Atlantico Rum co-founders Brandon Lieb and Aleco Azqueta never set out to offer an entire rum line. According to Lieb, they wanted to offer the definitive expression of the spirit, and in 2008 they released Atlantico Private Cask, an award-winning blend of small-batch rums aged up to 25 years. But while the slim bottle fit nicely in the hand, bartenders spoke up and asked for a drier finish as well as a white version. All requests were answered when Atlantico launched Reserva—solera-aged for an average of 15 years in ex-bourbon barrels—and the highly mixable Platino. New, bolder packaging will roll out in 2017 for all three. But that’s not where the story ends.
When the brand’s Las Vegas brand ambassador Ryan McGinnis of O-D-V Imports longed to see a specialty finished expression, he went a step beyond the ask and secured a single ex-Cognac barrel from Alain Royer (“a legend in the alcohol and barrel industry, especially in France,” McGinnis says). The lightly toasted French Limousine oak barrel was shipped to Atlantico’s La Romana distillery in the Dominican Republic and filled with Reserva for nine months of additional aging that adds sweet vanilla notes but is not cloying on the palate. Atlantico Reserva Cognac Finish ($35; atlanticorum.com) could easily be mixed but, McGinnis says, was designed more for enjoying on its own. The barrel yielded just 420 bottles, which are available exclusively at Total Wine & More locations in Nevada, so hurry or you’ll be left asking, “Why is the rum gone?”