The brands at the top of the list of the best selling spirits in the world are a lot different than you’d probably expect. Brands like Jinro, the South Korean soju brand which sold 68 million cases in 2012 (source: IWSR), Thailand’s Ruang Khao, and Philippines’ Emperador brandy eclipse more familiar brands like Jack Daniel’s, Jameson, and Smirnoff. In the rum space, you might expect global titan Bacardi to hold the top spot, but that distinction actually belongs to Filipino brand Tanduay Rum. Traditionally, much of Tanduay’s massive volume has been consumed in the Philippines, but the brand is hoping to woo US consumers and has released a special export version of their rum to the US. Tanduay Silver Rum is a blend of rums aged 0-5 years, and unlike many of the other silver rums on the market, Tanduay does not filter their rum so it has a faint color.
Tanduay Silver Asian Rum (40% ABV / 80 proof, $19.99) – straw gold in color, Tanduay Silver Rum has a very light nose with vanilla and molasses and a very slight dry grassy note underneath. The nose is a nice blend of sweet and dry and isn’t harsh or vapory in any way. The entry for Tanduay Silver is light and slightly sweet, with the vanilla from the nose there but quickly joined by a slightly bitter, charred molasses note. In the midpalate this charred molasses note fades and the dry grassy note from the nose emerges. This dry grass note is joined by sweet tamarind and a little pepper spice. Tanduay Rum has a medium finish that is slightly spicy and recaptures some of the molasses notes from the midpalate. When Tanduay’s finish is complete, it leaves your mouth completely clean.
Tanduay Silver Asian Rum is a solid molasses-based rum that’s well distilled and well constructed. While we can understand why it’s such a massively popular rum in the Philippines, it’s hard to see American consumers flocking to Tanduary for anything more than a curiosity purchase. The flavor notes are nice, but they are also decidedly Asian and less tuned to the slightly sweeter or drier American palate (which seems to gravitate towards Bacardi or Brugal). Tanduay has also missed the boat on pricing: at $19.99 it’s too far above Bacardi Superior and Shellback Silver (both closer to the $10 or $15 mark than $20) for what it delivers. It’s hard to imagine American consumers picking Tanduay over much more familiar and lower priced options. Still, we have to commend Tanduay for making a stab at the American market. They do make an interesting rum, but just not one we feel will find much of an audience stateside.