When I first heard that Bacardi was releasing a Gran Reserva line of rum, I thought we would see a deep, dark aged spirit that embodied the sugar cane and oak over years of storage. What I did not expect to see is a silver, clear rum, and while skeptical, did want to give it the fair shot it deserved (pun not intended).

Bacardi Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron was “designed to elevate the simple cocktail experience”, and while I do agree that finer spirits make for better cocktails (note I say finer, not more expensive), I couldn’t help but think that this would even do well over ice. Yes, silver rums are often left for the mixing glass, but in this case the Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron delivers elements often left for its older, aged siblings, proving to not only be capable of enhancing a cocktail but enjoys strait.

The nose of the spirit is very much a silver rum, with vanilla and cracked black pepper wafting out of the glass, and there is a small hint of a deep woods mushroom at the end all mixed with a high-proof chord that is common with Bacardi spirits. On the palate, the vanilla takes a deeper tone, almost to a light brown sugar hinting at the year long aging the spirit went through. As the spirit opens up with a little melted ice, hints of tropical fruit like coconut and ripe banana come through in a pleasing tone.

Other reviews have stated that the spirit is far too bitter or boring, but I disagree. For a silver, the Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron hits the notes of a pleasant, refreshing spirit that can be enjoyed over ice over on a hot day. While the notes are there for the perfect rum cocktail spirit as well, it can truly be enjoyed simply and cleanly. For those that find the note a bit too bitter, a squeeze of a lime will help to mellow out the high notes without masking the rest of the spirit from the tongue.