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Bacardi Gran Reserva Diez (10 Years Old)

Review: Bacardi Gran Reserva Diez (10 Years Old) –  90.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted September 27, 2019

In 1862, Facundo Bacardi and his brother José bought the Santiago de Cuba Distillery and began to distill what would become the most popular commercial rum in the world. Using a method of charcoal filtering, and oak barrel aging  along with a still of copper and cast iron, Facundo Bacardi created a smoother more refined version of the locally made rum. His smoother version of the spirit became local favourite, and over time, an international sensation. Of course, Bacardi Rum is not made in Cuba anymore, the Ron Bacardi Company left Cuba in the wake of Fidel Castro’s plans to nationalize all private property and privately held bank accounts on the Island. The Bacardi family moved important trademarks out of Cuba, and using a Bacardi owned plant built in Puerto Rico, were able to continue to build their company. Bacardi is now the largest family owned spirits company in the world.

The Bacardi Gran Reserva Diez (10 Years Old) is produced using column still distillation and  barrel aging. This rum has been aged for a minimum of 10 years in the Caribbean. It is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

Bacardi has been modernizing the bottle presentation for their rum line-up for a few years now. The current look is quite nice. The new labeling clarifies the age statements throughout the line-up, and in this case we can clearly see that Bacardi Gran Reserva Diez carries a 10 Year age statement.

The overall presentation however, remains simple and understated. It is as if to say the iconic Bacardi name and logo as well as the 10-year-old age statement are sufficient enough to catch the consumer’s eye.

In the Glass  9.5/10

The rum carries a somewhat dark coppery hue in the glass, and when that glass is tilted and twirled I see the spirit imparts relatively thick legs which drop from the spirit’s crest. The aroma is somewhat spicy as a firm dusty oak presence dominates the breezes above the glass. Vanilla and treacle unravel themselves from the dry spice followed by impressions of tobacco, marzipan and more dusty oak spice. There is also a lovely touch of baking spice (cinnamon and indications of nutmeg and allspice) and an underlying sense of bitter walnut.

I allowed the glass to breathe for several minutes and began to notice more yet. There were wisps of banana and coconut and some light impressions of marmalade. There is also a hint of must in the breezes, which at first I thought might be related to the cork, until I realized the cork was synthetic. It must be part of the rum’s make-up. We’ll see how that light mustiness plays out as I taste the rum, so far I am very impressed.

In my Mouth 54.5/60

The initial flavour represents a nice melding of butterscotch, treacle, almond and vanilla with fine oak spice. And just as I found with the younger 8 year old a few years ago, the 10 year old Bacardi Rum also carries a light smokiness. Charred barrels used to age at least a portion of the rum stocks are definitely hinted at. I also taste a firm fruity quality reminding me of bits of raisin and dried plum, as well as some canned fruit (pear and apricot). Baking spices in the form of cinnamon, vanilla nutmeg, allspice give me an impression of fresh baked cinnamon buns. I do not want to give you the idea that this is a sweet rum, it is not; however their certainly is enough butterscotch sweetness to balance the oak and pungent baking spices.

Again as I let the rum breathe, I began to notice more, especially a light winding of coconut, hints of banana, and a further building up of the oak and baking spices. And again their is that light hint of must. Usually I steer away from musty spirits, but in this case the musty impression adds to rather than detracts from my enjoyment.

My impulse is to build a nice Rum Old Fashioned, or to sip the spirit over ice. Both destinies are perfectly acceptable. Sipping over ice dampens the light sweetness bringing flavours of cocoa and coffee into focus. Mixing and Old Fashioned (see recipe below) adds a touch of sweetness and brings flavours of caramel and marmalade forward.

In the Throat  13/15

The rum is medium bodied which gives the spirit a mid-length finish. A rush of spice through the palate to the back of the mouth serves to induce another sip. Oak and baking spice linger with light impressions of marmalade, cocoa and walnut.

The Afterburn 9/10

Bacardi Gran Reserva Diez (10 Years Old) is a very nice sipping rum. It is similar to the Bacardi Gran Reserva 8 Year Old Rum (which I consider to be one of the  great bargains within the rum world), however everything is taken up a notch by the additional 2 years of barrel aging which gives the rum added depth and character allowing my score to reach into the 90s.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.


Suggested Recipe

SAM_0872Rum Old Fashioned

2 oz Bacardi Gran Reserva Diez
1 tsp Simple Syrup (1:1 ratio)
2 dashes Fees Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters
3 large Ice Cubes
1 twist of Orange Peel

Add the first three ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink. (This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink)
Drop the peel into the cocktail if desired.

Enjoy Responsibly!

If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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