Santiago de Cuba 20 Años

Santiago de Cuba 20-RG2

Product of:  Cuba
Aged:   20 years
Price: $150 (varies)
Alcohol: 40% ABV 
Sugar: 4-8 g/L (estimate)
Context: Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating: 8.5

Tasting Notes
A bouquet of sweet caramel-toffee scents entices while you stare into the medium-dark mahogany colored rum.

In the tasting glass, appearance is all about legs, legs, legs.  They hang around as little beads of rum for awhile, not running off in haste, which helps to aromatize the spirit for sniffing.

Santiago de Cuba learned to be polite after spending 20 years between the staves.  The aromas are a refined collection,  most notably of milk chocolate and caramel.  Even the oak presence is graciously unaggressive.  There are also subtle hints of baked summer stone fruit pastry and mild spice, especially nutmeg. The flavor presentation is balanced and thoroughly consistent with the aromatic preamble, characterized by a sugarcane honey texture.  A medium-weight body makes this an easy sipper, as it should be treated.  The caramel flavor lingers long and dry after the rum is finished. 

Ron Santiago de Cuba 20 year old is produced in the facility formerly known for producing Ron Matusalem.  Following the 1959 Revolution, many of Cuba’s industries were nationalized, including family-owned rum distilleries.  The distillery and brand was renamed Ron Santiago de Cuba, and the producers of Matusalem fled to the Dominican Republic on nearby Hispaniola.  This 20 year old rum was created to celebrate the 485th anniversary of the founding of la ciudad de Santiago by Spanish explorers in 1515.  Impressive, beautiful colonial architecture and the fortress punctuate this part of Cuba, juxtaposed by the affects the 20th Century had on this particularly historic Caribbean island.

Santiago de Cuba 20 Box-RG1Santiago de Cuba 20 Badge-RG1

Compared with the more immediate aromatic attack of Havana Club’s rums, Ron Santiago de Cuba 20 años is its  kinder, gentler cousin, more well turned out, at peace with itself and minus the former’s conflicting schizophrenia. One has been hell-bent on attending every party for the past two decades, whereas I can sit down and have a quiet evening’s drink with Santiago.  

Ultimately, Ron Santiago de Cuba 20 años won’t stun you with complexity, it’s aromas are gentle and flavors a bit underwhelming.  Consequently I believe this old Cuban is pricey for what you get, but so  are all other 15+ year old Cuban rums.  It is one of the more genuine manifestations of Cuban style los rones añejo.  If that’s the style of rum you prefer, then you’ll fully appreciate what Ron Santiago de Cuba 20 años has to offer. 

Reviewed:  January 2016 at The Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017