Wednesday, April 1, 2009

First taste: Ron Millonario

Peru is hardly known as a hotbed of rum-making, but if word about Ron Millonario ever gets out, the stellar lush and candied rums like Zacapa and Diplomatico will have some serious competition.

Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial is dark walnut, almost furniture polish brown in hue, rich and lush on the nose, giving off aromas of reduced caramel sauce and freshly baked hot cross buns with its combination of cloves, cinnamon, raisins, currants and yeastiness. It's not as thick as its aromas suggest, but on the palate, there's an explosion of cooked tropical and dried fruits - sherry-stewed raisins, butter sizzled brown bananas, black figs in custard. This is not your Caribbean aged rum, all sinew, leather and tobacco, and no one would ever use it to suggest that aged rums are like Cognac. It finishes rich, with great acid but mostly mouth-watering richness and sublime balance. My notes from last week at the Polished Palate competition - "Is this the perfect rum?"

I am a bit confused, though, by the co-existence of an age statement and the producer's stated use of a solera system - soleras, a creation of the Sherry world, is a complicated system that essentially means that there's something from the oldest and youngest component in each bottle. Whatever. Millonario is definitely one worth seeking out if you like your rums rich, lush and bodacious.

My score: 8


  1. Estimado Jack Robertiello.
    El detalle de su catado es muy interesante y estimulante, que demuestra su alta calidad y profesionalidad.
    Soy el que hice la fórmula del Ron Millonario en el Perú y estoy disfrutando los buenos comentarios, como los de Ud., así como los resultados, a pesar que que actualmente estoy dedicado otras actividades diferentes, pero siempre con la misma PASION y conocimiento de estas bebidas espirituosas.
    Danko Miskulin

  2. Jack (nice meeting you long ago in Tampa)- as you know the labeling of rum insofar as aging has never been all that reliable, not least for soleras. Millonario states 15 years, the same figure promoted by Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 15.

    When introduced there is no doubt that was an indication of the oldest rum in the solera, as it is neither practical nor profitable to achieve and average age of much more than 8 years as the growth becomes logarithmic (opposite of exponential) and levels out.

    Another issue is that the oldest rums gains a year, every year, so what was Solera 15 at its inception, in truth becomes Solera 16 the next year and so on. By now Zacapa 23 should be Zacapa 34, lol. And no marketing department would be so foolish as to promote the average age anyway.

    What would be much more useful would be a statement of average age, plus a nice description of the Solera - number of levels (here four), withdrawal/amount schedule.

    Not likely. There is no doubt solera offers great potential, but the risks are substantial. A bad run can contaminate the whole solera.

    Perhaps I'll see you again in Tampa...