Legendario’s Elxir de Cuba is perhaps the most confusing bottle of rum in the world. Which in itself meant I had to get a hold of this Cuban curiosity for a review.
I picked the Legendario up on a visit to Spain, I had been curious about their rums for some time. I was especially curious about this 7 Year Old rum.
You see, this is because Legendario Elixir de Cuba is not a rum at all. Nor do I think the product in the bottle is 7 years old. Certainly not all of it anyway.
So how exactly do Legendario get away with this? And why is this drink nearly always stocked alongside the regular rums? Even online you’ll find this in the rum section many times. Let me explain.
By law Cuban rum must contain no more than 20g/L of added sugar. If it does contain more than this it must be labelled as an “Elixir” and not a rum. However once you put the lovely little Cuban flag, the 7 on the neck of this bottle and relegate the “Elixir de Cuba” to the middle of the label in smaller red lettering, it is easy to understand how people are being confused. Retailers also do not help labelling this as a 7 Year Old Cuban Rum.
If you scratch a little below the surface (and believe me some Rum Reviewers have been unable to do so) you will soon realise this isn’t a fantastic Cuban 7 Year Old rum at all.
It is as explained earlier, an “Elixir”. When I ran the Hydrometer Test on this rum it returned a negative result. It is so full of sugar and additives I could not get the hydrometer to bob at all.
Legendario’s Elixir de Cuba is a rum punch of sorts. It is produced using rum/aguardiente aged up to 7 years infused with sweetened extracts of grapes, raisins and other dried fruits. It is then reduced in ABV with demineralized water.
Legendario’s rums are extremely popular in Spain. Much of the marketing seems to focus on that demographic. I am not entirely sure if their rums are marketed under the Legendario brand in Cuba. I suspect not.
Ron Legendario was established in Cuba in 1946. It was first produced in a distillery in the historic district of Havana Bocoy, in a building dating back to the 15th century. Ron Legendario is now produced in six factories across Cuba in Matanzas, Villa Clara, Havana and three in Pinar del Rio.
Information from one of their distributors indicates that the rums in the Elixir de Cuba are a minimum of 7 years old. As Legendario use the Solera system I am little sceptical about this.
If you are in Spain you should be able to pick up a bottle of this for around 14 euros. In the UK a bottle will cost between £25-30. It is bottled at 34% ABV which in hindsight was probably another clue that all was not as it seemed with this “rum”. The presentation as mentioned earlier, is quite nice – I like the cloth Cuban flag and the dark tall tapered bottled is attractive. It does stand out on the shelf especially when you have a few of the Legendario range alongside each other.
So there is all the information I could track down, lets see how this tastes.
It is impossible to tell from the bottle what colour the elixir is. When poured the elixir is a very dark brown – like a cola. It sticks to the plastic diffusor leaving behind some brown residue. When first opened you get a bit of a crack and grind of the screw cap and you can actually hear some sugar solids grinding against the cap and bottle.
In the glass the elixir is very thick and viscous. It clings to the sides and when swirled takes some time to fully return back to the bottom of the glass. It’s clear its a liqueur of sorts.
A nosing reveals few surprises. It smells like an El Dorado Demerara tuned upto the maximum in terms of brown sugar and raisin. There is a very slight twang of leather and oil, so the Cuban rum does show itself a little. Further nosing reveals sweet sugary notes – Coca Cola maybe Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut Chocolate.
It is unquestionably a liqueur. A very sugary one at that. The grape and raisin extracts must be very syrupy and very intense.
Sipping the rum is very much an after dinner experience. The elixir is even sweeter than it smelt. It reminds me of drinking the last swig of coffee where the sugar has settled at the bottom of the cup.
What little of the 7 year old rum you can taste is not entirely pleasant. The only thing the sugary raisin flavour doesn’tseem to mask is a slightly dry, grainy tobaaco/petrol note which appears in the finish. It’s quite a odd sensation and pretty grainy.
For me this drink is simply to sweet and far to cloying to enjoy. It’s gloopy, very oily and sickly. Even when you mix it with cola you can still taste the sugar. It reminds me very much of regular Coca Cola which I just can’t drink. I can only really stomach the diet version.
It also puts me in mind of Ron El Prohibido. A rum which is bottled after being aged in Raisin Wine barrels. That had a sweet yet strange after taste as well. I’m not a massive fan of this either from a Rum point of view (which it definitely isn’t) or as liqueur. It is simply far too sweet for all but the most sweet toothed person.