Review: Santa Teresa 1796

I reviewed a sample of this a while ago and I decided to “reboot” the review today complete with a pretty picture. Santa Teresa Estate (Hacienda Santa Teresa) was founded, unsurprisingly, in 1796 in Aaragua Valley, in Venezuela, where they were growing cocoa, coffee and, of course, sugar cane.

Santa Teresa 1796 was born in 1996 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the estate. It uses the solera system (an aging method usually employed by sherry producers), which most of the time in the rum industry is a telltale for deceiving age statements and heavily adulterated distillates. The whole production method, including an explanation on how their solera system works can be found in this video I found on their website – no, there is nothing wrong with your audio, the video has no sound:

As you can see in the video, ST 1796 is molasses based and composed of 3 distillates: heavy column still, light column still and pot still. They are then aged from 4 to 35 years in ex-Bourbon casks then blended in their solera system for further ageing, all happening in Venezuela. Santa Teresa is part of the Bacardi portofolio – pretty convenient as they publish all the nutritional values on their website. The 1796 shows as having 0.5g of sugar per 1.5oz which, if true, after some really intense math, equals around 11.5g of sugar per litre. Bottled at 40% ABV in a very elegant tall bottle sealed with red wax.

On the nose there’s a lovely dark profile. Fresh ground coffee, dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla, plums. There are some tropical fruits like pineapple and passion fruit, followed by a slight grassy note. Nutmeg, old leather, tobacco and white pepper.

On the palate it goes down so easy. Milk chocolate, vanilla, honey, mango, toffee and cashews. Canned pineapple, blackcurrant, coconut cream and coca cola. The tobacco note is back along with some cinnamon. Not crazy sweet, fairly well balanced and easy going. Cocoa butter and orange marmalade. Towards the end is where you get a bit more oak spices and some alcohol heat. The finish is short with cocoa nibs, some oak tannins and maple syrup.

Santa Teresa 1796 already has a reputation as a commercial premium Venezuelan rum and, to be honest, I don’t mind it, it’s one of the better ones out there. It ranges from £48 on Amazon to £51 on Master of Malt, so a bit expensive from my point of view, but they can get away with it as it’s already pretty well known. All in all a good lighter rum I would happily sip.

Santa Teresa 1796 score:
Flavour/taste: 50/70
Value for money: 12/15
Transparency/purity: 13/15
Overall: 75/100


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