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Bacardi Carta Fuego

Review: Bacardi Bacardi Carta Fuego (Spiced Rum)   (73/100)
A Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted September 20, 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.

Recently a friend of mine brought me a bottle of Bacardi’s Carta Fuego Spiced Rum for me to taste. He left the bottle with me so I could review it and said he was looking forward to my comments.

According to the Bacardi website:

BACARDÍ Carta Fuego is a red spiced rum drink with fire in its soul. Made with rum aged for a minium of one year in torched oak barrels, its flavor is shaped through charcoals and finally mixed with a secret blend of spices for a bold yet smooth flavour.

I should note that I have seen some information online which indicates that not all of the spirit is aged for one year, this is probably due to legal requirements in different jurisdictions. In Canada all rum must be aged for one year minimum, but in the USA for example rum has no minimum age requirement. The particular bottle of Carta Fuego am reviewing was purchased in Canada, so we can assume that the Canadian aging requirements have been met.

In the Bottle 4/5

To the left is a bottle shot of the Carta Fuego. I note that the bottle is sealed with an economical pressed on metallic cap, which in the case of my friends bottle had already stripped and was no longer sealing his bottle properly. In fact the loose seal has already caused some leakage around the cap which gummed it up and stained the bottle and label. I am always unsettled by a loose cap, and this seems to happen much more often with these pressed on metallic caps than with plastic caps or corks.

I also note that there is nothing on the label to give me an indication of the spices used. The name of the rum and the media information on the website implies some sort of fiery spice, but it would have been nive to know the actual spices used.

In the Glass 7/10

Carta Fuego has a distinct reddish tone in the glass. When that glass is tilted and given a slow twirl, I notice the spice rum is thickened and only sluggish droplets form at the crest inside the glencairn. The rum is quite young and bottled at 40 % abv. (some markets indicate a lower bottling proof) so these observations are a sure indication of added sugar as well as spice.

Indeed when I give the glass a quick snoot, a candied sweetness is obvious. After a few minutes though some other faint scents and smells break free and I begin to notice a few baking spices in particular vanilla and hints of cinnamon. There seems to be traces of other spices, but what they are is hard to determine. Perhaps my imagination is playing tricks on me. At this point I am unimpressed. I was hoping to notice more of the fiery spice in the breezes rather than such overt sweetness.

In the Mouth 44/60

When I took my first sip, my impressions on the nose were confirmed. The rum is quite sweet. There is some fiery spice which appears to be related to cinnamon. The combination of rummy sweetness and the cinnamon gives me a vague impression of cinnamon rolls reinforced no doubt by an additional heightened flavour of vanilla.

Sipping the spirit is not preferred although a few ice-cubes do help with the sweetness. I tried mixing with a little cola as was suggested on the Bacardi website; but, I was not enthused with the result. So I turned to the Bacardi website again for more guidance. The next suggestion I cam across was their  Bacardi Rum Punch using Carta Fugo as the base spirit. I had to futz with the recipe somewhat as the website did not actually have instructions on how to make the mixed drink with the Carta Fuego Rum; rather it suggested a combination of Carta Blanco and Carta Negra. Using the Carta Fuego in Place of the Carta Negra, I mixed the drink and found it too sweet. However, when I added a little lemon juice to add some tartness the recipe began to taste much better.

This is what I came up with:

Bacardi Rum Punch (Rum Howler Variant)

1 oz Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum<
1/2 oz Bacardi Carte Fuego
1 tsp Grenadine
1 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Cranberry Juice
1/3 oz Lemon Juice
Lemon Slice

Place all ingredients in a metal shaker with Ice
Shake to chill thoroughly
Strain into a Cocktail Glass
Add a slice of lemon for garnish
Enjoy Responsibly.

The recipe as constructed works, although perhaps this is just a little too much effort for too little reward.

In the Throat 11/15

The sweetness give the spiced rum a little length in the finish and I do taste traces of cinnamon and spice lingering within that sweetness, but all in all the rum disappoints.

The Afterburn 7/10

Bacardi Carta Fuego in an uninspiring spiced rum. Less sugary sweetness might help to bring more of that fiery cinnamon to the fore, and perhaps a little older base rum might give the final spirit more depth. I did find a cocktail I could enjoy; but in all honesty, I think I am going to give the bottle back to my well-intentioned friend. He seemed to like it much more than I did.

My final score is 73/100 which I think is fair for a spirit which must be served in cocktails, and is limited in that format.

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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