El Salvador isn’t widely known for its rum production — there is actually only one rum distillery in the country, last I heard — but Ron Colón Salvadoreño is looking to change that. To be fair, despite the name this rum is not entirely produced in El Salvador. Rather, it is a blend of Salvadoran and Jamaican rums sourced from Worthy Park Estate, Hampden, and Monymusk distilleries.
Ron Colon is putting most of its energy into an overproof rum and a coffee-flavored version of this overproof rum, which is a rarely seen combination. (A lower proof version of the coffee rum is also on tap, though not reviewed here.) The coffee, El Salvador’s biggest export, is produced by Jags Head Coffee, an operation based in North Carolina.
Let’s see what we’ve got to work with.
Ron Colón Salvadoreño High Proof Rum – Ron Colon’s website calls this “High Proof Aged Rum,” but my bottle omits the “Aged” qualifier. A gentle straw in color and pungent with hogo, pineapple, and lemon oil on the nose, it doesn’t come across as particularly aged, either, though it’s clearly spent some small amount of time in a barrel. The palate is bursting with fruit — more pineapple, some citrus — before segueing into a fairly traditional combination of funky hogo, coconut milk, and some chocolate notes. The pineapple character lingers forever on the finish, however. Water helps everything to coalesce a bit and smoothes out the rougher edges of the rum, though it always presents as fairly closed off, slightly gummy, and unctuous. 111 proof. B+ / $42 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
Ron Colón Salvadoreño Coffee Flavored Rum – “Coffee Infused High Proof Rum” per the photos on the website. Do coffee and overproof rum mix? For starters, there’s less coffee on the nose than I expected. Rather, it hits the nose first with notes of the barrel and a leathery character with some hogo notes. With some time in glass, the coffee aroma builds up, eventually overtaking the more traditional rum character completely, finding a slight mocha bent to it. The palate follows a similar trajectory, initially offering classically styled aged rum flavors of toasty oak, coconut, and overripe pineapple, with the coffee character a surprisingly gentle addition to the mix. On the finish the rum finds a slightly winey focus, with notes of dark chocolate and a lingering coffee bean note giving the conclusion a modest but present after-dinner quality. It’s interesting stuff that won’t replace Kahlua in your cocktail recipe — but which you might use as an alternative to a standard overproof rum to take your float in a different direction. 111 proof. B+ / $44 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]