Rum Review: Zafra Master Reserve 21
Zafra Master Reserve 21-Year
Having thoroughly enjoyed the Abuelo 12-year, I decided to expand my knowledge of Panamanian rums with a bottle from another producer. I found a bottle of Zafra Master Reserve 21-Year rum for about $37 at K&L wines, and here we are. This rum is aged in used bourbon casks.
The bottle itself is quite tall. Coming in at 13 ¼ inches high, it’s about the same height as Zaya or Brugal 1888. The shape of the bottle is simple; the label is embossed and purposely rough around the edges. I removed the foil and revealed a natural cork stopper with a plastic top. The bottle certainly won’t win any awards, but that’s not why we’re here. Let’s get some of its contents into a snifter and get down to business.
In the glass, the rum exhibits a lovely mahogany color with golden copper highlights. A swirl creates a ring at the top of the glass that begets a host of small legs that move easily back to the bowl.
On the nose there is limited astringency, and the prominent scents are of fruit: orange, cherry and pear with a hint of toffee supported by an oak foundation. Now to taste. The mouth feel is a bit watery, and the predominant sensation of spice is felt only at mid-palate. There is a moderate afterburn. The aromas have not translated into flavors as well as I’d hoped, but it’s still pleasant—the toffee flavors persist as do the orange and oak. Further sips didn’t reveal any additional subtleties, and I found myself uncompelled to finish the glass.
All in all, this is a solid rum for the price, but I’d hoped for more (yes, I’m greedy). Once again, I’ve fallen for the age of the spirit. At 21 years, one conjures up ideas of amazing tastes, but alas, our dreams rarely live up to reality. I’m no distiller or master blender, but perhaps the Zafra would benefit from a few years in casks other than bourbon.
So while the Zafra Master Reserve won’t become my new go-to sipping rum, it will be high on the list for cocktails requiring quality ingredients. Palmetto anyone?
Now for the scores:
- Appearance 1/1
- Aroma 2/2
- Mouth feel .5/1
- Taste 3/4
- Aftertaste 1.5/2
- Total 8/10
Have you had Zafra Master Reserve 21? What do you think of this rum? Please share your comments below.