Brugal are one of the big three “B’s” in rum production on the Dominican Republic. (Barceló and Bermudez are the other two) For those who do not know the Domician Republic is the politically divided island of Hispaniola. The remaining part of the island is Haiti.
A couple of years ago Brugal began re-branding their slightly dated bottles. This coincided (no doubt deliberately) as they began to expand into Europe. Since the re-launch Brugal can now be seen in most style and cocktail bars in the UK. More often than not it will be this rum and the XV which will be stocked.
Brugal Anejo is used primarily as a mixer and is priced competitively at around £17-20 per 70cl bottle. The ABV is slightly lower than most branded rum at 38%. The unusual presentation is actually netting. I understand this is to enable better grip of the bottle in hot climates. Clearly it is not something us Englishmen need worry about!
I like the new presentation of the Brugal the previous bottle looked dated and cheapened the brand. The new presentation is much more modern and I like the strong and vibrant blue, white and red colour scheme.
I actually bought an old style Brugal just as the re-launch was happening. I bet regular readers can guess why? Yes that’s right there was a few quid off so I got it for £16 rather than £20. The present bottle I got in Tesco (who are beginning to stock a not bad selection of rum) for I think £17. Though don’t quote me on that.
I remember being underwhelmed by my last bottle of Brugal. I found it extremely weak in terms of overall flavour and it had a very thin profile to it. I didn’t sip rum back then so I don’t feel like I properly experienced Brugal. Out and about a couple of weeks ago I tasted the XV and quite enjoyed it. So here we are with a review.
The initial nose of the Brugal is of a classic rum. It has a classic Bajan nose. Nothing to dramatic or complex. Nice gentle notes of vanilla and banana with a slight nutty aroma and a light oaked aroma. Beneath the aromas is a strong smell of alcohol spirit. This lets you know it is a relatively young rum (5 years aged). Overall for an entry level mixer it has a very good nose.
When sipped the rum is fairly smooth, however this gives way to a very strong burn upon swallowing. It has a little sweet fruit initially but it quickly fades leaving you with little of anything really. There are notes of oak and tobacco throughout the tasting but they aren’t very hard hitting at all. The drink actually feels quite thin as well on the palate. I sipper the rum offers very little to recommend. Initially smooth with a strong burn and little to virtually no flavour. It’s dry and tasteless pretty much.
When mixed the rum works better. It makes a reasonable rum and cola though you do have to go easy on the cola (or hard on the rum) if you want to be able to taste the Brugal. There is a little flavour of vanilla and a general smoothness but again the thinness of the spirit lets it down. It is a little like mouthwash. It has a kind of minty/medicinal feel almost like swallowing water rich with chlorine. It just feels like some of the rum flavours have been taken out of it.
It’s the strange mouth feel and weird aftertaste which I dislike the most about this rum. It doesn’t taste horrible or cheap it just doesn’t really have much taste. It’s very inoffensive. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could pass this off as Vodka in a mixed drink.
I can’t put this rum into the bottom star rating as it isn’t bad per se it’s just really disappointing. I suppose Average is the best word to describe this effort.
Added sugar: 7 grams per litre
This rum is available at