Don Q Cristal

Don Q Cristal Rum Review by the fat rum pirateDon Q Cristal is the brands entry level white rum.  Don Q hail from Puerto Rico like Bacardi.  Like Bacardi they also distill their rums using column distillation.  Unlike Bacardi they are quite well thought of particularly in their native country.

Around 18 months ago Don Q had a major re-brand and began marketing and distributing their rums to wider global audience.  Don Q’s range is now readily available in the UK through mail order and sprinkling of stores.  I’ve previously reviewed their “dark” rum range but never quite got around to writing about the Cristal.

Presentation wise the bottle shape is the same as the Gold and Anejo.  Its a nice shapely bottle and the metal screw cap is good quality.  The presentation is fairly minimalist but the branding is good and it does stand out from a lot of other white rums.

I’ve been trying a few more white rums lately – venturing more into agricoles as well.  I generally find white rums to work quite well as agreeable mixers and in cocktails.  Very rarely have I found a white rum which can be sipped.

Don Q Cristal is a blend of rums some aged upto 5 years old.  The rum is multi distilled.  As mentioned already Don Q’s method of distillation is column.  Don Q are also advocates of “no additives” in their rums.  They welcome Hydrometer Testing and greater transparency in general.

A clear spirit in every sense of the word.  No signs of oak ageing – no doubt heavily filtered to meet the general expectation of a white/clear rum.

Don Q Cristal Rum Review by the fat rum pirateIt’s always amused me that White rum isn’t actually white but hey ho this is rum.

I’ve seen this particular rum be noted as a good alternative to vodka in cocktails – which frankly is not something I would be looking for in a white rum.  I want a white rum which adds some nice flavour to a long drink – not something neutral which does little.  Even Don Q’s official website states this can be used as a vodka substitute.

The nose is not particularly impressive.  It’s very light and quite thin.  There is a sweetness but it is more that of young alcohol than any real defined aromas.  Nosing deeper you might pick out a little zest maybe the faintest hint of lemon.  Being honest there isn’t a great deal there.  It is quite neutral.

Sipped it offers a little more.  It is surprisingly “smooth” and quite easy to sip.  It’s not young and rough.  It does give the lips a bit of a tingle but its pretty pleasant rather than harsh and metallic tasting.  The sweetness from the rum is very sugary rather than fruity.  You feel you are getting cane flavour rather than anything else.  It is quite neutral and there isn’t a great deal (good or bad) going on with this rum.

Mixed in long drinks it needs to be in more delicate drinks – no point dousing it with cola.  My wife who is vodka drinker can always tell the difference between this and a vodka and lemonade or coke but in all honesty I struggle to notice much difference.  My wife suggests this is a lot sweeter and has a slightly different smell.

This white rum doesn’t do anything wrong but at the same time it doesn’t much right either.  I’ve had much worse tasting white rum but I’ve had few that are quite as neutral in terms of taste.

Some of the rum in this blend is 5 years old so its clear that to get the translucent white rum they have filtered the life out of it.  Disappointing.



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