Villa Rica 23 Year Old Single Barrel Rum

Villa Rica 23 YO-RG2b-USE

Product of:  Veracruz, Mexico
Aged:  23 years
Price: $28
Alcohol:
 40% ABV 
Sugar:
0-5 g/L (estimate)
Context:
Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating:  9

Tasting Notes
Villa Rica 23 Year Old Single Barrel shows the deep dark brown color of coffee, and what you see in the bottle is what you get in the glass. And if you tip your tasting glass just so you’ll detect the treasured green-brown halo where the upper edge of rum meets the inside of the tasting glass, indicating prolonged aging.  Legs are thick, slow and many, reminiscent of a banyan tree’s prop roots - we’re off to great start.

The aromas are rich and complex; most present are those of distilled browned sugarcane, old oaken vanilla, coffee bean and dried fruits (pineapple, dried sultanas and prune).  Once your nose adjusts to those threshold scents, you detect the mildest of nutmeg and star anise, flour pastry, hints of eucalyptus and acacia trees, supple, tanned thin shoe leather, not unlike some of the sugarcane rhums from the small distilleries on Marie-Galante in the French West Indies.

Villa Rica 23 YO Ship art Lg-RG1

In the mouth, Villa Rica 23 opens on a slightly sweet entry with an exciting spicy kicker, followed quickly by smoky wood flavors directed at the palate on a medium-heavyweight body.  The complex aromas are well integrated while tasting. The finish leaves a drying sensation on the tongue as the flavors sink slowly in the throat. 

Anecdotes 
Packaging of Villa Rica 23 Year Old Single Barrel rum is first rate.  The bottle is classy, unique in its use of materials for adornment, and sealed with a real wooden T-top.  Text on the neck tag the rum is “created with distilled sugarcane juice” and aged in “ancient European white oak toasted barrels.”  Claims of “authentic bright gold metal, mineral pigments and cobalt blue, melted at 500°C”” seem plausible to this layperson’s eyes.  Only the skull and crossbones motif stamped into the wooden cap seem out of place, as if pirate-rum associations add credibility.  In any case, Villa rica 23 strikes a well dressed pose.

Villa Rica 23 YO Neck Art-RG1Villa Rica 23 YO Cap-RG

The rum was laid down for aging in 1984, and first brought to the North American market in 2014.  Distribution seems trio be limited (but worth seeking.)  Licores Veracruz also produce the Mocambo portfolio of delicious rums – including the uniquely packaged 20 Años Art Edition. The family resemblance between the rum reviewed here and Mocambo 20 Años is immediately apparent.

Opinion
I approached Villa Rica 23 Year Old Single Barrel rum with no expectations and mild skepticism; would if be a real find or a mess?  Its price/age value is neither unique nor common.  I found it supple, pleasant to sip, and a bit of a mystery as to how specifically is it is crafted.  Considering its aromatic complexity, flavor quality and bargain price, I’ll buy another bottle of Villa Rica 23 Year Old before that damned wall is built.

Reviewed: January 2017 at the Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017