Casa Santana Ron Y Licores S.A.S was established in Baranquilla, Colombia in 1993 in partnership with the Cuban government in order to bypass the Cuban trade embargo by making a rum similar in style with the Cuban one but in Colombia. I did ask Peter Holland, the soul of That Boutique-y Rum Company, for some information and he was more than kind to provide therefore I’m just going to quote him a bit because I’m lazy like that: “They (Casa Santana) don’t distill – they buy new make distillates from various locations in Colombia, Panama and Venezuela, although the company now sources entirely from within Colombia these days. These unaged Rums are then aged in ex-Bourbon casks sourced from the Brown-Foreman cooperage, that are in varying condition – first, second, third fill etc. – and then blended according to the predominant flavour profiles that the casks offer.”
They only source column distillates and they have Cuban Master Blenders (due to their partnership), but this is not your average Central/South American rum. They do use heavier rums in their blends and they don’t chill filter or use any additives either which makes sense since That Boutique-Y Rum Company is all about true rum, no bs.
After a quick Google search I found an informative article on Difford’s Guide about the company and their flagship rum (you might’ve heard of it) so if you’re interested in more information about them click here.
Although Casa Santana does use a Solera System (their own version of it anyway) my bottle says this is a 12 year old rum. It’s blended in Colombia “from varying casks, hence the lovely complexity present” – Peter Holland at it again. I can’t pinpoint where the components were distilled, the label mentions “Multiple Distilleries” along with “Multi-Column Rum”. So molasses based, (multi)column distilled and bottled at 58.4% ABV. Batch number 1 has a run of 3766 bottles, more than most of the other TBRC releases and, as mentioned above, it’s free of any gimmicks.
On the nose this feels quite acidic. There’s a lovely tannic red wine and wood note upfront. Vanilla, biscuits, blackcurrants and prune jam. Spicy with red chilly and ginger. Ripe red apples, raspberries, oranges and mangoes. Colombia wouldn’t be my first choice in a blind tasting, feels quite full bodied.
On the palate it’s very woody but makes up for it with some lovely fruity notes. Intense dark chocolate, blackcurrants, cherries, dry plums, ripe pears and old leather. The higher ABV carries the flavours nicely and adds some spice to it with black pepper notes and some cloves. Black olives, black coffee, almonds, hints of liquorice, caramel and a bit of nutmeg. The finish is medium to long with cocoa nibs and a woody bitterness.
Not bad at all and, while I’ve had more complex drams, this is pretty damn tasty and retails at £30 on Master of Malt – limited 12 year old rum at 58.4% ABV – that’s a bargain even when it comes in a 50cl bottle. I’ve been told there is a Batch 2 on the way that will be a 6 year old and I’m looking forward to see what that brings to the table.
That Boutique-Y Rum Company – Casa Santana 12 Year Old (Batch 1) score:
Value for money: 14/15