Brugal Siglo de Oro
Review: Brugal Siglo de Oro 88/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on August 21, 2015
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.
According to the Brugal Website, Brugal makes their rum in a traditional manner (from molasses) and ages it on site in Puerto Plata. The Brugal Siglo De Oro was first produced in 1988 to commemorate Brugal’s 100th anniversary. It sits near the top of the ladder as far as Brugal Rum is concerned and undergoes a unique double aging regimen for extra depth and complexity. The spirit is aged for about eight years in medium-toasted, ex-Bourbon American white oak casks, and then it is re-casked into new ex-Bourbon oak casks for approximately another eight years. This is considered to be one of Brugal’s premium sipping rums, and it is suggested that it be served neat or with a little ice (but only if you must).
In the Bottle 5/5
As you can see from the image to the left, the Siglo De Oro has been given a very special presentation. The rum is sold in a heavy glass decanter which resembles a fine cognac bottle more so than a traditional rum bottle. The bottle is housed in an attractive blue display box and sealed with a heavy topped cork closure. Labeling is kept simple which adds a touch of minimalist class to the overall look of the double aged rum.
In The Glass 9.5/10
When I poured the Siglo De Oro into my glencairn, it showed me a rich copper/bronze colour that looked inviting in the glass. I gave the glass a slow tilt and twirl, and when I examined the crest which formed I noticed that it dropped medium-fat legs which ambled at a moderate pace back into the rum. Based upon the age of the rum, and the double aging the spirit undergoes in two separate bourbon casks (each for about 8 years), the rum looks exactly as it should.
The initial nose brings some lovely butterscotch aromas which are quickly followed by an oaken spiciness. There is also a nice sweep of vanilla and a light tobacco-like grassiness in the air.
I have heard it said that one should allow a glass to breathe one minute for each year of aging that a spirit has undergone. In the case of the Siglo De Oro, this is time well spent as the aromas grow richer and deeper with each passing minute. Throughout the evolution in the glass the oak in glass deepens providing a firm backdrop within which the rest of the scents and smells can dance their merry melody. Butterscotch scents move into the oak spice bringing about a wonderful caramel toffee aroma. The tobacco-like grassiness morphs over time into a rich deep cigar-like aroma. Soft brown sugars and cinnamon aromas evolve and they mingle with the vanillans and a growing scent of almonds delivering wonderful impressions of marzipan and fresh-baked cinnamon buns.
In the Mouth 52/60
The rum is much drier across the palate than the breezes above the glass had promised. There is a light butterscotch and almond flavour which leads out at the front, however those initial flavours are quickly pursued and captured by dry oak spices. A lightly musty flavour (which is peculiar to the Brugal family of rums) is present, and it adds an interesting dimension to the rum’s flavour profile. As I sip I also notice orange peel spices heating my palate even further and the presences of a lightly bitter citrus pith which rides upon the coattails of the rums main flavours.
The Brugal Siglo De Oro is very good; however it is my feeling that the nose promised me much more than the spirit delivered in terms of flavour. Although the rum is obviously of sipping quality, I do (despite the Brugal website’s insistence to the contrary) have a strong urge to add a just a touch more sweetness into the flavour profile. To that end, I decide to build a simple rum cocktail with touches of simple syrup and Orange Curacao to add sweetness, and a dash of bitters to add a new dimension of flavour. The new cocktail tastes extremely nice, and I have decided to feature it below as my recommended cocktail.
In the Throat 13/15
Despite the apparent age of the Siglo De Oro, I would classify the rum as light to medium bodied. The finish is rather crisp with orange peel spiciness and dry tobacco flavours lingering longer upon the palate than the butterscotch sweetness.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
Brugal’s Siglo De Oro is a fine rum. On the nose it demonstrates itself as a deeply complex rum with building aromas that are full of promise. However, the flavour presented upon the palate falls just short. The result is a score which almost reaches the threshold of the 90 point barrier. A touch more sweetness stolen from the oak barrel would have elevated the score into the stratosphere.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
The recipe I am presenting here is based loosely upon an old cocktail recipe I found in Leo Engels 1878 book, American and Other Drinks. In his book, Leo simply calls the recipe a Rum Cocktail.
1878 Rum Cocktail
2 oz Aged Rum
2 dashes of Orange Curacao
1 dashes of Bitters (Angostura Cocktail bitters)
2 dashes of plain syrup
Strip of orange peel
Fill a metal shaker 1/3 full of ice
Add 2 dashes of Orange Curacao and Sugar followed by a dash of Angostura Bitters
Add Aged Rum
Shake and strain into a suitable glass
Add ice and a strip of orange peel
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!
My Scores are out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret them 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 spirit. 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)
All in all the gr