August 17, 2008

Matusalem Gran Reserva Rum

Bill Dowd photo

The words "Cuba" or "Cuban" appear no less than 15 times on the box holding a bottle of this Cuban-style rum, but don't be fooled. It's made in the Dominican Republic.

Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva Rum

This is, simply put, a superb rum. It is a blend of young and old spirits, using a 15-year-old as its main blender along with other oak-aged spirits. Its makers refer to it as the "solera" process similar to the tried-and-true method of creating Spanish sherries.

Until the Castro revolution, Matusalem was regarded as the iconic Cuban rum. The Alvarez family fled the country and reestablished their business in the Dominican Republic. It's an old line that began in 1872-- fitting for something named after the biblical Methusaleh.

From its clear amber color to its clearly classic finish, this is a spirit best consumed straight. No need to whip up a fruity frou-frou cocktail and spoil the pleasures of a creamy rum that readily doles out notes of butterscotch, caramel and brown sugar. The gentle bite of the secondary tastes brings with it a touch of smokiness imparted by the aging casks, resulting in a sensation akin to that from a fine Scotch or bourbon.

Suggested retail price: $32 for the 750ml bottle.

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