Don Q Anejo

Don Q Anejo rum review by the fat rum pirateDon Q Anejo is one of the two more “premium” rums available in the UK from Puerto Rican producers Serralles. The Don Q brand has recently been re-vamped and they are actively trying to get a foothold in the UK market, which is currently dominated by another Puerto Rican concern – Bacardi and brands from Diageo such as Captain Morgan.

I won’t go too much into detail about the Don Q Brand as their own website will give you all the information you should need and I also gave some details in a previous review of the Don Q Gold.

When reviewing rums I always like to try brands full portfolios. It can be very interesting trying full portfolios and it has taught me not to judge brands solely on one expression. My best example of doing this so far is ignoring offerings from Mount Gay after not enjoying their Gold Eclipse rum. The difference between the Eclipse and the XO is night and day. In instances such as Appleton Estate you get a nice and clear increase in quality with each rum in their line up right up the line but this is not always the case.

If Don Q are to succeed in making inroads in the UK market then for me they need firstly to establish themselves as a popular and recognisable brand in pubs and clubs. Their entry level bottles – the Gold and Cristal are both very bartender friendly, as is this bottle.

Retailing at around £27-30 for a 70cl bottle Don Q Anejo is a blend of rums aged between 3 and 8 years. It is bottled at 40% ABV and as already mentioned, it comes in the same style bottle as the Gold and Cristal. The colour scheme is different being black and gold.

The Don Q Anejo is an obvious step up agewise from the Gold, which was a blend of rums aged between 2 to 5 years.

Don Q Anejo rum review by the fat rum pirateAs well as the difference in colour scheme there is a different colour to the rum in the bottle and glass as well. It is noticeably darker and as the name would suggest it does look more aged. It is noted on the bottle that some E150 (Caramel Colouring) has been added.  This is common practice amongst nearly all “commercial” bottlers and quite a lot of Independents as well (often they have no control as caramel can be added pre-distillation).  Judging a rum on its colour is a dangerous practice.

The nose is more oaked than the gold. There is much less of the sweeter young alcohol notes and more woody and leathery notes. It has a nice almost Bajan like lightness and balance. Vanilla, hints of cocoa and dark chocolate. It smells re-assuring as rum should. Once again it comes up clean on the hydrometer test and there really is nothing at all in the mix which raises any suspicions of any additives or funny business. The Serralles family seem happy to make rum in the traditional manner.

Sipping the rum is another lesson in balance. Initially you get a sweet fruity entry which gives way to some very nice oak aged notes. Bourbon casks no doubt are where this rum has been aged. The mid palate of oak and spice is nice with some notes of vanilla and a slight bitter note. The finish is long and spicy but it doesn’t burn at all. It’s highly sippable and reminds me very much of Captain Bligh XO.

Don Q Anejo rum review by the fat rum piratePerhaps the best compliment I can pay to the Don Q Anejo (and to be honest the other rums in their range) is what they remind me most of. Bajan rum and in particular the beautifully balanced, clean pure rums that come from Richard Seale’s Foursquare distillery. I’m thinking Rum Sixty Six and Doorly’s 5 in particular.

At £30 Don Q Anejo comes at my upper limit for what I would consider mixing – anything I pay over £35 I shouldn’t really have to mix. At £30 I don’t mind using the Don Q Anejo in an occasional Cuba Libre or a Rum and Ginger Beer. The balanced, slightly easy going nature of this rum means that it works very well in a Cuba Libre. It is a noticeable step up from the Gold.

It has added complexity when compard to the gold and it sits very nicely as a very versatile sipper and premium mixer.  It is a rum which is clearly made with a flavour profile in mind rather than worrying itself too much about a definitive age statement.  As with other blended rums which are released year on year the exact age/ratio of the blend can change over time to keep the taste as similar as possible.

Impressive stuff and to be honest until Don Q made a few noises on Social Media (I like it when brand owners get involved and make clear statements on their rums authenticity) it was a brand I would have overlooked.  Which would have been a big mistake

4 stars

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