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Ron Barcelo Imperial Premium 30 Aniversario Rum

Review: Barcelo Imperial Premium 30 Aniversario Rum  (93.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted May 04, 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.

Barcelo Imperial Premium Blend 30 Aniversario Rum is sold in many stores in my home locale as a premium “30 Year Old” Rum because of the large number 30 which is proudly displayed on both the sales canister and the bottle. When I investigated this claim by my local retail stores I found nothing to substantiate the age claim. Ron Barceló makes no specific age claim on their packaging nor on their website, what they do say is that their rum is:

A special blend of old Barceló Imperial reserves, matured in selected American oak staves and French oak barriques. Thirty years dedicated to preserving the quality tradition of Barceló rums. It is the celebration of Ron Barceló Imperial’s launch.

When I dug further into the rum’s story I found that it had been created in 2011. At that time the spirit was blended from 10 year old reserves which were aged an additional 2 years in white oak from France, some from the Bordeaux house of Château d’Yquem. Whether much has changed since 2011 is hard to say; but the implication is that the rum is probably made from a blend of cane spirits which have been aged up to 12 years.

The final rum is bottled at 43% alcohol by volume.

In The Bottle  4.5/5

In order to properly show you the full product display, I obtained a stock photo which is shown to the left. My own photograph of the bottle by itself is shown below and to the right.

As you can see the presentation is quite elaborate. The horse-shoe like bottle is placed on a wooden stand and held in place by a metal clip. A large 30th Anniversary logo printed on the back of the bottle shows though the circular metal rimmed window in the center of the bottle. The closure is a synthetic cork and everything is placed in a gold coloured metal canister.

At first I liked the presentation which gives us the impression that the rum is some sort of trophy which you can proudly display for your friends, I did though grow tired of the fumbling I had to do each time I wanted to enjoy a small glass. In the first place, that metal clip that holds the bottle on its wooden display holds the bottle just a little too tightly and is hard to release. Then when you place everything back into the canister, it must be placed within exactly right or the canister will not close. I deducted half a point for these annoyances.

In The Glass  9.5/10

Colour:  Deep Rich Bronze

Legs: Medium sized droplets forming which release slow trailing legs

Nose:  Fine oak spices and caramel toffee melded with with vanilla, rich brown sugar and baking spices. There is a whiff of apricot brandy, and then even more fine wood spice pouring upwards. Notes of honeycomb, marzipan, bits of cola and even a light impression of my Mom’s cinnamon rolls seem to be floating in the air. I like how the oak deepens as I nose the rum. So far this seems just plain yummy.

In The Mouth   56/60

The sweetness of toffee is out in front of the spicy oak. Vanilla, brown sugar and baking spices all meld together to give continuance to that story on the nose of fresh baked cinnamon rolls. Almond flavours jump in as does a mild impression of black peppercorns. Despite the peppery oak spice, the rum never gets too spicy as the sweetness of toffee and brown sugar are providing a suitable foil.

As I continue to sip I ask myself, do I taste copper? Is that just a bit of red licorice? Maybe I taste chocolate as well. Probably I taste all of that and much more. The rum is complex and that impression of yummy stays with me as I sip.

In The Throat 14/15

The exit is just a little more bitter than the delivery (which is a good thing) as oak and pungent baking spices seem to dominate the finish which is  perhaps a little shorter than I expected. I notice a touch of menthol cooling arriving at the very end which adds to the spirit’s overall charm. This is really good!

The Afterburn   9.5/10

Ron Barcelo Imperial Premium Blend is delicious. It walks a little sweeter path than typical Dominican Rums; but then one could hardly call this a typical Rum. It is a premium sipper meant for special occasions and special friends and in that context that bit of sweetness is most welcome.

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


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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