Los Valientes 20 Year Old

Los Valientes 20YO-RG3-USE

Product of:  Mexico
Aged:  20 years
Price: $65-$90 (regional variation)
Alcohol: 43% ABV 
Sugar: 0-5 g/L (estimate)
Context:  Premium Aged Rum 
RG Rating: 8.5

Tasting Notes
Great color and structure in the glass, a hue like like brown walnut wood, and a few thin legs that form very slowly.

Uncork and immediately smell the rich woody and slightly floral bouquet, then aromas of cooked fruits (plum, papaya), more wood, well-developed rancio, burnt butter, caramel and smoke that partially subdue the spice notes of nutmeg, a hint of clove, cardamom and vanilla.  Yes, many of the aromas are familiar to rums from many regions, but the Los Valientes 20 year old presents them in a unique way.  It has a style unto itself.  The initial taste delivers a harmony of sweet, dry and rancio wood flavors on a medium-weight body, and a very smooth, off-dry leathery finish.

The rum plays homage to the fighters of the Mexican Revolution, whose name the rum bears. The label art includes an image of a shield with a sword and gun, barrels, and a cross.  It’s been available since circa 2009, but doesn’t makje many appearances. That’s a pity, because it has it’s own flavor and aromatic style that shouldn’t be overlooked. 

Ron Los Valientes is also nearly unique in its use of both sugarcane juice and molasses.  The vast majority of the World’s rum distilleries distill fermented molasses, perhaps less than 10% use fermented cane juice, and I can count on one hand the distillers that bottle a rum that blends both. 

Our good friend, Helena Tiare Olssen of A Mountain of Crushed Ice, has done her typically thorough research.  Accoring to Tiare:  the “…sugarcane juice – is  fermented with natural yeasts and then double distilled in pot-stills followed by charcoal filtering.  The molasses is distilled in column stills and it’s the heart of this distillation together with the sugarcane juice – in a ratio of 70:30 juice to molasses – that goes into this rum. The rum is aged in used American white oak barrels producing a light and refined flavour to the finished product.” 

Dale Sklar, principal of Ron Los Valientes contributes his insight:  “it is a true Mexican Rum.  A similar blend is produced and bottled in Cordoba, Mexico by our producers, Licores Veracruz sa de cv and sold under their brand name of Ron Mocambo …”

Los Valientes:  The Brave, The Valiant.  Indeed. Even at 20 years of age, Ron Los Valientes is certainly not overdone.  It is nearly unique, and almost singularly exquisite.  Instead of blowing your palate away with intensity, Los Valientes 20 Year Old shows the gentle maturity of being well cared for while aging in oak.  

Los Valientes 20 year old shares a common lineage with Mocambo Art Edition 20 year old rum.   Both are produced at Licores Veracrus SA in Mexico, and share the particular aromatic and flavor style of that distillery’s aging bodega.  Both rums are also presented in artistic bottles, but there’s little difference between the two rums within.  Similar aromatically, both have a big woody bouquet that says: “I’m special.”  Mocambo 20 tastes mildly sweeter than its cousin, perhaps due its slightly lower ABV (40% vs 43%) or just as likely due to the single barrel individuality of the two rums I sampled.  Unfortunately, Los Valientes sells for twice the price of Mocambo. 

Reviewed: The Rum Gallery tasted bottle # 204, bottled in September 2007, and reviewed during January 2015 at our tasting room in California USA.

© Dave Russell 2017