Updated: Mar 18, 2019
Botran rum is made in Guatemala by the same people who make Zacapa. Therefore it’s made from cane syrup in a large multi column still.
The bottle I have was bought in Colombia and states “Sistema Solera 18” on the label, suggesting this is an 18 year rum. Click here for a good explanation on what a true solera system is.
The 18 year suggestion is very misleading. The feeling I get when tasting it, is that of a young spirit that’s had some sort of sweet wine (sherry?) added to it. This type of marketing seems to work, as I’ve seen it named an 18 year rum plenty of times by numerous rum enthusiasts online and in liquor stores. When I say it works I mean for the producer. Selling a low cost product at a premium price through deceiving marketing should be good for their bank balance. Vodka anyone?
On their website it shows a new bottle design compared to the one I have. The number 18 has vanished from the label but they still describe it as a blend of rums matured up to 18 years. As for the casks this has been in:”American white oak barrels, barrels that previously aged old Sherry wines, and where exclusive Port wines matured.” I’m guessing they are blending rum from different barrels. I’ve never actually seen any evidence of a true solera system. I wonder how wet those casks are when the rum is put in there. At least it does explain the sherry note I picked up.
Distillery: Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala
Age: A mystery
Hydrometer Fat Rum Pirate: 0-5 g/l
Alko lab test: 6 g/l added sugar
Other: The ‘1893’ refers to the year Venancio Botran was born, according to the Lone Caner.
According to Botran it’s “Friendly, elegant, and with distinctive expressiveness.” Yeah…….
It starts with an alcohol fume running up my nostrils at top speed. Then vanilla, burnt sugar, wood, sweet wine (sherry?) and sweet gummy bears. It's a mix of good and bad elements for me. That sweetness is an unpleasant one for some reason.
It's quite sweet at first and has a bad medicinal note, reminiscent of sweet cough syrup.
A slight bitter dark chocolate note turns up very faintly. The short finish has some spice and that sweet wine comes back.
This one is on the edge of medium and maximum deceit. The label is very deceiving with the insinuation of an 18 year old rum. My guess is that it's coloured and potentially flavoured with wine. But these are guesses, I haven't seen any actual proof. Hydrometers rate this as 0-5 g/l added sugar. The Finnish liquor monopoly Alko has measured this at 6 g/l of added sugar.
The combination of the alcohol fumes (I’m being dramatic here), the unpleasant sweetness and youthfulness of this rum make it a very underwhelming experience. The deceiving label doesn’t help it either.
Click here for info on the scoring method.