Last week at a rum tasting the presenter opened with a line designed to get everyone’s attention. “I’ve yet to find a white rum that I like,” he said, and proceeded to pour one of the smoothest, most refined white rums available today. But that was last week, and things change – or sometimes they simply appear to change, for it was simply a lack of experience that brought about that sentence.

For I have found a white rum that I like. Oronoco.

Now that sentence from the tasting is harsh and it was used for dramatic effect, but it’s not a complete lie. The white rums of my past have primarily been mixing rums, yet sipping rums are my true passion. Out of the 25 or 30 white rums that have passed my lips neatly there’s only one other that could be called a sipping rum, Prichard’s Crystal. But Prichard’s lacks any extreme rum tastes and gets its “sipping” title because of it smoothness and refinement. Oronoco, on the other hand, has a pleasant aroma and slightly fruity, floral tastes followed by a relatively clean finish spiked with flavor.

Oronoco Rum

This rum is produced in the mountains of Brazil from fresh-cut sugar cane juice distilled in a traditional copper pot still. It is further refined with multiple passes in a column still, and then mixed with aged Venezuelan rum which gives it a slight tint. Finally, this mix is married by resting in casks of native Brazilian hardwood called Amendam. This intricate process brings this rum several fine highlights: the crisp tastes and aromas typical to cachaça, sweet flavors and finish from the aged rum, and some unique undertones from the unusual wood used for the final resting casks. The final product is quite unique as a result, smooth enough to sip and tasty enough to enjoy.

An Initial Taste

The initial smells are slightly fruity with hints of floral tones and slight whiffs of molasses and vanilla underneath. The fruity and floral aromas hint of cachaça rather lightly while still allowing Oronoco to possess natural rum characteristics. This rum would not surprise someone who’s not used to cachaça – in fact such a person would probably accept these smells naturally. A small sip shows a slight sweetness and a touch of peppery spiciness, but little heat from the alcohol. A larger sip continues these trends and shows a nice balance since everything is quite clean and light in the mouth. The finish is a little short, but this is relative because it seems somewhat long for a white rum. A bit of wood appears in the finish along with reminders of vanilla again.


This is a very unique rum, and one well worth sipping. In fact it’s been sipped quite a bit tonight, since it’s a white rum that I like. Though pricey at $35 one must remember that this is a full liter, which brings it down to approximately $26 for 750ml. At this price Oronoco is most certainly worthwhile. While expensive for a mixing rum this has the potential to make some exciting cocktails. I would not think twice about using it in a daiquiri or another drink which would let the rum shine.

In any case, at any price, it’s an exquisite white sipping rum which holds an esteemed place on my shelf.


15 Responses to “Oronoco”

  1. Adam Says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. What a beautiful rum it is! We make it in a mojito with a little Navan, whose real madagascar vanilla bean flavor brings out the flavors of Oronoco. Its muddled with fresh limes, mint, and a dash of simple syrup, and its the silkiest smoothest mojito you’ve ever tasted, hence the name “Velvet Mojito”

    And Ill agree with you, the first white that I would actually sip on a regular basis. (an addition to your prichards, the montecristo white is quite nice neat)

  2. Rick Says:

    I can actually special order this in PA. Nice!

    I’d be very interested to see how it works in something like the Fog Cutter.

    Adam, your “Velvet Mojito” sounds quite tasty. Do you prefer it to one with a bit more bite?

  3. Scottes Says:

    While I generally prefer my Mojitos with a little bite, this Velvet Mojito sounds like a different beast. Navan is very nice, and the combination sounds delicious.

    Montecristo White… I need to get my hands on some…

  4. Adam Says:


    Diageo is the distributor in PA for Oronoco.

    All of our Mojitos have a bite, as we juice them all with 2 oz of rum and only a splash of soda. I like to marry my mojitos between strong and overwhelming with sweet and smooth. I am notorious for my mojitos on the sweeter side, but you can always have one less sweet. If bitters is your cup of tea, we’ll add that too.

    My mojitos aren’t traditional, more they are delicious. Id rather sell 500 mojitos a week that thrive on their taste than if I sold 150 that were authentic to great mojitos destinations like The Parrot Club in Old San Juan.

  5. David Says:

    Hi Scotty

    I recently bought my first bottle of O a couple of weeks ago, about $37 for 750ml at BevMo in California, a low-price booze chain (Ten Cane on sale for $30, for example). I find it to be very much at the sweet/caramel/vanilla end of the spectrum, a little too sweet for seady sipping, I am going to try it in a sour with some citrus and egg white for froth and no Cointreau or anything to sweeten.



  6. Dood Says:

    Great review. I meant to go pick up a bottle at BevMo or Hi Time this weekend but it didn’t pan out.

    And the Velvet Mo sounds like something I’m going to have to try out in the very near future.

    ~ Dood

  7. Dr. Bamboo Says:

    Sold! Now I just have to find it.
    This is a recording.

  8. Scottes Says:


    From Adam’s post above: “Diageo is the distributor in PA for Oronoco.”

    So you can get it in Pennsylvania. Somehow…

  9. Oronoco Rum: History, Tasting Notes, Cocktails, Video & Reviews « The Intoxicologist Is In Says:

    […] Scottesrum begins with “I have found a white rum that I like. Oronoco.” in the opening paragraphs to set the tone of the review.  […]

  10. Straightsippin Says:

    I’m a new convert to Oronoco, as of 5/10. I recently read and participated in a thread in Ministry of Rum where a poster wrote that the current product is nowhere as good as older Oronoco, suggesting possibly that the methods have changed.

    I ask you to try a new bottle and let me know if the taste is what you remember from this review. I think the current product is fine, but others have been told otherwise.

    Many thanks!


  11. Donald Says:

    Picked up a bottle because the store owner, and my wife, suggested it. Took my first sip and fell in love. Unlike any rum I have ever sipped. My only concern is the effect it will have. I like to drink from time to time, and appreciate the taste, but ultimately, I love the after effects. As I am writing this after my second shot, it is too early to comment on that. But for $19 for a liter (owner got an awesome deal) I am already a happy camper

  12. Anonymous Says:

    I’m also interested in finding out if there is something “wrong” with Orinoco..Astor Wines in NYC is selling it at 50% off, $15 for 750mL. Seems like a clearance price or something.

  13. Sharon Wetteland Says:

    I understand that this is either no longer made or no longer imported into the US. I dream about this rum. Can you tell me if there is a similar quality Agricole you recommend or if this is being produced under another name?
    You’ll be my HERO…

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