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Rum & Cigars

Few things go together better than a glass of good rum and the right cigar, except maybe more rum.


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Old 04-21-2008, 02:51 PM   #1
tym2relax
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Default Ron Barcelo Imperial

After two bottles of Zaya, which has truly elevated my cigar smoking experiences I ventured out to find another cigar rum. I was going to buy some El Dorado 15 but unfortunately it was out of stock. I then selected the Ron Bacelo Imperial.

Since this is only my second sipping rum I can only compare it the Zaya. The Barcelo is not as sweet, a bit dry and to me it was woodsy (oak?). I probably made a mistake and smoked a Arturo Fuente 858 Maduro. I have been sitting on these 858’ for about two years. They just improve over time and is a very enjoyable smoke. However, it did not go very well with the Barcelo. The Barcelo seemed too timid to match up to the 858. Perhaps a mild cigar with natural wrapper would be a better choice? Thing is, I tend to prefer fuller cigars and keep the mild ones around for guests. Any suggestions here would be appreciated. One observation is the Zaya was enjoyable with whatever I smoked. Not so with the Barcelo.

Later in the evening I decided to try the Barcelo again, no cigar this time. Neat. Same observations as above but with a bit more bite. I also noticed a somewhat unpleasant aftertaste. Something woodsy? Hard to describe, there is lot going on with this rum but my initial impression is I prefer the Zaya.

I must be missing something because many folks just love this rum. My primary interest is the enjoyment of these rums with cigars. I would really appreciate some guidance from the experienced rum drinking, cigar-smoking members.
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Old 04-21-2008, 03:43 PM   #2
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I must be missing something because many folks just love this rum. My primary interest is the enjoyment of these rums with cigars. I would really appreciate some guidance from the experienced rum drinking, cigar-smoking members.
Don't worry about missing something, a lot of people fall absolutely in love with the first really good rum they discover.
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Since this is only my second sipping rum I can only compare it the Zaya.
Since this is only the second sipping rum you've tried with a cigar, give yourself some time. Barcelo Imperial is a much drier, warmer rum compared to Zaya. Over time I expect your taste will broaden and you'll want something that is less sweet, though Zaya certainly isn't as sweet as many rums, but my point is that most rum drinking, cigar-smoking people's tastes change over time.
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Old 04-21-2008, 04:59 PM   #3
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Barcelo Imperial is of a style I like a great deal; a step step away in terms of sweetness compared to Zaya (which is itself a good rum for many cigars) but with a lot of the notes that I enjoy in my rums.
If like many, you prefer a sweeter rum with strong cigars but want to try something a bit different, then a natural step towards Zaya, but a bit less sweet would be Ron Zacapa 15 Anos.
If you like the flavors I associate with tobacco in your rum you could try Vizcaya or one of the Angostura duo of 1919 or 1823. But I can promise you that Hank will be along shortly to recommend El Dorado 15 as a good mate to many medium to full flavored cigars. As for me, when all else fails, I recommend Pampero Aniversario because for me, it goes with just about everything.
The ED 15, while I'm not yet as wild about it as many here on the board, I really enjoy as an excellent cigar rum. It's very sweet, and has many underlying flavors. Sweet rums and cigars seem to pair well frequently to my tastes, although I've come to like drier rums for sipping "a capella."
I have a treasured bottle of ED 21 that I sip neat and alone, savoring the ED 15 frequently when I smoke, when for me, it comes into it's own.

Last edited by Lew Barrett; 04-21-2008 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 04-21-2008, 08:53 PM   #4
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Lew, I dont have much to say, you said most of it. Mind reader! Ron Barcelo Imperial is an excellent rum, one I enjoy sipping, or with a touch of water or a small ice cube. The oak note is this rum is very recognizable. As far as cigars, it can be overpowered pretty easily, so I would stick with a milder cigar. I would think the right Maduro would be a good match, on the milder side.
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Old 04-21-2008, 09:07 PM   #5
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Thanks for the responses. I'll have to spend some 'quality time' with this rum to get to know it better. I wanted something different, and I got it.

I'll have to pick up some ED 15 and maybe the Zacapa 15/23 next time.
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Old 04-21-2008, 11:13 PM   #6
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Tym..There is a wonderful ying to the yang of your going from Zaya to Barcelo Imperial.

I agree that Imperial is not a rum for a full flavored cigar as mentioned above. With the right cigar though...It's a kicker!

I still have a few Temple Hall's back when they were made in Jamaica. Maduros Number 1., back when Dunhill had the brand. Matches perfectly to my taste.

Imperial shows a good deal of barrel up front..and then a good dose of "rancio" which means rancid in Spanish, Which translates to oxidation.


The overall effect is dryish, and pleasing to me.
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Old 04-22-2008, 03:49 PM   #7
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I'm curious then why is it that the Barcelo, a 6-8 yr rum, has more barrel taste (woodsy to me) then the Zaya, which is a 12 year rum.

Why would less time in a barrel result in a more woody taste?
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Old 04-22-2008, 10:02 PM   #8
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I'm curious then why is it that the Barcelo, a 6-8 yr rum, has more barrel taste (woodsy to me) then the Zaya, which is a 12 year rum.

Why would less time in a barrel result in a more woody taste?
Great question Tym. A number of physical factors can account for that. First is the size of the container. A 50 gallon oak barrel will impart flavor much quicker than a 5,000 gallon oak vat due to the surface area/liquid volume ratio.
The type of oak used will affect the flavor, as well as how much the inside of the barrel has been flame charred, along with how much the barrel has been used.

The flavor profile of the rum itself will also dictate to some extent how much of the oak ageing will come through. A sweeter, more opulent rum like Zaya will tend to put the wood flavors in the background where as a more dry and lean style like Imperial allows the wood to be more forward.

My subjective taste likes the Imperial better. However, on a quality level I recognise Zaya as very good indeed, and indeed I do enjoy it myself.

I think that one of the good things that hopefully comes with accumulating knowledge, understanding of production technique and knowledge of traditions, is an appreciation of rum in all it's forms. We don't have like all of them..God knows I don't. I have found more often than not when I took the time to learn more about something that I wasn't crazy about, it opened up a new experience for me. And gave me a new appreciation of something I might have otherwise dismissed.
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Old 04-23-2008, 01:01 AM   #9
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I'm curious then why is it that the Barcelo, a 6-8 yr rum, has more barrel taste (woodsy to me) then the Zaya, which is a 12 year rum. Why would less time in a barrel result in a more woody taste?
Don't confuse age with maturity. Rums aged at sea level mature more quickly that rums aged at 7,500 feet up in a mountain cave. And yes, the size of the aging barrel makes a great difference also. New oak barrels give a lot more flavor than used barrels that previously held bourbon, for example. The Abeulo 7 has lots of aged barrel flavor for a rum of that age.

That combination of sweet sugar cane honey and slow maturation are the hallmarks of the Guatemalan rums, very unique.
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Old 04-23-2008, 01:14 AM   #10
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I knew there had to be a reason and I appreciate the information given. This sure adds to the enjoyment of my new hobby, the education.
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