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Juan Santos 21 Review

Juan Santos is gaining a very strong reputation for their new line of Columbian rums.  Chip Dykstra completes his coverage of their launch with a review of JS 21.


Picture 3Juan Santos 21 – Antigua Reserva Review

By Chip Dykstra

Juan Santos 21 Yr Old Rum   93.5/100

This is the final review on a series of new Columbian rums that are entering the North American marketplace via my home province of Alberta.  Allow me to introduce Juan Santos Twenty One Year Old Rum.  I found this to be a tremendous rum with unmatched smoothness, and a wonderful soft clean finish.

In the Bottle 3.5/5

This rum deserves a better presentation.  While the labelling and flagon style bottle was fine for the younger presentations of Juan Santos Rum.  This is a 21 year old rum which deserves to be placed upon more of a pedestal to create the proper ambiance.

In the Glass 9.5/10

As with the younger Juan Santos rums, in the glass one definitely gets the impression that there is a strong whisky influence to this rum both in looks and aroma.  Rising into the air, with the smell light toffee and brown sugar, is a light touch of Canadian rye whisky.   The aroma of whisky and rum have in fact melted together such that it is difficult to discern whether we have a bottle of rum or a bottle of Canadian whisky.

In the Mouth  56.5/60

Wonderfully delicious!  So very soft and smooth on the tongue.  That whiskey character I noted in all younger versions of the Juan Santos rums has in fact melted with the rum into a buttery praline cream.  Soft caramel notes are mingled with light spices, and the result is wonderfully balanced and remarkably deep in flavour.  Just the vaguest hints of almonds and cinnamon arrive on the tongue with ghostlike vestiges of caramel, nutmeg, allspice, and rye.

In the Throat  14.5/15

This is soft and smooth with just a dab of gentle oil giving the rum a tremendous finish.  Absolutely no harsh backbite, and no bitterness at all. The flavour evaporates in the throat leaving a crisp clean palate with just phantoms of the experience lingering.

The Afterburn 9.5/10

Juan Santos 21 Year Old Rum is perhaps the smoothest rum I have ever encountered.  The balance is staggering, as I was completely unable to discern anything but fleeting mirages of individual flavours.  When one tastes the rum next to the 5 yr, 9 yr and 12 year a remarkable progression occurs on the palate.   Each rum is smoother than the last, and with each rum the melting of the flavours together is a treat to the palate.  By the time we reach the 21 year old the progression is complete.  A total mixing of flavours into a truly wonderful rum.   Just about perfect!

Suggested Cocktail:

Arctic Wolf’s  Sloe Colombian Cocktail

2 oz of Juan Santos 21 yr old Rum

1/2 oz of Sloe Gin

Dash Angostura Bitters (optional)

2 Large Ice cubes

1/8 oz Dry Vermouth

Green Olive

Slice of Lime

Add the Juan Santos Rum, the Sloe Gin, and Angostura bitters with 2 Large ice cubes in a mixing glass and stir lightly. Pour the Dry Vermouth into a small chilled cocktail glass.  Swirl the vermouth to coat  all parts of the glass. Then pour the vermouth out and discard it.  Spear a fresh green olive with a long toothpick and place it in the chilled cocktail glass and strain the mixed ingredients over the olive (do not add the ice). Squeeze the lime slice over the glass to release a few drops of juice into the drink.



To read more of Chip’s reviews, check out the Rum Howler Blog.