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Zaya Gran Reserva Rum

Zaya Gran Reserva
12-Year-Old Rum


By Robert Plotkin

Located just 21 miles off the Venezuelan coast, Trinidad is the southernmost island in the British West Indies. Its microclimate and geography make it an ideal place to grow sugar cane. In fact, sugar cane cultivation has been an economic mainstay on Trinidad since the 1700s and the island exported more sugar cane than any other Caribbean nation until the early 20th century.

So it was hardly surprising when in 2008, the makers of ultra-premium Zaya Gran Reserva 12-Year-Old Rum moved their distilling operations from La Nacional in Guatemala to Trinidad's ISO 9000 certified Trinidad Distillers Limited. At the same time, Zaya's master blender decided to take full advantage of the esteemed distillery's capabilities and change how the rum is made. A brief visit with the rum alone in a glass reveals how wise the decision was.

Zaya Gran Reserva is crafted with premium blackstrap molasses, purified water and the same strain of yeast that has been used for over 60 years, this to ensure continuity and authenticity within the brand. The fermented wash is distilled in a state-of-the-art, 4-column continuous still and matured in American white oak barrels. To achieve the Gran Reserva taste profile, the master blender marries together small batches of rums that have barrel-aged for a minimum of 12 years. The blend is then chill-filtered to ensure pristine clarity and bottled at 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof).

The climate, water and soil of Trinidad impact the quality and flavor of the local cane, which in turn contributes enormously to character of the finished rum. Zaya Gran Reserva has a deep, captivating mahogany hue and a wafting bouquet loaded with aromas of ripe fruit, toasty oak, butterscotch and maple syrup. You'll become a devoted fan after the first whiff. The luxurious, medium-weight body delivers a semisweet palate imbued with the bakery-fresh flavors of vanilla, nutmeg, caramel and baked coconut. The luxurious finish is lightly spiced and luxuriously long. If you don't swoon over Zaya Gran Reserva, you likely aren't passionate for world-class añejo rum.

At the risk of stating the obvious, this highly sophisticated rum is best be appreciated sipped neat out of a snifter. On the other hand, Zaya Gran Reserva is equally remarkable featured in a Daiquiri cocktail. The sweetened lime juice performs as a marvelous counter-point to the rum's lavish semisweet palate. Zaya is also extraordinary mixed with ice cream or as the foundation in a classic tall drink, like a Hurricane or Zombie,

If you're looking for a sumptuous rum experience, Zaya Gran Reserva is just the ticket. Salud!