Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ron Navazos Palazzi Cask Strength Rum: Aged In Sherry Barrels

While sitting at the bar at Troquet, I thoroughly enjoyed a superb Lamb Burger Slider, topped with lamb bacon, goat cheese feta, and harissa. As I savored this burger, I spied an intriguing spirit on a shelf behind the bar, knowing I had to taste it. I'd previously tasted other spirits from this company but hadn't yet sampled this one. I didn't fight the urge and ordered a glass.

Jesus Barquin & Eduardo Oreja of Equipo Navazos, known for bottling exceptional Sherries, partnered with Nicolas Palazzi of PM Spirits to produce a series of Spanish spirits, including brandy, rum, grain whiskey and malt whiskey. Last month, I reviewed the Navazos Palazzi Malt Whiskey and found it to be "...elegant and compelling, unique and delicious, a well-balanced whiskey that will surprise and delight. My highest recommendation!" I had high expectations for their Ron Navazos Palazzi Cask Strength Rum ($100-$110) and wasn't disappointed in the least.

The alleged origin story behind this rum is intriguing, though not all of the details area readily available. It is claimed that Jesús Barquín and Nicolas Palazzi were visiting numerous bodegas in the Jerez region, seeking either Brandy or Sherry. At an unnamed bodega, they stumbled upon numerous barrels of rum, certainly nothing they expected to find. Through further research, they uncovered that the rum was made from 100% molasses and had been distilled in the Antilles, though the specific island is not mentioned.

Initially, the rum was aged in the Antilles for five years in first-fill bourbon barrels. It was then sent to the bodega in Spain, payment for some unknown transaction. The bodega transferred the rum into used Oloroso barrels, where it sat for more than ten years. Barquín and Palazzi acquired 32 casks of this rum so it is a finite spirit. They have chosen to bottle it unfiltered and at cask strength, 51.5 ABV,  releasing 1500 bottles a year until the rum is gone. Currently, it appears they have released bottles in 2013 and 2014.

The color of this rum was deep and dark, though with some translucence, reminding me in some ways of an aged Oloroso Sherry. Sniffing the contents of the glass, I was enamored with the complex aromas that wafted up, seducing my nose. There was fruit and spice, nuts and chocolate, and it was a pleasure just to sit and enjoy the aromas. On the palate, I was initially pleased with the relative dryness of the rum. It wasn't one of the prominent sweet rums but rather its sweetness was of a more subtle nature, with underlying caramel, vanilla and molasses flavors. And the complexity of the nose was duplicated on the palate, such a compelling melange of flavors that seemed to present something new each sip I took. There was a certain nutty and saline character that reminded me of Sherry, but also bright citrus and plum notes. There were plenty of spicy elements, with a backbone of umami, and hints of leather. Elegant and fascinating, this rum had a pleasing, lengthy finish.

Highly recommended! I'll be buying a bottle or two soon.

No comments: