Review: Ron Colon Salvadoreno Coffee Infused Rum 81 Proof (Green) vs. 111 Proof (Red)

Ron Colon’s story began in 2018 with two friends, Thurman and Pepijn Janssens, who worked in the spirit industry for over 20 years and were traveling around the world introducing various brands. After traveling to EL Salvador for another job in 2018 they became obsessed with the country and its culture and decided to create a product that would showcase that. From two to six people, Chris Rehberger from Double Standards (Berlin) for artwork, Andres Trigueros from Jags Head Coffee (El Salvador) for the coffee, Felicity Gransen for flavour innovations and Tobias Jegenstam for social media, they joined the team and created Ron Colon Savadoreno (SRC).

Ron Colon draws its name from the former El Salvador currency, the Colon in homage of Cristopher Columbus – it was replaced by the dollar in 2001. The artwork on the label also pays homage to the old banknotes while the cap features various coins, that apparently can be popped off and collected… I’m a hoarder, so I’ll definitely attempt that.

I’m reviewing two of the RCS offerings, more exactly, the coffee infused ones. On the paper it looks like the base rums and the coffee used to infuse are the same, the only difference being the ABV – 40.5% (81 proof) and 55.5% (111 proof), so a comparison between the two should be interesting.

The Jags Head Coffee farms, from where RCS are sourcing their beans for the infusion, are located on the high mountain side of Santa Ana volcano in El Salvador which is part of the Alpaneca-Ilametepec mountain range – this region is renowned for its coffee and actually has a Denomination of Origin. The coffee beans are harvested in El Salvador by the Trigueros family and then they are sent to Jags Head Roastery in North Carolina. Bourbon coffee beans are used for the Ron Colon infusions which apparently have a “beautiful buttery sweetness” – I am definitely not a coffee expert, but that sounds tasty. The beans are cold macerated in the rum for 48 hours and no chill-filtering is used in order to keep as much of the flavours as possible.

The base rum comes mostly from Licorera Cihuatan, El Salvador, which started distilling rum in 2004 and uses multi-column stills to do so. I say mostly, because some of the rum in the blend actually hail from Jamaica. We’re given the ages and distilleries of the components on their website as it follows:

  • 6 year old multi-column distilled rum from Licorerea Cihuatan Distillery;
  • 3 year old pot still distilled rum from Worthy Park Distillery;
  • unaged pot still rum blend from Worthy Park, Hampden and Monymusk.

I have previously reviewed their standard, unflavoured Ron Colon Salvadoreno and at the time I found the percentages of each of the aforementioned components. I can’t guarantee it’s the same now, but you can find it here.

So molasses based, multi-column and pot still distilled and aged from 0 to 6 years in ex-Bourbon barrels in the tropics. Cold macerated with coffee beans for 48 hours and bottled in the Netherlands at 40.5% ABV, respectively 55.5% ABV. No chill filtering or additives besides the coffee infusion.

On the nose:

The 81 proof screams coffee. Brewing black coffee (yes, the smell you get while it’s filling the cup), raw cacao nibs, overripe banana and pineapple, sweet plums and some cloves. Earthy and chocolaty with a touch of fruitiness. Maple syrup and vanilla as well.

The 111 proof is letting the rum come through more, the coffee is more subtle. Pear, pineapple, red apple, raisins and cinnamon. Coffee beans, dusty furniture and leather. Some black pepper, dark chocolate and oak spices. I enjoy this one’s balance better.

On the palate:

The 81 proof feels like I’m having a double espresso with a dash of Wray in it. Ground coffee, banana, pineapple, Guinness and some fresh raspberries. Cinnamon, liquorice and angelica root. I feel like I’m getting tipsy while I’m sobering up, the coffee is intense! The finish is medium with espresso and dark chocolate.

The 111 proof once again feels like the rum and the coffee are in harmony rather than one overpowering the other. Caramel, canned pineapple, passion fruit, prunes and coffee beans. Charred oak, maple syrup covered cardboard and sweet chilli. Dark chocolate and a hint of glue. The finish is long with salted caramel, coffee and some cayenne pepper.

I’ll firstly mention that, while I work in hospitality, I do not normally drink coffee, although I can appreciate the flavour. Now, these two rums are way more different than I thought. The 81 proof is almost overpowered by the coffee, which isn’t a bad thing, it’s a flavoured rum after all, but personally I prefer flavoured rums to let the base shine. That being said I personally prefer the 111 proof because I can feel more of those pot still Jamaican rums and that makes me happy. Also higher ABV, duh! A blend of both at a 1:1 ratio is actually very sippable, just saying.

These offerings are mainly for mixing and I’m planning to work on a couple of drinks with them soon – excitement!

Price wise they are sat at around £29£33 for the 81 proof and £39-£43 for the 111 proof. £40 for a coffee infused rum is a bit spicy, but take into consideration the ABV as well and then it makes more sense. This is a product that’s more on the “premium” side, yet honest and unsugared, something I always appreciate.

Ron Colon Salvadoreno Coffee Infused Rum 81 Proof score:
Flavour/taste: 43/70
Value for money: 13/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 71/100

Ron Colon Salvadoreno Coffee Infused 111 Proof score:
Flavour/taste: 46/70
Value for money: 13/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 74/100


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