Pampero Aniversario Reserva Exclusiva

Pampero Aniversario Reserva Exclusiva rum review by the fat rum pirateHere we have the cream of the crop of the Pampero line.  Aniversario Reserva Exclusiva.  For those not familiar with Pampero the other rums in the line up are the Pampero Anejo Especial and the difficult to find Pampero Seleccion 1938.  I have experience of the Anejo but I have yet to try the 1938.  It is very much a bottle which if I see I will buy instantly, such is its rarity in the UK and online.

Pampero Aniversario was one of the first sipping rums I encountered on my rum “journey”.  I will freely admit that with next to no knowledge of rum I bought the rum based solely on the packaging.

I was actually on holiday at the time and was cruising around the Mediterranean.  Gibraltar makes for an excellent stop for a little duty free shopping.  I was able to pick up this and a Barceló Imperial for little over £12 each.  Bargainous. The rum was present in most stores and came housed in a little leather sack.  It reminded me a little of a marble bag I had as a child.  From what I gather it is similar to bags used by pirates to keep their gold dubloons in.  Well it makes for a good story so I’ll stick with that. The short squat bottle reminded me instantly of my beloved Chairman’s and the deal was done.  A leather bag and a stubby bottle and thefatrumpirate was sold.

The rum was first produced in 1963 to celebrate the companies 25th Aniversary.  The company in question being Industrias Pampero C.A.  The bottle I am reviewing today found itself in the UK via DOI S.P.A who bottle the rum in Italy.  I’m sure I read somewhere that the Pampero group is now owned by Diageo. Pampero Aniversario Reserva Exclusiva rum review by the fat rum pirateI like the presentation of this rum very much. As the picture shows the rum is finished off with a very nice plastic topped real cork stopper which gives a very satisfying pop when the rum is opened.  Despite the deceptive size of the bottle it does contain 70cl of rum and is 40% ABV.  In the UK the rum retails at anywhere between £32 and £45.  I paid £34.99 for this bottle. One thing I did notice about the rum is the slight changes in the presentation.  To be fair if I hadn’t kept the bottle and the leather pouch I may not have noticed them. The original bottle came housed in a pouch which had the Pampero information pressed into the bag.  The present day bottle has the information printed upon the bag.  I found the original bag to be slightly classier. Also the label has changed a little and it too looks slightly cheaper.  These cosmetic changes are not really much of an issue but they are there.  I only hope the contents haven’t also been downgraded!  I will concede that the bolting horse has been upgraded and made into a golden horse on the new presentation.

Pampero Aniversario Reserva Exclusiva rum review by the fat rum pirateSo how is the rum?  Well that’s the important part.  When I first tasted the Pampero Aniversario I wasn’t sure what to make of it.  My rum experience was pretty limited and I seem to remember I did what I often did back in the day.  I drank it with ice and cola.  From memory I very much enjoyed it that way and the rum was gone a lot quicker than I would have liked.  Over 100 rums on I wonder quite how I will now receive the rum.

First up I’m going to do what I never did with the first bottle and actually nose the spirit.  Now perhaps Venezeula’s most famous rum is another Reserva Exclusiva – Diplomatico.  Other notable rums are the Santa Teresa line.  Pampero are definitely more in keeping with the Santa Teresa rums than the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva.

The nose is similar (but more intense) to the Pamero Anejo.  The Pampero rums have quite a unique nose.  I’ve heard of Dominican rums having a certain “twang” to them.  I feel the Pamperos also have a unique aroma.  In some ways it is quite light and buttery – similar to aged Cuban rums but at the same time there is a richness to the nose as well.  It isn’t fruity but it is rich.  There is a sweet note almost like dark chocolate.  It’s a pleasant nose which suggests good ageing and there is a light oak to the nose which is well balanced.  It is all coming together very nicely.

A sip of the rum, which I also neglected to do with the first bottle reveals a rum which is not chasing after the current fad of super sweet premium rums.  I would imagine that little has changed in the construction of this rum since its inception in 1963.  It would be easy to put Pampero (especially in light of the Anejos presence in style and cocktail bars) in the same bracket as the “Premium” rums such as Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, Ron Zacapa and Pyrat XO.  It certainly ticks a lot of the boxes with its appearance alone.

Doing this however. is doing the Aniversario (and Pampero in general) aPampero Aniversario Reserva Exclusiva rum review by the fat rum pirate disservice.  When sipped it is clear that most of the flavour in this rum is gained by skilful blending and ageing.  I’m not detecting much alteration of the spirit.  There may be a little sugar added but certainly it seems this is a classic and authentic rum.  There is no age statement so I do not know how old the rums are in the blend.  My experience would tell me that the vast majority of the rum in this blend is 10 years and upwards or between 8 and 12 years.  Some people have an issue with rums that do not have age statements.  Some people have issue with rum that do have age statements.  I see it this way.  If I pay a certain amount for a rum then I have a minimal expectation of it.  If it falls below that, then it isn’t worth the money.  Mount Gay Extra Old has no age statement.  I pay around £35 for a bottle.  Regardless of the age of the rum inside I feel I get more than my moneys worth.  Likewise with Foursquares bottlings.  The skill is in the blending not the age of the spirit necessarily.

The rum is very smooth and easy to sip.  There is little by way of any alcohol burn and it really does coat the taste buds with rich deep flavours.  It reminds me very much of a good high cocoa content dark chocolate.  Sweet yet slightly bitter with occasional hints of fruity flavour.  The aged spirit gives a little smokiness and a slightly woody or perhaps leathery finish.  In Dave Brooms book “Rum” he refers to one rum as “like old leather armchairs”.  I kind of get that kind of vibe with this rum.

To try and describe this rum stylistically is very difficult.  The best I can really go with is a kind of beefed up Cuban/Spanish style rum.  It has that sort of oily/smokey twang but it also has a big slab of rich flavour which is often so lacking in the lighter Cuban style.  It’s not a million miles from Ron Zacapa.  For the record I do not consider Ron Zacapa to be anywhere near as sweet as many make out.  Maybe a few years ago it was but now, no not for me.

As a nostalgia trip I’m going to mix the rum with ice and cola and maybe a squeeze of lime.  (The 2015 me is regretting this as I’m already half way down the bottle!).  Yes its very nice.  I now know though that it is better on its own!

No need to mix this little beauty.

4.5 stars




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