Charanda is a more than 100 years old Mexican spirit protected by a “Denominacion de Origen” (D.O.) and produced exclusively in the state of Michoacán in western central Mexico. The most important producer might be the Pacheco family, which produces at Casa Tarasco in the city of Uruapan (hence the names). We are absolutely not sure what to expect but here we go.
Charanda Azul (35%): There is both, a clear Charanda in a blue bottle and blue Charanda in a clear bottle. This is the blue juice. Nose: Very weird. I’d describe this as a mix of spearmint, lime and mouthwash. Salammoniac as well. Let’s check in the bathroom. Yup, not only the appearance is the same, the smell is almost identical as well. I hope this isn’t as sharp! Palate: Is this for real!? Very earthy and soil-like with plenty of vegetal notes. Everything just vanishes so quickly that I have to take another sip right away so that I don’t forget what I’ve just tasted. Mushrooms for sure, as well as chocolate and clearly nougat, but that’s it. What the heck? Finish: Almost non-existent. Mint perhaps? I really don’t know what they did do here, but this just isn’t it. It cannot be it. Also, why on earth is this stuff blue??? (no score)
Charanda Blanco (40%): The clear juice in the blue bottle. I hope this is better than its counterpart. It’s supposed to be a 50/50 mix between cane juice and molasses Rum by the way. Nose: Already more intense due to the higher abv and also more “rummy”. I get lime, sugar cane and its juice and once again that spearmint note, even though it is only playing a very minor role here. Once again, that is it, however. Palate: Just like the Azul, the palate is totally different from the nose and I think it is actually the same stuff. The higher abv makes all the difference though. So flavourwise, we are still left with nougat first and foremost, but those earthy and vegetal notes can be found as well. It still isn’t very good though if you ask me. Finish: Well, there is one, so that’s something, eh!? I am still not a fan. Not at all. Sorry guys! (47/100)
Charanda Uruapan Agricola (46%): While the previous expressions were blends of molasses and cane juice Rums, this one should come exclusively from cane juice. Nose: We get vanilla, Wick Blau ice candies (slightly different than with a HERR though), carrot, ginger and soy sauce. This is quite pungent and frankly, not quite right up my alley. Palate: Earthy and vegetal. I get fresh soil, cauliflower, artichoke, Setzuan pepper and chili. What a weird mix this is! It is clearly the best Uruapan so far and I would even call it drinkable, but on the one hand it is too blunt, on the other hand not aggressive enough. At the end of the day it just doesn’t make sense to me. Finish: Very dirty with olive and engine oil, soil and the vegetables from the palate. I don’t think we will ever be friends, unfortunately. It reminds me quite a bit of Clairin Sonson, but the latter is way more sound in what it does, how it delivers, and crucially, much more to my personal, objective liking. (65/100)
Charanda El Tarasco Gran Reserva (40%): The marketing says that El Tarasco is a blend of Rums aged between 18 and 24 months in American and ex-Sherry ex-Whisky barrels while distillation takes place mainly in a pot still with a small percentage of column still. All clear? Good! Nose: Salammoniac, sweet licorice, Pizza Funghi, vanilla, peppermint, anise and barley are my main associations. What’s striking is that it is already a lot better than what we’ve had so far! Palate: Mild, mellow but still with a certain spicyness to it. I’d describe it as a mix of ginger, tumeric and strong anise. Then mint (mouthwash), licorice, vanilla and hints of smoky tobacco. Not bad at all, even though I must say that this isn’t a profile that I would resort to often, but I probably wouldn’t decline a dram of this either. Finish: Short and unspecatcular with mint, anise and salammoniac. Not what the world has been waiting for but it is solid stuff for sure! (75/100)