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Barcelo Imperial Rum

Review: Barcelo Imperial Rum  (88.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted April 22, 2022

Ron Barceló was founded in 1930 under the name Barceló & Co in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. The rum brand quickly grew in popularity growing into one of the largest in the Dominican, and the brand is now exported world-wide to over 25 countries.

According to the company’s website Barcelo Imperial Rum is a blend of Barcelo’s finest Dominican rums which have been aged for up to ten years in ex-Bourbon oak casks. Although the spirit has no age statement, we can assume that the Imperial spirit will have an average age somewhat less than those ten years mentioned on the website.

I reviewed the Barcelo Imperial over twelve years ago. However, based upon improvements noted I when I revisited and reviewed Barcelo Anejo, it is apparent to me that a re-visitation of the Barcelo Imperial is warranted.

In my locale, the Barcelo Imperial is sold at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle  4.5/5

Barcelo Imperial is sold in an open front cardboard box display which highlights the bottle within. It is a large flask style bottle which oozes elegance and style. A solid dense cork topper completes the bottle design and gives the rum a nnice ‘wow’ factor.

Twelve years ago, when I first reviewed Barcelo Imperial I noted problems with the synthetic cork which came apart when I opened my bottle. I did not experience any problems this time. I bumped the score up accordingly.

In the Glass  9/10

Colour: Copper

Legs: Midsized droplets form after the glass is swirled which fall as thickened legs.

Nose: Rich toffee and dark brown sugar accent fine oak spices and hints of sap. Vanilla and baking spice appear as does a mild scent of fresh copper pennies. Notes of almond have have appeared and they have began to meld with the toffee and vanilla giving me a real sense of marzipan. Dark chocolate is hinted at as are canned apricots and orange liqueur.

In the Mouth  53/60

The first sips bring forward a robust oakiness combined with impressions of dark brown sugar, vanilla, spices (nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon) and pipe tobacco. Those fresh copper pennies I noticed on the nose seem to have found expression as a sort of metallic coppery flavour (pop a penny in your mouth and you’ll know what I mean).  I taste marzipan as well as canned apricots, and perhaps even a little orange marmalade as well. Bits of cola and dark chocolate complete the flavour profile which is much much better than I remember.

In the Throat 13/15

The finish is lengthened with flavours of dark toffee and baking spice. Hints of menthol provide a touch of cooling on the throat and then I notice a bittersweet chocolate fade.

The Aftermath 9.0/10

My review of the Barcelo Imperial is far more positive than it was twelve years ago. This falls in line with my perception of Barcelo Anejo which saw similar improvement when I reviewed it two years ago. My final score is 88.5/100. This represents a rum which can certainly be sipped with or without ice; however, I would not be adverse to mixing a few high end cocktails as well (see below).

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


Suggested Serving:

Aztec Rum Old Fashioned

2 oz Barcelo Imperial Rum
1 tsp Bols Triple Sec
2 dashes Fees Aztec Chocolate Bitters
Ice cubes
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.

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: 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!


You may (loosely) interpret the scores 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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