It has been over a decade since we last checked in on Matusalem rum. While the Gran Reserva 15 Years Old remains the brand’s flagship, their portfolio is rather extensive, including a white rum, Gran Reserva 18, and Gran Reserva 23 among others. We’ll hopefully get to some of those in due time, but before that, we thought it appropriate to revisit the standard bearer.
As a reminder, Matusalem’s origins stretch back almost 150 years to Cuba where it was born and named for a famously old biblical character before becoming a premier rum brand during the island’s Golden Age in the 1920s and ’30s. After Castro, the brand did some moving around and found an adopted home in the Dominican Republic where it is produced today still with the same Cuban recipe and aged in the solera style for 15 years. Let’s see if anything much has changed since the last time we tasted this one.
It still carries the same surprisingly light color with perhaps a little less alcohol on the nose. The aroma is classic for a Cuban-inspired offering with waxy notes of molasses and torched sugar. With a bit of time to breathe, subtle notes of overripe banana and dark vanilla bean can be coaxed out of the glass, but things remain rather straightforward. The palate is light and dry as ever with a mildly sweet, brown sugar entry that quickly turns woody and a bit dusty with notes of barrel char and baking chocolate. As a sipper, it remains a bit simple and tightly wound, but for mixing, you could do a lot worse.