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Rum Review: Mocambo 20

Rum Review: Mocambo 20-Year

Mocambo 20-Year Rum

When I think of Mexican rum, I tend to think of Bacardi Anejo, which as you probably know is not great. Conversely, I had heard good things about another Mexican rum called Mocambo 20-year, so I decided to pick up a bottle. The bottle itself is quite tall, but the most distinctive characteristic is the natural fiber that covers much of the bottle. This is the Mocambo “art edition”, and the natural fiber comes from the bark of the amate, a tree in the ficus family. The bottle is topped with a natural cork and wooden cap.

In the glass, the color is a deep, dark mahogany with brown hues. A relatively high viscosity is suggested by the numerous legs that creep downward upon swirling. Astringency is minimal. The initial aromas are in a word: unique. An entire fruit basket is leaping from the glass, and as the rum breathes, I can detect individual fruits: bananas, ripe red grapes, figs and kiwi among them. There is also a hint of coconut here mixed with vanilla and caramel. Let’s taste…

As the rum enters, its pronounced dryness is the defining characteristic. The oaky sweetness you might expect to find from a Bourbon barrel finish is not present here, as Mocambo is aged in European white oak. There is an oaken foundation here, however, and as the rum lingers on the palate, there is a duskiness that persists suggesting an advanced age. The rum has a certain spiciness to it—the peppery heat mingles with cinnamon and an herbaceous character reminiscent of freshly dried sage.  Once my palate became fully conditioned to the rum, subsequent sips yielded some dried fruit flavors: fig and apricot, along with a bit of coffee and nougat.

The Mocambo 20 is a rum as unique as its packaging. Although it won’t find a home in my regular rotation of sippers, I admire the distiller for taking the road less traveled.

Now the scores:

  • Appearance: 1/1
  • Nose: 1.5/2
  • Mouth feel: .5/1
  • Taste: 2.75/4
  • Aftertaste: 1.5/2
  • Total Score: 7.25/10

Buy Mocambo 20 online

9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2013 3:26 pm

    A rum I haven’t seen before. Nice review. Would you compare it to the Dry almost whiskey like character Zacapa has? I really love European oak in whiskey but I haven’t seen to many examples in rum aging. I’ll keep an eye out for this one next time I’m out of town. Mahalo!

    • Josh Miller permalink*
      October 22, 2013 7:37 pm

      Mahalo piha, JFL. If you find Zacapa to be dry, then this one will desiccate you to your very core. It’s got a lot of tannins that coat your tongue, so it takes a while to get acclimated.

      As far as European (Limousin) oak aging, you see it a lot in rhum agricoles, and also in most of the Plantation rums (former Cognac barrels in that case, but it’s usually after a Bourbon barrel aging). The European oak is a lot tighter (molecularly speaking) than the American oak, so you have to age spirits for longer periods to get similar aging effects. I find it to have a sharper flavor that has a slight hint of pine.

      My advice on this one is to try a glass at the bar before buying a bottle. It can be pretty polarizing. Cheers

      • October 23, 2013 12:55 am

        I always love to try new rums, I have to be choosy with the drier rums because I always pick them with an eye toward classic Tiki. Still I’ll keep my eyes open for this one. It’s always great to experience new flavors. I don’t mind dry rums at all they just aren’t always expected. Mahalo again and keep up the good work.

  2. Andy permalink
    October 22, 2013 10:17 pm

    Great review of an outstanding rum that i adore. Im a big fan of Mexican rums but they are hard to get your hands on, especially here in Australia. Would love to get your opinion of the 20yo Los Valientes.

    • Josh Miller permalink*
      October 23, 2013 7:56 am

      Thanks for the kind words, Andy. I have not had the pleasure of tasting the Los Valientes, nor have I seen it for sale here in the states. That said, I will keep an eye out for it!

      • Andy permalink
        October 30, 2013 11:36 pm

        I recently spent 3 and a half weeks travelling around Mexico and couldnt find any of the 3 Los Valientes (10yo, 15yo and 20yo) anywhere!! I sourced mine from a place in Edinbugh in Scotland!!

  3. Josh Miller permalink*
    December 6, 2013 1:59 pm

    One more note for the epilogue here: I recently learned that most rum made in Mexico actually ends up in mixto Tequila (AKA the nasty stuff that is usually called “gold” tequila).

  4. February 12, 2015 4:37 pm

    This rum kicks ass if you like whiskey, I would rate it much higher, more like a 9 imo

    • Josh Miller permalink*
      February 13, 2015 8:38 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, K, but I happen to love whisk(e)y of all types, and I do not like this one much at all as you can see 😉

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