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Rum Review: Montecristo 12 Year Rum

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How do you rate Montecristo 12 Year Rum (five is best)?
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot

Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 3499
Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:58 am    Post subject: Rum Review: Montecristo 12 Year Rum Reply with quote

Montecristo 12 Year Rum: Pepper Cream Caramel Cane

Before I begin, I just have to note that our dear Preacher Ed has stepped in it once again. As a rep for some of Martinique's cane juice "rhums by regulation" he has a real hard on for other countries' cane juice rums - which he tends to ignore, or to simply misrepresent.

Case in point: Barbancourt, one of the founders of cane juice rums. The Preacher's distillers' section labels this world class product as "...distilled from sugar cane juice, syrup and/or molasses depending on availability". Thus neatly disposing of a cane juice competitor that outsells his puny and obscure offerings. Basis: hearsay. Eight years ago "someone" told him this.

I have spoken to Barbancourt. They were incensed, and vigorously disputed the Preacher's misrepresentation.

And he still ignores the fact that at least one of his self-commended AOC-branded cane juice rums, namely St. James, does in fact use a bit of cane juice syrup to extend their distilling season. "During the cane season, the mills yield more juice than can be fermented. Most of the fresh juice is pumped directly to the fermentation tanks. The rest is filtered, then concentrated by vacuum to a syrup for storage... After the cane season, the syrup is diluted to its original consistency then fermented and distilled into alcohol."

How do you spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e?

With Montecristo he does it again, misidentifying it as "Gold rum distilled from molasses. Blend of rums at least 12 years old aged in used whisky and bourbon barrels.." Basis: ignorance or speculation. In a recent post he later re-redefined Montecristo as made "from sugar cane syrup" based on the distance of their distillery from the sugar mill. "Montecristo is made from sugar cane syrup and not sugar cane juice. The distillery is miles from the sugar mill and there is no way to transport sugar cane juice from a crushing operation (sugar mill) to a distillery."

Which is it Ed? Molasses, cane juice syrup or cane juice? Like all rum-sotted sailors he changes course with each wind shift. But I digress. Let's cut through the crap.

Montecristo 12 Year is a cane juice rum. And it is aged a minimum of 12 years in used bourbon - NOT whisky - barrels.

"Montecristo Rum is “agricultural rum” made from all natural, hand-harvested, pure sugarcane juice, not molasses. It is remarkably smooth, the result of Montecristo’s unique aging process, which uses American oak bourbon barrels (not whiskey, Eddie)."

Now the way your rum tasting adventure will likely develop is that you will begin buying and tasting rums in some order. Or maybe not. You'll taste the best known, the highly rated, the highly recommended. Or the one that a luscious Cuban rep caressingly placed in your lusting hand.


At a point you will be left with some attractive but untried obscure, hard to find or rather unfamiliar marques. This is where the fun begins. You get to make a discoveries! Some are awful, some are reasonable and sometimes you find a rare treasure.

Montecristo 12 Year is one of those.

I have a job that causes me to travel the county, and I often spot new and unvisited liquor stores. Many are run by wonderfully ethnic people who often have both unusual rums and known good rums on special sale. Which is where I found MC12 at just $13.95! I could no longer resist and home it came. Truth be told, we didn't expect much. Enough.

The reviews:

Sue Sea:

Once again Jim came home with some "deals" he couldn't resist. As is his way he included a nice Cab/Merlot from Australia that he knew I'd like - as cover for his new rum. Although I was not at all in the mood for a tasting, he immediately cut the seal and pulled the cork and poured me a splash. I immediately noted cane and a goodly amount of heat (not a bad thing) and said so. Our "official" tasting was later.

Montecristo 12 Year comes in a nice, slightly tapered classic bottle with a traditional "indent" at the base; however the label is non-descript. A rum that is untouched by the marketing department.

As before, my first aroma was sweet, caney/reedy over a deep citrus, orange/apricot. There was a light, high undertone of vanilla caramel. What impressed me was the initial palate which was an explosive pepper. It is like biting into a clove. The mid palate was consistent, with tastes of clove, cinnamon and caramel cream, but was rather soft in comparison. The finish was as explosive as the entry - peppery and warm - which I rather like. There is a wonderful sweet cane aftertaste and what I call an "exhale" leaving a cigarlike memory.

Very nice.


I'll try not duplicate Sue Sea and her exquisite palate. Montecristo 12 Year is a brilliant amber with thick fast legs, and a thin green edge that comes from honest aging. We agree on aroma, which I can only describe as a pleasant blend of deep citrus/cane with a sweet, creamy overtone. As for taste, Montecristo 12 Year enters smooth and creamy and is entirely consistent with the aroma. The finish and aftertaste are also consistent - hot, long and peppery. To say that I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement.

Montecristo 12 Year is a worthy competitor to the world renown Barbancourt, falling somewhere in between the world class 8 year and the 15 year. In comparison, the Barbancourt 15 year is over oaked, while the 8 year old Barbancourt Five Star is lighter and reedier, with honey, vanilla and with what Sue Sea calls a lightly toasted almond - similar to biting into a "cheerio" (oat-based).

In sum, I believe Montecristo 12 Year is an exceptional and underrated "agricultural" cane juice rum. I daresay it approaches Barbancourt and the best of the limited AOC cane juice offerings. The only factor that kept this rum from being rated "9" was less complexity. Rums in the "9" or "10" class must exhibit certain seductive and romantic X-factors.

Still Montecristo 12 Year is a fine rum - consistent, interesting and memorable.

Sorry, Ed.

Rating (10 is best): a very solid 8.

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