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Juan Santos 9 Review

The entire Juan Santos line of Columbian rums hit the North American market last week.  Chip Dykstra conitnues his coverage with a review of their 9 year aged rum.


Picture 3Juan Santos Anejo 9 Anos

By Chip Dykstra

Juan Santos 9 Yr Old Rum   89/100

This is the next review I am doing on a series of new Columbian rums that are entering the Canadian marketplace via my home province of Alberta.  Allow me to introduce Juan Santos 9 Year Old Rum.

In the Bottle 4/5

The rum bottle and label have not changed significantly from the previously reviewed spirits (the Juan Santos 5 Yr Old and the Juan Santos Coffee infused Rum).  I prefer in the case of more premium rums for the bottle and label to reflect the more expensive nature of the spirit.  But the presentation is in no way inferior.

In the Glass  8.5/10

This rum looks essentially the same in colour as the five year old, a pale brown with reddish highlights.  I do not see legs in the glass but as I swirl the contents but I do see a shiny oily film left on the sides of the glass after swirling. The aroma is mild rummy caramel with hotter spices rising reminiscent of Canadian Whisky.

In the Mouth  54/60

This rum feels more crisp than the previously reviewed 5 year old rum. The rum flavours and spice I taste are indistinct, as if they are melting into the oak.  I taste soft notes of caramel, light touches of hotter cinnamon, and a faint hint of hazelnut and nutmeg.  As in the 5 year old Juan Santos, I taste the distinct presence of whisky. This time it is a mild Canadian whisky taste reminding me of Crown Royal.  The whiskey influence does not dominate; but it is there, influencing the rum flavour demanding to be appreciated.  My feeling is that this whisky-like character of the Juan Santos Rums must come from the barrels they use for aging.

In the Throat  13.5/15

The rum has a nice crisp finish with a little soft oil giving it a nice length. There is a satisfying burn in the throat but no overt harshness. Whereas the five year old Juan Santos was a rum fit for any pirate, this rum would belong in the Captain’s cabin hidden away from the crew upon whom the smoother nuances would be lost.  (I may be seriously misjudging the average pirate’s palate of course.)

The Afterburn 9/10

The progression up the line of Juan Santos rums from five year old to nine year old has been a pleasure.  I notice a distinct progression of smoother flavour and a moving together of the whisky influence into the rum flavour.  In the nine year old,  the distinctiveness of individual flavours has lessened and more balance is apparent.

Suggested Cocktail:

In keeping with the whisky like feel to this rum I decided to do a take on the old Manhattan Cocktail.

Arctic Wolf’s Colombian Rum Manhattan:

2 oz of Juan Santos Rum

1/2 oz of Sweet Red Vermouth

Dash of Angostura Bitters

3 Large Ice cubes

Maraschino Cherry

Twist of Orange Peel

Add the Juan Santos Rum, the Vermouth, and Angostura bitters with 3 large ice cubes in a Martini Shaker.  Shake gently to chill the mixture. Spear a cherry with a long toothpick and place it in a chilled glen cairn glass.  Strain the mixed ingredients over the cherry but do not add the ice. Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink.  (This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink) Discard the peel.