I like my rums the way I like my women–sweet, unassuming, light, and HOT. But I must admit the first time I heard of Caliche rum, I didn't have high expectations. I was a judge for a cocktail contest at the Golden Truffle in Costa Mesa at the invite of Dan Hagendom, local rep for Serrallés, the Puerto Rican distillery that makes the fine Don Q rum. Don't get me wrong: Hagendom knows his liquors (he's the guy who turned me on to the awesome Death's Door Gin from Wisconsin, but I like my rum like I like my women: dark. And Caliche, as a white rum, is as light-colored as a gabacha.
But Hagendom insisted Caliche was the real deal, a new-ish rum coming from the Serrallés distillery. It was the rum used at the Golden Truffle cocktail contest and was great–but I do love my hooch neat, so made sure to get a bottle for home consumption.
Like all white rums, Caliche starts strong but also settles light, possessing seemingly none of the complexities or murkiness of a dark or spiced rum. But as it settles, the drink unveils itself: strong citrus, a blanket of vanilla, the faintest hint of woodiness (from the oak barrel), and hot on the tongue. You wait a beat, and then the sweetness comes, an unmistakeable caramel essence that lingers longer than any of the other attributes. And while it's wonderful in a cocktail and even better on the rocks, I ultimately prefer my rums the way I prefer my women: with nothing in the way of its beautiful essence.