Cihuatán (El Salvador)

Typically we do not mention the country where the featured distillery of our tasting is located but with El Salvador, I often fail to recall the name of the country’s only distillery myself. But maybe that’s just me… Anyway, we have very little exposure to this very young distillery’s products, which has started production in 2004. In fact, I think we can count all tasted Rums from there with the fingers of a single hand. Unfortunately, the distillery and its cane cutters’ labour conditions probably gained more attention in the past than its Rums (more on this here) so let’s check if that’s only because the (social) wrongs are so severe or if the Rums just didn’t get the attention they deserve.

Rum Artesanal El Salvador (Cihuatán) 2008 10YO (46,3%): Together with a Compagnie des Indes bottling, these two Rums are the only IBs from El Salvador I know. Nose: Quite “different” and somewhere between the Spanish column still style and the French Agricole style. It starts with very light notes of vanilla, caramel, tobacco and coffee perhaps, before we can find more grassy notes and a mix of red fruits which is just as light. While it gives you the impression of being something unique, it feels a bit forgettable at the same time. Weird, right!? Palate: Very smooth but that’s no surprise at this abv. We are having a very light, but sufficiently flavourful distillate that now comes with herbs such as dill or sage, chamomile, vanilla, some wood, citrus and now also the tobacco/ coffee notes again. All of that isn’t bad, but not great either. Finish: Somewhere between and medium long, without any lasting impressions besides very light coffee and tobacco. The Rum is probably doing the things that it is doing just fine, but I must admit that I am not fan. I was definitely hope for more of this Agricole-like notes from the nose. (69/100)

Romdeluxe El Salvador (Cihuatán) 2007 12YO (65,9%): Yeah, more power, so that can only be better, right!? Nose: Very smooth and I’d still describe this as a cane juice version of the Spanish style, which again sounds rather good to me, even though we are still not too sure if it really is. Candle wax is very dominant, but we also get toffee, some sulfur, floral and grassy notes but no matter where you roam, you’ll always get back to that (rather boring) candle wax. It’s okayish, but absolutely nothing special. Palate: Still extremely smooth and incredibly close to Rums as you’d expect them from T.D.L. (Angostura) or Westerhall. Candle wax, toffee, sulfur, oak, caramel, a whiff of tobacco and here only a faint idea of those grassy notes make for a very interchangeable product as we’ve had it time and again from numerous other Latin American distilleries. That’s a real pity, as the nose showed glimpses of hope once again. Finish: More of the same, with a few more grassy and even herbal notes now, but that’s almost not even worth mentioning. Not my cup of tea. (71/100)