Don Q Gran Anejo

Don Q Gran Anejo rum review by the fat rum pirateDon Q Gran Anejo is a top of the range sipping rum from Puerto Rican domestic powerhouse Serralles.

The Gran Anejo is a blend of rums aged up to 12 years from Serralles aged stocks.  It is noted (unsurprisingly) that these are amongst their “finest” aged stocks.

Puerto Rico is perhaps best known for being one of Bacardi Internationals rum producing nations.  Their flagship rum Bacardi Superior is produced there.  However the Serralles family have been producing rum on the island since 1865.

Unlike many producers the Don Q website is more like a history lesson than a fairy story.  You feel you are getting a truthful recollection of actual events rather than some marketing fable.  The brand has recently undergone a makeover to modernise the range and they have expanded from distribution in mainland Europe, Spain in particular to the UK as well.  We currently have four expressions available here in the UK.

As well as producing a white mixing rum Cristal Don Q have three “dark” rums available which gradually increase in age.  Don Q Gold, Don Q Anejo and Don Q Gran Anejo.  Like the website it’s all very clear and honest.  Each rum states the age of the rums in the blend and its also noted on the bottle that Caramel colouring is added.  There are no additives such as sugar, glycerin or any suspect “finishing” techniques.  As a company they are very clear on their rum being “pure”.  Which is in my book always a good thing and makes a rum so much easier to review!

Presentation wise the Gran Anejo is totally different to the other three rums in the current UK line up.  It is a very nice decanter style bottle with a very substantial glass topped synthetic cork stopper.  The bottle gives information on the age of the rum and a little piece on the Serralles family.  The stopper is sealed initially with a paper ribbon which leads down to a rather strange “medal” on the neck of the decanter.

The medal is a Five Star Diamond Award from The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences (wtf?).  I’m not entirely sure what to make of it to be honest.

Don Q Gran Anejo rum review by the fat rum pirateDon Q rums are produced using column distillation.  All the rum is distilled 5 times and all of Don Q’s rums are aged in American Oak for at least 12 months. A 70cl bottle should set you back around £60 in the UK.

It is often felt that pot still rum is more flavourful and arguably better than column distilled rum.  Whilst pot or pot/column rum can very often produce more flavour than most column only distilled rums, I could give examples such as Admiral Rodney from St Lucia Distillers or Panama single cask rum from UK Independent bottler Mezan, as two examples of when column only rum is every bit the match for pot or pot/column distilled rum.

So there is as much background as I have been able to establish (please read the Serralles site as well – its very interesting) so lets get down to tasting the juice inside the fancy bottle!

In the glass the rum is a golden brown.  The nose is quite a familiar rum nose.  A sweet almost perfumed like aroma is followed by some oak, a little spice and a lovely waft of light vanilla. A little leather, tobacco and even some dark chocolate.  Each nosing reveals more – the sweet alcohol heavy initial notes subside giving way to a much more balanced nose.

Don Q Gran Anejo rum review by the fat rum pirateSipping Don Q Gran Anejo is a real joy.  It is every bit as well balanced as the Gold and the Anejo yet it displays much more flavour and complexity.  It mixes all the best aspects of a light Bajan rum with a more robust leathery Cuban style rum.

The initial sip gives a sweet yet slightly peppery entry.  This gives way to some very nicely put together slightly spicy aged oak and bourbon like sweet/sour flavours.  Running alongside these flavours is a subtly creamy vanilla note which runs right through the rum. The finish is long and peppery but you never get any burn from this rum.  Despite not being overly sweet, the rum is very moresish and very satisfying.  The complexity they have achieved is to be applauded.

I sometimes wonder if I am getting too generous with my scoring.  When I do feel that way I sometimes consider adopting a more complex scoring system.  When I do this I soon give my head a quick wobble, realise I cannot differentiate between a 92 point scoring rum and a 93.

And neither will any of you and more importantly, I hope none of you worry too much about the difference between a 5 star rating and 4.5. Often the reasoning is not entirely logical.

This is a fantastic rum either way.  A lesson in proper rum creation

4.5 stars

 

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