The quality of Santa Teresa 1796 Solera Rum has remained impressively consistent, at least across our two tastings in 2013 and 2020. Presumably, it’s been that way since Hacienda Santa Teresa, Venezuela’s oldest rum producer, first launched the brand back in 1992. And during all that time, the 1796 Solera expression has stood alone. Until now. This fall, the venerable rum producer decided to finally expand their portfolio with a line extension featuring the brand’s first triple aged expression. The flagship 1796 is aged solera-style in ex-bourbon and ex-Cognac casks, but this new offering sees an additional 13 months of finishing time in casks that previously held whisky from Scotland’s Speyside region. Has this been done before? Only Mount Gay’s Peat Smoke Expression, which was finished in Islay whisky casks, comes to mind. Let’s check it out.
Like the original offering, the aroma still skews toward the wine-forward with almost sherried notes of dried currants and almonds. It’s not quite as savory, however, perhaps aided by some barley sugar from the Speyside whisky cask finish. As it opens, gentle baking spice and musty oak notes arrive, and those early nutty notes get a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar. The palate is also quite winey, again not unlike the flagship, with notes of grape skin and dried dark fruits, but there’s a bit more sweetness at play with early notes of molasses and brown sugar that extend into the finish, bolstered by baking spice and a little dark chocolate. The cask finishing isn’t that noticeable until the finish, when those sweeter, darker notes turn a bit brighter and malty with some lingering, peppery oak and a hint of campfire smoke. A worthy, if only slightly nuanced, take on the original expression. And still a great value for sipping or cocktailing.
A- / $50 / santateresarum.com