[We don’t normally review rum, but we make exceptions when the humor is just too obvious to pass up or when there is a significant connection to whisky, especially from brands we love. This rum fits the latter description, being matured first for 8 years in American oak casks and then for another 2 to 4 years in first fill Spanish Sherry oak casks from the Edrington Group’s (that is, Highland Park’s and the Macallan’s) cask management system and selected by The Macallan’s Master of Wood. OK, a title like Master of Wood might overlap with the first category for exceptions above (especially if you’re a 12 year-old boy or the three of us when we’re in our cups), but we’re sticking with the whisky cask connection. We should also note here, however, that we don’t normally review rum, so we’re not quite sure how we should go about doing it, other than by reviewing it on the same standard as we use for whisky. So that’s what we’ve done here. Take it with a grain of salt. Or perhaps a shot of rum.]
Before I get to the tasting notes themselves, I must comment on two things: the name and the bottle. First, the name “Brugal” is terribly evocative: we imagine it as a term of street lingo to refer to a guy who won’t pick up the check when he’s out with his bros, or maybe an intensely harsh level of parsimony. Or, if we were to try to justify this review on grounds that every rum we review is a vanity project for an aging porn star, then we could easily imagine Brugal as the name of a performer from Brussels who was huge in his day. Alas, it is none of those things, which is sad for us, but very good, all things considered, for this brand of rum. Turns out it’s the name of the family from the Dominican Republic who founded the company. Second, the bottle is regal and striking, but I really want to talk about the cap atop the cork. It’s metal and it’s knurled. For your grip. Or perhaps for your pleasure, if you’re into that kind of thing. Either way, it’s extremely cool.
Onto the nose: we got acorns and whisky aged in a rum cask–or maybe a sherry rum. We also got burnished pomegranate seeds and antebellum lemon-based furniture wax. Imagine refined mahogany furniture in a museum, cordoned off by a velvet rope and a Do Not Sit sign that your 14 year-old son then proceeds to lie down on, claiming that that was not forbidden. Or imagine after dinner drinks brought to Hemingway and Simone de Beauvoir, though it wasn’t clear who ordered the sherry.
The mouth is watery, and the rum is a bit quick on the finish. It’s exceedingly smooth and balanced, as though molasses had been put through a very fine-grained extruding process. There’s also nice spice there, especially on the finish, as the dryness of the rum registers fully on your palate. It would make an old-time cocktail that would take nostalgia to even more unrealistic levels. Maybe a Dark and Stormy, but one with the skies beginning to clear. We also considered a Stark and Dormy, but we had to wonder what right-minded adult would order a drink named that–and whether any college student could really appreciate a cocktail containing such a fine and complex rum.
The Brugal 1888 Rum is textretary–Defined as “a person’s sidekick who texts for the driver. Not only is it a clever hybrid word, but it’s also very good practice, second only to having a designated driver.
–Our thanks to Jessica Sparks and the Edrington Group for the sample!