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Zaya Gran Reserva Rum is a blend of 12 rums sourced from Trinidad and Tobago. Double-distilled from pure sugar cane in copper pot stills, the rums are aged in whiskey and bourbon oak barriques (225-liter barrels) for a up to 12 years.
Zaya rum is distilled by Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala. Originally made in Guatemala, Zaya Gran Reserva is now produced in Trinidad."
The added sugars - and probably coloring - massacre what seems to be a decent rum hiding in the cellar from the onslaught. My diabetic friend loves it, but I feel guilty about killing him and so, will not purchase another bottle merely to transfer to him. Doorly's XO, for example, is three times the rum at 1/2 the price. I will go out of my way to avoid sipping this again.
This rum was very disappointing to me. It seemed way to sweet and tasted of added vanilla and had no legs. I gave it to my wife for her baking needs. Rum in chocolate banana bread is good stuff.
Wonderfully smooth with vanilla and sweet notes to it. A mild but well bodied flavor, which is very enjoyable to sip neat or use in a mixed drink.
**Update 1/18 - "new" formula Zaya. What a disappointment. I used to like this one a lot. Now I find it hard to even sip, as others have noted, due to it's astringent, cough syrup/vanilla extract rude-slap-in-the-palate taste it now possesses.
I'll manage to mix this in my mai-tai and it's okay to drink in a mixer, but not stand alone. I will not be buying this one again, sadly.
This is not a good rum. It can not be sipped neat. It's not even the best mixer. It tasted good mixed with vanilla cream soda. I taste artificial vanilla. I find this to be similar to Kraken although, it tastes like there is more artificial sweetness in Zaya. I hear the recipie used to be good, it's a shame they had to change it.
Zaya Gran Reserv recently changed in many aspects - Packaging, and mix. It went from a really enjoyable experience and is now a nasty tasting cheap bottle of rum.
The way I can tell the difference is the packaging - if the bottle has the real weaving, and a cork - that is the good stuff. If the bottle is a screw top with printed weaving - do not waste your money!
Although i started back into rum with Zaya i had to rate this a 3. Why? Simple really. The old Zaya was better to me. The new Zaya is heavily loaded or blended with additives. It's just over the top like eating candy.
After reading a post on the discussion board about how Zaya has become undrinkable swill under new ownership, I finally opened a bottle I had picked up last year while on vacation at what I thought was a great price of $25.
i have to say I agree 100% with the guy who made that post. This stuff basically tastes like vanilla extract. I found an unopened bottle stashed in my cellar of the old stuff with real palm leaf wrap around the neck, and though it is a sugar bomb it at least tastes good. The new stuff either has a paper wrap around the neck or a metal screw top and collar. My newer bottle has the metal, but according to the guy who wrote the post the paper wrapped bottles are terrible too.
I have heard this rum was awesome back in the days it was from Guatemala, unfortunately that was before I got interested in rum. The garbage stuff says "a blend of 12 rums" in the little round label on the bottle instead of "aged 12 years" on the older bottles. Classic bait and switch, avoid the newer bottles. I wouldn't buy this again at any price.
I was looking forward to try Zaya 12 after reading the good impressions on this site and other, so I choose to buy a bottle instead of Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva that I know and love. Must say Zaya is a very smooth rum, but I´m real disappointed that a rum costing around 80 $, here in Denmark, doesn´t have more to offer. I tasted it up against my Plantation 20 Anniversario, Eldorado 12 and Millonario 15 Reserva Especial, where Plantaion cost the same and the two other are cheaper. They all 3 have fine complexity and the afterburn is good compared to zaya 12 that almost has none other than a sweet taste. Maybe zaya is cheaper else where in the world or they have cut down quality to fulfill demands. To me Zaya 12 is sweet, smooth, anonymous and way to expensive. I will buy good old Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva next time, that´s for sure.
zaya 2013 u mna top rum, ktory bol vo vsetkych smeroch to naj, proste extaza exotiky. po otvoreni flase bolo citit cherry, coko, banany a tak aj chutil. zaver bez jedineho skrabnutia, uplne jemnucky olejovy rumicek s fantastickou chutou. lenze, jedneho dna bol tento skvost nedostupny a trvalo par rokov kym som ho znova objavil. flasa aj obal mierne pozmeneny a rum vo vnutri zmeneny poriadne. aj ked pisu ze rovnaka receptura, proste za tie prachy, cca 50 € je to uplna katastrofa. nechal som ho v pohari 20 minut odstat a trosku sa vratila jemnost v zavere, ale samotna chut je nevyrazna, slaby sedy priemer. takze pozor aku flasu idete pit, na lavo nova zaya, na pravo stara.
$36. Mediocre. This rum does not prove itself as a good sipping rum. Heavy smoked oak notes predominate, followed by a hint of vanilla. Pyrat is outstanding for sipping: I haven't found another to match Pyrat. Yet.
We enjoyed the original parent of this much less deserving offspring...We are so sad. The original Zaya was from Guatemala, but due to Zaya losing out regarding distribution rights to another Solera Method rum company (which I will not mentioned, but it is way overpriced and not nearly as good as Guatemalan Zaya was), at last the demise of what Zaya truly was, a world-class rum. My husband and I have tried many many rums, and the original Guatemalan Zaya was in a class of it's own--flavor, richness, smoothness, subtle bouquet that came out all along the palate from start to finish and with a delectable balance...oh we so miss those days. Anyone here who may remember the original Zaya absolutely knows what I'm describing. Our crisis with Zaya's change began suddenly we noticed a distinct change in flavor with an unbalanced forward sweet (too sweet) and vanilla flavor, like it was artificially flavored or something. My husband also started getting headaches from it. We finally noticed the color change with the Trinidad version being darker, and also it was not nearly as smooth as the Guatemalan version. Lastly, it had a new "paraffin-ish" off-putting mouthfeel too. We stopped drinking it and then went on an exhaustive search for our beloved original Guatemalan Zaya, but everyone else who also knew about the switch had already bought out all remaining stocks; everywhere!. As luck would have it, we just happened to find a bottle of the original Zaya at a total dive liquor store. It was sitting way back on the self in it's own location without anything else around, almost like it was going to be discarded; and it had accumulated a copious amount of dust from sitting there so long. We immediately snatched it up and quickly took it home to enjoy! That was the last time we had our beloved Guatemalan Zaya...and we relished every sip! It was oh so good...We really wish Zaya would somehow be reproduced to its original glory from Guatemala.
I had read such great things about this rum I have to say I was a little disappointed last night when I tried it. I get blasted with the overpowering caramel aroma and flavor. I will try it on ice to see if it has a life other than a mixing rum.
Additional review comments: After trying this 3 more times I think I either have a bad bottle or they have changed their way of creating this rum. It is not enjoyable neat, with water, rocks and I think it would not work well with Coke or any other soda. I read that the 12 of the bottle no longer refers to any age of the rum, but is letting you know that 12 different rums have been blended to create what is in the bottle.
I am not an age snob, don't care if color or sugar has been added to the rum as long as I enjoy the experience of drinking the rum. I can't say I am enjoying this one at all.
...but not great. I do understand a lot of people like this sweet toffee, but it's lacking depth and originality. Down the palate it even seems like one can taste the dilution with water, an artificial taste of vanilla and much too much sugar which must have been added afterwards and burns your esophagus. I'm not a Zacapa fan either but I'd prefer it to this one and know now why the two rums have the same supporters - candy lovers! Still you can sip it and offer it to your sweet tooth guests after dinner as dessert or pour it over the ice cream or hot wafers. Not at all worth the 50 EUR and more you have to pay in Europe. Will never buy it again!
The old presentation was better. I would not recommend to buy this one, there's better option for $35 Rums like Don Pancho 8 years.
This used to be my all-time favorite sipping rum, and indeed one of my favorite spirits of any kind to drink neat.
I just picked up a bottle in the "new" packaging (different bottle, screwtop, no woven neck ring). See attached image: old packaging is on the left.
The "new" ZGR is simply awful.
Either they radically changed the blend or a terribly bad batch got out.
Shame on Zaya for screwing up what had been a world-class rum!
New bottles are not very good, although last year's bottling is fine. New ones taste like alcohol with imitation caramel flavor added. Doesn't taste like a legitimate aged rum.
This is probably the worst i've had to date.I generally like sweet rums but it is so sweet and spicy it's disgusting.It doesn't work at all as a mixer either.The bottle I have is the old zaya not the new stuff which is even worse.It does have a nice bottle design but that's all it has going for it.Don't waste your money on this.I've got a half of a bottle left if someone wants to pay shipping they can have it for free.
This rum is NOT to be confused with 12year old Zaya that existed before. It is a recipe that blends 12 "aged" rums. Sneaky, sneaky. I believe most of the reviewers that rated it very highly, probably may be referring to the 12 year old, but the new one has much "room to improve". Just grab some corn syrup, some alcohol and make it thin enough and there you have your current Zaya. The rum is barely passable on the rocks, so I update my rating by 1 point. These guys seem to be milking the success of their previous recipe and deceiving people which is why I give it a 2 = 1 for deceiving folks but 1 more because it barely passes on the rocks.
I had my hopes high about this one, I was severely let down. I hear tell the blend changed and not for the better. I hope the previous mix was nicer. This one tastes like gasoline raisin water and had bad artificial flavouring. Didn't even enjoy the smell and I'm not picky.
I hear it's easy to tell which one is the good one based on the bottle wrap - mine is the false wrap. I will give the other bottle a try if the opportunity presents itself but, won't be spending my money on it.
Not sure if this rum is from 12 yr old whiskey cask or if it's really rum with sugar added, Carmel added, vanilla added and color added. Where is the spirit - hidden behind the blast of sugar, look out kids better than a trip to the sweet shop
Best served on waffles. Sugary, oily, and overpoweringly vanilla-flavored. Plus, it feels creepily thin in the mouth. This stuff actually made me sad.
I was looking for a decent rum and this was recommended by a friend. Nose vanilla, taste sugary vanilla, finish vanilla extract. Maybe mixed with coke or ginger beer it is palatable.
Lovely bottle and that ends it. Found it nauseating. Strong, synthetic vanilla is the first flavour to hit you. It goes into my try in a cocktail shelf and probably will be binned a few years from now.
Review by Chris Carlsson of Spirits Review
Zaya rum review by Matt at A Jigger of Blog
Zaya Gran Reserva rum review by The Ultimate Rum Guide