Zaya Gran Reserva 12 Year Old Rum Review

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I don’t know of many distilleries that move from one country to another. But when thinking of roving distilleries, a couple of famous ones come to mind. The Bacardi Family fled Cuba after Castro took control. Luckily they already had a distillery in Puerto Rico for tax reasons, so they moved the bulk of the operation there. Castro got to keep the original Bacardi distillery, where they now the Caney and Santiago Brands. Angostura Bitters started in Venezuela and moved to Trinidad.

Another distillery recently moved to Trinidad but this time from Guatemala, and that distillery was the makers of Zaya Gran Reserva Rum. Originally, the Zaya Gran Reserva Rum was blended, aged and distilled in Guatemala by Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala, the same company that distills Ron Zacapa and Ron Botran. The move to Trinidad allegedly resulted from the desire to continue to have sufficient quantities of rum to blend, bottle and sell. The Zaya Gran Reserva rum is a proprietary run blend, with Zaya blending three to five rums, which have been aged for a minimum of 12 years in oak barriques, that are then bottled and released to the public.

The Zaya Gran Reserva Rum is a lovely dark amber, light magahony color with aromas of molasses, vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, coconut, oak, orange peel and cocoa. On the palate, the Zaya is smooth with an almost oily textures and shows flavors of baked apple, baked pear, caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, sweet orange, cherry, coconut and oak.

The Zaya makes a nice sipping rum. But, I would also serve it in a Daiquiri or as one of the rums in a Mai Tai.


  1. by opinionated_alc, October 27th, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    There is a lot of myth in this post which are absolutely not correct: Bacardi didn’t relocated from pre Castro Cuba to Puerto Rico. They had already several not Cuban distilleries before the revolution [partly to cut the export duties to the US]. They lost their distillery in Cuba – yes, but were not roving.
    Also Havana Club is not producing in the old Bacardi distillery. Experts are quite sure about this. This was quite a marketing driven myth, as Bacardi was extremely popular in times, when they left Cuba- however you didn’t know Havana Club rum then [as least as you know nowadays El Varadero – a Cuban rum, which I actually prefer before Havana Club].

    For Zaya I am not sure if it works out. I never tried Zaya – but I have heard a lot of praise. This is definitely the result of the unique production processes of Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala. Just to move to Trinidad [which has also a rum producing history] and use Trinidad barrels will quite make the rum different.

    Last but not least, this is not really a review – which is disappointing, because I just clicked to this post, because I wanted to read a review. Moreover it is the repetition of Zaya’s marketing, which describes this rum like that…

  2. by Anonymous, October 27th, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    opinionated, true Bacardi did have distilling operations in Puerto Rico starting in the 1930’s.  However, the company was based and produced Rum in Cuba until the Family/Company was forced to flee Cuba after the Revolution in 1959.

    In the post we said “allegedly” about them making Havana Club at the old Bacardi Distillery.  This is different than saying it was “definitely”  made there.  Upon farther in investigation it is Caney that is made. Not El Varadero as you stated. We will update that.

    Finally, so you didn’t like the review.  I assure you, we taste every bottle we review.

  3. by Allyn, June 2nd, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Zaya in a daiquiri?!?! I think it’s vastly over-rated spiced rum, but still tasty. That said, it would make a terrible daiquiri. Do you folks even know how to make a real daiquiri? Do you even know the flavor profile? Also, it’s worth noting that the folks at Zaya are blenders, not distillers. They buy distilled rum from distillers and then blend it themselves. Big difference. The “review” reads like an ad for Zaya and displays about as much objectivity, insight and thought as a paid ad. Did the free bottle they give you have anything to do with it?