Rum Journal: From the Dominican Republic, a Rum With a Cuban Soul

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - May 24, 2012

Above: an advertisement for Matusalem from 1957 (Photo: Ron Matusalem)

JUST 10 YEARS after Don Facundo Bacardi Masso began operations in Santiago de Cuba, Benjamin and Eduardo Camp, brothers from Spain, along with a third partner, Evaristo Alvarez, opened a distillery of their own in the city.

While it’s not quite as old as the Biblical Methuselah, after whom it is named, Ron Matusalem maintains its old Cuban soul — and its original formula. Its benders all descend from the rum’s original founders.

Like Ron Atlantico, which Rum Journal featured in this space in March, Matusalem uses the so-called solera method.

Matusalem, which has been produced in the Dominican Republic since 1960, offers rums with blends as old as 18 years, although Rum Journal tasted the Gran Reserva 15 — and was impressed.

The 15-year is a deep amber, with a nose of almond, citrus peel and oak, the latter deriving from the French oak barrels in which it is aged.

As for its taste, Gran Reserva 15 gives off hints of cocoa, spice and oak.

Matusalem is not as sweet as some solera rums, and is, on balance, closer to the cognac-like taste of certain aged rhum agricoles.

And while some rums see a complete change of flavou profile when one adds an ice cube or two, Gran Reserva 15’s is actually expanded — with a suggestion of french vanilla.

We recommend it with a single cube.

— CJ

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