Much better than the Silver Tanduay, worth considering. Think of it as a somewhat better Asian version of Bacardi and you won’t be too far wrong.
Notes: Most people think rum is a Caribbean spirit – while there have been some attempts to establish some geographical restrictions ( similar to cognac, champagne and tequila for example) they have so far been unsuccessful.
Rum as most people understand it has historically been from the Caribbean basin but local home grown variants were around in many countries and usually appeared when distillation technology became available in an area.
Sugar cane is generally thought to be of Asian origin with best guesses as New Guinea, Phillipines but there is no general consensus . Wherever sugar cane started from it was spread rapidly across the globe by European settlers as a cash crop anywhere they could get it to grow. Sugar cane (and its by product from sugar production molasses) was widely grown by most of the European settlements. Tanduay uses an older heritage variety of sugar cane in its production which is hand harvested and produced at a distillery that can trace its history back at least 150 years. Tanduay produces a number of rue and is one of the leading rum producers in the world. They have now just started importing 2 of their rums into the United States, this their gold version and also a silver version reviewed here .
“Gold” as a spirits descriptor has some very unfortunate connotations Since there are no standards for the designation gold it has been a catch all term used for some very regrettable spirits in years past, mostly low quality spirits that had (at best) caramel coloring added to simulate aging and give try to pass off a spirit as better than it was. This is not the case of Tanduay Gold, it uses a blend of rum up to 7 years old from charred oak barrels so at least it is an aged rum and some (if not all lets be realistic ) of its color comes from the fact that it is indeed aged and mellowed by aging in oak barrels.
Appearance: Clear pale yellow gold.On swirling it leaves a light to medium coat on the glass with a ring of droplets forming as the edge line retreats.
First Impression: Slightly fruity with toasted cane and grass notes, lingons, rambutans , oak vanilla with suggestions of coconut in the background. Fruity note developing later on. Similar but better than the silver, in that it has more oak influence with more char and vanilla notes.
Taste: Molasses, sugar cane, oak vanilla, nutmeg, slightly creamy mouthfeel, nicely rounded with persimmon like notes and a slightly drying finish
Drinks: Works well as a basic rum and stand up relatively well in more complicated drinks without overshadowing the other ingredients,
Bottle: Interesting design, clear glass with slightly flared foot.Oriental design/graphics pressed into glass above and below the paper label and “Rum of Distinction EST 1854” below shoulder but above design on bottle. Design is repeated on screw cap and neck capsule except in old gold on black, with “Heritage Asian Cane and small red stripe with distillery info and a imprinted/raised stylized T on the top of the cap all of this over a slightly bulbous neck . Paper label is easy to read, somewhat striking and combines a number of style elements to pull of an altogether stylish look. Overall feel of bottle is good and the look is Asian /Far East without being overdone or tacky.
Other: Heritage (Heirloom?) variety of sugar cane is used.
Final Thoughts: Much more depth and complexity than its younger silver sibling. It won a gold medal at the Rum XP for best in class, ( I was part of the judging panel for that). I think that was more a testament to how bad a lot of gold rum is rather than the fact this rum was in and of itself great if it was compared beyond the narrow category of gold rum and had to compete against some others. That being said, it is a decent rum for what it is and for its cost and an interesting rum to try.
Easy to navigate website with some information