Monday 9 December 2013

Los Valientes 20 Year Old

Individually hand signed & numbered
I must admit the idea of Mexican rum did not fill me with confidence but after tasting this, I'll freely admit I was VERY wrong.

Cordoba, in the Eastern province of Veracruz sits on the same latitude as Jamaica and Haiti and they're fairly handy with the old rum so why shouldn't these guys be? Named after the fighters in the Mexican revolution Los Valientes is a fine addition to my collection of sipping rums.

Tall & elegant
The bottle definitely stands out amongst most other rum bottles being
taller and slimmer than most, it's an elegant, simple bottle that showcases the liquid very nicely indeed. For the 20 year old each bottle is individually numbered, signed and dated by the head distiller.

As for the liquid itself it comes in at a punchy 43% and is around £45 for a 50cl bottle. Now this is definitely pricey but first consider this is a genuine 20 year-old rum rather than a solera, so it's not outrageous to my mind. 

Interestingly Los Valientes is a hybrid of rum styles, being made with locally grown sugar cane from which the sugar cane juice is taken, slowly fermented and then double distilled in a pot still.  This gives effectively an Agricole rum.  Next the molasses from the same cane is fast fermented and column distilled, making a lighter rum and then these two are blended in a 70:30 ratio.  

Now, with the angels' share being so high in tropical climates how on earth can anyone do a "true" 20 year old rum?  Well, the canny guys of Licores Veracruz got round this by using 180 gallon barrels of white oak, this is less reactive than the standard ex-bourbon barrels most people use so the rum can stand a longer ageing and the angels' share is reduced. 

Pouring out a glass you see the gorgeous dark amber colour with very thick and persistent legs, as the rum warms up and opens you get a sweet, slightly pungent aroma followed by dried fruits and nuts.  

Taking a sip there is definitely a good bite to it but it's far from harsh, the sweetness is tempered by a spicy almond & cloves note.  A splash of water does take the edge off it but personally I like the bite.

On the way down that extra 3% ABV makes itself known but there's no burn at all, just a gorgeous warmth complemented by a nice, dry dark chocolate finish.  In the course of tasting this rum I found that to get the best from it you needed to take a good big sip, which is no great hardship with a rum like this. 

Overall this is an exceptionally well balanced rum, the bite of the slightly higher ABV compliments the sweet, spicy notes, this is definitely a rum to savour and sits very comfortably amongst higher-end sippers.

Colour - Dark amber
ABV - 43%
Bottle - 50 cl
Price - £45
Nose - sweet, pungent, dried fruit, nutty
Palate - Spicy, cloves and pralines, definite bite
Finish - dark chocolate, dry, warm

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