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Rum Review: Botran 1893

Botran Solera 1893 Gran Reserva  Ron Anejo

Botran Solera 1893

I first tasted Casa Botran’s rums at the Ministry of Rum event in 2011. It was then that I learned the Botran family was also responsible for another famous Guatemalan rum: Zacapa. I only had a small taste at that event, and it didn’t make a big impression on me. But as time passed, I got to wondering: could it be as good as its sister spirit?

The Botran 1893 bottle is not particularly impressive—the traditionally shaped clear bottle is medium height and features a clear plastic adhesive label. The cork is natural, topped with a black plastic cap which shows the Botran family crest. The back label explains that this rum is distilled and then shipped to higher elevations for bottling much like Ron Zacapa. The 1893 blend is of rums from 5-18 years old that have been combined from rums aged in Bourbon, Sherry and Port barrels. With all of those blending options at their disposal, I would imagine this is a pretty great rum. Let’s find out.

In the glass the color is a rich bronze with mahogany highlights. A swirl produces a set of evenly spaced legs that move slowly. The nose has almost no astringency, and the first aromas are quite sweet and creamy—suggestive of a freshly fired crème brulee with a hint of citrus zest. Let’s take a sip…

The rum creeps along the palate with a silky smoothness before kicking in with a spicy bite that tells me not to get too comfortable. The initial flavor is of very heavy, damp oak. Along with the oak is the sweet wine suggestions of Port and Sherry finishing. The mouthfeel is slick and very round despite the bright spice notes of pepper and cardamom, but it’s the oak that fights the rest of the flavors to stay in front. Further tastes provide less lemon and more orange notes—this time mixed with a touch of maple syrup and nutmeg. The finish is long and smooth, but the heat persists, as does the oak flavor.

The Botran 1893 has a lot going for it, but whenever I detect oak as one of the most prominent flavors (rather than vanillin or other individual qualities imparted by the oak) I can’t help but question the blender’s decision. This one leaves me longing for a better finish—as it is, this suggests a dank warehouse rather than a glorious Guatemalan mountain estate. It’s good, but I was hoping for better.

On to the scores:

Appearance: 1/1
Nose: 2/2
Mouth feel: 1/1
Taste: 3/4
Aftertaste: 1/2
Total Score: 8/10

Buy Botran 1893 online

What do you think of Botran 1893? Let us know in the comments section below.


6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2013 3:34 pm

    As good as Z-23 you asked? Better, at least some time ago. Forgive me if this references another comment, but a few years ago dear Sue Sea and I attended one of Bobby Burr’s tastings in Coral Gables (old Miami), plush, nice. Featured were the Guatemalans, incl. Z-23, XO, 15, and the Botrans. The attendence featured quite a number of experienced tasters. The consensus? A tie between the then wonderful Botran and the Z-15, hands down and Z-23? Not so much.

    But to be fair that was years ago! Both Zacapa and Botran have changed and not for the better, as Diageo has taken over and has saved the best stuff for the super-premiums. The blends are deteriorating as they try to stretch product. Shame really. It shows too with the bottle, rather ordinary. 1893 used to have one of the most beautiful tear shaped bottles that people actually collected. I trust your judgement on this one, a shame that 1893 has gone downhill…

  2. M. Lopez permalink
    March 9, 2013 5:44 pm

    I have been a loyal consumer of both Guatemalan rums for quite sometime and can tell you that they are unique in their own way, different in character and spectacular rums; no change whatsoever. It may be probably the typical bad reviews that brands get when they become popular and pretty much the benchmark.

  3. Justine permalink
    March 10, 2013 12:52 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, both rums are outstanding as well as other rums in this list. As far as Botran 1893 goes, in my opinion you need to take another close look and sip, I was pleasantly surprised by this rum and blown away by its accessible price.

  4. Hyalie Bryant permalink
    February 5, 2017 12:38 pm

    Botran. And Zacapa. The best rums I have ever experienced. Just don’t mix them with other ingredients and best if no ice

  5. Danilo Tobias permalink
    January 10, 2020 7:04 pm

    Dear Josh
    What do you think about the microgranulated versus the natural cork for the rum.


  1. New Rum Review: Botran 1893 | Inu a Kena

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