Matusalem Gran Reserva 18

Matusalem Gran Reserva 18

Product of:  Dominican Republic
Aged:  18 years (Solera blend) 
Price: $35
Alcohol: 40% ABV
Context:  Premium Aged Rum 
RG Rating:  9.5

Tasting Notes 
Extremely Smooth.  Matusalem Gran Reserva 18 manages to extract an exquisitely clear amber color from the oak aging barrels.  Aromas are exquisitely robust but not overdone, with butterscotch, vanilla, oak, milk chocolate, caramel, and fresh coconut predominating, followed by sweet tobacco and new leather, then lighter aromas of raisins and tropical fruit (mango) combined with very subtle hints of spice (nutmeg and cinnamon) which enliven the heady aged essence of the rum.  Matusalem 18’s initial taste fully envelops the tongue, spreading flavors evenly over the palate, building in perfect harmony upon the aromas, and adding a sweet potato sensation.  A medium heavy body is perfectly suited to the considerable aromas and flavors, and finishes – ahhh – pleasantly drier up front than anticipated, but buttery towards the back, and lingers lip-smackingly long to a delicately sweet finish.

Matusalem Gran Reserva 18 intro cake

Anecdotes 
Introduced in the Biltmore Hotel at a VIP event during the 2010 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, earning a well-deserved Gold Medal.  Matusalem Gran Reserva 18 was unveiled first as a cake, then ultimately in snifters where the rum could truly demonstrate its noble aromas and tastes. By the first sniff  and sip I was already wellimpressed by the depth of character, aromas and flavors of this new aged rum.  We kept going back to sniff and sip, forever discovering new complexity and enticing flavors. The back of bottle label on Matusalem’s18 year old says the rum is “a rich and robust tasting rum developed in the “Solera” blending process, where various mature aged Caribbean rums are skillfully blended with more exuberant rums to create an exceptionally smooth, unique blend.”  RnD concurs with their assessment. 

Opinion
Already a producer of a very fine 15 year old rum, Matusalem’s Gran Reserva 18 sets a considerably higher standard, instantly achieving a place of honor amongst the world’s finest spirits. .  It’s not just three years older than their 15, it’s an altogether better rum and a foundation piece in any worthwhile collection.  Deeply flavorful and aromatic, Matusalem 18 is a rum you can enjoy for the rest of your life, needing only to be sniffed to be enjoyed.  As a child, I felt special on the days I was given my favorite chocolate coated, caramel-filled candy, and sniffing Matusalem Gran Reserva 18 rum brings back those sweet happy memories – more I could not want.

Reviewed:  August 2010 at the Rum Gallery, USA

© Dave Russell 2017