Rum is a very interesting drink with a colorful and checkered past.  In some form or another, it dates back thousands of years but truly gained fame (or possibly better put, infamy) on the sugarcane plantations of the Caribbean in the 17th century where it was primarily distilled.  From there, it quickly spread to Colonial North America where the first rum distillery was established in 1664 on Staten Island.  Very quickly the manufacture of rum became early New England’s largest and most prosperous industry, go figure.  On top of that, in those early years of the republic, tobacco was one of the biggest exports so in effect our country was actually founded on drugs and alcohol. Sex and rock&roll would come next but not for many years.

In order to support the demand all this rum distillation created for molasses, a large workforce was required down in the Caribbean on the sugar plantations.  A trade between Africa and the Caribbean and the colonies was quickly established and that was how slavery came into being.  No, it wasn’t cotton that got that slavery ball rolling; it was actually rum.  And of course rum was the medium of exchange back then and typically a slave could be purchased for roughly four gallons of rum.

Rum also served as the engine of economic exchange in helping fund enterprises such as organized crime, and military insurgencies like the American Revolution and Australia’s Rum Rebellion. George Washington insisted on rum at his inauguration.  Politicians bought votes with rum and it seems like everyone was having a rummy good time, except of course, for the poor slaves.

The Royal Navy used to serve a daily ration of watered down rum to all its sailors who called it grog.  And when the pirates of the Caribbean got their hands on rum, as we all know, all hell broke loose.  And now let’s move forward a few hundred years and get to the task at hand.


The Seralles family has been making rum in Puerto Rico through 6 generations spanning over 147 years so I guess they might have this process down pat by now.  The name of their rum “Caliche” comes from a type of limestone found around their plantation.

 The Serrallés manufacturing process is characterized by a multiple distillation system and carbon-active filtration and ageing in white American oak casks.  White rums are usually not aged.  Caliche uses the Solera System. This is a 3 layer arrangement of casks. When using Solera rum for production, they take the maturate from the lower layer casks, which are the oldest. Those casks are then refilled with product from the casks in the middle layer. Maturate from the upper layer is then used to refill the casks in the middle to replace what was used and so on.


This rum comes in an antique looking bottle made of rippled glass and has a length of cord wrapped around its neck.  The large orange letters that spell out Caliche Rum complete the theme.  This rum is completely transparent with no color picked up from being aged in oak.  The nose is very delicate for a rum.  There is no alcohol vapor.  All I really get is an overall sweetness mixed with a vegetative sugar cane like background and a hint of vanilla.  On the palate, the sweetness comes forward followed by the vanilla and the oak finally makes its appearance.  All of this combines surprisingly in a very delicately balanced mixture.  The finish is unusually smooth with just enough spice notes to make it interesting.

This rum is smooth and complex enough to enjoy straight up or on the rocks, but we didn’t stop there.  In a mojito, it manages to maintain its presence without being overpowering and compliments the sweetness of the other ingredients.  In a daiquiri, it’s a bit too laid back but still mixes well with the lime and simple syrup.  In those cocktails, you might want to go with a rum that’s got a bit more bite and is less sweet, but this Caliche Rum still plays well with all those other ingredients.  I actually prefer it on the rocks all by itself.

The bottom line is that this is a very good and sippable rum that is complex yet very smooth and well distilled and finished.  I would even qualify it as a super-premium rum based on its taste profile. The real bottom line is its very affordable price point.  At only $20.99 per 750 ml bottle it’s a steal and a deal – go get you some!


By George Brozowski