Guatemalan rum brand Botran has been unavailable in the U.S. market since 2019. Now the brand is back, with new expressions, new branding, and a new sustainability accreditation Basically: new everything.
The bulk of the new Botran Rum line now carries a number on the label, unlike previous editions, but not that these are not age statements. Like many rums, these are fanciful names that indicate the oldest rum in the blend, not the youngest. All of Botran’s aged products are solera-style blends of rums ranging from 5 years old up to the number on the bottle. So, Botran No. 12 is composed of rums aged 5 to 12 years old. Got it?
We received the three oldest expressions in the Botran lineup for review. All are 80 proof and sold in 700ml bottles.
Botran Ron de Guatemala No. 12 Reserva Superior – Aged in three types of casks: American whiskey, “medium toasted American whiskey,” and sherry. A bit on the harsh side, the spice-forward nose of this rum comes across as almost peppery, showcasing some astringency. The spirit has a somewhat beefy edge, growing stronger over time before shifting into a clear coffee bean note. The palate feels muddy and needs a bit of focus, with too much caramel making things feel, well, like caramel. Cloves pop along with more of that coffee, but it’s aggressively earthy elements that cling to the somewhat hard-edged finish. B- / $25
Botran Ron de Guatemala No. 15 Reserva Especial – Aged in four types of casks: American whiskey, that same old “medium toasted American whiskey,” sherry, and Port. This is a more well-rounded expression of rum where, again, coffee quickly comes to dominate alongside a considerably less leathery and lightly spicy nose. There’s more of a chocolate note on the palate evident here, which melds well with the spicy qualities in the mix, giving the rum a slight Mexican chocolate feel. Fruit emerges as the finish builds — both plum and cherry notes taking things out on a much more agreeable and balanced note than the No. 12 offers. B+ / $33
Botran Ron de Guatemala No. 18 Reserva de la Familia – Same barrel regimen as No. 15. A bit sweeter again, with a brown sugar note that pairs well with the coffee aromas underneath. Some licorice/anise elements linger. The palate is rich and coffee-infused, with chocolate syrup notes evident. The rum moves from there into a candied licorice note on the finish, molasses and well-sugared coffee lingering. Not overwhelmingly complex, but the most balanced of the bunch and a solid cocktailing option. A- / $45
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