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Brugal Anejo Superior Rum

Review: Brugal Anejo Superior Rum   (85/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on June 05,  2016

The Brugal Distillery was founded in 1888, by Andrés Brugal Montaner. Over the next one hundred and twenty years the company grew steadily, and it is now one of three large rum distillers in the Dominican Republic. Although the Edrington Group now controls the company, George Arzeno Brugal, is the current chairman, and most of the current board members are direct descendants of the original company founder.

I reviewed Brugal Anejo about six years ago when it was called, Ron Brugal Anejo – Desde  1888. My understanding from talking to the local Brugal Brand Ambassador about two years ago at the Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Show is that the spirit has undergone a few changes since my original review. In particular, since the Edrington Group gained control of the company, they have instituted a new wood policy which governs how all of the Brugal spirits are aged. This practice brings the cask selection process into line with the wood policy the company uses for its Scotch whiskies.

According to the Brugal USA Website, Brugal continues makes their rum in the traditional manner (from molasses) and ages the spirit on site in Puerto Plata. The Brugal Anejo is aged for two to five years in medium toasted ex-Bourbon American white oak casks.

Brugal Anejo SAM_2347In the Bottle 4.5/5

The Brugal Anejo Superior is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume and arrives in the tall slender bottle shown to the left. The label is clear and easy to read. and the glass bottle narrows (looks pinched in actually) towards the bottom of the label making it easier to grab and hold.

The fish net webbing on the bottle looks quite cool as it adds a bit of class to the presentation. The metallic screw cap which seals the bottle unfortunately works in the other direction. The rum is not intended as an expensive sipper, so I am generous with my score here.

In the Glass 8.5/10

The rum displays a medium amber/copper tone in my glass, seemingly richer and darker than we would expect from 2 to five years in ex bourbon barrels (caramel added perhaps). The initial aroma brings light smells of wood spice and butterscotch with a hint of mustiness. When I tilt and twirl my glencairn, I see a slightly thickened sheen of rum on the inside. The crest which forms drops medium-sized leglets which fall down slowly into the rum forming slender legs.

I re-examine the air above the glass, and the fine oak spices have gained a little momentum. There are light impressions of raisins and chocolate, making me check my notes to make sure that no sherry barrels have been used to age the rum (they have not). A few baking spices are beginning to peek into the breezes with little hits of cinnamon and even lighter cloves. Wisps of orange peel (as well as orange Curacao) seem to meander into the aroma, and all in all I am quite pleased by the peasant complexity of such a young rum.

In the Mouth 51/100

As was the case when I sampled the Brugal XV in 2014 (see review here) There is a nice consistency from the nose to the palate as my first sip brings me light  impressions oak spice which again carry firm accents of butterscotch and orange peel (and a light mustiness). Although the rum is obviously young (with a touch of spicy astringency), I also notice a nice depth of flavour evolving as I sip. Bit of marmalade and raisin play together upon my palate and underneath is a touch of almond nuttiness which seems to tie the two together. Some baking spice (cinnamon) evolves from the wood spices and my impression of contentment is very similar to my feeling when I nosed the glass. The rum seems more complex and structured than a young rum ought to. (The new wood policy perhaps.)

I can enjoy myself without ice, although I did find that adding a couple of cubes brought out some very nice milk chocolate flavours which I enjoyed tremendously. Having said that, the rum seems to be begging me to mix it into a cocktail. I found the Brugal Anejo plays nicely with both cola and ginger-ale, and it also makes nice amber daiquiri style cocktails.

In the Throat 12.5/15

The exit is of short and crisp with a nice swamping of butterscotch and spice (cinnamon and wood spice) left lingering upon the palate. Adding an ice-cube brings milk chocolate flavours into the finish.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

It is rare to find a rum which is aged in that 2 to 5 year range which remains so pleasant throughout the tasting experience. From glass, to mouth, to throat the rum has a wonderful consistency of flavour. Yes, this is a young anejo; nevertheless the Brugal Anejo Rum can easily be sipped, especially over ice. It is also a very versatile mixer (see recipe below).

It is very hard to ask more of a rum in this category.

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

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Suggested Recipe

Spanish Mule SAM_2349Simple Spanish Mule

2 oz Brugal Anejo Superior Rum
3 oz Ginger Beer
ice
Slice of Lime

Add Ice to a Rocks Glass
Add the Rum over ice
Top with Ginger Beer
Stir
Garnish with a lime slice
Enjoy!

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

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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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