Ron Alegro XO Sugar and Smoke

Ron Alegro XO Sugar and Smoke

Ron Alegro XO Sugar and Smoke

Craft Rum Box | Ron Alegro

Some of our Craft Rum Boxers may be familiar with rum from the Dominican Republic. If you subscribed to our October box, then you would have received a bottle of Bacoo 11, and the article looked a little a rums from the Dominican Republic.

Well, this month we have another one for you, Ron Alegro. Alegró comes from the Spanish word Alegría, which means joy and happiness. This is what Ron Alegró is all about: enjoying the moment while you are sharing a good glass of rum.

Ron Alegró XO is produced in the beautiful country of The Dominican Republic. After distillation from sugarcane, the rum has matured for a period up to 8 years in American white oak casks (ex Bourbon). This long ageing process in the tropical climate of The Dominican Republic has resulted in a beautiful and soft rum, with pleasant hints of vanilla, charred wood and tobacco.

Let’s touch a little on the Dominican Republic, for those that did not receive Octobers box. “The Dominican Republic is located on the island of Hispaniola in The Caribbean, which it shares with Haïti. The country is well known for its happy people, floral nature and warm climate. Sugar production started centuries ago, after Columbus brought sugar cane sprouts from the Canary Islands to the Dominican Republic on his second voyage in 1493. Not long thereafter, rum production started in the country, although on a small scale. The professional rum industry started around the mid-19th century. Nowadays, rums from The Dominican Republic are enjoyed all over the world. The country is especially famous for its soft aged rums, which are a result of the long ageing processes in the tropical Caribbean climate.”

Lets also touch on Latin Style Rum. Understanding rum styles and categories is an important part of educating yourself in the spirit. It’s also important to remember that there are variations on category definitions, so the more you learn about
it, the wider perspective you’ll have. According to the Ron Alegró website, rum can be divided into three different styles:

- French Style Rum (from islands like Martinique and Guadeloupe)

- British Style Rum (from islands like Jamaica and Barbados)

- Latin Style Rum (from islands like Cuba and The Dominican Republic)

Latin Style Rums are produced in the Spanish speaking rum countries, like Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Panama, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

Ron Alegró XO is a very typical Latin Style Rum, which can described as a ‘gentle’ rum, produced in a column still, with pleasant hints of vanilla, charred oak and tobacco. The Latin Style Rum category is the largest category globally. Every day, millions of people worldwide are enjoying Latin Style Rums straight, or in their favourite cocktails, like the famous Daiquiri or Mojito. Havana Club recently launched a ‘Cuban’ style rum which has the flavour profile with notes of lime too.

One of the notes of flavour we often find in rums of this style is tobacco. What’s the reason for this? What other links are there? Well, Countries like Cuba, Nicaragua and The Dominican Republic are not only amongst the best rum producing countries, but they also produce some of the best cigars in the world so there is a link.

For many people, Cuba has the reputation to be the original premium cigar maker, but tobacco for cigars was first cultivated in the Dominican Republic, where cigar production started all those centuries ago. And due to the embargo on Cuban products in the United States after the communist revolution in 1959, many of the best cigar makers fled Cuba to the Dominican Republic to continue their work.

Premium Dominican rums do go very well with a good cigar. Especially rums like Ron Alegró XO, which have spent many years in wooden casks in the tropical climate of the Caribbean.

The gentle hints of vanilla in the rum, combined with the smoky tobacco flavors of a premium cigar, are a guarantee for an enjoyable moment, if you are a smoker, that is. If not, you can still enjoy the rum.

Rum is also a flavouring used in some tobaccos. 17th century sailors were the first to come up with the idea of putting their tobacco inside rum barrels. They did it to preserve the moisture of the tobacco and in doing so, they found that the remnants of rum flavour that was left in the barrel was then absorbed by the tobacco, which made it taste quite different, and rather pleasant too. This traditional method continues
to play an important role in the tobacco flavouring process. Rum is seen as a good carrier for other aromas and rum is on the list of 599 approved additives in cigarettes for the five major tobacco companies.

So why do we get tobacco flavour in rum? Apparently, it has nothing to do with barrels that have held tobacco then being used to age rum (there are potentially health issues with this). That tobacco flavour actually comes from the rum itself. When we taste a spirit, we taste flavours that we attribute to something. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s in the bottle, but our mind understands that flavour by it’s likeness to something we know. According to a good friend of mine, he believes that tobacco notes come from old or well
used barrels. Cuban rums often have this characteristic as the barrels are used again and again. It’s important to remember that pot still rum (and sometimes heavy column still rum) is exceptionally characterful
and so the congeners developed over the time in the cask are really big. This means that we get all sorts of wonderful flavours coming through aged rums that don’t actually come from the cask, they come from the rum itself.

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Bernadette Pamplin

Bernadette loves rum. She set up a gin focused blog Under The Ginfluence eight years ago. Since then, her passion has naturally spread from gin, to rum and other spirits too. You can find work from her on Gin Magazine, Distiller Magazine, and Spirits Beacon, as well as content for  The Gin Guide.

She’s also the editor of Rum’s the Word, writing articles on rums featured in the box, as well as other rum related topics. Bernadette has built up six years experience in judging for events like Gin of the Year, World Gin Awards, Spirits Business Awards, Gin Guide Awards, IWSC and the American Distilling Institute Judging of Craft Spirits and works behind the scenes, assisting with organising and participating in panels for the Craft Distilling Expo.