Brugal have made a concerted effort to break into the UK market over the past couple of years. The rum has been re-branded and has even found itself in one or two of the nations supermarkets. The rum is imported into the UK by The Erdington Group based in Glasgow, Scotland.
In its home country the politically separated island of Hispaniola, or more accurately the Dominican Republic (as opposed to Haiti) it is one of the three “B’s”. The other big rum producers on the island being Bermudez and Barceló.
The Especial is the brands white mixing rum. Unlike its entry level brother the Anejo it is bottled at 40% rather than 38%. In the UK a bottle of Especial is slightly harder to find than the Anejo and retails at around the £18-20 mark for a 70cl bottle.
I like the updated presentation of the Brugal line up. The red, white and blue colour scheme is clean and fresh and the mesh on the bottle gives it a Caribbean feel. You almost feel like making a few Pina Colada’s with this rum. (Steady on I haven’t any coconut milk). The bottle is topped of by a blue metal screw cap which is good quality.
I’ve noticed a couple of white rums noting they are “dry”. Immediately I am left thinking of gin “London Dry Gin” in particular. I’m not a huge gin fan so I hope this isn’t infused with too many botanicals! A few rum companies have tried to introduce “premium” white mixing rums over the past couple of years. Bacardi have even turned their white sipping rum (Gran Reserva de Maestro) into a premium mixer in a last minute change of heart. The premiumisation (I hate that word) of the vodka market by Grey Goose (owned by Bacardi) no doubt inspired this. Whether Brugal have their eye on capturing a few gin drinkers I’m not so sure. However, it should be noted that like dark rum can often replace whisky and bourbon in cocktails white rum can do the same for cocktails requiring vodka or gin.
A quick nosing of the Especial reveals nice fruity notes like many white rums. Crisp Green Apple and a little banana and pineapple. Overall the rum is very sweet smelling and slightly floral. Their is a little of the Spanish/Hispanic style “tobacco” like notes. However these are more subdued than say Bacardi Superior and certainly the Havana 3 Anos. The rum has a nice light fragrance to it.
On with the tasting. When sipped neat the rum is surprisingly agreeable. It’s not at all harsh and is pretty pleasant. The rums in the blend have been aged between 2 and 5 years and this rum has been triple distilled. The rum is pretty pleasant nice and sweet with very little burn and it is quite smooth by mixing rum standards. It’s still quite “boozy” but it is a pretty well rounded rum. As promised on the label, the rum is dry especially in the finish. The finish is fairly short but it is still quite enjoyable.
This is a rum which I have enjoyed a lot more than I was expecting. I’m not a big fan of the Anejo but this is very different. In a Cuba Libre the rum works really well. It has enough fruit flavour to work well with the cola and the slightly dry mouthfeel is also quite nice and refreshing. The triple distillation may have taken an edge of the more oaked and tobacco like notes that are often present in Latin style rums but I’m not really missing those notes. They are still present but are slightly muted allowing the fruit flavour to shine more.
This is a very good well balanced, well put together mixing white rum. The dryness gives the rum an extra dimension and lifts it above many other white rums. For a mixologist it will give a lot more options in mixed drinks and may well improve the quality of a number of cocktails that require a rum with a more crisp, dry profile.