A price tag caught our eye while we were perusing the rum aisle this month. Ron Centenario 30th Anniversary Limited Edition was $194.99. A little too rich for our blood; however, looking beyond the 30, there was a 25th Anniversary and 20 years which were more in line with our price point. We decided on the Ron Centenario Fundación 20 years.
Ron Centenario was founded in the 1960s under the umbrella of Seagram of Costa Rica S.A., though it wasn’t until the mid-1980s that the first Centenario rum went public. The brand was created as a high-quality artisanal rum for the consumer with a more refined and demanding palette. Today Ron Centenario has nine rums ranging in price point from their light Blanco Anejo to the 30th Anniversary rum. The UDG Group acquired Ron Centenario in 2016.
What we find unique about Ron Centenario is the aging process. They use American oak barrels that were used to produce Scottish whiskey. These barrels held whiskey from four distinct regions of Scotland: Speyside, Highlands, Lowlands, and Isley. Each of their rums uses a different combination of barrels to create a unique flavor profile.
Ron Centenario Fundación 20 begins with Costa Rican sugar cane, which is grown in rich volcanic soil and extracted to make sugar cane juice. The rum is aged up to 20 years using 80% Highlands and 20% Lowlands barrels, then blended using the solera method. Unfortunately, the distillation process is not published.
The nose is very subtle, with hints of sweet cherry and oak. Even when I take a sip, it takes time for the notes to present themselves, but by the time they do, the liquid is already at the back of the palate, finishing. There I get cherry and apricot, which lingers slightly. To me, the rum doesn’t have much sweetness. With subsequent sips, I’m picking up some oak on the palate, with the finish remaining the strong suit.
Adding an ice cube produces the same notes on the nose and palate but has more vibrancy. The oak is more prominent on the finish and stays with me longer. I much prefer over rocks.
The dark amber rum coats the glass with light lacing. The nose is sweet with vanilla, caramel, and cherry. As the rich, heavier liquid coats my palate, the vanilla, caramel, and cherry come through with hints of butterscotch. Once it transitions to the finish, the sweetness turns bitter and off-putting. Strangely though, the back of the finish transitions back to a rich, deep cherry note. Unfortunately, the bitter note stays with me on my second sip, leaving me missing the lovely sweet experience I had initially.
Terry had high hopes for Ron Centenario Fundación 20 because of the initial nose, while Clint found a way to enjoy it by adding an ice cube. The overall complexity is very one note. At $48/bottle, we were expecting more.
3.5 out of 5
About Clint and Terry: We have sampled many a dram over our 33 years of marriage and quite often we don’t fully agree. Could be the difference is male/female taste buds. Or, somebody is just wrong.