Celebrity spirits have been all the rage in recent years so when the PR campaign for SelvaRey Rum started showing up everywhere featuring Bruno Mars and a killer soundtrack, it was met with a splash of “here we go again.” However just because the product is backed by a celebrity doesn’t automatically make it inferior so we dug deeper. We started by procuring a bottle of their highest expression, the SelvaRey Owner’s Reserve for tasting. If the rum weren’t so damned good we would have stopped right there, but it was good.
It turns out that Bruno Mars became a partner at SelvaRey more than 7 years ago; they just hadn’t made too much noise about it and it seems like a wise move. Initially SelvaRey’s portfolio only included a white rum and a coconut rum. It was at Bruno Mars’ insistence that a dark, aged rum was brought to market.
Their rums are produced in Panama under the watchful eye of legendary rum master Francisco ‘Don Pancho’ Fernandez. In the case of the dark, aged rum, the Owner’s Reserve, Don Pancho blends the best of his 15- and 25-year-old vintages to achieve the perfect balance. Bruno Mars’ involvement in the brand isn’t limited to making catchy jingles and YouTube videos, although those have generated a tremendous amount of exposure for the brand. He also was involved in the design of the branding, bottle, and packaging. The initial offering of the Owner’s Reserve sold out in less than 2 hours.
The SelvaRey Owner’s Reserve displays a bright amber color with a nose of caramelized brown sugar, toffee, and cinnamon. The palate is balanced and creamy with notes of citrus, sherry, and a rich nuttiness.
The Undercrown 10 and the SelvaRey get along famously from the onset. The cigar’s heavy pepper and earth combined with the rum’s rich, creamy sweetness make for a perfectly harmonious experience. As the rum lingers on the palate, every draw of the cigar delivers a tweaked set of flavors.
Photography by: Andy Astencio
Location: The Cleat at Boater’s Grill