Falling in love with rum
The first time I ever drank rum with the purpose of actually sitting down; nosing, and tasting said rum was back in 2017. This was my first introduction to the wonderful world of rum.
This rum was the Santa Teresa 1796, yes another Santa Teresa review. The very pretty bottle with the wax seal and the lovely label really caught my eye. (classic first timer, choosing a rum because the bottle looks good).
Tasting it that first time was quite an experience since I’ve only had some very drunk nights on Bacardi and a taste or 2 of whisky (which at the time was way too harsh for me). the smell was so soft and alluring, it made me really want to just keep smelling that glass. Then I put my lips to that glass and took my first sip…
Eye opening! It was like the mist cleared on the road and I could finally see where I was going (and what a road trip it has been so far!). There was a liquor that was actually palatable and easy drinking. It had a nice sweetness to it and enough complexity to intrigue this guy into drinking numerous amounts of rum afterwards.
That was the first time, and like most first times that are amazing in the moment. Looking back, it’s just okay. So let’s see how it holds up now.
This rum is Produced at the Santa Teresa Hacienda in Venezuela and is released at 40% ABV. the 1796 refers to the year the hacienda opened. This rum was first produced in 1996 as a 200 year celebration.
Santa Teresa is currently working together with bacardi. they do all distribution for the rum, which is why it’s a way more common sighting nowadays. I find this a very interesting cooperation since Bacardi is seemingly trying to move into the “premium-ish rum” themselves with their recent rebranding of the ‘ocho’ and the addition of mainly the ‘Diez’.
Santa Teresa claims “Santa Teresa 1796 does not contain any additive that alters or enhances its flavor”. A hydrometer test by the fat rum pirate shows that the rum does have some added sugar, around 12 g/L. which is quite a bit less than some of its competitors in say… Guatemala or even their homecountry of Venezuela. It’s a molasses-based rum that’s been aged in the solera method. for those who don’t know this production method yet, read this page on solera aging.
Colour: brown at its core with orange hues, like so many other rums
Nose: smelling this reveals a light and sweet rum as expected. I start of smelling a very slight glue hint, then a subtle bit of apple and then of course the classic caramel and chocolate as well. after putting a lid on the glass for a while and returning to it I detect some allspice as well, but the scent in general does tend to fade very quickly.
taste: pleasant and full. There’s no harsh alcohol taste which is to be expected for a sweet 40% ABV rum. Immediately I taste some dark chocolate and the caramel from the nose makes it return. some cinnamon and some other light spices also pop up
Finish: the finish is rather short. The rum does leave some spiciness on the tongue and lips, but this disappears after a short while. The dark chocolate from the mouth transforms to milk chocolate. other than that there isn’t a lot of complexity going on.
After re-trying the Santa Teresa 1796 I must say it was almost exactly as I expected it would be. Of course it’s not as good as I remember it to be, but I think that’s the whole point of this rum. It’s an accessible rum for those who are new to the world of ‘real’ rum and those who may be experienced but just like to enjoy a simple rum once in a while. It’s a bit like if a serious movie reviewer would watch some rom-com or a superhero movie, he’s not remotely impressed but it still gives mindless enjoyment.
This rum speaks to the broad public (just as superhero movies) and therefore thrives in its target market. It’s also a great gateway rum to the immensely wide world of rum, as I don’t think anyone will start off with a crazy funky Hampden, or a grassy rhum agricole.
I might be a bit biased towards this rum, as it did start a passion that will run for a lifetime. But this rum does what it’s supposed to be doing and is doing it really good, It’s not that complex or interesting, but it is one of the better ‘spanish style’ rums. therefore I believe it deserves a 3.5 out of 5 stars.