Between its microclimate and topography, the Dominican Republic may well be most accommodating place in the Caribbean for the making of rum. In addition, the island's sugarcane enjoys a distinguished lineage. On his second voyage to the New World in 1493, Columbus waded ashore on the island of Hispaniola—present day Dominican Republic and Haiti—carrying sugarcane from the Canary Islands. Few rums better reflect the island's pedigree than artisanal Atlantico Reserva.
The rum is crafted near San Juan in the Hato Nuevo by third generation master blender Omar Lopez. Among its singular features, Atlantico Reserva is a blend of rums distilled from molasses as well as fresh cane juice, all of which are aged in charred American white oak barrels for up to five years. When the rums have reached maturity, they are blended and re-barreled for another two years. Afterwards, the rums are taken off the wood and finished in the firm's Solera, a system for maturing spirits and fortified wines perfected by the famed sherry and brandy de Jerez producers of Spain. By the time it is bottled at 40% alcohol (80 proof), the blend has aged up to 15 years.
Atlantico Reserva is a sophisticated rum, one worthy of sipping neat from a snifter or using as the foundation in an upscale cocktail. The dark amber spirit has a lightweight, satiny textured body and a generous bouquet comprised of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, citrus and tropical fruit. Its palate is a work of art, one saturated with the warm, long-lasting flavors of cocoa, vanilla, toffee, baking spices and loads of fruit.
The benchmark of the range is ultra-premium Atlantico Private Cask. It, too, is made from a blend of rums distilled from both molasses and fresh pressed cane juice. The rum is double barreled like the Reserva, but it spends up to 25 years in the Solera. The result is a darker, richer spirit imbued with wafting aromatics and a lingering, satisfying finish.
Rounding out the portfolio is the sleek and crystal clear Atlantico Platino. The rum has a remarkable amount of sultry character for a light rum, which includes a fruit and floral bouquet and a dry, spicy, cacao, fruit palate. Its clean and flavorful finish is perhaps its most dynamic feature. Atlantico Platino makes an ideal rum to feature in a classic daiquiri, or sip over a few cubes of ice, sans the lime.
"Our goal in launching Atlantico was to create world-class, handcrafted rums that will play a role in changing the perception of the rum category," says brand co-founder Brandon Lieb. "We want to help people discover that rums can be every bit as complex as single malts and small batch bourbons."
Mission accomplished. ¡Salud!