Botran are a rum brand from Guatemala. The rums are distilled at the same distilleries as Ron Zacapa – Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala.
Botran have had a few makeovers/changes in their line up over the past few years. Which has made researching this rum quite confusing to be honest!
As common with many Central American rums Botran adopt a Solera system. So whilst this rum is noted as Ron Anejo 12 in big letters on the bottle – the small print reveals Sistema Solera.
The Solera system is basically a barrel rotation and blending system which means younger rums are married with older rums to produce the blend this also maintains consistency over time. What it means is that not all the rum in the bottle is 12 years old – some will be much younger. Whilst the use of this system is not frowned upon, the way it is marked on the bottle you look at on shelf is oft criticised, as being deceptive.
This kind of marketing is seen as misleading, it is common place. It would be churlish and unfair to single Botran out for such practice. A bottle of Botran Ron Anejo 12 will currently set you back around around £25-30 in the UK. Which in the grand scheme of things is not particularly pricey It is bottled at 40% ABV.
Botran adopt a 3/4 height style slightly stubby bottle – and the re-branding is sleek and modern. Their website is similar. It is clear Botran are looking at the younger trendy end of the bar and club market – rather than older rum connisseurs.
Botran rums are produced under the “Ron de Guatemala – Protected
Designation of Origin” – which basically means only rums produced in Guatemala can apply for this honour. More information can be found here. Bare in mind all the fuss over Ron Zacapa’s additive laden rums, I’m not really sure how prestigious this actually is…….but they seem pretty proud of it nonetheless.
Which is another issue Botran are faced with. Ron Zacapa are largely seen as the poster boys of additive laden rum. With such close ties to the brand, Botran are also under suspicious. Although their rums test “clean” under a simple Hydrometer Test, I have been told that laboratory test results exist, which show Botran add Glycerin to their rums. As I have never seen these results myself I cannot comment nor would I put in writing that Botran have carried out this practice. If such results do exist I would like to see them published. I will state at this stage, I would like to see a number of other rums tested as well. As I have no personal vendetta against Botran.
Anyway enough of such naysaying and on with reviewing the important bit…the contents of the bottle!
In the glass, Botran Ron Anejo 12 is a light to golden brown. The nose is light – nice oaked notes, vanilla, a little chocolate. It reminds me a lot more of Kill Devil Guatemala than Ron Zacapa. It smells very much like “authentic” rum. Nicely balanced in many ways which can never be a bad thing. It doesn’t give any impression of anything synthetic going on.
Sipped the rum is quite sweet but not overly so – the rich oaky notes and vanilla are very pleasant. It gives a very nice spicy kick in the mid palate – all spice and a little ginger, perhaps.
The finish although slightly short is nice and rounded. Again nice oak aged notes and a hearty hit of rum at the very end.
It’s all very nicely balanced and well done. At the price point it is also very mixable – it makes a very nice oaky rum and cola.
It’s not an exceptional rum, it has its limitations. Botran 12 doesn’t bring anything remarkable or new to the table. It is though, a good solid rum and one which at the price point would only disappoint those looking for a cheaper Zacapa substitute. It certainly lets the rum which naturally occurred in the barrel shine much more than Zacapa. You don’t get the feeling you are drinking something which is additive laden.
Good, if not groundbreaking rum at a relatively inexpensive price point.