An excellent dry anejo of the Cuban style
Notes: This rum originally hails from Cuba and is of the distinctive Cuban style.The name Matusalem refers to Methuselah and means older thanMethuselah (who lived to 969 years old according to some) and refers to the aging of the products (back in the day when aging of rum was measured in days not years) and their long term aging processes. Founded in 1872 by Spanish founders who brought secret processes of distillation and introduced the solera aging system to Cuba. It remained in Cuba till after the revolution.
Much is made of the heritage of the brand, and unlike Bacardi does not seem to have problems with billing itself as such. Distillation system unclear. Aged in used French oak casks and uses the Solera system to achieve consistency (similar to the Barraques system-which is also a form of stacking and aging of barrels seen in the production of brandies and cognacs)
Oldest of the Matusalem line, the youngest being Matusalem Platino and it’s older sibling Matusalem Classico.
Appearance: Dark baltic amber red/gold,burnished bronze. Sparkling clear with no hazing separation or floating sediments. Long legs and crenellated edges develop on swirling.
First Impression: Slightly sweetish but then a drying entry, caramelized molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, allspice, spice and flowers, buttery nuts (macadamia, hazelnuts etc.) backstopped with a delightful melange of tobacco, leather, barrel char and oak.
Taste: Spicy, paradoxically sweetish and drying entry, some citrus, dried fruits and flower notes ,walnuts, persimmons, medium to heavy bodied. Lovely oak peeper and vanilla notes intermixed ginger, leather and tobacco. Nice drying finish to it. Finish is medium-long with a spicy dry tingling to the lips.
Drinks: Works well for the classic older style (read non-umbrella) drinks – think Cuba and the Islands in their heyday – not cruise ships and Pinãs Coladas (shudder). A drier alternative to many other anejo rums out there (particularly the Venezuelan or Guatemalan) adding wonderful layers of flavor to explore.
Cigars: A better cigar is called for here- like a Avo or Davidoff, natural wrapper.
Final Thoughts: As a style Cuban rum like the island, falls somewhere between Puerto Rican mainland Venezuelan rum in regards to complexity,body and style. Heavier and more flavorful than Puerto Rican rum, not as heavy or sweet as Venezuelan.
While this is not a Cuban rum per se (Cuban rum is still under embargo in the US) it is said to be reminiscent of the Cuban style. It does remind me of the Havana Club Gran Reserva. A thinking person’s very civilized and complex rum with a pleasing dryness and complex flavor.
Bottle/Packaging: Short wide cylindrical dark brown glass bottle with parchment style label attractive graphics (with gold raised lettering) with “Matusalem est 1872” embossed on the shoulder. Dark brown (think cigar wrapper) colored neck wrap with old gold colored lettering and a real cork finish the nicely done package.
Quick loading, and somewhat informative, nice videos. A trifle hard to navigate.