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Rum Review: Centenario 25 Year

Centenario Sistema Solera 25 Años Gran Reserva

Centenario 25-Year Rum

With about 60 rums in the bar now, I was surprised to find I had nothing from Costa Rica. That ends today with the addition of the 25-year grand reserve from Centenario. This rum has been generating quite a buzz on the rum forums lately, so I jumped at the chance to pick up a bottle for $50 from my preferred online retailer: in Costa Mesa, CA.

The Centenario 25-Year bottle is quite regal in appearance. It’s got a small but attractive label placed high on the clear bottle, and a golden crest sitting in a recessed portion just above. The cork stopper is topped with a handsomely engraved wood stopper sealed in black plastic.

Although the label refers to a Solera aging, I was unable to find any references to the process. Centenario’s documentation refers only to bourbon and whiskey barrel-aging.

Once in my tasting snifter, I can appreciate the copper highlights and mahogany body of this 25 year-old rum. A swirl generates a thin ring around the top of the glass that begrudgingly gives way to a number of leglets that gradually descend as if partially frozen.

After resting for a few moments, I activate the olfactories and continue the investigation. Initial aromas are of oak and citrus. The astringency level is low, allowing me to take a bigger sniff. On the second pass, I’m able to detect vanilla, toffee and butterscotch.

Time for a taste. As the rum hits my tongue, the sweetness dominates the entire experience, and I initially struggle to identify individual flavors. That said, it’s quite pleasurable. A second sip brings oak and orange followed by butterscotch, toffee and pineapple. The aftertaste yields the slightest hint of saccharin sweetness that tempers the enjoyment somewhat, but only slightly. On the third sip, I’m now noticing the spices, which are present but mild: black pepper, allspice and nutmeg. The finish is long and smooth save for the slight saccharin notes.

The Centenario 25-Year is indeed a fabulous rum, but as a real lover of sweet rums from the lower Americas, even I found myself wishing this one had just a tad more dryness. Perhaps a slightly drier blend would yield even more complexity and cut out the saccharin notes in the finish as well. Those criticisms notwithstanding, this is a rum I would definitely recommend adding to your collection.

On to the scores:

Appearance: 1/1
Nose: 2/2
Mouth feel: 1/1
Taste: 3.5/4
Aftertaste: 1.5/2
Total Score: 9/10

Buy Centenario 25 online

Have you had the chance to try the Centenario 25? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


14 Comments leave one →
  1. May 25, 2012 7:51 pm

    I tried this one a couple of weeks back with some other Central American rums. I had never taken the Costa Rican Centenarios very seriously before, thought of them as mixers at best, but it definitely held its own with the Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, and Panamanians. So excited to see more good rums hit the market from this part of the world.

  2. Hypno permalink
    August 16, 2012 5:47 am

    Just returned from Panama, I must say this rum is one on the top of my list of sippers/shots. It is really smooth!

    • Josh Miller permalink*
      August 16, 2012 5:06 pm

      Smooth indeed! Cheers

  3. September 14, 2012 6:44 am

    I recently tried the Centenario Gran Legado, it’s a very good rum. This brand is hard to find out about in the way of reviews and experiences but well worth the gamble on an ‘unknown’ (well unknown to me anyway)

  4. Tanuki permalink
    October 11, 2012 9:09 pm

    I tried the Centenario 25 on your recommendation, and it is now my favorite and I want to score another bottle. Auwe but, Hi-Time is out of the 25. They do have a Centenario 20, which I’ll probably order instead. Any experience with the 20 yet?

    • Josh Miller permalink*
      October 12, 2012 6:01 pm

      Haven’t tried the 20 yet, but I would bet it’s a winner!

  5. John permalink
    January 18, 2013 2:47 am

    I’m sipping some as I type and your tasting notes are spot on.

    For my taste, this rum is almost cloying in its sweetness. I was also expecting more complexity which, in fairness, does develop as I warm + swirl. It really doesn’t exhibit the characteristics I would expect from a rum purportedly aged this long. would give it a 7.5/10 agree a slightly drier blend could turn it into a blockbuster. The price fair.

    • Josh Miller permalink*
      January 18, 2013 9:06 am

      Thanks for your comments, John! I guess I’m a sucker for the Central American style 🙂

  6. Earl permalink
    August 18, 2015 8:03 am

    For Tanuki. I have a bottle of Centenario 20. Actually it’s my 3rd bottle as the first 2 disappeared. It’s not as sweet as the 25 year old bottle. I rate it as 9 out of 10. Sweet, with traces of Sherry and Port, and it is extremely smooth. It is not overly complex, but it sure is a crowd favourite at my house bar. It’s a great deal when you can find it.

  7. George permalink
    September 19, 2017 9:52 am

    I’ve been drinking the 20 year old for over 15 years now since I use to travel to CR several times a year and picked up a few bottles to bring back.I LOVE the 20 year old.I was recently at Hi-Time,on a visit down from Seattle….not to get off subject,but Hi-Time is the best..!! and I drive 45 minutes from the families house to go every time I’m down.I was looking at the 25 year,but then wandered over to the glass cases…I knew I would be in trouble if I did..and there it was..a bottle of the 30 year….at almost double the price of the 25….but figured you only live once… not a comment,but a question…anyone out there try the 30 year old yet…?I wont be opening till I return home and just curious since I couldnt find any reviews on it..

  8. Rudy permalink
    November 20, 2017 3:39 pm

    There is a special price for 2 at San Jose duty free at $40/bottle. Good price for a very nice aged rum.

  9. Waykool plantz permalink
    July 17, 2019 11:34 pm

    Centenario 30 is my favorite mid-high priced rum


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