I must start by admitting that my knowledge and experience with rum are pretty limited. Having said that, Ron Izalco 18 Year Old Cask Strength Rum is the best rum I've experienced to date.
Despite my little experience with rum, I have been able to explore it with cocktails. Each rum I have tasted has its unique profile, ranging from sweet and fruity to rich and smoky. This has a little bit of everything. But what really caught my attention initially was its proof. At 131.4 proof (65.6% ABV), it is the highest-proof rum I've experienced neat.
The nose of Ron Izalco 18 Year Old Cask Strength Rum can be described as warm, sweet, and rich. It has distinct aromas of butterscotch caramel candy, marshmallows, and cream soda. It is a unique and inviting experience that takes off once you taste it.
The palate of this exceptional rum is aged for a remarkable 18 years, allowing it to develop complex and rich flavors of rich fruit, buttercream vanilla frosting, toffee, and chocolate ganache once it hits the mid-palate. The spicy heat on the back end balances out the tropical fruit sweetness on the front. I drank this neat with a Glencairn glass as I would typically do with a bourbon. Since I am a bourbon and rye guy, I have to make some comparisons to these whiskeys. Ron Izalco 18 Year Old Cask Strength Rum almost has the feel of a tremendous rum-finished bourbon that is exceptionally refined. However, it has a deeper and more robust taste, with caramel, molasses, and oak notes. While the flavor is intense, it is not as aggressive of an ethanol profile as you may find in many whiskey at a 131.4 proof point. It was a silky drinking experience.
Overall, Ron Izalco Rum Cask Strength 18 Years offers a unique and enjoyable taste experience that can be enjoyed with nothing but a glass.