In my years of writing rum reviews at Bilgemunky.com, I’ve tasted all sorts – top shelf, bottom shelf, aged, white, spiced… but one common sort of rum that I’ve mostly avoided commenting on has been flavored rum. Not that such rum is unworthy of note, but because so much of its magic is dependent on the skills of the bartender. Flavored rums, by and large, are meant to be paired with fruit juice and such, and rarely would a pirate sit back with a large mug of Malibu.
But when DonQ kindly granted me the opportunity to taste their entire line of standard and mixing rums, seriously, how could I decline? And thus we venture forth in what I believe is a Bilgemunky first – flavored rums!
I began with the DonQ Cristal, being the white, unaged, unflavored rum of the bunch. It smelled of a typical rum, but actually tasted slightly richer than I’d expected, with a decent hint of sugarcane flavor. Naturally Cristal lacks the complexities that would be expected in an aged rum, but it was surprisingly palatable in its own right.
Next up was DonQ Gold. A pale amber rum, Gold has been gently aged and carbon filtered to make for another surprisingly smooth mixing rum. Whereas many Gold rums are little better than pure rotgut, Gold is actually quite drinkable, and carries just a hint of overripe fruit. While I wouldn’t consider it an outright sipper, I can definitely see this rum lending some quality to a mixed drink.
DonQ Anejo is a midrange aged rum, and while it doesn’t reach the level of top shelf (stay tuned for Don Q GRAND Anejo, to be reviewed soon), it definitely serves as a quality sipper. A darker, richer amber, Anejo tastes of musky, overripe fruit and leather. It has a long, tingly finish that persists along the lips and roof of the mouth a surprisingly long time. Sugary sweet, Anejo is very much reminiscent of Solera rums, and might be enjoyed by those who appreciate finer, gentler rums.
Moving on to the flavored rums, DonQ Mojito tastes much as you would expect. Minty is its predominant flavor, and while the bottle didn’t list lime as an additional flavor I detected a distinctly fruity undertone nonetheless. Surprisingly full bodied on the tongue, Mojito has a warmth and robustness about it that contrasts with the light, refreshing mintiness I’d expected. Very good, and very surprising.
DonQ Limon is of course a lemony citrus rum. Very much like a noncarbonated citrus soda with a little something extra (rum!) In fact, of the three flavored rums listed here, Limon most strongly features the rum flavorings, whereas Mojito and Coconut all but disguise their alcohol natures.
Last up is DonQ Coconut. Upon opening the bottle, I admit I could have nearly melted into it – this rum doesn’t smell at all like coconut flavored rum, but rather it smells all out like coconut, plain and simple. It instantly conjures a longing for beach vacations I can’t afford. Smooth and tropical, this is definitely a tasty flavored rum.
I’d happily recommend any of these DonQ rums when making mixed drinks, and the DonQ Anejo is perfectly suited to enjoying straight up on its own. A fine batch of rums, and definitely worth checking out.
Try Brinleys…their coconut rum is out of this world mate. At 72 proof (36% )…better and stronger than DonQ…IMO yarrr.
Did I mention you have one of the best jobs in the world?
BTW – Did you notice that Don Q is produced in the same Puerto Rican distillery – Destilería Serrallés – that until January produced all the Captain Morgan’s rum under contract to Diageo? Although they apparently gave more attention to their own brand. But they all came out of the same plant.
Bilge, what a delicious opportunity – we are sincerely jealous, and for two reasons. First, that vertical tastings can be very revealing, on the assumption that the white/clear is the basis for the rest, modified with either age and/or aging.
And second, because we’ve never had the opportunity to compare the DonQ’s. Such is life. However, Sue Sea and I did have the opportunity to taste the Gran Anejo, and – I’m serious here – it was elegant!
To be sure, you can never trust a tasting at a rum fest, mostly due to the amount of alcohol you can consume, but still, we were very impressed and thought that the GA was a stunningly wonderful spirit.
Hmmmmm I really like this website but don q rums are not that great compared to other flavored rums, I wonder if your comments would be as positive if they didn’t send you free rum? Just because its free for you doesn’t mean they deserve a good review.
AAARRRR, you’re quite right that free rum shouldn’t result in an unfairly positive review, and I always try very hard to remain unbiased. I can’t really say how Don Q measures to other flavored rums, because frankly I rarely drink them. What I can say is that my experience in trying Don Q rums was in itself a positive one, and this is what I tried to capture in this review.
Free rum shouldn’t result in a biased review, but it does sometimes result in me trying a rum that I would otherwise not bother reviewing (as is the standard case with flavored rums). In this way, Don Q did get some small benefit by shipping me some samples 🙂