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Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva Rum

Ron Matusalem
Gran Reserva Rum


By Robert Plotkin

Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean and an ideal place for cultivating sugar cane. By 1860, the country accounted for more than a third of the world's sugar output, which fostered the beginning of the Cuban rum industry. Founded by the Alvarez family in 1872, Ron Matusalem was one of the island's first brands of rum. After almost a century in the business, the family left Santiago when Fidel Castro seized control and relocated Ron Matusalem to Florida in 1960.

Ron Matusalem Rum is now produced in the Dominican Republic. The rums are continuous-distilled from molasses and matured according to the famed Solera aging system, which the Spanish use in the production of sherry and brandy de Jerez.

In the Solera system, the older rums "educate" the younger rums, enhancing their taste and character. It also ensures that 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.

Introduced in 1997, critically acclaimed Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva Rum is the brand's crowning achievement. It is built around a core "blender rum" that is Solera aged approximately 15 years and comprised of rums between 8 and 32 years old. Each year, younger 3- to 4-year-old rums are added to the core blend to capitalize on their exuberance. The result is a sublime marriage of generations. It is bottled at 40% abv (80 proof).

Super-premium Matusalem Gran Reserva has an amber hue with brilliant red highlights, a satiny, medium-weight body and a generous bouquet of vanilla, caramel, plums and molasses. The rum barely generates any heat as it fills the mouth with waves of spicy, semisweet, bakery-fresh flavors. The finish is luxuriously long and eminently satisfying.

Ron Matusalem Platino is a traditional style of Cuban rum made from a blend of triple-distilled, molasses-based rums matured for a minimum of 2 years in used American oak bourbon barrels. Prior to bottling, the rum is filtered through charcoal to remove impurities, particulates and its oak-induced color. The 80-proof rum is crystal clear with a lightweight, satiny textured body and a subtle floral bouquet. On the palate, the rum is essentially dry with only a trace of sweetness. The finish is warm and flavorful.

Award-winning Ron Matusalem Clásico Rum is comprised of molasses-based, continuous-distilled rums matured in American oak barrels married together through Solera aging for a minimum of 10 years. It is gently filtered through charcoal to remove impurities and is bottled at 40% abv (80 proof). The Clásico has brilliant clarity, a shimmery golden/copper appearance and a velvety textured, medium-weight body. The enticing bouquet is saturated with the aromas of molasses, vanilla, toffee and delicate floral notes. The palate is a well-balanced offering of molasses, cocoa and caramel that gradually fade into a creamy, medium-length finish.

The brand name—Ron Mathusalem—is a reference to Methuselah, the Old Testament patriarch said to have lived nearly 1000 years. While still in Cuba, the rums were advertised with the tag line, "Ron Matusalem. Esto es mas viejo que Matusalem," which translates to "Ron Matusalem. It's older than Methuselah." Salud!