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Brugal Especial Extra Dry

Review: Brugal Especial Extra Dry Rum   84.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on January 29, 2014

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. The original family which founded Brugal is still in the control. George Arzeno Brugal, is the current chairman, and most of the board members are direct descendants of the original company founder. In fact, the Brugal Distillery has become an institution in the Dominican Republic. Just about every friend of mine who has visited the Dominican Republic has a vivid tale to tell of their amazing bus ride to the distillery, and another tale to tell of how much fun it was to sample the Brugal Rum.

Brugal Especial Extra Dry Rum is produced using the company’s proprietary double-distillation technique which apparently creates a clean, dry rum which contains fewer of the heavy alcohols which tend to provide other rums a sweeter flavour profile. The Especial Extra Dry is blended from a mix of rum spirits which have been aged a minimum of 2 years and up to as many as 5 years in White American Oak casks. The rum is triple charcoal filtered, and was developed as a high-end cocktail spirit meant to compete with ultra premium Vodka.

If it suits your wishes you can learn a little more with a click on the link here to visit the Brugal Website.

Especial_Extra_English_Dry_RGBIn the Bottle 4.0/5

The rum is presented in the tall battle shown to the left. As you can see the bottle is covered in netting which I am told helps you to grip the bottle if it becomes moist due to condensation. The labeling is simple but professional, and I like the overall look of this premium white rum.

In the Glass 8.5/10

The Especial Extra Dry is a clear rum which shows no trace of colour in the glass after it has been poured. When that glass is tilted and twirled, the rum gives up some small slender legs which move rather quickly back into the rum.

The initial scents above the glass are lightly sweet with indications of cane sugar and lightly toasted marshmallows. As I give the scents and smells time to drift in the breezes above the glass, I notice a touch of vanilla in the air and the light spiciness of lemon peel, sandal wood and cardamom spice. Given a little more time, a light candy-like butterscotch scent also evolves with hints of mint, some mushy banana, and fresh coconut underneath.

In the Mouth 51/60

When I bring the Brugal Extra Dry rum to my lips and have a sip, I notice that the rum seems to carry more spice and less sweetness (and hence more dryness) across the palate than what I had anticipated from my nosing. Although the entry begins with light sugar cane-like flavours with hints of coconut and vanilla; my palate is soon heated with spicy impressions of cardamom and coriander. There also appears to be a light mineral quality which seems a part of the overall rum construct. An ever-so-light impression of baking soda lies within the rum which gives the spirit a softer than usual mouth feel. (It is actually rather nice, and I wish I could have described it better than I have.)

I decided to begin my cocktail explorations with a simple daiquiri and I followed that with a mojito. The mojito in particular tasted very nice (the daiquiri was quite delicious as well), and I really cannot find fault in the rum as a high quality mixer. It appears to be as advertised, a quality white rum meant add a touch of character to the cocktail.

In the Throat 12.5/15

The finish is quite spicy with impressions of cardamom and coriander washing through the throat warming the back of the mouth and providing a slow creeping spicy warmth which moves ever so slowly through the throat after the rum is swallowed. The spicy character possessed in the finish carries itself forward into the cocktail as well, adding flavour and character to the experience (as mentioned above).

The Afterburn  8.5/10

The Brugal Especial Extra Dry is a very nice white rum. It works very well in cocktails, and although I did not mention it earlier in the review, I also found I could enjoy the spirit over ice in a small rocks glass. When mixing cocktails, I seemed to particularly enjoy recipes which called for a little mint, and I have included two suggestions for you down below.

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


Suggested Recipes

The Minted DaiquiriThe Minted Daiquiri

2 oz  Brugal Especial Extra Dry
1 oz  Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup
1 Mint Leaf

Add the first four ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker frosts.
Double Strain (with a fine strainer) into a cocktail glass
Garnish (if desired) with a slice of lime or another sprig of mint
And of course

Here is a recipe which I borrowed from the little information booklet which hung on the neck of the bottle.

SAM_065zdehumidifyerBrugal Dehumidifier

2 oz  Brugal Especial Extra Dry
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
2 tsp sugar syrup
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
cracked ice
Mint Sprig

Add the first three ingredients with ice in a metal shaker
Shake until the sides frosts and strain into a tall Collins glass filled with cracked ice
Float 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters on top
Garnish with a Mint Sprig and/or a fruit slice

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 Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret that score 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)

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