Ron Zacapa Centenario Sistema Solera 23 Etiqueta Negra

Ron Zacapa Centenario Sistema Solera 23 Etiqueta Negra Review by the fat rum pirateRon Zacapa Centenario Sistema Solera 23 Etiqueta Negra. This is a rum which you will probably struggle to find in this particular form now. It was a limited edition release primarly for the German and Italian market. It was released to replace the “Black Label” Ron Zacapa 23 and has itself been superseded by Edicion Negra.

This rum is essentially Ron Zacapa Centenario Sistema Solera 23, with an extra finish in heavily charred casks. The ABV has also been beefed up a little It retailed at around €80 for a 70cl bottle, possibly 1 litre bottles are also available, as I understand this was available through Global Retail i.e. Airports Duty Free) and it was bottled at 43% ABV.

For those who have been living in a cave for the past few years or are just new to rum here is my review of the original Ron Zacapa Centenario Sistema Solera 23 rum.

Presentation wise you can’t really knock Zacapa rums they always look very exclusive and very premium, with all the knobs and whistles you might expect from such “premium” releases.

Ron Zacapa also have a few fairy stories about their rums and as it stands they still deny any additives in their rum. This offering measured 28 g/L of such additions.

Ron Zacapa rums are produced on column stills using molasses and “sugar cane honey” (dehydrated sugar cane juice). The overall blend of rum is produced in a Solera System and the 23 on the label is the age of the oldest rum in the blend. By the sheer volume of rum Ron Zacapa produce it is unlikely a great deal of this rum will be 23 years old.

In the glass we have a dark brown spirit with an orange hue. Charred casks or no charred casks, I suspect some colouring has been used with this rum.

On the nose it is a sweet, fruity spirit. I was expecting a lot more oak on the profile but instead I am getting chocolate covered cherries, red wine, port, raisins and quite a lot of sugar syrup like notes.

Further nosing reveals some spices – a touch of ginger and some milky sweet coffee. For me the nose is far to sweet and confected. Glycerin shouts out at me and it all smells a touch artificial.

Sipped, it’s not as bad as the nose. It has a very herbal note to it, slightly vegetal but there is a lot of sweetness overlying the initial taste. It’s very sweet, kind of like a young bourbon in many ways. Lots of vanilla and sweet sugary syrup.

I don’t recall Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 Sistema Solera being as sweet as this – but it may well have been. It’s been around 3 years since I last tried any. I’m in no real rush to try anymore.

Ron Zacapa Centenario Sistema Solera 23 Etiqueta Negra Review by the fat rum pirateTo be honest this rum just doesn’t do anything for me. It’s sweet and sticky on the entry. The mid palate is slightly spicy but it all very quickly fades into a very light and very short finish. It’s all very boring to be honest. It sips easily and it is smooth but that’s down to the additives, rather than any real distilling skill or quality in the actual spirit. It’s sugary and thin and basically just not particularly good.

Even the more respectable ABV of 43% does little to help this rum. It’s thin and sweet and just lacks any real depth or body or any excitement. The charred oak doesn’t really add all that much to this in terms of the profile. It’s all just a bit weak overall.

I think like a lot of you reading this, I have gone way past this type of rum in terms of what I want or expect from “Premium” rum. It may be time to re-visit the original Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 review. I thought I might prefer this as it promised a less sweet profile.

Oh well. Never mind.






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