Matusalem GR 23 Solera
Matusalem GR 23 Solera prides itself on being a Cuban style of rum with a history in Cuba they trace back to 1872 when two brothers, Benjamin and Eduardo Camp, together with a partner, Evaristo Álvarez opened a distillery in Santiago de Cuba. According to the information I found a few years ago on the Matusalem website, the rum they were producing began to win acclaim by the first quarter of the 20th century. The distillery apparently operated until the 1960′s when due to the Cuban Revolution the Álvarez family was exiled, and the rum they made disappeared from the landscape.
The brand was resurrected by Claudio Álvarez Salazar, who is the great-grandson of Evaristo Álvarez. Of course, it was not possible, given the political situation in Cuba, for Claudio to produce or bottle the rum in Cuba. Apparently, it is produced (presumably by a third party as Ron Matusalem does not own a distillery) in the Dominican Republic and then bottled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana by Proximo Spirits.
The Solera aging system is a cascading process where slightly younger rums are blended with slightly older rums. Stored in oak casks, the aged rum is stacked in different levels. The oldest distilled rum is housed on the lowest levels. Newer rums are put into the higher levels so that the youngest is on top. As the rum is pulled from the lowest Solera barrels for bottling, it is replaced with rum from the levels just above.
This process is repeated with the remaining levels, though no more than one-third of each cask can be drawn off every three months. This marrying of old and new softens the fiery younger rum and provides it with a refined smoothness and flavor not found in ordinary rums. A 15-year Solera or a 10-year Solera is an average of the blended years. Our Matusalem rums are Solera blended and are a blend of aged rums that average a year’s designation.
The Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 23 Solera Blender is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
Matusalem GR 23 Solera In the Bottle
the heavy glass bottle and the display box, have a couple of quibbles with respect to the presentation of the Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 18 which prevents a perfect score. The first quibble is with respect to the statement on the label which reads Formula Original de Cuba.
This statement leads many people to believe that this is an authentic Cuban rum produced in Cuba. In fact, Matusalem GR 23 Solera has had many fruitless arguments with persons who point to that statement as proof of that particular point of view. Although the back label explains that the rum is now crafted in the Dominican Republic, Matusalem GR 23 Solera is apparent that many people never read the back label.
The second quibble is the symbol above and below the main label proudly proclaiming Solera 23 Blender. Again many people confuse this statement as meaning the rum is a 23-year-old spirit with the youngest rum in the blend being 23 years. The truth is the age of the youngest rum in the blend. even have a clear idea of whether any rum in the bottle approaches anything close to 23 years.
Matusalem GR 23 Solera In the Glass
When pouring a bit of the rum into Glencairn glass, the first thing notice is the rich bronze color of the spirit. The color is quite a bit darker than the Gran Reserva 18 which had more of an amber color. When tilting the glass and giving it a slow swirl, the spirit is medium-bodied, and the crest which has formed drops thick leglets travel slowly down the inside of the glass. The initial aroma carries a nice mixed aroma of brown sugar, baking spices, oak, and vanilla.
the glass breathe and soon noticed hints of dark fruit (figs and raisins), banana, peaches, marmalade, and canned apricots. The oak seems to grow in the glass and is complemented by caramel and maple toffee, hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, rich tobacco, and roasted walnuts.
Matusalem GR 23 Solera Flavour
The rum demonstrates a nicely melded flavor of dark caramel (treacle), vanilla, and oak spice which gives us spicy, but smooth delivery. Baking spices ( nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon) separate from the oak spices with hints of burlap and leather, fresh toast, baked banana, and coconut, touches marmalade, and a lovely underlying flavor of toasted pecans. added a dab of ice and noticed chocolate flavors beginning to ooze out of the rum, dark bittersweet chocolate that just seems to melt in your mouth.
the Matusalem 18 Solera Blender was the type of rum which you could sit comfortably in an old leather chair and just sip on it as you enjoy your evening, the Matusalem GR 23 Solera Blender is even more so.
The ending is perhaps just a touch bitter with the flavors of bittersweet chocolate, treacle, and roasted pecans dominating the sweeter flavors of vanilla and caramel. Baking spices, nutmeg, and cloves (with just a hint of cinnamon) rest on the palate after the swallow.
Last thought about Matusalem GR 23 Solera
This is Matusalem’s premium expression of Solera-aged rum, the 23 Gran Reserva. The company was once based in Cuba but has since moved to the Dominican Republic. They Solera age the majority of their rum to ensure their characteristic flavor remains the same from bottle to bottle. you can buy this Matusalem GR 23 Solera from stogies and more