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Old 01-18-2010, 09:00 PM   #1
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Default Monday night sipper challenge

Tonight I held a mini-tasting, just to re-introduce myself with a couple rums I've had I haven't had in a while. Who knows? Tastebuds change and (sometimes) so do the rum.

The challenge was between 3 rums of good quality and reasonable price, hoping to find one that I like to sip, or to find one that might make a great punch or mixer; I chose Cruzan Single Barrel, Matusalem Gran Reserve, and Flor De Cana 7 year old I just picked up in Rockford IL last week. I sniffed, then added a bit of water and tasted, and then added more water to dilute to almost a 50/50 mix. I did this blindly, took notes and only found out which rum was which after I was done. Here's the results

Sniffing: Cruzan had the smell I identify with "rum" the most. Matusalem was sweeter and creamier. Flor had no smell at all (funny, huh, that the rum named after a flower would have no smell?)

Tasting with a few drops of water: Cruzan had a touch of bourbon taste, which I personally don't like but I know lots of others do. Flor de Cana was delicious, but burned my tongue. Interesting, there wasn't much burn in the back of my throat, but my tongue was numb, like I had burned it on a spoonful of hot soup, for 5 minutes. I didn't try it over ice, but I bet it would be wonderful with a single ice cube for a slow sipper, if I could get the heat down a notch. Matusalem was golden, smoooooooth, sweet and I couldn't decide if I tasted more caramel or butterscotch. Yum. My favorite for sure.

Watering down more, I found Flor's taste evaporated completely. Matusalem's flavor held up nicely, and Cruzan tasted more and more like bourbon. How does that happen? Can water make the rum flavor dissipate and the whisky flavor come out? Strange.

...... My conclusions for my personal taste tonight....

Cruzan Single Barrel, I probably won't buy again. I'll use the rest I have in Mai-Tais, where I enjoy the strong flavors and the bourbon flavors are offset by the orange Curacao and the sugar syrup.

Flor De Cana (which I haven't bought in two years) impressed me as a sipper. I'll have to try it (soon!) with an ice cube and a good book.

Matusalem Gran Reserve was wonderful. Smooth as silk. A hint of sweetness and no burn. When rum non-drinkers want to know what I like about rum, I'll pass this to them with 70/30 rum-water mix and watch them smile. Certainly on my "top 10" list.

Just my own personal thoughts .... let me know what your history of these 3 rums are, and how you find each of them to be at their best

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Old 01-18-2010, 10:02 PM   #2
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Hi Mike,

I've tasted these three rums and we share similar interests.

I've received the Cruzan Single Barrel as a gift a few Xmas ago. It is pretty expensive here in Quebec (almost 50$). I was not impressed since I was expecting a lot given the price range. I would give it another shot still.

The FdC 7 is widely available here and makes a very decent mixer, but I would not drink it as a sipper.

Finally I had the Matusalem a couple of times and I really liked it. The bottle says something like "a cuban recipe" but also says that it is bottled in Dominican Republic, and actually I'm able to taste both in this rum. A DR-type rum to start and a Cuban-type rum in the finish. Very good.
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:34 PM   #3
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Thanks for the notes, I just finished my first Rum Old Fashioned made with Barcelo Imperial and heading for my second with something else, and that Cruzan Single Barrel on the shelf is looking good.
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Old 01-19-2010, 01:11 AM   #4
Arctic Wolf
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Nice notes Stockdoct:

I prefer the FDC 7 both as a sipper and a mixer. The Matusalem is really nice as well, but only when I feel really mellow and have the patience to let its flavour sit on my tongue a while. Cruzan is one that at fist impressed but over time fizzled for me.

Good Job! (These comparisons are always controversial and interesting.)

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Old 01-19-2010, 01:54 AM   #5
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Great tasting notes and interesting the way you did the blind tasting so you're own palate was swayed by labels.

I picked up a bottle of the Matusalem for a steal today ($17.99) and will be taste testing that one myself tomorrow!
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:36 PM   #6
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I would guess, and have found from time to time that the addition of water to spirits brings out some of the barrel / cask characteristics. Time (resting in the glass / open air) also can have special effects.
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