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Rum Review: Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 Rum

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How do you rate Vizcaya VXOP Rum (five is best)?
 33%  [ 1 ]
 66%  [ 2 ]
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Total Votes : 3

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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot

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

PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 4:14 am    Post subject: Rum Review: Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 Rum Reply with quote

Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 Rum: Jimbo - "Spicebox"
Sue Sea - "Black Cherry Cough Drops"

The last time I saw this gorgeous bottle it was on a warm tropical evening, as Sue Sea and I were attending one of Robert Burr's tastings. Equipped in a pair of stilletos, a stunning young hispanic woman was attempting to make her way across one of the palatial lawns of Coral Gables, clutching a single bottle of VXOP against her slinky, short black evening dress.

Now since this IS Paradise, this is simply another day. Stunning beautiful people are about as common as coconut palms. Still it was a memorable sight. Of course we were all heading toward the tasting - we as drinkers, she as company rep - but we were lost. Ever the insightful rep, she correctly assumed our mission and politely inquired "...Are you looking for the rum tasting?".

"We are now!" I proferred, and we all laughed.

Actually the Vizcaya VXOP bottle should be an award winner in itself and is the perfect compliment to a perfect bosom. Honest. But as always, I digress. With or without breasts, is VXOP up to its stunning presentation?
The reviews, lol:

Sue Sea:

What a great evening that was! To be in Coral Gables at the simply breathtaking Venetian Pool, a historical landmark and real pool carved out of coral rock - and to be introduced to this evening and Vizcaya VXOP in this fashion... well, what more can I say. Stunning bottle, right up there with Botran Solera or Seales 10. It shouts out plush and sophisticated, top drawer and really whetted my expectations.

At that tasting we did try VXOP and came back to it more than once. But as tends to happen at such events the experience is lost among so many other offerings, sights and sounds. Still a wonderful experience. So I was very glad when Jim finally spotted this hard-to-find rum and brought it home. I insisted we taste it right then and there.

Unfortunately, Vizcaya VXOP did not live up to my expectations. Its first, high aroma is of oak, then down into a spicy clove and cinnamon. Like spices in a wooden box. This is followed by a dark cherry/sherry and a bit of leather. VXOP's taste is consistent. I first tasted the black cherry/sherry - it borders on syrupy - then the clove and cinnamon. There is a late astringency leading to a medium/short finish of cinnamon and cloves. There is a light cigar box aftertaste. Some cigar smokers may like this rum, but honestly, I was disappointed.

This is a rum that requires time and care to experience. VXOP borders on medicinal and even has the syrupy feel of a peppery light black cherry cough syrup or hot toddy. I'd also like to say that some rums are described as "hollow" - nice aroma, nice finish but lacking taste. Viscaya VXOP is just the opposite - it's all taste and little else.


On this tasting - free of distracting bosoms - I had a very different experience. It just goes to show you how the hustle and bustle, rapid fire presentation of a bunch of rums at a "tasting" can confuse and obfuscate. Not to mention the effect of a goodly amount of intoxicating alcohol.

Vizcaya VXOP is amber and has those scary, slow ring-of-pearl legs. When I brought the VXOP to my nose I was immediately struck with its very spicy pungency featuring cinnamon, with clove and a bit of pepper, set against a background of vanilla, light oak and leather. The body is medium.

Unlike Sue Sea I don't find VXOP actually syrupy - but it's taste profile does indeed give that effect, capish? You will if you try it. VXOP's taste is consistent and presents peppery yet smooth. Pepper dominates in the mouth. The late palate is astringent and transitions to medium/short glowing (but not warm) finish. I was left with an aftertaste of pepper, and cigar box.

Overall Vizcaya VXOP did not live up to its brief reputation and reviews, but it may be a good cigar rum. Its ratings are certainly the beneficiary of a magnificent bottle which is a marketing triumph. Modern, elegant gold leaf, expensive and sophisticated presentation featuring "Cuban formula rum" and "Cask No. 21". Cuban formula? And is there really a numbered cask? Not on your mother's life. According to Vizcaya...

Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 Super Premium Rum is distilled by a family that has been making rum since 1820. They founded one of the first rum distilleries in Cuba. Cask 21 was reserved for their very finest rum, which was intended for the governors of Cuba. Since 1960, they have produced their rum in the Dominican Republic, the island with climate and soil most similar to Cuba's.

Vizcaya VXOP uses sugar cane harvested by hand and freshly pressed for its juices.

A bit of research is revealing. There was indeed a company called "La Vizcaya" established by Jose Arechabala in 1878, not 1820. The company produced sugar, rum and all manner of byproducts and was taken over by Castro in the 1960’s. Later they affiliated with Bacardi (not Oliver) to produce “Havana Club”.

That another proud Cuban family would take this name "Vizcaya" for their rum - and make it from cane juice (not the molasses based rums common to Cuba) defies imagination. Sorry.

Thus the names "Vizcaya" and "VXOP" are meaningless and pure marketing.

But no one focuses on these. No, we ooh and ahh and look around for a nearby bosom to clutch it against. Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad rum - but I think it more than possible it has been flavored with additives. And is really rather unidimensional. VXOP is a great representative for the unfortunate trend toward rum as liqueur. In food, spice and pepper can add interest to an otherwise unremarkable dish.

Vizcaya VXOP "Cask 21" is no different. Still, that bottle...

Score (10 is best): Sue Sea - solid 6, Jimbo - 7.

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