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Again.. SURPRISED others haven’t rated this one MUCH higher. Got mine as an gift from a friend upon his return from Cuba!
By complete chance a short while back someone offered to obtain a bottle of this for me, knowing that I had been looking for Santiago de Cuba. After my relative disappointment with my previous unicorn Santiago de Cuba 11 Year, I hesitated for a split second, but wisely my better rum nature prevailed and I said “sure let’s have a go”. After waiting over 5 years to try the 11 year I found it a bit light and plain to my tastes. “Ratings” for this bottling were lower but the descriptive terminology sounded pretty delicious to me.
When the bottle arrived, I immediately recognized it as the older version of the bottle. This is a molasses based rum made from sugarcane grown in the southeast of Cuba and distilled on the legendary former Bacardi column stills at Santiago de Cuba. It is then aged 12 Years in White Oak barrels and bottled at 40%.
Immediately upon opening the bottle I was punched in the face by the aromas wafting out of the bottle. Right away that is different from the recent 11 Year I tried.
Wafting it from the Glencairn this is *far* richer and deeper than the 11 Year which makes me think they had to have changed the production methods because this is *so* much richer and deeper than that bottling. On the nose here I get rich Brown Sugar, ripe Pear, slight Diesel fumes, Toffee, Caramel Apple, aged Tobacco, and Sherry floating in the background. These aromas are in your face, present, and pleasant.
Taking a sip I get almost knocked over by ripe Pear. This first note is rich and explosive. It is then followed by intense wild raw Honey and Brown Sugar. On the back end it is followed by noticeable worn old leather and a light coating of caramel. The rich fruit, honey, earthy notes here are a different universe from the light, one note caramel of the new 11 Year bottling. M
The finish on this rum lasts for ages and is crazy complex for a Cuban style rum. Like the palate it starts with a permeation of Pear and Brown Sugar. But then it transitions to a classic Cuban aged tobacco note followed by a chest tingling menthol and just the slightest hint of Chlorine. It rounds out with a rich Molasses note.
This rum is leagues ahead of the newer label 11 Year bottling. *This* is the unicorn I had set out to find. *This* is the droid I was looking for (happy Stormtrooper noises). This rum is deep, rich, and far complex than I anticipated for a Cuban column still rum. (Seriously…light industrial notes on a Cuban style column rum?). This is right up there with Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros and Grander 8 Year Single Barrel as the heights a true Cuban style rum can reach. I consider myself quite fortunate to have been able to acquire a full bottle. If you are looking to get a Cuban rum, this and Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros are the one you seek.
Short Description: The Cuban Caroni-lite
Country of Origin: Cuba
Distillery: Santiago de Cuba
Nose: Brown Sugar, Pear, slight Diesel fumes, Toffee, Caramel Apple, aged Tobacco, Sherry
Palate: (explosive) Pear, wild Honey, Brown Sugar, old Leather, Caramel
Finish: (long) Pear, Brown Sugar, aged Tobacco, light Menthol, faint Chlorine, Molasses
Final Thoughts: This is the Cuban unicorn I had set out out to find years ago. This rum is quite impressive for a column still molasses based rum crossing the divides between 4 quadrants of fruity, desert, earthy, and industrial. That was unexpected, especially after my experience with the 11 Year. If Santiago de Cuba hasn’t changed their production methods then all those people fawning over that one must really love their super light 2 note drams. Me, I will take this one all day every day.
I actually liked Santiago de Cuba Anejo Superior 11 more than 12 years old. It tastes stronger and the alcohol is a little more noticeable, but it's still pretty good. There is a bit of oak and smoke, a rather sweeter taste. Next time I will buy another 10 € cheaper Anejo Superior 11, which has a softer taste.
nose i get sweet barrel notes and coffee, no alcohol burn (ok the bottle is just 1/3 full and open around 3 years, probably it have oxhidized, but in the good way), in the mouth
again oak from the barrel, raisins,
ripe fruits, darker color than the havana seleccion de maestros (both similar priced), sweeter (but natural sweetness), very smooth, very strong plum taste that reminds me of some well aged sljivovica
i will give a 9 like the santiago 20 that is a little bit better but much more expensive ...
this is the cuban style i prefer ! i don t care for the cheap plastic cork if it s a good liquid
in the bottle ...
Pretty good flavour complexity, with a distinct cocoa note. It's quite smooth and dry as well.
For the price it was better than expected! (And do not judge a book by its cover, etc.)
It was just Ok and left me with a strange vibe / taste that was on the verge of being unpleasant. I will stick to Havana Club for my Cuban rum needs.
This is a decent rum. The taste is allright. Not great. Pretty mediocre all in all. You get a sense of the Cuban style.
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