Cañaveral Etiqueta Azul (Blue Label)

Cañaveral Etiqueta Azul RG2

Product of:  Venezuela
Aged:  up to 12 years
Price: $60
Alcohol: 40% ABV
Context: Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating: 8.5

Tasting Notes
The medium dark reddish mahogany color shows well, and a subtle green tint indicates prolonged aging in oak.  Wonderfully thick aromas of deep smokey-oaken vanilla and caramel, honey and brown sugar are grounded with a bit of earthy cane and pepper.  Secondary aromas include mild phenolic and spice with nutmeg and clove, plus tropical fruit and coconut.  Canaveral Etiquita Azul’s aromas are multifaceted.  You could probably be satisfied sniffing this rum without ever sipping it.  But that’s no fun!  The initial taste asserts classic Venezuelan rum flavors, not overly sweet, but with smokey wood, deep oak flavor and residual sweetness, new leather, a little waxy and fruity with mango and raisins on a medium weight body.  The finish starts out sweet and heavy, then ends more off-dry with lingering oak, caramel, vanilla and anise.  Overall, Cañaveral’s aromas and flavors express a craftsman’s touch, with a rich depth.  It tastes like rum that has been aging carefully for a very long time, and bottled only when it was ready, not when someone needed to sell it.

Anecdotes
In Venezuela’s native Español, Cañaveral means “cane plantation,” implying a connection to Planet Earth and the crops that form the foundation of this spirit we love.  Aging in used American white oak barrels for at least 12 years yields a beautiful rum.

Cañaveral’s package is some of the finest I’ve ever seen (sorry the photo does not do it justice).  The tall traditional bottle rests in a blue hand-crafted leather cylindrical case that is spit lengthwise, then hinged mummy-like, and is held closed with a small snap.  Inside is a faux velour liner and a slender elastic cord that cushions the bottle. Topping the whole package is a screw cap sealed under a stiff blue wax.  There’s nothing else like it in my rum locker. 

Produced by Corporación Alcoholes del Caribe S.A., based in Tejerías, in the State of Aragua, Venezuela.  Among Venezuelans, Ron Cañaveral is regarded as one of the country’s highest quality rums. Three different expressions are produced, each varying by the length of aging: Red Label (Etiqueta Roja), Black Label (Etiqueta Negra), and Blue Label (Etiqueta Azul). 

Opinion
Cañaveral delivers all the tastes and complexity I have come to love about Venezuelan rums.  Heavier and sweeter than many rums from South America, Etiquita Azul’s flavor declares it’s tradition-meets-contemporary personality with humility and comes up with a winner.  I truly wish I had more. 

Reviewed: June 2012 at the Rum Gallery, USA

© Dave Russell 2017