Review: Ron Abuelo XII Anos Two Oaks and XV Anos Finish Collection - Drinkhacker

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Review: Ron Abuelo XII Anos Two Oaks and XV Anos Finish Collection

It’s hard to believe but it’s been 12 years since we’ve seen any of the rums of Ron Abuelo, at the time earning a well-deserved Best Value award for its incredible quality to price ratio.

Now Ron Abuelo has been back at work pushing its products into more exotic (and pricier) categories, with the recent launch of two new lines, one billed as 12 years old, and one a series of three bottlings, each 15 years old. All four rums are finished in various types of barrels, all of which are outlined in more detail below.

All products are 80 proof. Let’s taste.

Ron Abuelo XII Años Two Oaks – This selection is blended from rums aged between 8 and 40+ years old, averaging just over 11 years of age. After this initial aging in bourbon casks, the rum is finished for 9 months in first fill extra-charred American oak barrels. The rum’s nose is winey and aggressive with fruit: sweet plums, cherries, and some chocolate notes. While the nose hints at sweetness, the palate pours it on, punching the tongue with a big maple syrup character, a sherried note, and a mix of molasses and chocolate elements. The finish returns to wine, bursting with an oxidized Madeira note and an overload of sweetness, powered by overripe red berries. There’s too much residual (or added) sugar here for my taste, but it’s definitely a complex animal. B / $60 

Ron Abuelo XV Años Finish Collection Oloroso – The Finish Collection finds 15 year (average age) Ron Abuelo casks spending their final year in one of three different cask types. This one, obviously, is finished in oloroso sherry. Sharp sherry notes inform the nose right away, though it’s filtered through a clear molasses sweetness. On the palate, the sherry takes on a nuttier quality, giving the rum a smoldering quality that helps to temper the sweetness effectively. Notes of orange peel, toffee, and a hint of hazelnut lift the finish as well. B+ / $75 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

Ron Abuelo XV Años Finish Collection Napoleon – Finished in Napoleon Cognac casks. I was concerned that this expression would be far too sweet, but the rum surprises from the start, with a nose that doesn’t wander too far off the rum road, with notes of molasses, red berries, and dark chocolate on the nose. It’s sweet but not overwhelming in the way that some of these other rums show themselves, and the palate follows suit, offering a fruity character with notes of incense, brown butter, more of a milk chocolate character, and some baking spice. The finish takes things to a lightly green note of cedar, whipped into a froth with vanilla and nutty nougat notes. Fun stuff, and definitely the best of this trio. A- / $75 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

Ron Abuelo XV Años Finish Collection Tawny – Finished in tawny Port casks. That oxidized tawny Port character is clear on the nose, giving the rum a wine-heavy character informed by ruddy earthiness. The palate, as with the above, is unbearably sweet, its notes of tawny Port and black tea coming together to offer a sort of sweetened fruit tea character. The finish comes across as rather more oxidized and a bit gummy, reminiscent of nutty, winey Amontillado sherry — and rather one note. I would have bet money that this combination would have worked well. Alas, it’s a bit of a miss. B- / $75 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

The Finish Collection is also available as a three-pack for $225: [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

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Ron Abuelo XII Años Two Oaks



Christopher Null

Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content company.

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