Atlantico Private Cask

by Matt Robold on December 1, 2008

One of the things I really love about running this site is that I sometimes I get to be a little ahead of the curve as new rums come to market.  You may not have heard of Ron Atlantico yet, but you should expect to start hearing about it a lot.  One of the newest kids on the block when it comes to premium rums, Ron Atlantico comes to market with an impressive arsenal of experience and craftsmanship.

I first got to try Ron Atlantico Private Cask in New Orleans during Tales of the Cocktail and the Ministry of Rum Tasting Competition.  The rum is produced and imported into the US by Atlantico Importing Company.  At the head of Atlantico are Aleco Azqueta and Brandon Lieb – two men with a great deal of experience guiding premium brands, including Bacardi, Grey Goose, Dewar’s, and Cazadores.

Ron Atlantico is produced in the Dominican Republic, home to many great rums.  Aleco and Brandon purchase a collection of small batch, aged rums produced in the Dominican Republic, which are then blended and further aged in bourbon casks to allow the flavors to marry.  As the rums mature, they’re moved to new barrels and the volume in the barrel is topped off with younger rums – the solera process for aging, which is commonly used for aging sherry.  Atlantico isn’t the only rum producer to utilize this method, Ron Zacapa Centenario and a few other rums are aged using the solera approach.

The finished blend is a combination of rums aged for 15 to 25 years.  This blend is then bottled by hand and inspected.  Each bottle bears the hand-written initials of Aleco and Brandon – their personal seals of approval on the product.

Appearances

Pour the rum into the glass and twirl it around a bit.  Atlantico has a deep amber coloring, reminiscent of honey.  The spirit clings quickly to the sides of the glass, forming a thin, razor-edge of a rim that slowly  develops beads of rum.  I’m not sure how long it takes for these legs to make their way back down to the bowl of the glass…suffice to say they were slow-moving.

Nose

I’ve taken to exploring the nose of a rum in two different manners.  I want to be thorough for my readers…or maybe I just want the excuse to drink two glasses of rum at each sitting.  I’ll leave that to the philosophers to decide.

I started with a barrel glass, which gives a great deal of room to nose around in different directions and allows more of the alcohol vapor to be detected.  In this glass the first notes are grassy, followed by a sugary sweetness.  The rum smells cool, but rich.  Scents of toffee and maple permeate the experience.

For the second round I used my rum glass from Spirit Sippers, which is one of my favorite ways to enjoy a rum.  The shape of the glass all but eliminates the alcohol vapors from the nose, allowing you to look more closely at the complexities in the nose.  The Atlantico nose is very rich – filled with notes of caramel, toffee, and maple.  At the very end is just the slightest hint of a floral note that I couldn’t quite place.

Palate

Ron Atlantico Private Cask’s nose was rich and sugary, and the flavor followed suit.  The entry was deep and full of toasted sugar flavors.  You are immediately aware of the dominant toffee flavor on the tongue.  The mouth-feel is very pleasant, with a light and slightly oily texture to the rum.

While the toffee is definitely the star player on this flavorful stage, the mid-palate introduces almonds to the mix, followed by a faint smokiness at the end.  There is some heat at the end of the swallow, and the finish is long and lasting, allowing the sweetness of the rum to linger on the palate.

Mixing

While sipping Ron Atlantico Private Cask is a wonderful experience, I’d be lying if my mind didn’t begin to wander down the path of possible drinks to make with it.  Its flavors are very strong, not muted in the slightest, so ingredients in a cocktail would have to be able to stand up to a strong rum or be completely dominated by it.  I imagine that this would be a terrific rum to pair with a spicy/sweet ginger beer like Bundaberg or Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew.

It being Fall and the supermarkets being full of apples though (as is my kitchen), I decided to make something a little different.

Red & Blue Delicious

3 oz Ron Atlantico Private Cask rum
3 oz Apple Cider (apple juice is an acceptable substitute I suppose)
.5 oz Simple Syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with an apple slice.

The drink’s name was provided by Camper English of Alcademics and references the colors of the flag of the Dominican Republic.  The drink itself is essentially an apple daiquiri – although a little heavier on the fruit juice in order to balance the flavors against the robustness of the Atlantico.  I found it to be refreshing and perfect for a Fall evening.  Never mind that it’s my own recipe…I’m totally unbiased.

The Long & The Short Of It

This is a rich, luxurious rum.  It is truly unique among Dominican rums, with a much deeper, richer flavor than I’m accustomed to finding in rums from the island.  Perhaps it’s the solera aging or just the particular rums chosen for the blend or a combination of both, but Atlantico is simultaneously a delight to sip and a joy to mix.  While trying to think of rums that it reminded me of, the first ones that came to mind was Ron Zacapa Centenario and Zaya.  If you’re a fan of either of those fantastic rums, then you’d be remiss to not acquire a bottle of the Atlantico for a mere $35.

Dood’s Rating: 4 Bottles of Rum Out of 5

Dood’s Other Rum Reviews

Be Sure To Check Out Silvio’s Review On Refined Vices

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{ 13 comments }

Tiare December 1, 2008 at 10:46 pm

This was very interesting reading and a while ago i did discuss ron Atlantico with Burr. Sorry though i cannot buy this rum here, it sounds like a rum of my taste.

As far as i have understod it, Atlantico is a blend of 15 and 25 year old rums, and a”cuban style” rum made in the Dom rep by the same people who makes Cubaney. Have you heard anything about that?

Greg Warwick December 2, 2008 at 5:35 am

I’m biased, but another great Ginger Beer to try this with is Fentimans Botanically Brewed. It’s made over 7 days of fermenting and brewing and it really comes through with a nice balance between heat and sweetness (not overly). It’s been around since 1905, but we’re working to spread the word about it in the US. Cheers!

Matt Robold December 2, 2008 at 6:35 am

Actually I should have mentioned Fentiman’s as well. I’m a huge fan of their ginger beer as it’s got a great strong ginger bite on it and would actually stand up quite well to this particular rum.

Rum Drinks December 3, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Dood! Yeah mate, I kinda went missing for a while but I’m back now!! Life got in the way… how come I haven’t found your site before?! lol Rest assured I’ll be coming back regularly, great work! I’ll be writting some new posts soon so pop over and say hi again sometime ;)

Matt Robold December 3, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Hey RD (another RD? There can be only one!!!)

Glad you enjoy the site. Looks like you’re well along the way on your own path to rumvana as well. ;-)

Maxime Do Nascimento December 15, 2008 at 4:54 pm

I heared about this Rum a lot lately. I had the opportunity to try it a few days ago in a private party and oh my God!! is simple delicious. I never expected Atlantico rum could be that great. Is far away better than others i tried before.

PGQ May 4, 2009 at 3:30 am

Are you sure this isn’t just a private label of Ron Matusalem?

Hablando de vinos August 2, 2009 at 12:48 am

Hand crafted rum simply brilliant, best Dominican Rum I tasted yet.

Capn Jimbo February 5, 2010 at 1:01 pm

At The Rum Project (link above) Sue Sea and I have tasted and reviewed nearly 120 rums, Atlantico Rum being the latest. Of these only a handful have disappointed .

Sadly, Atlantico was one of them. At our forum we long established a section called “Twiggie Tie Dye Rums” for those very few rums that we believe have been secretly altered or flavored to an excessive extent. Although presented as “premium rums”, these are really highly modified concoctions best described as rum liqueuers.

Atlantico could well be the poster rum for this section. Here’s an exerpt from Sue Sea’s review…

“Atlantico Rum has a lovely and inviting aroma. It presented first as leather over a background of brown sugar, caramel and vanilla. The latter came forward – way forward – with airing. The early palate presented with great smoothness and honeylike sweetness, followed by a growing clove heat. The end palate was slightly astringent, with transitory molasses and leather. The finish too is clove hot and medium long. Atlantico leaves a not entirely pleasant sherry aftertaste and has a bit of what I call an exhale (a secondary experience that is actually pretty rare).

All in all, Atlantico is not particularly complex, surprising for an allegedly solera method rum of 15 plus years. It is consistent, but this rum is really a bit hollow (good entry and exit only). It struck me as heavy, thick bodied and liqueur-like and left a sweet residue on my lips.

What does this mean? Jim feels very strongly that Atlantico is anything but a pure rum and I am inclined to agree. With airing the vanilla becomes so dominant that it is almost offensive, at least from the viewpoint of the pure rum it purports to be.”

In my opinion Atlantico is just another taste engineered product of the marketing department. Their solera claim of 15 to 25 years does not withstand scrutiny. No green edge, and those scary, sloooooow legs that should give anyone pause. The lick-your-lips sweet residue, plus the need to clear the palate afterwards were likewise not favorable. Honestly, if I learned that someone had poured an entire bottle of artificial vanilla extract into my bottle as a joke, I’d have believed it. This rum is rather hollow and lacks complexity.

Hint: if a rum is hyped as “delicious… unlike anthing else in the market”, you can be sure it has been seriously altered.

In closing, if you seek a real and relatively pure Dominican/Cuban rum of real quality and memorability, I’d suggest Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva. Cartavio 5 Year is yet another.

Our complete review:
http://rumproject.com/rumforum/viewtopic.php?t=231&sid=dc17d443bd28c081fe86f29a030f8bd7

Che de CHILE April 22, 2010 at 11:15 am

Hey U Allll, Dominican RUM is the best But after reading all this comments , I still can not find where could i BUY the ATLANTICO Rum! I Found and interview to the cretors at Aventura magazine , but they either show WHERE TO BUY ITTTTTTTTTTTTT!
Just come back from a trip to D.R. and didn’t see it over there at the market either. COULD YOU let me know if this is found only at there factory or WHAT?

JaRiMi September 15, 2010 at 5:59 am

I am quite surprised by the praise this rum has received, but naturally, there are as many different tastes as there are people.

Personally I found this rum tasting very artificial, as if some form of flavouring was used to quickly give it the citrus- and tangerine peel flavours that quickly turn to rooty tones in mouth. The sweetness is also too much for me – clearly a product made for the American markets. Sadly more & more rums are sweetened to a point that only pleases palates overly used to artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sorbitol) which achieve up to 200-times more sweetness than sugar does.

All in all, Atlantico may be ok in some cocktails, but a fine run – well, that’s a matter of opinion.

Matt Robold September 15, 2010 at 7:29 am

Different strokes for different folks. It’s one of the great things about the spirit. It’s all opinion. Just because I say I do or don’t like something doesn’t mean that it’s good or bad or anything other than a rum I do or don’t like. I frequently disagree with other rum enthusiasts over various brands or bottlings and their merits.

Is Atlantico on the sweeter side? Absolutely. It doesn’t bother me as much as it does others. If you’re looking for a dry rum though, this isn’t the rum for you.

JaRiMi September 15, 2010 at 9:24 am

Amen to that! :-)

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