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Ron Zacapa 23 Solera Rum was created in 1976 in the highlands of Guatemala, where it is distilled from fresh cane juice before aging at 7544 feet at 62 °F (17 °C).
The 500 year-old Spanish Sistema Solera method is used to age Ron Zacapa 23 in white oak casks. This results in a combination of rums aged between 6 and 23 years.
The current Ron Zacapa 23 bottle features a woven band around the middle, which is in reference to the original hand woven palm leaf petate bottle cover that covered the bottle.
Yes it tastes great. No it is not a genuine aged rum. The XO version is IMO less sweet and more what this rum should be, but the 23 has been sweetened to make it more appealing to the American palate. Also, this is not a 23 yr old rum, it is a Solera blend of aged rum the OLDEST of which is 23 yrs, the average age is closer to 6-8 years.
The "z" rums - Zaya, Zacapa, Zafra - as well as Diplomatico and others have led people to believe aged rums should be sweet and smooth, while drier genuine rums - Appleton 12 yr, Mount Gay extra old, Flor de Cana, Seales 10 yr, any agricole rhum - are more indicative of what rum SHOULD taste like in its unaltered state, but less appealing to most people's palates.
I am even beginning to think that my favorite El Dorado rums are sweetened, though it is less dominant and actually compliments the robust flavors of the Demeraran rum. The same could be said for Zaya and this one, though IMO the sweetness is considerably more forward. The Zaya and zacapa are robust enough to still be interesting, while Diplomatico Reserva and Ron Fortuna 8 yr both taste flat and boring to me. Ron Fortuna 8 yr is the worst offender yet, nauseatingly sweet and bland. Both probably were decent subtle rums before being sweetened within an inch of their lives.
Edit : I have recently come across some info on a Swedish national site that discloses added sugar in rums. This rum formerly had 45 g/ltr of sugar added, which - along with El Dorado 12 yr - was by far the most of any rum on the list. It has recently (no idea when) been reduced to 20 g/ltr.
I find Zacapa to be rather tasty but way too sweet to have more than a couple oz. Drink a half bottle and get ready for a big-time hangover. Good mouth feel, long finish, nice bouquet of baking spices, vanilla and caramel on the palate. Sadly, when rums like this one are artificially colored and flavored like this, I cannot consider it a fine rum. Also "Solera 23" is truly deceptive. There may be 2% to 5% of 20+ year old rum in there, but I have been told the average age is closer to 6 yrs. Now, 6 yrs is plenty of time to make a great rum, but don't lie to me.....
I finally got my hands on Ron Zacapa 23... not a 750mL bottle, unfortunately, because they were out, but two 50mL bottles. I went ahead and opened one.
Now, I did do something that perhaps might be seen as... erm... wrong? But it works for me and always brings out more flavors in basically any spirit I'm enjoying.
In short, I used a Vinturi Spirit Aerator, and used that to pour the rum into one of the Neat Whiskey Glasses (I don't have a specific rum glass... wouldn't mind some recommendations).
Sipping it like that has really changed my whole understanding of rum. I've always enjoyed Captain Morgan, but this blows them out of the universe. I'm sipping it right now and it's hard to describe, but...
My dad is basically a scotch collector, and he's been teaching me how to distinguish nose and palate and finish with scotch. I was never very good. I'm okay (not great, but not bad, either) at being able to tell by taste when a scotch has been aged in sherry casks. I can also pinpoint obvious stuff, like smokiness/peatiness, and stuff like that. But I've never been very good at picking out various flavors.
With this, I can do it. On the nose I get hints of vanilla, cocoa, and caramel. I've never been a big fan of bananas, and I was expecting that, but I get something more along the lines of plantain, which while I wouldn't say I like, I definitely prefer over banana.
I love the complex sweetness of the palate. Caramel is the overarching flavor I get. The plantain comes out again, only in tiny hints, however. I pick up raisin and apricot, as well. And an underlying hint of coffee.
And I absolutely adore how this sits on my tongue. It's sugar... which I guess is to be expected. And I love that.
This is nothing like those mixing rums I like. They never had a really defined flavor that I could pick out. Just... rum. But this is something else.
This rum is as much the base line to critic a lot of molasses rums as well as maybe the easiest entrance to the world of rums.
While I agree that the solera system hides the true make up of this rum, I think it is quite good regardless of the younger spirits that likely make up the majority of the bottle. The sweetness is actually held back nicely, at least compared to other Spansih style rums as say Diplomatico. There is also a nice touch of oak. I think it stands on ots own merits quite well.
The RZ 23 was a rum I was looking forward to. It have some reputation. Unfortunately it didn't live up to it.
I mostly use it for drinks. It can be consumes straight but it's not very smooth or exiting to drink. It's a rum that I won't buy again.
All the people who are not accustom to drinking rum, are enjoying Zacapa 23y. It's pretty sweet and not that heavy. It's not my favorite but it's a close second.
This is absolute crap! I can't believe there are so many people who still believe this to be great rum. It's really just moderately aged stuff combined with a ton of raw molasses and other sweet additives after distillation.
I think this rum is responsible for many people thinking 'rum is too sweet'. The fact is this rum is too sweet and far too popular. Let people make their own cocktails out of your average at best rum with out trying to make a pre-batched cocktail like this an ultra-premium rum! You're only hurting the category as a whole.
Had this after a whisky. It had a lot of taste. Sweet and easy to drink straight up. I liked it
It's a good rum; probably one of the better ones to start sipping with.
The Zacapa 23 was the first rum I could find myself enjoying, and it has become the benchmark against which I measure all other rum experiences.
The flavour is deep, layered, and complex. It reminds me of single malt whisky, with smoke-y and oak-y hints to the dark and spicy rum aroma.
By far the most over rated rum in the world. There are so many additives, including sugar and glycerine, which is fine I guess, but they a deny it! It's marketed by Diageo which is one of the biggest liquor companies in the world. The rum has no flair, no passion, it's essentially an alcoholic sugar syrup and for the price you can get so much more. Do yourselves a favor if you want Guatemalan rum and go for ron botran. It's not as sweet, and it adds so much more passion and depth than this garbage
Nose; Smooth and sweet aromas of dried apricots, vanilla, coconut, oak, chocolate, citrus fruits and sherry. A rich and warm palette.
Palette; A pleasant oiliness carrying flavors of subtle spicy oak, a nutty element, brown sugar and molasses. The nose continues in the flavors.
Finish; A medium finish where dried fruits, oak, brown sugar and molasses are the most prominent flavors. A small hint of tobacco are also evident.
Overall; Smooth and well made but a bit boring compared to rums like Ron Esclavo XO and Rum Company - Old Barbados. A nice rum though.
Ron Zacapa 23 Solera Gran Reserva 40% (Guatemala)
Eye: Light amber with green lip
Nose: Very sweet, round and even nose with a fine mix of marzipan, dark and light chocolate, butter scotch, honey, treacle, dates, apricot and lots of embrowned butter. A veritable fat sugar chock! At next nose there are a faint gun powder scent and vanilla, new cut tobacco and oiled teak. Very smooth, very sweet.
Mouth: Again, very sweet, sticky and rather short. Appealing ethanol at the end. Honey, marzipan and quince. A tad unrefined, on the verge of being simple. It´s not without its´ point but tend to appear as simplistic with a clear taste of pure sugar.
Reaction: Very difficult to define the nuances apart from what has already been said. It tastes alright and I am certain there are times it suits well if something sweet is needed, but really, that´s it. At the same time I pour again and again. It´s very drinkable but for the same reason I eat too much candy. The price is affordable and the access very good. It was one of the first rum I tasted and at that time I found it to be delicious so maybe I just had a bad day grading it.
Price: 499 SEK
Tasted: 2016, in a Riedel Sommelier Cognac XO glass at room temperature.
I enjoy this rum, has a nice sweet aroma and taste. Very smooth to drink, had enjoy it. Would recommend to give it a try.
Smooth, a bit sweet. Vanilla and caramel. It was my first intro to good rum, and a favorite in my cabinet.
This was one of the first quality rums that I have ever had. Had it in the Caymans a few years ago, and just found it in a store here in the US. Being new to quality rum, I did think that this was a 23 year old rum, but that was my fault. (well, mine and genius marketing) I remeber it being less sweet and a little dryer also. Don't know for sure which Ron Zacapa I had down there..... Probably wasn't this one.
Avec le Diplomatico ce Ron Zacapa 23 doit faire parti des meilleurs ventes de rhum Solera et les critiques sont souvent élogieuses. J'ai hésité à commander directement le XO mais je me suis dit qu'il serait intéressant de partir avec ce qui semble être la référence chez cette maison.
Je n'en suis qu'à ma seconde dégustation mais pour le moment je suis relativement déçu. Alors ça se boit bien, c'est même assez bon mais compte tenu du prix il y a tellement de choses plus intéressante. Mon El Dorado 15 ans coûte moins cher et offre beaucoup plus ! Je vais caricaturer un peu mais je ne sens que le sucre, le caramel et la vanille... bref la base de tous les rhums quoi. Je n'y trouve pas grande complexité et si en bouche il est plutôt doux je le trouve par contre un poil agressif à la descente.
J'attends les prochains verres pour voir si mon avis évolue mais pour le moment je reste sur ma faim compte tenu de sa réputation.
Local shop proclaimed this was his best rum. Tried it along with Kirk & Sweeney and Plantation 5 year. Zacapa turned out to be my least fave. Don't get me wrong - this is not a bad rum by any stretch, just not my favorite. Very smooth, but the combination of flavors left me a little flat. Have since tried the Zacapa XO and have to say that one is fantastic!
Not up to the expectations I had for this rum. It works better in a mixed drink than a sipper. Flavors come to me as a bit harsh when I try it straight up or over a big cube. It did hold up well in a rum punch but why spend the money to use it as a mixer.
Nice rum. The flavor is deep and balanced. But possibly, not so bright.
Very dark, with a full flavor. Is sweet but it taste great and please never ruin it by mixing it with cola. This is a premium straight up rum.
There's no doubt, Zacapa 23 is great for the premium rum industry. I'd guess its the most prevalent aged rum out there, and brought many newcomers to rum.
I like Zacapa 23 but not as much as Diplomatico, El Dorado, an others. It has a great rush of initial spice that dissipates quickly and leaves the mouth with a slightly oily sweet molasses finish.
For a 10+ year aged rum, I wanted more subtle notes. I get a little nutmeg and maybe even an olive note - but generally a little bland
Not your typical Molasses based rum this one. Its made from the first press of the sugar cane only resulting in a much smoother end product. Citrus, spice and cocoa are prominent in this one and a small piece of a nice dark chocolate on the side whilst sipping out really accentuates them flavours. Really long smooth finish, i could drink this all night straight up quite happily!!
Ron Zacapa Centenario Solera 23 review by Mike at Ultimate Rum Guide
Ron Zacapa Solera 23 rum review by Peter from the Floating Rum Shack