Country: Dominican Republic
Aged: 15 years (blended)
Alcohol: 40% (80 proof)
Price: $30-$38 (750 mL)
Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva is a dark rum made in what is
known as the Solera style,
which is a method of blending rums of different ages in stages
until the desired age, smoothness, and taste is achieved.
If you are interested in more information on this process, check
Matuselm's website. They have a pretty good section that
details the blending
The result is an impressive brown-amber pour that is as classic as its
bottle and label, rich with aromas of vanilla, smoky caramel, and
The first sip is a velvet-gloved jab to the tongue and
teeth - piercing yet smooth all at the same time. However once
the soft bite from the alcohol and spice settles, the tastes are
pure rum: wood, molasses, vanilla, smoke, caramel, alcohol.
Further tastes reveal a bit of an earthy tone (leather?)
followed by a subtle buttery fruitiness. Slightly dry with a
medium-to-full body and a long, sultry finish. Neat or on the rocks,
the sipping is superb and in the right setting, yearns to be
shared with a cigar.
Given it's Solera origins this rum probably shouldn't be mixed, though a
sacrilegious splash of coke with lime does make a powerful
Since its roots are in pre-castro Cuba and it is still made in
the Cuban style, this is considered to be
as close as you can get to genuine Cuban rum for the time being.
My perception is that its rich and somewhat buttery,
sweet-but-not-too-sweet flavors are more signature Dominican
than Cuban, though certainly this is as close to the real thing
without being the real thing as I've yet had.
Bottom line, Ron
Matusalem Gran Reserva is among my personal favorites; it's
classically delicious and a treat for special occasions. Highly