Earlier this year I was introduced to a rum company out of Peru that I had heard of but with which I was not overly familiar. In Trujillo, Peru, Destilerias Unidas S.A.C. has been busy producing industrial and beverage alcohol since 1929. The distillery is conveniently located beside a sugar mill from which they receive fresh molasses for fermentation. They use a continuous column still to produce lighter rums and a pot still to create their denser rums. After distillation they age the rum using a Solera method in three different kinds of barrels: used American oak, French Limousin and casks from Slovinia.
This rum line, after an unfortunate delay due to distribution issues, has reentered the United States market strong with eleven expressions, including their rum cream products. Cartavio XO was created to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the company. It is a blend of rums ranging in age from ten to thirty years using a combination of column and pot still rums. The company claims that the average age of the rum in the blend is 18 years old.
The bottle is concealed in a black tin box with information about the rum and company on the side. A wooden cap secures a synthetic cork to the bottle with an additional wire wrap securing the cap. The liquid in the bottle and glass has a dark mahogany color with rose highlights.
Agitating the liquid produced a thick band around the glass that reluctantly releases slow moving legs. While nosing the rum I noticed a lovely green halo glimmering around the perimeter of the glass, a hallmark of the oak aging.
The aroma provides a rush of caramel, vanilla, touch of cinnamon and banana, with a range of spices pulled from the oak aging particularly allspice and nutmeg. Rounding out the aroma is a lovely buttery nuttiness that lingers lightly in the airways.
The first sip provides a sweet and spicy entry outlining the tongue with a tingle of alcohol. This swirl of flavors introduces a blend of light floral notes, allspice, dark chocolate, caramel, cinnamon, dried fruit cranberries and raisins, roasted almonds with a pop of ginger. This fades in a dry smoky oak, lightly toasted tobacco and vanilla finish. The sweetness lingers on the palate long after the other notes have faded away.
This was my first rum from Peru and it has definitely made me curious about the rest of the line. The lovely depth and complexity provided by the spirit was a pleasure to sip neat. Ron Cartavio is currently pursuing distribution across the U.S. and is available in Europe and South America.