Puerto Rico’s Don Q continues to show itself as one of the most innovative producers of rum in the business. Its latest is this almost bizarre bottling, a blend of rums aged 5 to 8 years in bourbon barrels, then finished in Mancino Vermouth Vecchio wine casks. (Mancio Vecchio is a sweet vermouth barrel-aged in Italian white oak.)
Let’s give this thing a try!
Do you like vermouth? I hope so, because DonQ’s latest wears the stuff on its sleeve. The nose is pungent with aromatics — bitter herbs, oxidized white wine, and lots of anise — very little of which you’d ever find in a glass of rum, no matter what the origin. The palate finds a way to meld those characters with more traditional rum trappings, melding the wine notes with coconut and vanilla, berries in syrup, and baking spice.
It’s a strange combination — particularly the wholly unorthodox nose — but it works better than you would expect. A mild gumminess that clings to the finish mars what is otherwise a light and lively rum, but it’s that heavily perfumed character that sticks with you for ages, both in the air and lingering on the tongue.
The question: What to do with this oddball spirit? Sipping straight is a little off-putting, so what about cocktails? If you have any ideas, I’d love to read about them.
B+ / $49 / donq.com