During our recent visit to The Cocktail Village in Spitalfields market during London Cocktail week, we came across a Tia Maria & The Coffee Project stand. Having missed our afternoon coffee, we thought it was a good place to start and had a quick look at the menu. After a quick glance, the choice was obvious: The Flat White Russian. Why you ask? Easy, it was the only cocktail on the menu that contained rum. The recipe in fact was:
– Jamaican Rum
– Tia Maria
– Demerara Sugar
The result was a delicious cocktail, both smooth and sweet, with a slight punch from the rum. Put it this way, we didn’t have just one!
The Ron Centenario brand is from the Central America’s Costa Rica and is one of the last few remaining independent rum producers. The sugar cane used comes from very fertile land which is created due to the volcanic eruptions that have occurred over the years. That mixture of sub tropical climate and volcanic soil has created the ideal conditions for sugar cane and the best of which is harvested for use in Ron Centenario. The sugar cane is harvested by hand every 15 months. Ron Centenario uses American white oak bourbon barrels when aging its rum.
As we already know, the quality of the resources in Costa Rica have provided some of the best coffee in the world, so it would make sense that the sugar cane produced would also be amongst some of the worlds best.
Ron Centenario has a large selection of rum throughout its ranks, but the 30 year solera sits atop and is their limited edition jewel in the crown. They do not have a massive marketing team and as a result this rum is still relatively unheard of. This 30 year is a blend of softer column distilled rums and the heavier pot still rums.
The 30 year solera is presented in a beautiful heavy glass bottom decanter style bottle. It is a vast change to the 20 and 25 year bottle designs and I think it really highlights the fact that this is premium rum.
On the nose this rum radiates of caramel, honey and vanilla. It comes across sweet yet the hints of oak and spices seem to balance it out from the sweet smell becoming overpowering. The rum has a deep and complex nose that only draws more of my attention to it.
On my first sip I am greeted by sweetness. The molasses, honey and caramel float through coating my tongue and the oak and vanilla balance out the sweetness in a way that is just exquisite. The 20 and 25 year variations from Ron Centenario are definitely sweeter than their older counterpart, yet this aging further on the 30 year only helps to remove a slightly syrup like feel to those into a blend of rum that is extremely drinkable now. The extra time spent in the oak barrels has shone through here. The finish is also amongst the smoothest I have come across, ending with a sweet spiciness that is very moreish.
Having let this sit for a few minutes, the flavours in the rum blend together more harmoniously and the finish is a tad longer and richer. Definitely very smooth and this is a rum that you would return to again and again.
Overall if you can get a hold a bottle (and that is a big if), I would recommend you doing so without hesitation! The only drawback I have with this rum is that the 25 year is quite similar and almost half the price. Trying to remain impartial, I would say that this price differential maybe too much. Personally I think this is a rum that will remain in my collection and won’t be finished until another bottle is ready to be opened!