Very Smooth. Borgoe 15 year old is a visually entertaining. In your glass, it fairly shimmers with a dark brownish color between walnut and mahogany,, and swirling produces long solid legs. The initial bouquet is full of intrigue, delivering sweet scents of copper and reminiscent of the odors released by the dense, oily hardwoods Cocobolo and Padauk when they are being worked. Then come aromas of caramel, baked coconut with brown sugar, musty wet leather, mild phenolic, sweet pipe tobacco smoke, pecans, and a hint of cardamom. Tasting initiates the drying affect of alcohol, well-balanced by sweet buttery caramel and an interesting copper flavor. A medium-heavyweight body supports the tropical hardwood connection, providing a solid foundation for all of the flavors introduced in the aromas. On the finish, you’ll find mild caramel on the tongue contrasted by a dryer throat. In a nutshell, Borgoe 15 earns a Gold Star for complexity and balancing several unique aromas and flavors.
Borgoe rum is produced by Suriname Alcoholic Beverages N.V. (SAB). Founded in 1966, the company originally bottled and disitributed rum and sugar products. After a still was brought up in the mid-1980’s, SAB developed rapidly into a prominent producer of rum and other alcoholic products, such as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Today SAB remains Suriname’s only alcohol producer. Borgoe rum is distilled from fermented molasses in a three-column still, and aged in American white oak barrels previously used for aging Bourbon. SAB also maintains a hand-made copper pot still (pictured below right), but it is mostly used for producing alcoholic spirits from fermented fruits.
The best of my tracking ability indicates that Borgoe introduced their 15 year old rum in December 2011. Most of SAB’s export production is sent to the Netherlands. I have not seen it for sale the USA, nor the Caribbean islands, nor in online rums shops, leading me to believe it’s not widely exported beyond Holland.
Despite the lack of exports, historically SAB’s rums, and Borgoe in particular, have won numerous awards around the world. Titles were earned at events in Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, and Japan. Most recently, Borgoe 15 Year Old won a Silver Medal at the 2012 Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival on Grenada. Competing in the category for Rum Aged 15 years and over, it picked up a Silver medal, and was bracketed by two impressive peers:
Borgoe 15 comes packaged in a hefty beauty of a bottle that other distillers have chosen for showcasing their high end rums, including Vizcaya VXOP and Plantation Extra Old. They are in great company with Borgoe 15. A hefty wooden cap and natural cork stopper top off this substantial presentation.
Discovering delightful complex aged rums is what we connoisseurs live for, especially when it comes from a country that I was unaware even produced rum. The surprise is doubly rewarding when the rum is this intriguing. Borgoe 15 is all that, and more. Unique is so overused that it has become neutered, but in the case of Borgoe 15, the word is a perfect fit. I sensed aromas in this rum that I treasure and have found in no other spirit. Mildly sweet, tropical wood, mysterious and colorful – Borgoe 15 is one to be looking out for.
Reviewed: November 2012 on Grenada at the Caribbean Rum & Beer festival, and again in February 2013 at the Rum Gallery, USA.