Zacapa. It’s the titan of the premium rum sector, often the only quality aged rum non rum-drinkers have heard of, in large part due to its massive distribution network through Diageo.
Famous for its aging “above the clouds” in Guatemala, for its talented master blender Lorena Vazquez and its woven palm-leaf bottle adornment, Zacapa has always been an excellent rum, particularly its XO variety.
But if you go to the source, if you go to Guatemala, you find something else: Zacapa’s limited edition blend.
Zacapa releases a special edition each year, for sale within Guatemala and select markets around the world (although not the United States).
And Rum Journal was lucky enough to grab a bottle on a recent trip to Guatemala City.
Zacapa’s 23-year blend has rums as old as 23 years; the 2015 Reserva Limitada, however, has a blend of rums between six and 24 years.
The rums are matured in American white oak barrels that had formerly held sherry, Pedro Ximenez wine and American whiskeys.
So what’s it like?
The Limited has a rich, slightly dark caramel color.
It has a sweet aroma of vanilla, pepper, candied fruit and the slighest hint of citrus peel.
The flavour profile is marked by tropical fruit, molasses (although this is a sugarcane-juice rum), some vanilla and some spice.
The finish is peppery and oaky.
This is a very nice rum. How is it different from the Zacapa 23 you’re used to?
It’s got a different kind of warmth, a different complexity, but also a bit more of a raw quality.
Often rums with more aging are a little softer around the edges — this one isn’t — this one has some fire in its belly. And that’s a good thing.
While the Zacapa 23 is a bit better behaved, this one feels like a bottle the blender keeps for herself.
And isn’t that the way a limited edition should be?