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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.
After many a Havana club & coke Zacapa 23 was the rum that started me on drinking rum straight. I hear the critics about the actual age etc. Still to me its all about taste and and Zacapa has it in abundance. My go to sipping rum.
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.
(Update January 3, 2020: So... after reading through the hydrometer tests, I unfortunately discovered that Ron Zacapa is a company that absolutely loads their "premium rums" with additives like sugars and coloring such. This is something that disappointments me greatly. As noted on my recent review of Zacapa's Edicion Negra, "premium" rums with additives that aren't labeled mean an automatic three points off. That means the highest I can give this now is a 7. It won't go lower because this review is still otherwise true... I do love this rum regardless. Sadly, it's a flavored rum, not a pure rum. Hence the drop in rating.)
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.
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.....
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Want diabetes? Drink this garbage. So full of sugar and artificial flavours, so full of lies from the age statement to the 'hand woven' stupid weave around it. Save your money and don't give it to these liars and cheats
The Zacapa 23 comes in a paper box and a very nice bottle with the classical woven band around it (image).
On the nose you get some alcohol, toffee, fruit, vanilla, wood and spices. After a while the alcohol disappears and the other flavors gets more intense. In mouth the Zacapa 23 is smooth and sweet with some spice and a lot of vanilla.
In the throat the Zacapa 23 is very smooth with a bit of spice and oak at the end. The aftertaste disappears rather quickly. It should be longer.
I think that the Zacapa 23 is a very good and price worthy sipper but I only give it 8/10 because I think the Zacapa XO is a bit better as a sipper.
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.
Overrated overly sweet liqueur-like rum. Sweetened with sugar, distilled product shouldnt have sugar left
I cannot believe this "rum" was once marketed as world's best: Its cheap coloured alcohol with plenty sugar added. Nada mas. I would not serve it except with ice cream. The age statements are a joke, the "rum" is a joke - it is more sherry than rum - and basically it is soo overpriced that it is shameful.
So, as a big rum fan I tried this as it is surrounded by a lot of hype. The best conclusion I can make is, if you think this is a good rum, you are not a rum fan, stop drinking rum and go back to single malts.
This tastes like a really smooth, sweet single malt. Not bad, but the sweetness seems like 'sweetener' sweet, not sugar or caramel. I did try mixing it too, but it is terrible with cola, terrible with ginger, but not so bad with Copella apple and raspberry juice.
I ended up binning it, I would advice vigilance towards others 'rum' reviews if they rated this over 5.
This stuff tastes like Diet Coke, and yet it's the most popular rum on the website. I don't get it.
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.
It's a good rum; probably one of the better ones to start sipping with.
I decidet to buy this rum since there is a plenty of good ratings on this rum, but I was very disappointed.
On the nose is nice, but in the taste I found something hard defying which my tongue did not liked. Something synthetic bitterish and sharp.
There are lot of better rums in this price range. Definitely will not buy again :-/
This isn't rum. Oh, wait, it actually IS rum because pretty much anything can be sold as rum since rum consumers are apparently too ignorant/lazy/naive/easily parted with their money/etc to demand the kind of regulations that would exclude this cheap sugary swill from being labelled rum in the first place.
Besides the diabetes-inducing levels of sugar in here there is almost certainly a boatload of other additives, chemical flavourings, and artificial adulterants added as well. And yet, after all that, after having forsaken all their integrity and craftsmanship, the producers still failed to make it taste good. I mean, if you're gonna add sugar, artificial flavours and god knows what else then at least make it delicious! Otherwise what's the point? This is just extremely sweet (so smooth!) booze water that has a bunch of very flat, artificial-tasting rummy notes, eg, caramel, toffee, vanilla, coconut, orange etc. I did my own simple sugar test by placing a few drops on a plate and letting it evaporate. Several hours later an obscene amount of sticky residue remained, so much so that you'd think almost half of the rum was sugar and glycerol. Try it out yourself. By the way, the bottle claims the rum is 40% ABV, but it doesn't taste like it, even with the added sugar taken into account, and I have seen (admittedly amateur) tests that put it around 28-35% ABV... So, yeah, this company sucks so much.
Anyway, on to the more important aspects of this rum. First, it has the number 23 on it, which is a good high number to have written on a bottle of alcohol. Second, it is wrapped in a kind of twine band - very fancy! Third, on the label there are some gold medals denoting some kind of awards. From these three facts alone you immediately know that you're getting a quality product...
Okay, okay, I know I'm being kinda snobby and pretentious, but if people were a little more discriminating and demanded the kind of transparency that would allow one to know exactly what it is they're consuming then perhaps we'd all start getting the quality we're already paying for. The price for this dreck is absurd. Look, I don't want to stop people from drinking this shite, I just want it labelled correctly so that brilliant, fascinating, handsome people with exceptionally refined tastes will only ever see it where it belongs - on the bottom shelf in the liqueur aisle.
Nose: Medium sweet, nice aroma, too alcoholic
Taste: Sweet, sugar
Tail: Balanced, with alcohol spike at the end
Added sugar 20g per liter
Easy to drink
Had this after a whisky. It had a lot of taste. Sweet and easy to drink straight up. I liked it
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!
I've tried Zacapa 23 on many occasions. It's loaded with extra sugar or something and it's not at all a 23yr aged rum. I'm not easy to please and this falls short. Way short. I do give a great deal of credit to Zacapa for opening the eyes of buyers vs products like Bacardi and Capt Morgan. Notice that most people put coke in those. I just want to sip neat.
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