Matusalem Gran Reserva 15 Rum Review


Matusalem was founded in 1872 in Santiago, Cuba and eventually became one of the most awarded and successful Cuban rum producers. Castro’s revolution forever change the landscape of Cuba and Matusalem was forced to leave. The company settled in another Caribbean nation, the Dominican Republic where the rum is still produced to this day.

The name Matusalem is derivative of Mathuselah who lived to be 969 years. It is also an old Spanish proverb “Esto es mas viejo que Matusalem” which means “It’s older than Mathuselah.”

In the glass it is a deep golden amber color, clear with no hazing.

On the nose there are sweet sugary notes of caramelized bananas, toffee, vanilla and toasted nuts. This is followed by faint traces of oak and leather.

Upon tasting, it has an initial vanilla sweetness followed by the banana and nuts almost like a banana nut bread. It finishes with dried dark red fruits (cherry, possibly prunes), peppery oak and a surprisingly dry tea like finish.

Gran Reserva retails for about $35/750ml.


Sepia’s Autumn Sweater
1 1/2 oz Aged Rum (Matusalem 15)
1 oz Calvados
1 oz Falernum
3/4 oz lemon juice
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice, shake and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel

The next drink is a simple twist on old fashioned created by Dick Bradsell.
2 ounces aged rum (Matusalem 15)
1/2 ounce simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1/2 ounce apple juice
Stir the rum, simple syrup and bitters together in an ice-filled old-fashioned glass for at least 20 seconds. Float the apple juice on top of the drink.

The following drink was created by Ryan Magarian of Oven & Shaker in Portland, Oregon
Pineapple Trainwreck
1 1/2 oz. aged rum (Matusalem 15)
1 1/2 oz. fresh pineapple juice
3/4 oz. spicy ginger syrup (see below)
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 dash each Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters
Combine all ingredients and shake with ice. Strain over fresh ice cubes into an Old Fashioned glass and garnish with a cherry and pineapple leaf.

For the ginger syrup: add equal parts sugar and fresh ginger juice to a container and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add a splash of vodka, seal, and refrigerate.


One thought on “Matusalem Gran Reserva 15 Rum Review

  1. We love Ron Matusalem GR, but at The Rum Project we were recently very surprised to learn that RM “secret” family formula includes adding vanilla and prune extract to flavor a product labeled “rum” and not “flavored rum”. This certainly devalues this rum in our view for their failure to honestly admit the contents.

    Interestingly, this information came to light when the two family corporations responsible for RM ending up suing one another over the formula, which was then published as a court finding by the US 8th district court of appeals. Otherwise, we might not have been the wise. However with this knowledge you too may notice that most of the reviews of the 15 make large note of both strong vanilla and prune aspects, both of which are amplified far beyond the effects of just aging.

    A shame – it seems RM has “enhanced” its altered rum with added ingredients.

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