Good Rum and Bad Tequila

We went out to dinner last night at a little Mexican joint, and being young college kids, decided to get thoroughly sloshed on margaritas. While each pitcher was enough for all of us to have two and a half large glasses, when we decided to move from the expensive pitchers made with ingredients like lime juice, Grand Marnier, and Cointreau to the cheap pitchers made with margarita mix, triple sec, and cheap tequila, despite the fact that we were all getting happy, it was both noticeable and unpalatable. The lesson: Don't use mix, and, further, don't use crappy tequila.

After sobering up, I realized that Wednesday was coming up and I had a spirits review to do. I know, I know, the sacrifices I make for you, my noble blog reader. I decided to review a wonderful gem of a rum:

Ron Pampero: Ron Anejo Aniversario

Tasting Conditions: I purchased this bottle for my twenty-first, and sampled it then. I pulled it out for this review. While I had a not insignificant quantity of margaritas earlier, this review was a few hours later, and I feel quite sober.

Eye: The rum pours a gorgeous middling gold, though my understanding is that it is, in fact, a fairly dark rum. It is a shade or two paler than Gosling’s Black Seal. The legs were fairly thick. The rum comes gorgeously packaged, with a squat, round bottle coming in a leather sack. A fine presentation. I sampled the rum this evening in a snifter of approximately eight ounces.

Nose: The nose was quite potent in the snifter suggesting that perhaps a tumbler might be the better service vessel. A low-to-high sniff reveals quite pleasant toffee notes, as well as caramel, vanilla, and just a bit of smoke, or possibly coffee. There is also, perhaps, an orange and berry aroma.

Mouth: I could taste some of the toffee simply inhaling the odors. On the taste, I got a nice honey flavor, tempered by caramel, vanilla, and a little fruitiness, perhaps apple. A second taste revealed additional vanilla, and some citrus notes. I found this rum to also be quite smoky. At this point I added a few drops of water (between two and three parts rum to one part water). The water revealed a pleasant buttery texture which I quite enjoyed, but did not add any flavor notes, as such. It did, however reduce the smokiness. I tossed in a cube of ice to further dilute and cool my drink. The ice suppressed the vanilla to a large extent, while bringing the citrus and caramel to the fore. It also changed the texture from the wonderful buttery sensation to almost that of ice water. The smokiness increased from the diluted version, though not to the extent of the neat service.

Conclusion: This rum is certainly a sipper. I tend not to be a neat spirit drinker, preferring my spirits at least with a splash of water, and usually a cube or two of ice. While I know I have just lost all credibility with my readership, I felt that this could have been sipped neat. It did, however, profit immensely from the addition of water. I felt the buttery creamy texture to be just gorgeous. I felt that it suffered a little when the ice was added, but it was still quite enjoyable. The price point of this rum ranges from just a tad above my stock aged mixers (Gosling’s and Mount Gay), to the mid-range of what I consider reasonable sippers. At the higher price point, it is acceptable, and I would certainly keep some around. At the lower price point, however, this rum would be a staple, and I would be happy to mix with it, which would generate a really gorgeous drink.

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