Ron Zacapa 23 vs Zaya Gran Reserva

I have tried several times now to determine whether Ron Zacapa 23-year-old is better than the Zaya Gran Reserva. My friend Phil has helped also. No matter what we do, no matter how many times we try, they are equally fantastic.

But, of course, they’re slightly different. The Ron Zacapa is sweeter, smoother, and slightly more complex with different flavors. The Zaya is richer, more on the full-bodied side, better balanced with similar flavors, and has a fantastic spicy finish.

The winner could change from day to day, so it all depends on the mood you’re in. For me, this generally depends on whether I’m in the mood for a sweet rum or not. I almost always prefer a sweet rum, so chances are very good that I’m going to reach for the Ron Zacapa. But there will be some days where I want a more full-bodied rum, and on those days I would tend to reach for the Zaya.

In the end, I would have to give the title to the Ron Zacapa, as I am more often in the mood for a sweet rums with many tastes.

But it’s very, very close.


19 Responses to “Ron Zacapa 23 vs Zaya Gran Reserva”

  1. marty gross Says:

    I have to say i totally agree with you. I worked in Guatemala for several years and fell in love with the Ron Zacappa. Now I’m back in Canada and the only rum I can find thats even remotely close to Ron Zacappa is the Zaya.
    they are so alike that in the beginning I thought it was the same, but now i can tell the difference. Are they made by the same company? And where in Canada could you find Ron Zacappa? Not that it really matters. I love them both! I would say they are the best rums on the planet and finding anything that compares to them is impossible…to my knowledge.

  2. Scottes Says:

    In Canada, the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission has it for $52.45, and the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation has it for $68.32. There could be others, though.

  3. rummy Says:

    i have tried both “ron zacappa” and “zaya” both are soooo great
    zacappa sweeter zaya fuller i think zaya taste more like rum
    imagine what a true pirate would drink!! zacappa almost tastes more like a brandy … these are the 2 best rums in the world
    but i want that sugar island pirate rum so i go with ” zaya”
    barrrrrrrrr !!!

  4. Mark Says:

    I had some Zaya rum in Nassau a few weeks ago and can’t find it anywhere. No distributors in Colorado, apparently, and I can’t find it online. Any suggestions?

  5. Scottes Says:

    You might be in the middle of their distribution issues. They just changed to Diageo. I can’t find it in Massachusetts right now. Hopefully it will all be better in a month or two.

    Chambers Wine & Liquors in Aurora is supposed to have it in stock.
    15260 East Iliff Avenue, Aurora, CO 80014
    Tel: 303-751-6935

  6. Rolley Says:

    I was really excited a few months back as part of the Zacapa range started importing to Australia more officially, it became available quickly and the price drops were amazing. The Zacapa XO (and might I say what a work of art it is) went from a steep $350/bottle to $225, and the 23 year old came in for $99 for the first time. Naturally I picked up the 23, and I really love it. I really appreciate this rum and loved the impact aging in old Pedro Ximenez and Sherry kegs has had on the rum.

  7. Motif Says:

    I looked online and I did not find any local stores where I could purchase this from. Could someone help me? I live in St. Petersburg, FL. Thanks 😉

  8. Jeremy Says:

    Rolley, where did you pick up the Zacapa in Australia? Have just started getting into rum and would love to try this one but most of the bottle shops near by just have bundy then white rums.

  9. Rolley Says:

    Ay Jeremy!
    I got it at Nicks in Melbourne, they deliver all over the state and you can buy online too, its .. in the menu go to the Spirits & Liqueres category, then to the Rum and Cachaca category.
    Unfortunately it JUST went up $20 a bottle too (for the blend Centenario) so its $120 now. The X.O. is mega expensive, I haven’t tried it : )
    Happy rummage!

  10. Jeremy Says:

    Thanks for that Rolley.

  11. dean kappen Says:

    try ron varadero..if there is a god..he made this

  12. Frank Says:

    I can’t find the 12 YO Zaya made in Guatemala anywhere around the
    North East US!
    I’ve been hearing rumors they were bought out and the whole operation moved to Trinidad! Moreover, I did find a Zaya 12 year made in Trinidad
    I wouldn’t think of sipping this swill again.
    I should’ve bought when my local store had the Guatemala in stock
    Are there any stores that may still have the Zaya I DeZaya?
    Thank in advance

  13. Chris from Canada Says:

    Ron Zacapa 23 Year Old Centenario is the Cognac of rums!
    Zacapa X.O. is okay but not comparable to 23 year old.
    I would rather buy two bottles of the 23 year old versus 1 bottle of X.O. (overpriced and you are paying for the fancy bottle)
    Zacapa 23 year old is now available duty free on Air Canada flights by special order.
    I have a person in Chicago who brings up a bottle several times a year.
    I would like to try Zaya rum…..perhaps during our next Guatemala rum and Cuban cigar night we will slip in some Zaya and see what the boys say. Bye for now.

  14. MGM Says:

    Vancouver BC (Canada) has been stocking the Zaya GR (Trinidad) and the RZC 23 for about a year now, at about $70 each. The Zacapa XO (my all time favourite) is nowhere to be seen, although I managed to pick some up in Europe. The closest locations to BC that I know of for purchasing the Zacapa XO are NYC airport and Mexico City airport. I’m going to be in LA soon but it is not available at LAX…is it available locally?

    • Chris from Ontario Canada Says:

      Sorry to say that Zacapa 23 year old is much better than XO. You are paying extra money for the fancy XO bottle. As for Zaya….the ladies in the neigbourhood love it because it has a sweet vanilla flavour. All us men prefer Zacapa 23 year old with a nice Cuban cigar. Zacapa is now available in Ontario at the LCBO. Very expensive though at $80.00. I bring it up from the USA at less than $35.00 USD.

      • Scottes Says:

        Well that’s your opinion Chris. But I think you have just not discovered, or been able to detect, the subtleties in the XO. If you can, you’d do yourself a service by sitting back and drinking both, comparing sip to sip, and make a serious attempt to detect the differences.

        I agree with you when you said you’d rather buy 2 bottles of 23 rather than a single XO. I’ll go further, and say that I’d rather buy 10 bottles of the 23 than one of the XO. Simply because I want to keep the XO special, and unique. If I drank the XO non-stop it would lose it’s charm, and the complexities would become commonplace and no longer unique. It would probably also ruin the 23 for me, since it would probably seem much blander than it really is.

  15. Chris from Ontario Canada Says:

    After almost one year later the boys in the neighbourhood agree Zacapa XO is not worth the price difference. You are paying for the bottle. XO is still great, not a sweet as the 23 but we all agree Zacapa 23 is hard to beat on taste and price.

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