The Allure of Unique Rums
We always say yes when friends tell us they have a unique rum and ask us to share it with them. It allows us to share our love of rum tasting with others while discovering new rums. Don Q Signature Release Single Barrel 2009 was a rum we’ve been looking forward to tasting.
The History of Don Q Rum
In a past Don Q article, we highlighted the Serrallés family’s arrival in Ponce, Puerto Rico, in 1820, and the production of the family’s first cask of rum using an imported copper pot still. The rum was distributed privately until 1934, when the Don Q brand, named after Don Quixote, was launched for general consumption. The company produced aged rums until 1978, when the popular Don Q Cristal was introduced.
The Production Process
Don Q is distilled from boiled sugar cane, producing molasses that retains 50% of the sugar from the cane juice. The unique 75-year-old yeast is used in fermentation to transform sugars into alcohol. The liquid is distilled five times in a continuous still to remove any impurities, then aged in oak barrels for up to a year per Puerto Rican law.
Special Releases from Don Q
In 2005, Don Q created a Signature Release Single Barrel using rum from their private stock, which is blended by the master distiller before going into charred American barrels to rest for 10 years. They continued the same in 2007, releasing nine years later and again in 2009, which was released in 2019.
A Shared Discovery
What began as a teaching moment with our friends led to discovering nuances our friends never knew rum had.
Our Review of Don Q Signature Release Single Barrel 2009
For a rum aged 10 years in charred oak barrels, we expect a deeper hue than the golden liquid that clung to the glasses, creating tiny lacing. On the nose, we immediately picked up caramel, with our friends noting a slight alcohol note. As we continued to explore and discuss, Terry noted golden raisins, while Clint noted vanilla. We all felt there was another fruit on the nose that we couldn’t define.
The Palate Experience
After a long, contemplative first sip, our friends noted how smooth the rum was, even with a slight alcohol burn on the palate. Clint liked that the notes on the palate were the same as the nose but with a hint of oak. As we took additional sips, Terry identified the mysterious fruit as dark cherries, and there was a debate about the ever-present spice. We concluded the char of the barrel created it.
But it was the finish where we greatly differed. Some had a harsh experience with the spice burning the throat, while Terry said the finish was a non-event, and Clint enjoyed the smooth and lasting finish.
Don Q Signature Release Single Barrel 2009 is a great rum to share and experience with novice and seasoned rum drinkers. The character and complexion allow everyone to notice the subtleties a fine rum can offer. At $50/bottle, this is definitely worth finding.
4.5 out of 5