Rum Review: Matusalem Gran Reserva Solera 15
Ron Matusalem 15
Matusalem & Company was founded in Cuba in 1872 by two brothers from Spain. Their expertise in brandy-making translated well into rum production, and the company enjoyed success until the 1959 Cuban Revolution forced them into exile. A struggle for control among the founders’ heirs kept the brand out of the market for decades, but a 1995 settlement allowed Matusalem to re-enter the market with a Dominican-made product in 2002. I’ve only had the platino so far, so I’m looking forward to trying the 15 year-old; let’s get to it!
The dark brown bottle is fairly short with an antiqued label bearing a watermarked map, over which the metallic red Matusalem logo is emblazoned. The word “CUBA” is prominently featured on the label despite the fact that this is a Dominican product. The bottle is sealed by a natural cork stopper attached to a plastic top that appears wooden. On the very top of the stopper is a raised representation of the Matusalem swallow carrying a ribbon.
In the glass, the color is golden to copper. A swirl produces several legs around the top that move at a medium pace. As I move in, I detect very little astringency, and the initial aromas are of orange and vanilla supported by an oaken base.
The first sip produces a very pleasant sensation as the seemingly mellow spirit bursts forth onto the palate with bright notes of citrus and spice followed by caramel and dark fruit. It’s almost as if I’m drinking two rums at once—young and old. As I evaluate further, I pick up pepper and allspice with a slightly dusty oak note. The rum hits the back of the throat with a rich ripe plum flavor suggesting some sort of fantastic chutney. As I stop to appreciate the finish, my mouth remains in a heightened state of joy as the bright notes fade and give way to baking spices and caramelized sugar.
This is just my second experience with a Matusalem rum, but it won’t be the last. With such a nice 15-year expression, I’m keen to try the 18 and 23.
On to the scores:
Mouth feel: 1/1
Total Score: 9/10
Have you had the chance to try the Matusalem 15? I’d love to hear your thoughts.