Unlike most rums, Zacapa is distilled from ‘Virgin honey’ (a.k.a. sugar cane juice), not the denser molasses. It also employs a natural yeast culture originally sourced from pineapples. However, it’s Zacapa’s complicated maturation that really sets it apart. New distillate is combined with around 10% older rums, then the first ageing takes place in rejuvenated x Bourbon casks for two years, after which it’s blended for a second time with more old material. The process is repeated a third time, after which it’s racked into sherry butts for around two years. The final stage sees a ‘finishing’ in Pedro Ximenez sherry butts before being blended once more and rested in a large American oak vat for six months before bottling. The age of rums in the final mix ranges from 6 to 23 years old. Given all the effort that goes into production, it’s no wonder this really is an exemplary example of the spirit. Its cornucopia of flavours and moderate sweetness makes it ideal straight up as an after dinner sipper, otherwise, we recommend keeping it simple: Add a couple of ice cubes and a twist of orange peel, or include a dash of aromatic bitters to create our favourite – the Zacapa ‘Old Fashioned’.
NOSE: Soft, sweet start with aromas of caramel, vanilla, cacao and butterscotch. Continued by sherried notes of caramelized roasted brazil nuts and toasted hazelnut, rounded out by toffee, banana and dried pineapple.
TASTE: Complex, generous and full-bodied. Starting with a depth of dried fruit and apricot, building to savory oak, nutmeg, leather and tobacco with notes of coffee and vanilla, balanced with a spicy touch of cinnamon and ginger.
FINISH: Intricate with honeyed butterscotch, spiced oak and dried fruit.