deceived for so long, that they are mistaking additives and syrupy sugar smoothness for real quality. Can you imagine putting 10 teaspoons of sugar into your favorite whisky? Ugh. The result would be horrible. But in rum, this kind of illegal trickery has been going on for so long that the rubes think super sweet is what rum really tastes like. About Z23 - more trickery. Once they were widely outed for their 41-43 grams of sugar/liter, more recently their newer releases were tested by ALKO and the Swedes at around 20 grams - still horrible but half the sugar?
Not really. What they did was to substitute fructose (fruit sugar) for sucrose (ordinary sugar), as discovered by an independent laboratory test (Cyril). Fructose is far sweeter per unit than sucrose, so Zacapa's alleged lower sugar rum was yet another parlor trick, in an attempt to get the buying public to believe that somehow 20 grams was better, when in fact 20 grams - even if it was sucrose (it isn't) - has already done the job of masking the rum into a faux-liqueur.
The point: there are a few super-premiums that quite proudly announce that their beauty, age and complexity is due solely to being skillfully made and expensively aged. These include many independent bottlings (eg Velier, Berry, etc.) and a few like Panamonte, which proudly labels that their products are absolutely pure: no coloring, no flavoring, no additives, no sugar. Just lovely pure rum, the equal of any fine pure spirit. Trust me, if a rum is truly pure and honestly well aged, it doesn't need sugar and other adulterants. No sugared rum - however sweet and drinkable - comes even close.
For me, choosing between two sugared rums is like choosing between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, lol...
That's unfortunate, Jimbo. Your next president will most definitely be one of those two sugared rums.
I read through the lengthy discussions and wanted to say that I have both of these rums and there is only a little left in each bottle, so they have been taste tested many times. Both are outstanding rums and have different tastes. It's hard to decide but I would give the edge to Centuria for overall taste. I won't bore you with tasting notes as you can read my thoughts on both vintages in my rum cabinet, but I would suggest you purchase the Single Vintage 2000 as it's difficult to find and there are only so many bottles of it in the market.
Earl, thanks for the feedback. I checked out your reviews for both. I got ahold of Abuelo 12 this weekend and found it similar to Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva with more oak and not as thick. I enjoy them both.
As for the Abuelo Centuria, do you know if it is actually a limited edition bottling or just a marketing ploy? I still see Centuria available in most liquor stores.
I have never seen the Diplomatico 2000 in any liquor stores in Florida or states in between there and Canada. I have seen the Centuria in several stores, but never more than 1 bottle in any store. It seems both are in limited supply. As for marketing ploys, neither of my bottles have any special numbering indicating the total bottles issued. It could be that the high cost keeps it from being well stocked or that limited availability makes them sell? I can tell you that when I picked up my bottle of Centuria at Total Wines the associate called out "High Roller Coming Through".
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