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.
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.
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.
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.
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