Ron Cihuatán is the first rum produced in El Salvador at the Licorera Cihuatán, a subsidiary of Ingenio La Cabana.
When I was inspecting the bottle the image of Tlaloc immediately grabbed my attention and imagination. This Mayan God of water symbolizes the bounty of the land and its beauty. The name of the rum, “Cihuatán” comes from the name of an ancient city that existed minutes away from the distillery.
Ingenio La Cabana is a century old sugar mill and the source of the fresh molasses used for fermentation. The entire rum production from cane to bottle is on site, proudly showcasing Salvadoran sugarcane. The rum is aged in used bourbon casks and aged in the solera style. It is then blended to 80 proof and bottled.
The front of the medium sized bottle has three labels using a black, white, grey, and blue color scheme. The blue and white image of the Mayan God Tlaloc is centered on the bottle. The image is also repeated on the neck wrap in silver.
The rum has a mahogany base with dark amber highlights. Agitating the liquid creates a razor thin band that spins off a prolific amount of fast moving legs.
When I poured the rum the scent of sweet vanilla filled the air. After I let it rest a few minutes I detected hints of brown sugar, caramel, and charred oak.
My first sip revealed the vanilla from the aroma followed by caramel, coffee, a light touch of leather as the rum transitions mid palate. At this point some light mineral notes come into play along with a brief warmth from the higher alcohols. The vanilla and minerals blend and transition as smoky tannins from the oak barrel intrigue the tongue creating a pleasant finish.
This eight year old rum certainly has a lot going on presenting complexities often discovered in older spirits. I have discovered that the time period of 7-12 years in a rum’s maturation is a favorite for me as a reviewer. The skills of the Master Blender as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the rum shine or dim on their merits. The versatility of this rum would make it a fun addition for any cocktail calling for an aged gold ingredient. I enjoyed it neat but realize the profile would not be for everyone. I found this to be an impressive first release from Licorera Cihuatán and hope to see more from them in the future. I absolutely enjoyed this taste of El Salvador.