Review: El Ron del Artesano Ruby Port Cask Finish 8 Year Old

As Spanish as it sounds, El Ron del Artesano (The Rum of the Craftsman) is actually a German company. The family owning it has had a distillery and cooperage founded in 1880. Seven years later Viktor was born (the person featured on the label), he started traveling in order to learn more about spirits and casks and then took over his father’s passion and work. Five generations ahead El Ron del Artesano was born from the desire to produce a pure rum free of adulterating, just aged in good casks.

A few months ago at The World’s First European Online Rum Festival I had the pleasure to try a sample of the Ruby Port Cask Finish and listen to Sebastian Lauinger talk about his passion for his rums, and while I was reluctant due to the “ron” in the name, I was pleasantly surprised and decided to grab a bottle.

El Ron del Artesano (ERDA for convenience) get their rums exclusively from Panama, more exactly the Varela Hermanos Distillery which operates a four-column still and produces rum from both sugar cane juice and molasses from their own estate. Some ageing occurs in Panama and then the ERDA chosen casks are taken to Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany where they finish maturing in one of their various casks.

My ERDA is molasses based, column distilled, aged for 6-7 years in Panama in an ex-Bourbon cask and then moved to Germany where it spent 31 months in an ex-Ruby Port cask adding up to an 8 year old age statement. This is a single cask (No. 178-16) with my bottle being number 329 out of 436 released. Bottled on the 5th of June 2020 at 40.6% ABV free of any additions as per philosophy. Ok, it has been a while so lets go:

On the nose there’s a sweet vermouth aroma going on. Raspberry jam, blackcurrant, fresh strawberries and apple pie with cinnamon. Quite spicy with ginger, pink pepper and cardamom. There’s a citrusy sharpness coming through as well, a combo of blood orange and lemon zest. Plenty of oak too, although well integrated.

On the palate a lot of umami flavour upfront. Plums, blackberries, blueberries, watermelon and ripe red apples. Plenty of spices too – the cinnamon, ginger and pink pepper make a return. Milk chocolate, peanut butter, nutmeg, tobacco, vanilla and pencil shavings. Some pink grapefruit to give it and edge. Feels like the port cask overpowered the rum a just a tad as it becomes a little bit sticky towards the end, but nothing major. The finish is medium with notes of cacao, cinnamon and a hint of strawberry candy.

Definitely a softer tipple than what I’d usually have, but a sometimes that’s very welcomed. Besides feeling like there’s slightly too much port on the finish, I really have no complaints, it’s a very well balanced Panamanian rum and worth getting it if your palate needs something soft, yet complex and unadulterated. £47 for a bottle on Master of Malt, won’t say it’s a bargain, but in the same time it’s well crafted product so not overpriced either.

Note: I also opened my ERDA Oloroso Cask Finish sample, courtesy to Skylark Spirits, and I have to say it’s also very well made, less soft than the Ruby Cask and with more body. Really showcases the Oloroso influence.

El Ron del Artesano Ruby Port Cask Finish 8 Year Old score:
Flavour/taste: 52/70
Value for money: 13/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 80/100


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