I'm gazing into a new kind of tasting glass. One that sort of resembles a pot of gold, or in this case a pot still. The glass is called Neat, my friend George Manska sent me a couple of them for testing. Neat design? Absolutely. But what does neat mean?
Please, let me first introduce the liquor that graces my tasting glass named Neat from Arsilica, Inc.
The glass is filled with about two fingers full of one of the truly expressive Rums I've tasted in recent memory.
The name of this Rum is Ron Solera. My research tells me that the 1873 stands for the Virginius Affair that took place in 1873, where an American ship was captured by the Spanish and the crew was executed. Ah history... Such a lovely topic!
The producer is Bacardi. Bacardi you say? The same company that makes millions of cases of flavored and white Rum from Puerto Rico?
Yes, one in the same. Although this highly expressive Rum is produced in Mexico.
The Ron Solera is a very special side project by the mega-producer Bacardi. There is someone, deep in this company who truly cares about Artisan Rum. First of all this rum is aged three years in charred oak. That means it's carefully prepared.
The Ron Solera is a Rum that demands your attention, not by tropical flavorings, but by the honesty of the product. It is akin to fine Scotch Whisky or the finest Bourbon.
Bacardi 1873 Ron Solera Rum is made in the Solera (Sherry) style. In fact because of the method of producing this Rum, my sniffs from the Neat glass are akin to Sherry. The Solera Method is that of making Sherry. The cask is filled with old Rum, each year some is drawn off and then replaced by newer Rums. The method for aging Sherry is the same. This is called the Solera Method.
My first impression from the Neat glass (when tasting the Ron Solera) is of Sherry. Molten globs of caramelized sugar takes over and my saliva glands in the back of my mouth start tasting sweet, charred wood, chocolate and thick Oloroso Sherry.
There is a density to this Rum. It's decidedly chocolate like in the beginning of my sip. By the finish I'm tasting bitters from the Bitter End (Mexican Mole' to be exact) and Caribbean seasoning spices like nutmeg and cloves.
The taste of candied orange rinds and lemon zests and a carnival ride to the back of my mouth comes into view immediately. They reveal themselves along with the everpresent charred wood and a Bourbon like finish. I wonder if they use Bourbon Oak for the aging? There is certainly some 80 Proof heat in every sip. Wet heat. Humid nights spent below the roiling decks of a sailboat with no ice and only a clean glass for the company of your Rum.
In this case the Rum in your glass should be the Ron Solera. It's magical and elegant.
I was shocked by the price of admittance. Under twenty dollars in the US. This Rum is every bit as sophisticated as ones I've tasted for dozens of dollars more.
If you were seeking a High-End Rum that doesn't cost High-End, look no further.
The Rum market is filled with bottles that cost twice as much, yet offer only half the pleasure of the Ron Solera. I believe that drinking this Rum out of the correct glass is essential.
I would NEVER drink this rum from a plastic cup. Nor would I drink it out of a thistle shaped tasting glass. The 80 proof heat just obliterates the elegant nature of this Rum when served in the WRONG glass.
When tasted in the Neat glass from Arsilica, this Rum shines like no other.
The Neat glass is shaped like a pot still. Is it any wonder why the world's best spirits are distilled in a pot still?
Some people have said that the Neat glass looks like the veritable pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. First of all the shape is different. Instead of the top of the glass being tiny and focused like the typical tasting glass, the Arsilica glass is flared out at the top. The finish of char is most pronounced from this vessel.
The middle of the glass holds and focuses the mid-range of notes, from sweet to spicy to charred. Finally you'll notice the lack of heat. That's because instead of focusing the nose of fire directly into your nasal passages thereby destroying your taste sensors, the heat and fire is encapsulated into the mid section of the glass, diffusing it and creating a much more pleasurable tasting experience.
I'm going out on a limb by saying that you can actually drink overproof Rum without burning your nose. These glasses are remarkable. They certainly don't dumb down the spirit, but reveal the spirit through layers of hidden aromas.
Hat's off to you George for creating something completely revolutionary!
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Questions? Call Christine R Crnek 702 332-7163 or email Christine@arsilica.com