Ron Vigia Gran Reserva 18 Anos

Ron Vigia Gran Reserva 18 Anos Rum Review by the fat rum pirateRon Vigia are a Cuban rum brand.  After that it all gets a bit more complicated. Once again trying to research a Cuban Rum is difficult – to be honest at times it gets pretty annoying. Nevertheless I’ve done my best and tried to patch together the limited information I can get about this Communist Export.

First up Ron Vigia is named after one of Cuba’s most famous rum drinkers – Ernest Hemingway.  No first of all Hemingway was American and secondly as you can probably already guess…..his name wasn’t Vigia.  Still this doesn’t mean there isn’t some tenuous link there.

Ernest Hemingway resided at a farm southeast of Havana that was called “La Vinca Vigia” or in English “The Lookout”.  The Hemingway coat of arms (the Red Emblem) is on the bottle/box.

Ron Vigia is a brand which is produced by the Cuban Ministry of Sugar under the producer name TecnoAcuzar.  Ron Vigia Gran Reserva 18 anos sees 4,500 bottles produced each year.  My bottle appears to hail from “lot” number 9 in 2011.  It is noted as coming from Bodega Vigia.  Lance over at the Lone Caner reviewed the Gran Anejo and noted that it was produced from Sugar Syrup rather than molasses.  Quite what that really means I’m not sure.  A lot I feel is lost in translation when we converse with our South/Central American rum producers. Some unintentional some I believe to be very deliberate……

From what I can gather Ron Vigia is produced at the same distillery as Ron Mulata the fifty year old distillery of Heriberto Duquesne, which is located in the central region of Cuba at Villa Clara.

Ron Vigia is matured in 180 litre ex-Bourbon barrels and is made from aquavit and sugar cane syrup.  As I said information is confusing and contrasting.

Ron Vigia initially looks like a very attractive package.  A distinctive shaped bottle with a strong brand identity.  However, the cardboard sleeve is very flimsy and the cap is plastic with a diffuser in it.  I don’t really mind a diffuser but it does seem a bit cheap.   In the UK a bottle of Ron Vigia 18 Anos will set you back around £75.  It is bottled at 40%.  Presentation wise it is very Cuban with the “Garantia” green sticker very prominent.Ron Vigia Gran Reserva 18 Anos Rum Review by the fat rum pirate

I picked this up in Gibraltar for considerably less than £75 – I bought it on impulse as I was curious to see what it was like.  It is marketed very much as a fine Cuban Cigar Rum.  The age statement is likely reflecting the oldest rum in the blend.  Aside from being produced from sugar syrup this is a column distilled rum.

So without any more concrete information we may as well get on with assessing this Cuban Rum and seeing what its like.

In the glass it is a light brown slightly washed out colour.  It isn’t particularly vibrant.   On the nose you are given a very familiar slightly grainy, sweet Cuban style nose.  Dark Chocolate, Toffee and a touch of tobacco mix readily alongside more sweeter floral notes.  It is almost a little agricole like – slightly grassy and vegetal.

It has a kind of sickly sweet note which I have noted in Havana Club rums before. There is a smokiness and a some tar but its coated by sweet brown sugar.  Making it slightly cloying.

Sipped Ron Vigia Gran Reserva is sweet and smoky.  Some grassy notes are present. It’s pretty complex but it’s not particularly elegant.  It’s too flowery for my palate.  The tobacco and smoke are there along with some spiced from the oak but its all a little disjointed.  There is a sweetness running over this which jars with the otherwise quite dry profile.

The finish is perhaps the best part when things seem to integrate a little better.  It’s a nice spicy finish with a lot of oak and a good length.

But unfortunately what goes before that rather lets it down.  It’s not a terrible example of a Cuban rum but I’ve had better at a fraction of the price.  Although this is an 18 year old rum and it dRon Vigia Gran Reserva 18 Anos Rum Review by the fat rum pirateoesn’t have a great deal of alcohol burn it does display a lot of youthfulness.  It just doesn’t taste very old.  All a bit too sweet with a minty taste which reminds me of toothpaste.

It’s a very curious rum and whilst it is in many way typically Cuban it seems to head off in other stranger directions as well.  It’s all just a little bit confused.

Which is how its leaving me in terms of a review. I don’t dislike this rum particularly. Some days I really enjoy it.  Sadly though more often than not I just find it all a bit of a muddled mess.

A pretty difficult rum to really judge – I could understand why people may enjoy this style.  I’m just left wondering quite what I’m really drinking.

A very strange very distinctive rum but alas not one of my personal favorurites.  Maybe a cigar would help?

Not bad as such but not for me.  I won’t be buying it again.







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2 comments on “Ron Vigia Gran Reserva 18 Anos

  1. Saw this rum online before and considered buying it a few times.
    However due to the lack of info regarding this rum I hadnt ordered it, as for me Spanish style rums can be a bit of a hit or miss. Will probably not bother with this unless I can try it myself first and I rate it significantly better.

    • I’d have given you a drop but I’d had the bottle a while and its all gone now

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