Review: Ron Abuelo Anejo Rums

I’ll be blunt: Ron Abuelo’s rums are as good as rums that cost twice as much and possibly more.

Right now the company (producer Varela Hermanos, a 100-year-old firm) offers two rums, distilled in Panama from sugar cane the company grows itself. (Abuelo claims to be one of few distilleries in the world to grow its own cane.) Both are 80 proof.

ron-abuelo-anejo-rumFirst up is Ron Abuelo Anejo (the company doesn’t make a white rum), which is clearly aged, but with no statement on how long. (It’s a fairly pale rum, so I wouldn’t expect it spends more than three or four years in cask.) At first I found the Anejo a bit harsh, but letting it open up in the glass did wonders for it. After 10 minutes, the bitter, fiery nature mellowed out, leaving the spirit with a nicely sweet, lightly oaked body. Not a lot of complexity, no, but its brown sugar-like character was really quite lovely, even on its own, sans mixer. Not bad at all for a rum that costs about $13 a bottle, which makes it one of the cheapest aged rums on the market, cheaper even than just about all of Bacardi’s aged rums. (My only big complaint: The plastic cap doesn’t stay on well at all.)  B+ / $13

As good as the Anejo is, it’s outclassed by Ron Abuelo Anejo 7 Anos (pictured below), a moderately darker spirit with a smoother and more complicated body. The 7 year is ready to drink from first pour, a cocoa-inflected sugar bomb that is immediately accessible. Fresh sugar cane and some light citrus are at play in this rum, and though it has short finish that won’t leave you grasping for exalted descriptions, it’s a classic spirit that I challenge any rum drinker not to enjoy and enjoy greatly. All this will set you back a whopping 20 bucks, which makes it accessible even for the Rum & Coke crowd who feel guilty about using aged rum with a mixer. A- / $20  [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

ronabuelorum.com

ron-abuelo-7-anos-rum

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17 Responses

  1. Edoc March 11, 2009 / 7:14 am

    Thanks for reviewing this. I’ve seen this on the shelves and I’ve been curious about it.

  2. Christopher Null March 11, 2009 / 7:18 am

    Edoc – The new 12-year is also on the way to us… stay tuned!

  3. Edoc March 11, 2009 / 12:08 pm

    Great! Rum is probably my favorite spirit — and a relative bargain in these belt-tightening times.

  4. J. Lindsey March 12, 2009 / 6:19 am

    Agreed. Rum is a beautiful thing. I hope this comes to my neck of the nation soon.

  5. Edoc March 14, 2009 / 9:05 am

    I was just at the liquor store and saw both of these rums. My cabinet is filled with about 10 great rums right now, so I’ll probably hold off for now, unless the review for the 12 year is outstanding.

  6. jake March 20, 2009 / 3:35 pm

    I’m from panama myself and currently living here..and i tell you thats my weekend rum baby..bless to all

  7. Lorenzo71 March 27, 2009 / 7:06 pm

    I bought a bottle of Ron Abuelo Anejo (not the 7 year) quite by accident in Sept of 2007 in Ecuador. We were delivering a boat to Panama from Chile, and we were in port to resupply. We would cross the equator soon, so I needed some rum to celebrate. I bought this rum on a whim, knowing nothing about it.

    I cracked it open when we crossed the equator on the boat, poured a libation out to Poseidon and Neptune, and then downed a shot. I then said to myself “Damn, that is some pretty good rum”.
    When we arrived in Panama, I discovered the 7 year old, and I was hooked for life. I have to order this from my distributor in the States, but is it worth it!

    I’ll take this any day over the over-hyped over-marketed junk that costs twice as much.

  8. Rob May 27, 2009 / 6:29 pm

    Found a bottle of 7 year at a gift shop at the Ocean Grill in Vero Beach, FL. Brought it home and tried it….Wow! On the rocks and I am hook on rum for the first time in my life.

  9. Edoc June 15, 2009 / 6:53 am

    I finally got around to picking up a bottle of this yesterday. Very nice indeed– smooth and well balanced. After a quick sampling, I filled a glass with ice, added a couple of fresh lime wedges and gave a generous pour of Abuelo 7yr. It tasted great, and with a tiny dash of Brinley Gold Mango rum, it was confirmed that this is a rum I’ll probably move into my standard rotation.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I’m fond of Barbancourt 8 yr, which is about the same price. Not everyone likes Barbancourt’s prominent sugar cane funk, however, and Abuelo should appeal to more mainstream drinkers.

  10. Kape Rum November 25, 2009 / 2:54 pm

    I’ve tried all three rums from this house while in Costa Rica and agree on value. The 7 year old is about $11 there and helped my wife and i recover from grueling visits to the dentist.

  11. D Norton January 14, 2010 / 8:47 am

    My daughter recentlly vacation in Panama and brought a bottle of Ron Abuelo Anejo 7yr Rum. It is awesome, the best I have ever Rum I have ever. where I can I purchase a bottle in the United States? dee

  12. Christopher Null - Drinkhacker January 14, 2010 / 9:28 am

    D – Abuelo is pretty easy to find in major liquor stores. If you can’t locate it, Google is your friend — it’s widely available online, for cheap.

  13. April September 3, 2010 / 6:32 am

    I just returned from living in Panama for two years. While re-establishing my kitchen stocks I bought a bottle of Bacardi’s rum because I learned to like rum drinking Ron Abuelo while in Panama. Wow was I disappointed! Who would drink that on purpose? I don’t know what I will do with the rest of the bottle. I am now looking for the Ron Abuelo locally….wishing I had brought some home with me. Viva Panama!

  14. Edoc September 3, 2010 / 9:49 am

    Bacardi is a cuban style rum– it’s intended to be light and not dominate the flavor of a cocktail. Of the Bacardi rums, the 8 Year rum ($25) has a more flavor and is worth trying.

    If you like Abuelo and can spare more money, try Zafra 21 year, which is also from Panama. It costs about $40 for a bottle, but it’s a special treat.

  15. Big k October 14, 2010 / 9:22 pm

    I have had Rums from all over the world and I have to say that this (7 year) and the 12 year rum is the best I have ever tasted. You have to buy this. You will not regret it

  16. Gman April 25, 2011 / 8:01 am

    Doral Liquors in Miami will ship this to your house, anywhere in the U.S.A…..I buy a case at atime

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