Heads-Up Rum Tasting for Cuba Libre base: Blind Tasting Results # how many?
Aug. 19, 2013: Heads-Up blind tasting 4 rums straight and in cuba libres
Contestants: Appleton Special (gold/dark), Bacardi Gold, Pampero Aniversario “reserve exclusive”, and Pyrat XO reserve.
All tasted blind, then with splash of coke and squeeze of fresh sweet lime (for ad-hoc cuba libre). For you blind tasting purists, this is “single blind”… I know the 4 rums, but don’t know which is in which glass.
Background info: Appleton and Pyrat have been my “go to” rums for several years now, having each won multiple prior blind tastings on my palate. In a recent OT thread involving discussion of Patron tequila, I mentioned the sister product Pyrat which elicited a firestorm of haters about how bad a rum it is, how there are rums that are “infinitely better”, etc…
I love a challenge like this. The worst that can happen is I find a significantly better drink. So, I’m motivated to have another tasting. I added to the tasting a real rotgut which I hate (Barcardi Gold), and a rum rated “8 or 9” by rumratings.com (Pampero Anniversario). Also, when in the liquor store, a very experienced owner/clerk came by and assured me that Pampero was a great rum, in fact he had just tasted it in a multiple-rum tasting a few days back. Pampero also has the advantage of being “priced right” for my purposes (under $30). I’m not looking for a gourmet “sipping” rum but rather one that works great in a cuba libre.
So, here are the actual tasting notes... those of you who have followed my posts in all manner of beverages know that I value my integrity at posting these results, good, bad or ugly
Drink 1: Rich. Some honey, caramel. Mild burn. Not unpleasant. Nothing really lingering here either.
Drink 2: Up front not dissimilar from 1. Bit stronger mid burn followed by some yummier mid-notes… 1 is definitely nicer up front, 2 perhaps evolves in more interesting way. Re-tasting 1 I think I prefer it for more well-defined initial flavors…
Drink 3: Lighter… initial impressions are overall thinner construction… thinner texture, flavor. Re-tasting 1 there’s no doubt I prefer it straight because the initial flavor impression of 3 is primarily “alcohol”.
Drink 4: Initial impression is “neutral”. Something along the lines of 3. I think compared to both 3 and 4 I prefer 2, given that the initial flavors include some mild degree of sweetness in 2 which I appreciate. Somehow I think I prefer 3 over 4 slightly.
INITIAL STRAIGHT TASTING Epilogue: 1 and 2 are my faves drank straight. Slight preference for 1. 3 and 4 are less faves, slight preference for 3.
Okay, this may or may not be embarrassing, but in the interest of integrity I swear to publish the following results, whatever they reveal:
Drink 1: Pyrat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! &^%$#@ you haters !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Drink 2: Pampero Anniversario
Drink 3: Appleton !!!!!!!!!!!! Hey I’m exclaiming here because I’ve always said this is my pedestrian go-to. My $16 go-to, I’ve always said that Pyrat is a $30 splurge that I allow myself quite frequently actually… but Appleton still makes a nice cuba libre….
Drink 4: Bacardi.
Does the Shadow have a consistent palate or WHAT ????????
NOW, to do the cuba libre tasting… will follow in this thread….
CUBA Libre tasting: Appleton Gold vs. Pampero vs. Pyrat. No need to recheck Bacardi gold as it was included in Round 1 as an outlier (which it proved to be in blind tasting). These 3 rums were tasted heads-up blind, I knew the 3, but not which was in which cup..
These cuba libres were mixed 1:1 rum to coke with 25 drops sweet lime (not key lime). Volume of rum & coke was 20 mL each. Actual tasting notes follow:
A; Very soft, smooth. Not particularly zingy but nothing not to like.
B: Maybe a little sweeter edge. Will re-taste
C: Hmmm… seems like the brightest of the bunch on first tasting…
C: Nice clean bright, basic.
B: There’s a deeper flavor profile to this, but not necessarily better in a cuba libre. Perhaps bordering on ponderous… Yet it is richer. It’s like brighter, go with C, richer go with B… But both very good…
A: I just tonight like C slightly better, though A nothing not to like. A has a deep, complex flavor… maybe I just prefer the lighter brighter C.
A vs. B, I think I prefer A tonight… rich but not too rich…
A vs. C… this is tougher… A is so complex… C brighter & lighter…
Maybe favoring A here… But in the end it seems like A and C are faves, then B.
Geez, another embarrassing drum-roll as I check the results... I swear to publish these regardless:
C: Pyrat !!
So it’s Pyrat vs. Pampero… am I good…. The top 2 in the blind straight tasting are the top 2 in the blind cuba libre tasting. And in retrospect it's no surprise that Pyrat produces the lighter/brighter yet complex flavored cuba libre vs. Pampero somewhat more ponderous yet still delicious given the comments in the straight tastings.
I'm assured that I'm drinking the best for my palate... at least for another couple semesters:)