Last year in 2015 while at the London Rumfest, I met the Ron Abuelo Brand Ambassador Cristobal Srokowski. After enjoying the 12 year Ron Abuelo much more than I remembered previously, I was very intrigued with the Centuria. Amazingly, a friend of mine decided to give me a birthday present of the Centuria after hearing my conversation with Cris and I think being a bit too drunk a few hours later didn’t help with the decision!
Ron Abuelo is Panama’s premium rum manufacturer that is produced by Varela Hermanos. Rum was first distilled from the Panamanian estate owned by Don Jose Varela Blanco in 1936 with his 3 sons. This particular rum is a limited edition bottling which is used to mark 100 years of production of Ron Abuelo due to the estate being founded in 1908 in Panama.
This Centuria is made up of the family’s private reserve which includes rum that has been aged for thirty years. As a result it is no surprise that it has a price tag of over £100. It is a limited release as there were only ever a small number of cases exported from Panama. From my research I believe that the release contained only 3000 bottles.
The bottle is presented in a beautiful wooden case. The bottle itself is similar to the other offerings from Ron Abuelo except that it has a raised Varela logo on the bottle. It is quite thick and heavy I think due to the thicker than average glass base.
On the nose I can smell walnuts and vanilla with hints of coffee and chocolate alongside the sweet hints of caramel, toffee and burnt sugar. An interesting and great smell to start off! On my first sip I am greeted by butterscotch and vanilla. The length of time this rum has spent aging has lead to an oak and earth flavour, but it doesn’t delve further into tobacco notes and remains sweet tasting throughout, but not syrup like. It is exceedingly smooth and elegant during the tasting from first entering the mouth, till the finish in the throat.
The finish is where the spices kick in and I can taste cinnamon and nutmeg amongst others. It’s a nice warm finish that hangs about longer than expected. There is little to no burn at the end, although the spices may come across that way. This has been delightful!
A few (painstaking) minutes after the initial pour, the rum changes ever so slightly and now the spices appear slightly earlier and meld better with the oak and earth flavour beautifully. A real delight to drink, and incredibly hard to put down!
Overall this is a well balance rum which has complexity and depth. It is the kind of rum I would enjoy on a cold night to help stay warm and my high hopes of the limited edition have been met. I would recommend this to most rum aficionados, but the pricing and limited nature of the product would lead me to advise the more casual drinker to look elsewhere.