Quite an eye opening experience of what Bacardi can actually produce when they want to be serious about rum. A huge step up from their usual !
Notes: A number of companies have been dipping into their reserve stocks of aged spirits of late.These stocks, held in reserve for blending to give their products more depth and complexity, and in some cases help in reserve in case some disaster such as a fire or other loss of their main supplies, rarely see the light of day unless heavily blended with younger, sometimes lesser spirits.
Diageo with their release of their very limited bourbons such as Old Blowhard and Lost Prophet are probably the best known example of this recent practice.
Bacardi after what has been described as a fierce battle internally, rather quietly released their Facundo collection a couple of years back. As a member of the RUM XP group I was invited to a private dinner where they were unveiled to us under some secrecy at the time.
I am now happy to report that not only has it been released to the general public, it is at least relatively available to anyone who wants a bottle , unlike the highly allocated Diageo whiskies.
Neo is a blend of one to eight year old rums that are blended to profile then filtered to remove any color. The other members of the collection include Eximo, (meaning to be free, and a blend of a minimum of 10 year old rums), Exquisito, (meaning exquisite, and a blend of 7 and 23 year old rums), and Paraiso (meaning Paradise,a blend of up to 23 year old rum finished in XO cognac barrels) the crown jewel of their Fecund collection and all of the Bacardi Rums
I’m not terribly sure why a number of brands have decided to pursue this strategy, except perhaps that it is easier to make a consistent white spirit rather than a blend in which the color could vary and to their credit all of the brands that do this have not chosen the alternative route of resorting to the use of caramel to adjust color. I for on,e would prefer my rum unfiltered, but this does seem to be the new trend. The balancing act of filtering out color without removing a lot of the other aging characteristics is a delicate process.The blending of this rum is also a delicate balancing act in some ways, it uses to distinct types of rum of various ages and proportions, one a young lower distilled proof rum, and an older, but higher distilled proof rum, to balance the young spirits and give it some aging characteristics
Appearance: Clear, quicksilver appearance, almost resinous.On swirling it leaves a thin oily coating on the glass which then rapidly forms small thin legs before leaving behind droplets
First Impression: Banana, sugar cane, molasses, cinnamon, earthy and grassy notes with touches of mallow, slightly spirity,with the alcohol making itself known, but not in a sharp way,wrapping itself around some more earthy and dark fruit type notes .
Taste: Vietnamese preserved bananas, almonds, black pepper, molasses, grassy cane notes and some vanilla, oak and barrel char notes. A sweet and slightly oily entry with a lot of young rum/cachaca like taste followed rapidly by a pleasant drying and more complex
Drinks: Makes all the usual white rum cocktails quite well with added complexity and depth. Does well with cocktails calling for an aged rum and adds a little zing and new rum grassiness to them for a little more character. If you want to make a rich mans Zombie I suppose you could use all the rums from the Facundo collection to do it but that would be a rather expensive undertaking.
My feeling is enjoy the rum on its own in a decent rum tasting glass to appreciate all its nuances.
Bottle: Like the rum, quite an exception to the usual Bacardi, which is plainer and less complex. I have seen hundreds of different bottles of rum, and this definitely qualifies as one of the more baroque examples. A heavyweight clear glass, not only just a heavy decanter like bottom ( a common feature for upscale bottling) but heavy,thick glass with an oversize opening ( forget using a speed pour on this beast) and synthetic composite cork with a wooden disk and metal top that seems to weigh in more like a lug nut than a cork. The bottle has a pressed glass design of a modernist design and the word “Facundo” in script at the bottom. The label is paper with black background with silver in a one half wrap around at a rakish angle. The cork has edgelines and lettering around the metal rim and a stamped design of some complexity. Overall very much a premium presentation and something that qualifies as a weapon in most jurisdictions.
Other: Part of the new line/collection of rums by Bacardi.
Final Thoughts: While this is a nice rum on its own merits and a massive step up in quality from some of the other Bacardi rum expressions, indeed a revelation about Bacardi and what they could do in terms of rum, it is somewhat expensive for what it is.
Rather slow loading and graphics heavy, it does contain a good amount ( if not overly detailed) among of information on the respective rums of the Facundo Collection and the philosophy behind them and their creation.