Ron Zacapa XO Centenario Solera Gran Reserva Especial

Ron Zacapa XO Rum review by the fat rum pirateRon Zacapa XO is the “super premium” addition to the regular Ron Zacapa range.  There are many others yearly variations on the rum but this one along with the Sistema Solera 23 has been available for a number of years now.

I’m sure we are all aware of the marketing and the awards Ron Zacapa have won over the years.  Not to mention the criticism the brand has come in for due to the sugar additions to their rums.  Zacapa holds the accolade of being widely recognised as “one of the best rums in the world” on one hand whilst seen as the devil itself by many within the rum community.

A bottle of this coming in at 40% an unspectacular ABV of will set you back anywhere from £80 to £120 in the UK.

I personally don’t mind Zacapa 23 – I think its overpriced for what it is but it makes a decent enough sweet sipper and mixes pretty well.

As with the 23 this is a Solero blend of rums.  The XO rather than being a mix of 6 to 23 year old rums is actually a mix of 6 to 25 year old rums.  So it is a slight step up from the 23.  Like the 23 it also features some added sugar, the results of which can be found on my Hydrometer tests page.

The presentation of the XO is spectacular with a beautiful crystal like decanter with embossed metal labelling and a beautiful box to store the rum, with a few notes on the rum and its heritage.  At this kind of price you really should be getting top notch presentation.  It’s very much a rum you could imagine a non rum drinker buying for a rum lover as a present.  It’s very eye catching and its appearance does suggest quality.Ron Zacapa XO Rum Review by the fat rum pirate

Pouring the rum it reveals itself as a dark mahogany colour with flashes of red and orange.  It’s very dark both in the bottle and the glass.

The nose is sweet, dark chocolate with bursts of sweet citrus notes.  It is rich with coffee notes and a little tobacco.  There is also a brandy like intensity about the nose.  Hints of leather and oak ageing.  It is reminiscent of the 23 with that distinctive Zacapa like sweet note.  It’s a complex and very rich nosing experience and something which will certainly appeal to a lot of rum drinkers.

Moving onto a tasting.  This is much richer than the 23 with a lot more citrus notes.  In some ways I found the 23 to be very slightly vegetal (slightly agricole like in some respects) however this rum has huge notes of Christmas Pudding.  It reminds me very much of Bristol Classic Rum’s Black Spiced.  This is very sweet and to my mind it is practically a spiced rum.

On the other hand the XO does have quite a lot going on.  As well as the strong Christmas pudding notes of orange peel ginger, cinnamon and plump brandy infused dried fruits it also has a slightly dry almost sweet and sour note which is common in Bourbon.  I kind of Sour Mash feel going on with it as well.

Ron Zacapa XO Rum review by the fat rum pirateThere is sweet mocha like coffee along with a little tobacco but really the sweetness overall dominates.  The rum doesn’t taste aged because it is so sweet.  Any tobacco or oak notes are lost in the sweetness.

Zacapa does not itself as being produced using “sugar cane honey” and that’s very appropriate because this rum really is as sweet as honey! Unsurprisingly the finish is very smooth and it slips down all too easily.  It’s very much in the sweet and smooth camp – heavily sugared (and possibly other tricks going on as well)

It is better than the 23 overall but it probably isn’t worth double the money.  Nor is it something I would go out and buy again.  It’s just not my thing anymore.  It’s too sweet and I would be looking elsewhere at this kind of price.

3 stars





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One comment on “Ron Zacapa XO Centenario Solera Gran Reserva Especial

  1. More added sugar, vanillin, glycerine… 🙂 And the age – well, they may say up to 25yo, I doubt this is the truth. WHo knows..

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