Equipo Navazos La Bota 65 Ron ‘Bota NO’: No Additives, No Coloring, No Sweeteners, No Aromatics, Unchillfiltered, And 98/100. Cheers!
by Ken Gargett
The Equipo Navazos team is making some of the most exciting wines – sherries, to be specific – on the planet.
Well, technically I guess one would say Equipo Navazos is a wine négociant (a wine merchant who assembles the production of smaller growers and sells under its own name) rather than a maker as it buys casks of aged sherries, usually peacefully resting in the dark corners of local bodegas, to blend and bottle.
Equipo Navazos occasionally ventures forth to try its hand at other styles – hence the rum we feature today – and has been known to enter into all manner of joint ventures. Put simply, not only is this company incredibly exciting but very different. There really is nothing else like it anywhere.
Equipo Navazos’ origin story
It all started innocently enough. Originally, Jesús Barquín (a criminology professor at the University of Granada) and Eduardo Ojeda (technical director of Grupo Estevez, better known as Valdespino, although there is more to it than just that) were simply two mates who shared a love for sherry – a profession for Ojeda and a passion for Barquín. It was never intended to become a commercial operation.
They had many similarly sherry-phile friends around the world, and the two of them would often tour the various bodegas. Needless to say, they had great contacts and saw many brilliant casks, most of which a normal visitor would never get near.
On one such visit, back in 2005, the pair identified a special amontillado in the Ayala cellars, surplus to the producer’s requirements, which had been aging for 20 years. They decided to purchase it, bottled 600 bottles, and shared it among their friends, naming it “La Bota de Amontillado” after the Edgar Allen Poe story.
This comprised “No. 1” – all of Equipo Navazos’ wines and spirits are numbered in the order of production (we are now in the 80s). The following year another two sherries were located, bottled and shared with friends.
Over the following years, more followed. Word spread. Quickly.
Brilliant, international, limited
The international wine community has taken to these brilliant sherries like never before. Now, every year, we see a handful of new releases from these guys. They are all sold on release, none are retained for museum purposes or a subsequent offering, although sometimes the casks may produce a subsequent sherry.
Production is naturally very limited. Some may reach several thousand bottles, but others only a few hundred. For the entire world.
Also, needless to say, prices for these sherries are strictly upper echelon. Those of us who consider ourselves Navazos-philes will grab a bottle here and there when we can. The chances do not come along too often. But then, they shouldn’t. These wines are very special. They have been referred to as the “Domaine de la Romanée-Conti of fortifieds.”
Not only do these guys do amazing things with – and for – sherry, they also occasionally team up for joint ventures: the Navazos Niepoort is released almost every year as an amazingly different white wine (Niepoort being one of the most innovative and exciting winemakers from Portugal), while the Colet Navazos is a sparkler from the Colet vineyards near Penedés.
Equipo Navazos rum
Equipo Navazos has also dipped its proverbial toes into spirits with the very occasional whisky, brandy, gin, and rum.
And it is to the rum we now turn. The latest: the extraordinary La Bota 65 Ron “Bota NO.”
First, the bad news. Only 800 bottles were made, so it will not be easy to find. Your best bet would be a retailer who carries Navazos, a seriously good rum bar, or a Spanish restaurant with a great wine list. Expect to pay in the region of AUD$200 to AUD$250 for a bottle.
This latest ron (Spanish for rum) is not the first by Equipo Navazos. The Ron Navazos Palazzi, from Oloroso casks, was bottled in July 2013. There were 1,500 bottles. Another followed a year later.
La Bota 65 is also from an old Oloroso cask, bottled back in May 2016. As mentioned, only 800 were ever made. The alcohol comes in at 44 percent, and the rum is estimated to be between 15 and 20 years of age.
It is “unchillfiltered,” which might be a new word, and there are no additives of any kind. No coloring, sweeteners, or aromatics. That is typical of all releases from Equipo Navazos.
It originates from the same series of butts that saw the first efforts, but this is a single-cask bottling and the alcohol has been moderated to 44 percent, not the original 51 percent, more in line with usual rum practices. The team refers to it as “more civilized” and as “a textbook example of the ideal iron fist in a velvet glove.”
That butt was fully emptied for the 800 bottles, so there is no more. This is not a “magic pudding” (an old Aussie children’s book in which one could eat the pudding and it would always replenish itself).
The original source is 32 casks of rum from the Antilles that spent five years in bourbon barrels and was then transferred to the newly-emptied Oloroso casks. This is one of them, specially selected as being able to stand alone.
In El Dorado 21-Year-Old Special Reserve Rum: Searching Out Guyana’s Rich, Liquid Gold, one reader queried the sweeter rums in the comments. Personally, I find there is more than enough room for both styles, but I do hope he manages to find a bottle of this as it should suit him perfectly. Certainly there is sweetness, but far less than found in some high-profile rums. This is not your big sweetie!
Dark color, lovely aromas, real complexity. There are notes of plums (not something I normally think of with rum), salted caramel, dried fruits, spices, figs, chocolate, and stone fruits. A really seductive texture. Lovely length, and the finish is clean as a whistle. No cloying at all. I’d happily score this 98.
The only negative is that it is so hard to find.
For more information, please visit www.equiponavazos.com.
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El Dorado 21-Year-Old Special Reserve Rum: Searching Out Guyana’s Rich, Liquid Gold
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