Ron Zacapa Centernario 23 is a favorite among many rum drinkers, especially those who like their tipple on the sweeter side. It is made in Guatemala from “sugar cane honey,” the first press of the cane that is then boiled down to make it thick and syrupy.
After distillation, the rum is aged in a facility high in the Guatemalan mountains, at a place they call the “house above the clouds” — appropriate, given that it’s located 7000 feet above sea level. The rum is aged through the solera process, including rums aged six through twenty-three years. (I explain more about the solera process in my review of Papa’s Pilar Dark Rum.)
Ron Zacapa 23 is a dark mahogany in the glass, with a lush aroma of brown sugar and Christmas spice. Very warm and welcoming, it has a sweet taste of caramel balanced with cinnamon and dried fruit. There is more than a hint of oak as well, before dark chocolate takes over on the long finish. The addition of a little water brings out even more sweetness.
This rum has a very rich and robust flavor that is ideal for sipping. It would make a good introduction for those who are interested in trying spirits neat but don’t have much experience with doing so. A few might find it overly sweet, but I found it all worked together quite nicely.
Depending on how you feel about mixing cocktails with expensive spirits — I’m a firm proponent of it myself — Ron Zacapa 23 is highly recommended for a variety of drinks, especially those of the Tiki variety. I can report it makes a mighty fine Mai Tai.