Matusalem 18 Year Gran Reserva 750ml
In the Glass 9/10
When I pour a bit of the rum into my glencairn glass, the first thing I notice is the rich amber/copper colour of the spirit. The colour is darker and richer than I expected based upon the Gran Reserva 15 which had quite a pale colour. When I tilt my glass and give it a swirl, I see that the spirit is medium bodied, and the crest of rum lays down thickened legs which travel at a leisurely pace down the inside of my glass. The initial aroma carries a nice mixed aroma of caramel, oakspice and vanilla. The rich scent is complimented by dabs of marmalade and banana. As the glass sits, the oak spices build in the air, and the rum scents in the air are enriched by added impression of maple toffee, hints of cinnamon and cloves, some pipe tobacco and perhaps a bit of roasted walnut as well.
In the Mouth 55/60
The rum demands only a little attention from you as it reveals it flavour. I taste bitter-sweet caramel turning to treacle in my mouth with a light layer of vanilla keeping the rum smooth. A somewhat peppery, somewhat pungent oak spice is apparent which brings impressions of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon to the fore with just a touch of spicy wood sap melded in. There are hints of maple syrup, touches of orange peel and marmalade, and a lovely underlying flavour of toasted walnuts and coconuts. This is the type of rum which you can sit comfortably in and old leather chair and just sip on it as you enjoy your evening.
In the Throat 13.5/15
The ending is perhaps just a touch bitter with the flavours of treacle and roasted walnut having more say than the vanilla and caramel. Oak spice leaves glowing flavours of nutmeg and cloves (with just a hint of cinnamon) resting on the palate and touching the back of the throat, and the effect is to dry the mouth slightly making the mouth receptive to another sip.
The Afterburn 9/10
When I tasted this rum for the first time it was in Miami at a party hosted by Ron Matusalem. I was serving as a Rum Judge at the big Festival, and perhaps I had consumed more than enough rum for one day at that point. I say this because I remember being unimpressed. Now either the blend has changed significantly in the last three years (not likely) or my palate was completely compromised by that time in the evening (over one hundred rums sampled in three days… yeah it’s likely I was compromised). What I tasted this time around was a much richer rum with a full and balanced flavour profile. This is a relaxing rum with just enough nuance to keep the glass interesting as you sip, but restrained enough that the sipping experience never becomes demanding.