Don Q Gold

DON Q GOLD rum review by the fat rum pirateDon Q Gold along with Don Q Cristal are the entry level rums from rum producer Serralles.

Don Q hails from Puerto Rico, which is perhaps most famous in the rum world for being where Bacardi defected to at the time of the Cuban Revolution.

Don Q as a brand began in 1934 and yes, it is named after Don Quixote.  This family ran concern has over 150 years of rum making experience, making its first rum sales in 1865.  The Serralles family are currently in their sixth generation of rum making and are headed up by Felix J Serralles Jr.  The family originally arrived in Puerto Rico around 1820 and Juan Sebastian Serralles set up the Hacienda Teresa – a sugar cane plantation.

The Seralles and Don Q story can be traced on their own website and for once it feels more like a true history lesson rather than made up fairy stories.  One historical fact which surprised me was that the Original Pina Colada was created by Ramon “Monchito” Marrero head bartender of the Beachcomber Bar in San Juan using Don Q Rum.

Don Q rum has recently become much more readily available here in the UK – a range of four rums are currently available Cristal, Gold, Anejo and Gran Anejo.  At present a bottle of this rum which is available at The Whisky Exchange (amongst others) retails at £21.45 for a 70cl bottle.  It is. unlike many lighter “rons” bottled at 40% ABV rather than 37.5%.

The presentation of Don Q Gold is well above average, the design is sleek. “The man on the horse” on the neck reminds me a little of Polo Ralph Lauren.  The screw cap is good quality and the bottle is a nice and slightly different shape with a couple of indents down the side.  It clearly tells you what you are getting with Puerto Rican Rum in a larger type face along the bottom.  Serrales is also blown into the glass close to the neck of the bottle.  .

The rum is a blend of column distilled rums aged between 2 and 5 years and is lightly carbon filtered.  Don Q are very much against additives and have reacted with greatdon q gold rum review by the fat rum pirate enthusiasm to on online discussions when suggestions have been made that they add sugar etc.  My hydrometer test confirms this rum has no added sugar.  My nose does not detect anything suspicious either.

Don Q has long been a top seller in its native country and is popular in the US.  The trip to reach the UK has been a long one (via mainland Europe) so lets see if its all been worth it.

Don Q Gold is very light rum – straw would be the best way to describe its appearance.  Again I would be very surprised if it has been coloured it may have even lost some colour through the filtering.  So lets go onto the tasting and nosing.

The nose doesn’t really jump out at you.  Even after time to rest in the glass its difficult to pick much out. Sweet alcohol notes, a tiny hint of vanilla and maybe a touch of oak.

The nose isn’t really a surprise for me – younger lighter style “ron” is often like this.  The Spanish style of rum making is much lighter than say British style “rums” (I’m thinking of Pussers and those big fruity Demerara rums).  The lighter, cleaner and less “in your face” style probably explains why so many “rons” especially those from the Dominican Republic get away with being bottled at 38% ABV.  It doesn’t make much difference to the overall profile.

I’m in no way a rum snob but as I approach this Don Q Gold as a sipper I’m already sold on it being more of a mixer.  Whilst it is not unheard of to find a younger rum which is sippable (Appleton V/X, Chairman’s Reserve or Doorlys 5) I can’t think of any younger “rons” which have achieved this.  Even the Don Q website cites this a mixer.

DON Q GOLD rum review by the fat rum pirateIt’s not entirely unsippable – its quite young and a little bit sharp – you get sweetness but a fair hit of more metallic bitter notes.  It has a pretty muted, yet smooth mouthfeel and a very short finish. I personally wouldn’t sit and sip it but at least it is “real” rum – authentic and very much of its style.  Let’s try it mixed in a classic Cuban Cuba Libre.

In a rum and cola it is one of those rums which really smooths out the drink.  Giving a very nice balance.  Drinks like these slip down too easily!  The young rum in the blend gives this a bit more punch.  It’s not as subtle and as inoffensive as I first thought.  It packs a good rummy hit.  It’s sweet and still a little bit raw but I quite like that.

As a mixer Don Q Gold will do just nicely and I would imagine a bartender would find this rum to be very useful.  It is subtle enough to work well in most drinks calling for a gold rum yet it is has enough punch and flavour to lift those drinks out of the ordinary.  It has a nice hit of oak and some subtle spices which compliments nicely sweeter drinks.

In the £20-25 price bracket there is a lot of competition.  This is probably the best “ron” I have tried in the price bracket.  It is 100 times better than Brugal Anejo.  I’d certainly like to see it stocked on our supermarket shelves.

This “ron” has really piqued my interest in the brand and the Anejo is certainly now on my radar. I feel that their higher end rums is where I need to head to truly see how good Don Q can be.  I had heard good things from some very respected people in the industry about Don Q rum and I certainly haven’t been disappointed with this “entry level” effort.

3 stars

 

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