Ron Botran Añejo

After my disappointment earlier tonight with the Barrows’ Grand Reserve, I decided to try another rum. For some reason I had the Westerhall plantation Rum in mind, but I left that at camp. I passed by the Ron Zacapa Centenario 23-year-old, since I want to try new things. But my eyes lit upon the recently-acquired Ron Botran Añejo which is produced by the same distillery as the Zacapa.

Two things immediately amazed me about this rum – it’s a 12-year-old, and it was only $14. Now this immediately makes me wonder about the age stamp, but many sites list this as a 12-year-old. Or an 8-year-old. It’s somewhat confusing. This is the label on the bottle that I have. The Industrias Licoreras De Guatemala website shows completely different labels – though the Ron Botran Añejo 12-year-old has a black label, while the 8-year-old is mostly white. RonZacapaCentenario.com – actually run by the Rawlins & Sons exporters – shows the same label I have and lists it as the 12-year-old. Yet I’ve seen conflicting indications that the bottle I have might be the 8-year-old.

If you could take a look at my label and confirm whether this is the 8 or 12 I’d certainly appreciate it.

Initial Tastes
The rum is a relatively dark golden color, with a distinct green ring on the edges. The smell is strong, not so much of rum, and not sweet. Interesting. The taste is dry, quick, and crisp. Somewhat spicy, and it tingles a bit after the finish. The finish is a little odd – it seems very quick but I realize that 90% of it goes quickly while a very faint finish lingers for a while longer. I’m just not getting a lot of rum taste here, though.

I rinsed my mouth with water, and let my taste buds rest a bit. A sip, a swoosh, and a slow swallow finds a lot more flavor, but it’s still not strong of rum. It’s got a bit of a burn, not unpleasant, but for $14 I don’t expect to put this in a “sipping” category so it’s fine.

Time for some water and/or some breathing.

A Little Water
A touch of water helps, but it’s easy to over-do it and flatten it. It takes very little water to make this fairly boring, so I tried again and added just a few drops. It doesn’t do a lot for the flavor, but it does smooth it a bit. I wouldn’t say that water is worthwhile, so I’ll let it breathe a bit.

By the way, this cap is annoying as hell. It’s got one of those pour spouts like in the Ron Zacapa, but it won’t pour until I shake the bottle. Quite annoying.

A Breather
Breathing helped a little. A 10-minute rest (which was probably longer than necessary) has mellowed it a bit and brought out more tastes, slightly. There’s still nothing to gloat about here.

Summary
Ron Botran Añejo is another weird rum in my book. I have no doubt that it’s a steal at $14, but it’s just not flavorful enough for me. I don’t know what I’d do with it. While it is within sippable range, it doesn’t taste enough like rum to make it worthwhile. And if it doesn’t taste much like rum then what rum cocktail would make use of it? I think it’s another rum destined to be used in a rum punch where the fruit overcomes.

But I should mark this own to try again another day.

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