Rum Review: Joel Richard Esencia 25
Joel Richard Esencia 25 Year Rum Review
Joel Richard is not a person, rather it’s two: Joel Beth and Richard Trachtenberg. These gentlemen are the Principles at Pacific Edge Wine and Spirits, an importer and distributor of spirits based just north of Los Angeles in Agoura Hills. You may know them as the US importers of AD Rattray and WM Cadenhead. Looking around for other offerings in the Joel Richard collection, I could only locate an extra anejo Tequila, but it appears as though they are stepping up their efforts to bring in more spirits under their own label. Today we’re looking at their Esencia rum from Colombia, which has been aged 25 years.
Distilled by Destileria Columbiana in Cartagena and blended by Dictador’s Hernan Parra, this rum is a blend of 70% column still and 30% pot still. Dictador’s rums are made from sugar cane honey (miel) and aged in Bourbon, Jerez and Port casks—I assume this is no different. (There is essentially no information available on the Esencia rum save for what’s on the label.)
The Joel Richard Esencia bottle is squat and similar to those in the Dictador line, save for the lack of black coating. There is, however, a Dictador “D” shown in raised glass. The stopper is a plastic-topped cork closure. The handsome label was designed by Golden Creative Design, and features a bunch of information that looks great, but is ultimately of little use to the consumer. Given that the batch number is printed and not drawn on the label, this appears to be a limited run not to be reproduced.
In the glass, the rum is sort of a chestnut brown with bronze lights. A swirl of the glass produces an initial set of fast-moving legs, which are followed by droplets that form and move more slowly.
Moving in for a nosing, the immediate aroma is of young rum and ethanol—pretty surprising for a 40% ABV rum, and even more surprising for a rum purported to be twenty-five years old. After a few minutes, however, the ethanol dies down, and the familiar Dictador rancio notes dominate the aromascape. There is a notable lack of oak for a rum of this age. The rancio notes are carried on the back of a mixture of Sherry and Port. Digging deeper into the glass, the ethanol reappears along with a bit of Nutella and an orange twist. Let’s taste.
As the rum enters, the heat and spice is proportional to the astringency noted upon nosing. The initial flavor component is a bitter, dusty wood note that has a coating effect. Now I feel as though I’m tasting a rum of advanced age. The spices are suggestive of cinnamon, cardamom and black pepper, but they are attenuated by a prominent caramel flavor. The Sherry and hazelnut is back now, as is a bit of prune, raisin, and dried apricot. On subsequent sips, the suggestion of citrus peel becomes more apparent. The finish is long and bitter, dominated by the dusty hazelnut, citrus peel, and cinnamon.
After sitting with this rum for a while, I can’t help but wonder what I’ve been drinking. Could it be a 25-Year Solera that’s been mistakenly labeled as a hard 25? I can’t say for sure. Whatever its age, one thing is for certain: this rum is quite pricey at ~$70 retail, and it’s simply not worth that much money.
On to the scores:
- Appearance .75/1
- Aroma 1.25/2
- Mouth feel .75/1
- Taste 2.75/4
- Aftertaste 1.25/2
- Total 6.75/10