Guatemalan Rum – Zacapa 23 Solero 40% vs XO 40%

Next in our rum sampling was a head-to-head of two Zacapas – the 23 Solero and the XO… Zacapa rum is from Guatemala.

Before proceeding, there is a caveat… we are primarily whisky aficionados… and this rum distraction followed a rather marvellous round of peaty whisky minis. So I do hope our scant notes can be forgiven and instead just sit back, relax and enjoy our light meanderings into the realm of rum…

Zacapa 23 Solero 40%

  • Nose – Sweet, woody, prunes, cream, almost like port, then shifts into a Malbec, rum raisins
  • Palate – The port like quality is even more pronounced on the palate, more raisins, rich and robust, lots of the deep sherry spice and dark fruits

Here is what the folks over at Zacapa have to say:

Combining a blend of rums from 6 to 23 years old.

  • Keynote – Wonderfully intricate with honeyed butterscotch, spice oak and raising fruit, showcasing the complexity of the sistema solar aging process.
  • Nose – A soft start which develops complexity in the glass; sweet aromas of caramel, vanilla, cacao and butterscotch, combining with layers of flavour indicative of the different barrels in the solera process; sherried notes of caramelised, roasted brazil nuts and toasted hazelnut, and the characteristic rounded toffeed banana and dried pineapple of ex-American whiskey casks.
  • Palate – Wonderfully complex, generous and full-bodied, with a sweet honeyed viscosity atypical of an aged spirit; a great depth of raisined fruit and apricot preserves, building to an intense heart of savoury oak, nutmeg, leather and tobacco with notes of coffee and delicately sweet vanilla, balanced with a spicy touch of cinnamon and ginger on the pleasantly astringent finish; truly a rum for the discerning palate.

Zacapa XO 40%

  • Nose – Honey, dry wood
  • Palate – Lighter, bitter, dry, woody

Here is what the folks over at Zacapa have to say:

Combining a blend of rums from 6 to 25 years old.

  • Keynote – A perfectly balanced combination of sweetness, spice, fruit and spirit, a connoisseur’s delight and the ultimate expression of the Master Blender’s art.
  • Nose – A very open nose with a wealth of aromas that seem to evolve each time you nose the glass; a great balance of mature toasted oak, burnt caramel, dry-roasted nuts, marzipan and orange peel; a delicate floral note of honeysuckle in the background.
  • Palate – A wonderfully complex and satisfying balance of sweetness, fruit, spice and spirit, all tempered by the extra ageing stage in ex-cognac French oak barrels; long, smooth and sweet with a weight of dark cherry chocolate and flavours of intense dried fruits like sultana, date and prune; sweet oak spices of clove, vanilla and cinnamon, and lighter notes of dried mango and raspberry, with a subtle hint of ginger to finish. A connoisseur’s delight and the ultimate expression of the Master Blender’s art.

We found the XO much more restrained on the palate than the 23 Solero. We also tried it in the Norlan glass to find it much smoother, revealing more rum like qualities with brown sugar soaked raisins.

What else did we sample in our rummy explorations?

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