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Rum, rum and a bottle of yo-ho

"Rum! I need more rum! Give me rum till I float, I've got the horrors!" - Billy Bones

Well, it's no secret that I'm a fan of the demon rum. Unlike yer average pyrate, however, I don't just go for any common grog - I'm fond of the finer rums. Rumors you may have heard about me and a few bottles of "Military Special Rum" are ... well okay, they're entirely true - but I was young. Since then I've grown fond of good rum - and believe me, there's good rum out there, it's not all paint-thinner destined to be mixed with coke.

So now, I will pass onto you my review of three bottles of rum I've sampled lately. None of them could possibly compare to the apotheosis of rum that was the bottle of Don Q Centanno Reserva that I had squirreled away from 1999 until I left Philadelphia in 2004. That rum was all three naval traditions rolled up into one delicious bottle, and wrapped up in a blissful vanilla note that was like getting a blow job from a 'Nilla wafer. Sweet mother of the Almighty, that was the best rum there ever was. Most creditable indeed, sir!

I've been chasing that bottle ever since, and at a recent "sale" at BevMo, I found a super-select bottle called "Flor de Cana" that had a pricetag that indicated that it was at least in the same class. I also picked up a bottle of Captain Morgan's Tattoo, and then later at The Wine House, a bottle of Pyrat XO Reserva mostly because it came with two spiffy glasses that say "Pyrat" on them.

Captain Morgan's Tattoo (~$18.99): There's on indicator on the bottle what makes it "tattoo" or what that even means - but the rum is dark like black strap rum; so out of curosity I picked it up. I'm not a fan of the flavored rums, like cocoribe or whatever that atrocious stuff is.Without some notion of what "tattoo" means this was a purely speculative endeavor. The bottle instructs one to serve it neat, or with ice - perhaps with a squeeze of lime. These instructions are not remiss - the rum is heavy and has an oily mouthfeel, but it has a lot of flavor that makes it excellent for sipping. It's quite sweet, with a strong flavor of tamarind and a hint of cherry or black cherry and a bit of tobacco and sandalwood. The taste is complex enough that it's worth savoring, and if one were to mix it with coke, the tamarind and other complexities would be completely lost. Coke is sweet enough, if you're going to dilute your rum, don't waste a nice, tasty rum like this. Don't bother with the lime either, it doesn't need it.

Flor de Cana ($32.99) I suppose I should have been suspicious of a Guatemalan rum, but I had high hopes for this one because it billed itself like a boutique rum. It has, however, more sodomy and lash than rum; particularly the lash. It is so raw that it's more like sugar-cane brandy than rum, frankly. It's very harsh, with almost no complexity of flavor. I like a good single-malt scotch, too (which is harsh but complex) - but give me something that has something to taste under the bite. A good rum should be like a rough lover - the kiss is long and lingering and multi-layered even if it's preceded by a bite. This is all bite, and no kiss. I bought the most expensive bottle of paint-thinner in the world. Call this one a must-miss. Though if you want to come over and drink it be my guest. I imagine I can use it suitably masked in some sickly-sweet rum punch - or perhaps I'll put it in a hummingbird feeder. Oh, the laughs the cat will have then!

Pyrat XO Reserva ($19.99) Anything that names itself after piratical rum can't be too hoity-toity, and the XO lives up to it. It comes in a fancy bottle though - low and stout like a decanter with a cork in the top. It has several ribbons around the neck, and a medallion with "Hoti" the Buddha of bartenders and fools. Go figure - guess these pirates are more like Shang-hai pirates than Carribbean. But hey, the most powerful pirate in the history of the world was a middle-aged Chinese lady, so maybe it works out. Anyway, the XO is pretty harsh but not as harsh as the Flor de Cana. It has quite a bit of lash, but a nice sweet sodomy and definitely lots of rum. It's not at all sweet, which is quite nice - and has a smooth, light mouth-feel. There are strong notes of molasses and wheat, with a hint of a citrus and tobacco note. Definitely a fine rum for drinking on the rocks - and it's opened up with a dash of lime, unlike the Tattoo. I tried it mixed with some juice, too (cranberry) and that was less rewarding - this here is a sipping rum.

Of the bunch, I'd say the Pyrat XO is the best, but I'm probably most likely to pick up another bottle of the Tattoo if I want a sipping rum. None of them are even in the same ocean as that Don Q hundred year reserve ... but then, I've never seen another bottle for it on sale anywhere, at any price. I think that was the Brigadoon of rum. If anyone who reads this ever sees a bottle of that, for the sake of all that is good and piratical, buy it and I'll pay you back!


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 20th, 2006 01:02 pm (UTC)
Serralles don't even list it as a historical product. Was it private stock?

(I tried emailing them directly too, but they're over their email storage quota. Somehow I don't think that's a high priority of theirs. ;) )
Apr. 20th, 2006 02:39 pm (UTC)
I don't think it was anything other than a special bottling at their hundred year anniversary, sadly. I've never seen it again - and I've looked, believe me!
Apr. 20th, 2006 02:54 pm (UTC)
That's why I'm surprised it's not listed as a 'special' note anywhere in their distilling history. (Though their own site is either being revamped at the moment or I just can't find the entry point, so it could be listed there and I wouldn't know.)

I will say I didn't realize you could keep rum for so long, though. If it was that good after being in the bottle for nearly 40 years, that's pretty damn good stuff.
Apr. 20th, 2006 05:39 pm (UTC)
I found it! in all places, in Skokie, IL.
$799.99 for the bottle I had before. $99.31 for the same liquor, but in a plain bottle.
Apr. 20th, 2006 05:44 pm (UTC)
Skokie?! Is there a large Puerto Rican community in Skokie of which I am unaware??
Apr. 20th, 2006 05:46 pm (UTC)
No, just a really good importer.
Apr. 20th, 2006 08:37 pm (UTC)
What store in Skokie? I'll send someone on a mission. =)
Apr. 20th, 2006 08:40 pm (UTC)
You've got $800 laying around?
Apr. 21st, 2006 09:30 pm (UTC)
I thought you were offering to pay people back!! haha
Apr. 21st, 2006 09:32 pm (UTC)
Don't get me wrong. I really like good rum.
But I don't eight hundred dollars like good rum!

For that much, I could fly to Puerto Rico, pick up a bottle at the distillery in Ponce, and drink it there!
Apr. 20th, 2006 03:39 pm (UTC)
I checked the PA Control Board website product catalog for your Holy Grail of rum. The only things with “Don Q” in it were DON Q CRYSTAL SILVER RUM and DON Q Gold RUM. I did also find a GRAND HAVANA RUM RESERVA EXCELENCIA, with a name like that it just has to be good, right?

I think I have my weekend shopping and homework assignment now!
Apr. 20th, 2006 04:26 pm (UTC)
Don Q Crystal and Gold are decent rums - but they're the normal bottle for the Serrales company. The 100 Year Reserve was a special thing - the super duper special bottle. I only saw it that once, and have never even HEARD of it elsewhere.

Regular Don Q is hard to find (and good!) but not impossible. The Grand Havana is probably similar to the XO Reserva .. I'll check it out.
Apr. 20th, 2006 05:13 pm (UTC)
I found a list of links on Peter's Rum Pages, some of them are for "collectors" of fine rums. Maybe one of them has or knows were to get the Don Q reserve? Might be fun to look at the reveiws at least.


Good luck!
Apr. 20th, 2006 05:21 pm (UTC)
Holy crap! I found a link!
It might exist!!!
Apr. 20th, 2006 06:58 pm (UTC)
keep me updated!
Apr. 20th, 2006 06:59 pm (UTC)
I found it. between $100 and $800 a bottle, and i'd have to import it from Spain. :)
Apr. 21st, 2006 01:47 pm (UTC)
Gasp, choke, gasp!!

You may need to start a Fundraiser of some sort to pay for the booze! Then when you get it you may need to put it in a bank for safe keeping!
Apr. 22nd, 2006 01:57 am (UTC)
I've had a bottle of tattoo for a while.. I must have mixed it with coke cause I did not like it so much. still got it lying around I'll have to try it again.

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )


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