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Review: Bermudez Ron Viejo Blanco

Review: Bermudez Ron Viejo Blanco 88/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted July 29, 2010

The Ron Bermudez Company, has a long history that stretches back to 1852 with the Bermudez Distillery being the oldest commercial rum distillery in the Dominican Republic. In fact, both the company (and the distillery) are almost as old as the Dominican Republic itself, and I think it is easy to suggest that the Ron Bermudez Company represents an important part of the history of the Island. Don Erasmo Bermudez apparently created the company’s first rum, sold as Bitter Panacea, and it quickly became extremely popular providing the foundation for the company’s initial success.

Although the Bermudez Ron Viejo Blanco is not a typical clear white rum, the words on the bottle  ‘Viejo Blanco’ translate from Spanish to English as ‘Old White’. Unlike other white rums which may be aged a few years and then filtered clear, the Ron Viejo Blanco does not undergo a filtering process prior to bottling. Exactly how long the rum ages in oak is unclear to me, but based upon the colour of the rum in the bottle, I would guess it is aged anywhere from 3 months to a year.

bermudezronviejoIn the Bottle 4/5

The Viejo Blanco arrives in a tall, clear bottle bearing a simple label with strong easy to read black and red fonts. My particular bottle label is entirely in Spanish (see cocktail below); but as indicated above, I can roughly translate the Viejo Blanco name to discern some information as to the rum’s age. I can also clearly see that my rum is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume. A gold foil sits atop the plastic screw cap at the top of the bottle.  The display is rather simplistic; but, for an entry-level rum it is acceptable.

In the Glass 8.5/10

In my glass, the rum is a very pale brown colour which when held up to the light displays a greenish tint. The colour is very reminiscent of Reposado Tequila which has not been coloured with caramel.

A very gentle toffee/molasses rises out of the glass followed by a soft waft of oak spice, banana and orange peel. I allowed the glass to breathe for about two minutes, and I was rewarded with the inviting scent of brown sugar and cinnamon baking spice. The aroma was much nicer than I was anticipating. There is very little harshness or medicinal quality in the breezes above the glass. I also did not detect any of the vegetal tones are reminiscent of a very young spirit.  My thoughts here are that the rum displays a nose which is more consistent with an 3-year-old rum than one which has been aged less than a 1 year.

When I swirled the rum, I noticed a little smooth oil on the side of the glass. As I watched, small droplets of rum formed and began to slide back down the inside of that glass. I nosed the rum one last time, and the fully decanted spirit had become more heavily scented with a spicy toffee aroma and with firmer accents of citrus.

In the Mouth 54/60

The Bermudez Ron Viejo has a similar (although much lighter) taste profile to the Bermudez Don Armando which I have previously reviewed. It is I admit not nearly as suave and smooth as the older rum; but it is smoother than most other ‘blanco’ rums I have encountered to date. The main characteristics of flavour are a firm but light oak spice, a mellow butterscotch, a hint of orange peel, dabs of cinnamon, and perhaps a smidgen of Apricot Brandy. Perhaps the apricot flavour was imagined, but I seemed to find it resting with light oak spices.

When it comes to mixing cocktails, Bermudez Ron Viejo is outstanding. I ran the spirit through the gauntlet of quintessential rum cocktails. I loved the spirit served in a Cuba Libre; and when I mixed a Daiquiri and then a Mojito, I could not find fault with any of the cocktails.

In the Throat  12.5/15

The rum has a smooth exit leaving a nice light toffee and citrus spice on the back of my palate. The burn was strong enough to warm my throat; but there was not enough burn to be uncomfortable. A lack of bitterness capped the experience, which is exactly how I like my rum to finish.

The Afterburn 9/10

The Bermudez Ron Viejo Blanco was an unexpected surprise. When I arranged for my rum club to be given a sample bottle for testing and sampling, the reaction to the Bermudez Viejo Blanco was very enthusiastic. Unanimously, the feeling was that this rum had character similar to an aged amber rum. I even caught glimpses of some members slipping back to the bottle to steal a second sample even though we also had much older bottles to sample from that evening. These experiences confirmed my believe that this is no ordinary blanco rum; it is a nice smooth rum with a gentle flavour profile which can hold its own with older rums.

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


Suggested Recipes:

I was in a creative mood and wanted to try a daiquiri style drink with this rum using lime and pineapple.  I came up with what I call the

Ron Bermudez Pineapple Daiquiri

1  1/2 oz Bermudez Ron Viejo Blanco
juice from 1/2 Lime
1/2 oz pineapple syrup
Pineapple for garnish

Place the first three ingredients in a metal shake with ice
Shake until the sides of the metal shaker are well frosted
Strain into a cocktail glass

Garnish with a chunk or slice of Pineapple

And always remember, my aim is not to have you drink more, it is to have you drink better!


My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the 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 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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