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DonQ Gran Anejo Puerto Rican Rum

DonQ Gran Añejo
Puerto Rican Rum


By Robert Plotkin

Should you be fortunate enough to spend some sun-filled days in Puerto Rico, one of the things you'll bring back is an enduring passion for DonQ rum. The brand is the bestselling rum on the island and its likeness can be found almost everywhere. DonQ is very much a product of its homeland and the island's vibrant character is deeply imbued in its native spirit. For those who appreciate sipping world-class rums and not emptying your wallet in the process, then welcome to the United States venerable DonQ Gran Añejo Puerto Rican Rum. Trust me, you'll be quite glad you did.

One of the storied rum distilleries of the Caribbean, Distilleria Serrallés was founded in 1865 by Don Juan Serrallés at the Hacienda Mercedita sugar plantation outside of the city of Ponce on Puerto Rico's southern coast. Using a copper pot still he had imported from France, Serrallés began distilling rum from their estate-grown cane and pristine spring water. The brand—DonQ—was created in 1935.

Now more than 145 years later after its founding, Destileria Serrallés is one of the oldest family-owned and operated businesses in the Americas. It has achieved an international reputation for excellence producing molasses-based, continuous- and pot-distilled Puerto Rican rums. Even loftier, the company has invested significant time, knowledge and resources to make their distillery one of the cleanest and greenest in the spirits industry.

In 1993, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' second voyage to the New World—during which he discovered the island of Puerto Rico—Destileria Serrallés released its finest expression to date—DonQ Gran Añejo. This unique blend of rums is aged from 6 to 12 years in American white oak. It is then followed by additional maturation in sherry casks according to the Solera aging system, which the Spanish have made famous in the production of sherry and brandy de Jerez.

In the Solera system, older rums "educate" the younger rums, enhancing their taste and character. Solera also ensures the blended rums will be consistent from one year to the next. Solera aging utilizes a series of oak casks arranged in 3 tiers. The barrels on the top tier contain the youngest rums, those on the middle tier contain older rums and the barrels on the bottom are filled with the oldest rums. When deemed appropriate, the master blender will remove half the contents of the barrels from the lowest tier for bottling. The barrels are then filled to capacity with rum from the middle tier. Young rums from the barrels on the highest tier are used to fill the casks on the middle tier.

When the rums have reached peak maturity, those selected for the Gran Añejo are rendered to 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof) with spring water and bottled in fine, glass-topped decanters.

Critically acclaimed DonQ Gran Añejo is an alluring spirit. The lightweight, satiny textured rum has a deep amber hue and a wafting bouquet of caramel, vanilla, molasses, allspice and brown sugar. Its aromatics are lively and thoroughly irresistible. It has a warm initial entry and then all at once the flavors pour through, tempting offering of cinnamon, vanilla, honey, caramel, toasted nuts. This barrel-aged gem serves up more mouthwatering flavors than your neighborhood bakery. The warm, lingering finish is dry and spicy with slightly fruity and smoky notes.

If you've yet to discover the wholesome pleasure of sipping aged rum, DonQ Gran Añejo is a great place to start. In 2011, it became the first rum to ever receive the Five-Star Diamond Award from the prestigious American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. Invest a few minutes and savor the rum neat or with a single cube of ice. It requires true genius to create something this satisfying. After you've enjoyed the Gran Añejo by itself, put the rum to the test in a classic Daiquiri and see how marvelous it performs when mixed. It's very versatile stuff.

The entire range of DonQ rums is outstanding. The sales leader is the famed DonQ Cristal, a silver molasses-based rum aged for 1 1/2 to 5 years in American white oak barrels. Once it has reached the desired flavor profile, the rum is removed from the barrel and filtered to remove any trace color it obtained from the oak. Cristal is prized by mixologists around the world for its satiny texture, flavorful palate and crystal clear appearance.

DonQ Gold is also a molasses-based rum aged for 1 1/2 to 5 years in American white oak barrels. After it is removed from the cask, the rum is filtered to remove any trace elements, but its gloriously warm color is left intact. It, too, is an island favorite.

The oldest of the trio is DonQ Añejo. It is matured in American white oak barrels for between 3 and 10 years. During its extended stay in wood the gem obtains a deep golden hue, a voluptuous body and a delightfully spicy, fruity and zesty citrus bouquet. On the finish the rum reveals the added flavors of vanilla, molasses and a waft of smoke. DonQ Añejo is a superior rum and frequently featured in Caribbean-inspired cocktails and mixed drinks. It's a guaranteed crowd-pleasure.

The same can be said for the brand's flavored marvels—DonQ Mojito Flavored Rum, DonQ Coco (Coconut) Flavored Rum, DonQ Pasión Flavored Rum, and DonQ Limón Flavored Rum. All four come by their brilliance naturally. Again, the brand delivers authentic, high-quality rums at a reasonable price.

Christopher Columbus is undoubtedly duly proud to be associated with such a superb crew. ¡Salud!