Saturday 13 December 2014

Review 10 - Centenario Fundación 20 Años

Image courtesy of The Whisky Exchange
A true classic for the sweeter tooth.
The Fundacion is an upper tier product from Costa Rican Ron Centenario.

According their homepage this is their premium product. However there must have been a change in the line up recently since a Solera 30 is also available at select stores. Furthermore the Fundacion is now wrapped in a suede jacket and cap as opposed to the cardboard box from the picture which I have encountered numerous times in stores everywhere. Later research suggests that the suede jacket-version is actually a thing of the past and almost impossible to find today.

Like the 30 the 20 is also a Solera product and therefore not truly a 20 year old rum.

I have had no luck finding out how old the rum exactly is, but a safe and conservative bet would be to assume that the oldest rum in the solera is 20 years old. Being a solera that means that the majority of the rum in the blend will be considerably younger.

The Centenario webpage does not deliver much information on anything really.

At first sight it seems to be loaded with information but when diving into the actual words they don’t really tell you much. There is a lot of nice graphics and marketing material. But no information on what to expect from the rums in their lineup or how they are made – at least nothing that differs from every single rum produced by anyone.

The only pieces of interesting information I found on the webpage was the fact that the Fundacion should show traces of brandy and that the entire Centenario range is made from fresh cane juice instead. But an agricole rhum it is not.

The Fundacion is bottled at the standard 40% ABV.

This is 1 of 24 different samples from a advent calendar supplied by a danish online store.
Therefore the presentation will not be a first hand experience but rather a judging of the exterior based on pictures found online.

The bottle is a standard cylindrical bar room bottle topped off with a cork stopper. I do not know if it is natural or synthetic but the fact that it isn't a screw cap is enough for me.

The label is either printed on the bottle or a see through sticker. If you read my review of the Gosling’s Black Seal you may have noticed how I bashed it for the cheap feel of the sticker type label.
But the Fundacion does not seem anywhere as cheap even though it might actually be very similar. This fact can be attributed to the layout of the label information which only supplies very little but relevant information. The layout is way more stylish than that of the Black Seal.

The addition of the thick bottom of the bottle, the emblem just below the neck and the simply color scheme – which actually seems to blend in very well with the color of the rum it self – all add to a nice quality feel.

Color wise we are dealing with a light mahogany or dark amber hue and given a twirl it showcases a nice ring from which droplets take quite some time to form. The legs seem a nice and fat and slow, so I do expect either a very full bodied rum or something very syrupy. Let us find out.

Bringing in the snout reveals a somewhat pungent and oaky experience.

Molasses is there but no where near as strongly as I would have expected for a Solera 20. Last but not least there is a nice introduction of very sweet and ripe oranges or perhaps pineapple. It is quite hard to tell behind all the pungency and oak.

Not as complex or heavy as I would normally prefer but not a bad nose at all.

The first thing I notices was the way the oak and the treacle come out hand in hand. I was surprised by how sweet and oaky it actually was without being too much. This much oak usually brings some pungency but not in this case.

After the initial touch of the palate the sweetness seemed to stick around a lot but without being to dominating. Some smoke joined the oak and gave off a nice burned wood.

Familiarities of the Matusalem 23 are evident  – but with a slightly heavier profile. Somehow they seem to have made a medium bodied rum with lighter bodied attributes.

The very nicely balanced oak, smoke and treacle palate is rounded off by a touch of spice, liquorice all-sorts and the over ripe and sweet pineapple from the nose.

Quite nice palate that doesn't offend anyone. However I failed to find the brandy promised by the webpage.

The finish is quite long for a rum with this type of profile. The sweetness sticks around without being sticky. The spice keeps lingering without being rough. The pungency is barely noticeable but it is still there and adds to a very nice finish.

Rating and final thoughts
An overall very solid product. There is no doubt that this is a well made rum.

It will no doubt appeal to a lot of people. Both fans of the sweeter rums and fans of more pungent stuff might actually like this one because it contains a bit of both worlds. I think it will a great alternative to the typical Zacapas and Diplomaticos and that at a very similar price point.

I wish they would have torqued it up a bit though. The very balanced and soft nature of this rum almost makes it too pleasant at the standard 40%. I believe an ABV of 43% or 46% would have been a better choice and made it even better.

All the pleasantries aside I do feel that the Fundacion may actually be to anonymous. It doesn't make much fuzz about it self and it doesn't stand out much.

Everything it does, it does quite well – but I don’t feel that it does enough of it. It has a lot of untapped potential and that is quite a let down.

Centenario is off to a great start with the Fundacion but I do hope that they let it evolve into the real premium product that I think it could be. So for know I will give it a…

Rating: 67/100

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