Ron Los Valientes Añejo Reserva Especial
£28 (50cl Bottle)
Single Blended Agricole Rum – A blend of only agricole pot still and traditional column still.
ABV Hydrometer Test: 43% ABV @ 20°
* B A
I am always on the lookout for something different and when I clocked this at around £28, I thought let’s give it a go, especially as it claims to have been aged for 20 years in American white-oak ex-Whiskey barrels. That said, it is a 50cl bottle, which means a (usual size) 70cl bottle would cost around £39.
The name of this rum is a tribute to the heroes of the Mexican revolution (1910-20), with “Los Valientes” translating as “the valiant.” It is distilled by Licores Veracruz in the East of Mexico not too far from the Caribbean coast.
The Licores Veracruz web site shows that in addition to rum, they produce, Tequila, Mezcal, vodka, liqueurs, wines, aniseed and aguardiente. Sadly, their web site does not have the Los Valientes product listed any more. But the global brand owner Wineandspirit.com features the product. It does include a little info about the taste of this rum and its awards.
The first thing that struck me though was how can a 20 year old rum cost the equivalent of £39 for a standard size bottle? Moreover, have they really got enough rum at this facility to bottle a 20 year old rum? Am I being too cynical? The nature of the rum industry is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is and with a very *FEW* exceptions, do not trust most of the rum bottlings.
The front label claims “These are probably the finest and most expensive rums produced in Mexico, a result of slow and careful production and extended barrel ageing.”
Under Richard Seale’s/Luca Gargano’s proposed rum categorisation, this would most-likely be classed as a “Single Blended Rum” – A blend of only pot still and traditional column still. In fact the rum is a blend of 70% double pot-distilled rhum agricole (from cane juice) and 30% traditional column still rum from molasses. When tested with my hydrometer it measured 43%, as per the label.
The rum is presented in a tall and thin bottle with an elongated neck – the kind that bartenders love to grab. The front label has info about the rum’s pedigree and its 20 años age statement as well as stating it is 43% ABV. The rear label has a historic-looking map of the Caribbean region and that’s it! On the neck is a label stating that my rum was bottled on “9/2007”, it is bottle number 2,503 and there is a signature of who did the bottling.
In the glass, the rum is a very deep colour…beyond just deep amber and approaching a mahogany colour. As most rums tend to have caramel colouring added, this is not too important to me.
Swirling the liquid around the sides of the glass reveals very heavy and dense droplets, with legs that descend at a medium pace.
The initial aroma is of dark cacao and some traditional raisin-like rum notes. For a brief moment it reminded me of Cane & Bean 1870 albeit not quite a natural cacao aroma. Further nosings lead me to believe it could be a high-ABV Oloroso Sherry with lots of dried fruits, honey, tobacco, ripe red fruits and burnt brown sugar. It looks quite thick and syrupy though!
Taste, Initial-middle 31/40
The initial tasting is as I found with the nosing – it is like drinking a high-ABV Oloroso Sherry, which given that I enjoy lots of fortified wines is not a bad thing although I am supposed to be enjoying rum.
The entry has a slightly powdery-cacao feel to it – you know when you eat some chocolate that has gone past its best and has those white bits on it? Well, that is the kind of chocolate…initially. Multiple tastings help this powdery texture to disappear and what is left behind is a light cacao and some coconut.
Taste, Middle/Throat 35/40
At the mid-palate, one becomes aware that there is some cane-juice-rhum in this blend as it develops a touch of eucalyptus, a slight earthy-grassy feel and that rounded peppery spice that comes from a well-aged agricole rhum. The chocolate has drifted to the background, replaced by tobacco, oak and light citrus and a nice touch of astringency develops, too.
The rum as a light and dry finish, but also quite a short one.
Despite the chocolate, the rum is not sweet. The agricole influence has given some body and character, while the extended barrel-ageing has made this a really smooth rum.
I am usually very skeptical about anything described as “Añejo Reserva Especial” – not the kind of words that one associates with rum. Furthermore, I also wonder about the legitimacy of the 20 year old age statement – is every drop 20 years old? Or is it a blend of up to 20 year old rums? Or a Solera system?
It is also quite sweet and despite my hydrometer test indicating otherwise, this tastes as if something has been added or it has been aged in a wet cask.
Those niggles-aside, it does taste really great and is definitely one of those rums that grows on you as I find that the more I drink it, the more I am enjoying it and wanting more. If the ABV was a little higher, this rum could be outstanding!
The rum is currently (August 1st, 2018) listed on Amazon at £21.60 (plus £4.99 P&P). It is definitely great value at this price so well worth buying some.
Review No. 108
P Denotes the rum contains POT still distillate.
C Denotes the rum contains traditional/Coffey COLUMN still distillate.
B Denotes the rum contains a BLEND of POT and COLUMN still distillate.
M Denotes the rum contains MULTI-COLUMN still distillate or is a MODERN rum.
A Denotes the rum is an AGRICOLE i.e. from Cane Juice.
S Denotes the rum is presented in a SWEETENED style.
Bottle/Presentation Out of 3
Glass/Aroma Out of 10
Taste, Initial-middle Out of 40
Taste, Middle/Throat Out of 40
Afterburn Out of 7