Don Q rums have been gaining recognition for the past five years, winning awards from Paul Pacult’s Ultimate Beverage Challenges in both the spirits and the cocktail categories. As well, they have taken home trophies from Spirits Review, the SIP Awards, the World Spirit Awards and several other high profile competitions. So, I was excited to have the chance to try their entire line of products recently.
History Lesson: The rums are distilled by Destileria Serralles in the industrial section of Mercedita, Puerto Rico in the city of Ponce and are made using molasses. The distillery itself was built in 1935 and employs six continuous column stills for production. The name Don Q is in honor of Don Quixote, the character created by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes.
Cristal (80 Proof) – A rum that has a typical Puerto Rican lightness and sweetness. This works great as a mixer in lighter cocktails like a daiquiri or mojito. Simple, and a great workhorse in basic cocktails. GSN Rating: B
Gold (80 Proof) – There is a very slight taste of wood aging in this. More in the forefront are high notes of caramel and buttercream frosting. This works in cocktails that call for a little bit more of a rich quality. The characteristics make this a great rum to use in drinks calling for pineapple juice. GSN Rating: B-
Anejo (80 Proof) – Very smooth and balanced. Notes of spun sugar candy, warming, rich and works really well as a sipper. For a richer Egg Nog or Cuba Libre try this one! GSN Rating: B+
Gran Anejo (80 Proof) – A terrific sipping rum. Cream caramel, fresh sugar cane, with hints of Rhum Agricole. This is deep, rich and the kind of rum to bring out for special occasions. Quite impressive, as the finish goes on and on. GSN Rating: A-
Black Beard Spiced Rum (86 Proof) – Super vanilla nose with notes of pipe tobacco. There’s a spice cake and gingerbread flavor that lingers in the mouth. A sweet rum that works great with cola or in tiki style drinks that call for a darker style rum. The higher proof works well to bring out the dark notes. Interestingly enough, the same distillery also makes Captain Morgan rum. GSN Rating: B+
Coco (42 Proof) – Not cocoa, but coconut. Very low proof and light in character. The coconut flavor is quite candylike and make this an easy to use mixer. The body seems thinner and less intense than Malibu, but considering that the Don Q Coco is a lot less expensive on the pocketbook, you’re trading some quality for savings. GSN Rating: C+
Limon (60 Proof) – The key lime in this is subdued, but noticeable. At first I’m reminded of Lemonheads candy, but then a drier, more peel-like flavor comes in and balances out the sweetness. This will work well in a Lemondrop Cocktail (I guess you’d have to call it a Limedrop) or in a Bloody Mary for an extra kick of citrus. I wish the proof was higher, but it still manages to make it’s presence known in a mixed drink. GSN Rating: B
Mojito (40 Proof) – You immediately notice Mint on the nose, and not in an artificial creme de menthe kind of way. The spirit is clear and this is an infusion. There’s even a note on the back of the bottle stating to shake the bottle to make sure the mint oils are mixed into the rum before pouring. I’m sure the idea behind this rum is to relieve the standard bartender headache of having to make Mojitos from scratch. That being said, there is no substitute for a freshly made Mojito. This rum actually tastes pretty good considering it is pre-mixed not only with mint, but also a taste of lime. However, it is a very distant substitute for a real Mojito. GSN Rating: C-
For more information about Don Q Rum, go to their website at Donq.com