Friday, 3 April 2015

Review 38 - Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 15 Solera

Photo copyright © H.Kristoffersen
An okay Cuban, oh wait, sorry, Dominican.
Welcome to another short review.
Not because I’m rushing things, but to be honest this rum doesn’t need that much time to be picked apart. Further more, as you will read later on, it doesn’t really inspire much poetry to be written about it.

Anyway, on with the more interesting stuff.

This is part of the higher end for Matusalems product line. A 15 year old solera rum from the Dominican Republic. However Matusalem is of Cuban heritage and makes a huge effort to info you about it everywhere they can – box, bottle, website, the works.

So far I have found no evidence of the type of still used to produce this rum. Matusalem does however mention that the rum has been aged in french oak casks in a solera aging system.

The rum is then bottled at the standard 40% ABV.

The box is a nice brown thing with all relevant information written directly on it. It even contains a tiny essay about the rum, which is a huge sales pitch. They really try to talk it up.

Inside the box we find a nice, brown bottle showing off a nice antiqued label with tapered edges, a water mark map and the usual details. The Matusalem name is done in shiny red, delivering a nice effect to the whole.

I actually found the bottle/label combination quite beautiful and not what I expected from a rum in this range.

The label on the back tells a long story about the history of Matusalem.

In the glass it shows off as a lighter, golden rum. A twirl leaves an almost invisible ring around the inside of the glass, which takes its time before it gives births to smaller droplets.

The rum comes off as a light and mildly aggressive concoction.

Mild sprinkler fluid (not as bad as it may sound) was the first thing I thought of, but I shrugged it off and took another sniff. The sprinkler fluid was still there, but after a couple of seconds it was quickly replaced by oak and caramel.

In the layers just beneath that, I found spices and citrus fruits, but that is about it.

Okay nose, but nothing fantastic. A little mild and frankly a little boring.

It enters the mouth quite nicely. Light bodied with a medium pungency from the alcohol, with flavours of soft toffee and light oaks.

Also present is mild baking spices, a little peppery tingle and very little smoke.

Nice and mild palate, which is just okay – just like the nose.

Short finish. Not very much more than soft, non-sticky sweetness and some spices.
Again, it’s okay. Nothing more, nothing less.

Rating and final thoughts
As an entry level rum, this is not bad at all.

On the webpage they call it ”The cognac of rums” and I really don’t see why. It indicates that being a cognac is better than being a rum. What on earth do they want to accomplish by that?

Getting cognac drinkers to try it, because it is ”almost a cognac”?
Lure new spirits drinkers in because cognac is more fashionable than rum, and therefore more prone to attract buyers?

I don’t know about you, but I’m a rum drinker. And if I had read the ”Cognac of rums”-thing before I bought, it would never have left the store with me.

Further more Matusalem label it as a ”Super Premium” on their website. I have a lot of trouble seeing how a rum like this can justify a label like that. It is a pants-ripping-stretch – at best. Because guess what, it isn't a super premium rum. 

No seriously, it really isn't. Yeah, I know. You're surprised. So was I. Who wouldn't be? 

It is however a bit simple and not that complex, but as an alternative to the super sweet entry level rums, it is quite okay.

It is in no way extraordinary, apart from the very nice packaging.

Value for money is also okay. It can be found for around €40, which leaves you with a lot of other options. I only recommend buying it, if you want to try a lighter cuban style of rum, and have trouble finding other options. As for the sipping experience, in my opinion, you can find a lot of better rums in this price range.

We might as well get down to business. The conclusion will be an okay…
Rating: 61/100


1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one that was a little underwhelmed by this rum. I think that Matusalem has built up a lot of mystique and good will as one of the only "Cuban" brands available in the US. When so many people have said nice things about it, it's kind of hard to point out its flaws without seeming contrarian. After reading so many effusive reviews, I wondered if I had a bad bottle, or if they had recently changed the blend. I might have scored it a point or two higher, but there are definitely better options in that price range. Good review, Henrik.