By Alexander Britell
You’re in a far-off bar somewhere. Or even a bar in a major city in America. You order rum.
What do you hear?
“Well, we have Captain Morgan, we have Bacardi…” And that’s usually it.
While the rum world has certainly been transformed in recent years, it’s still only high-level bars and restaurants that ever have good rum selections. Everywhere else, what you get is still some combination of spiced rum, white rum and, if you’re lucky, Zacapa.
Which is why the newest rum launch by Bacardi is just so important.
While it sells more rum than anybody on the planet, Bacardi has been slow to adapt to the premiumization of rum, other than a few tweaks of its Bacardi 8 here and there, and, of course, it’s ultra-limited (but extremely good) Facundo range.
But that changed this month with the launch of its new Bacardi Reserva Diez, a rum with a 10-year age statement (and a beautiful bottle design) that represents a serious entry for the brand into the premium rum market. (Bacardi also unveiled a four-year expression this month.)
With Facundo, Bacardi showed it could make high-level rum that rivaled the best of the Caribbean, but it was never intended as a major-market product – and it’s still very hard to find.
But Bacardi 10 is different; it’s at a price point of around $40, meant to go toe-to-toe with well-distributed brands like Zacapa, and, hopefully, meant to be ubiquitous in bars around America and the wider world.
But, more importantly, what is it like?
Bacardi 10 has a dark amber color, and a smooth aroma of candied fruit, caramel and carambola.
The flavor profile is marked by notes of kiwi, tropical fruit, a hint of spice and a sweet, French oak-like quality.
The finish is clean, with a hint of marzipan and tamarind. And that’s where things get really interesting.
This isn’t a typical Puerto Rican rum.
It’s much more velvety, fuller bodied, heavier.
In fact, it tastes like a kind of hybrid between Puerto Rican and Trinidadian rums — something that becomes powerful on the finish, the sort of finish you generally find in a 1919.
It’s much more velvety, more luxurious than a typical Bacardi rum.
It’s also, well, very good. It’s eminently drinkable, far smoother than Bacardi 8 ever hoped to be (and without the pungent alcohol notes Bacardi 8 could never escape) and a real personality.
At the end of the day, this is an important rum. It’s important for rum.
In so many bars around America, the rum choices remain nonexistent. And so long as that’s the case, it will be hard for rum to see the growth we all wish to see.
All of the great rums, the small-batch bottlings, the agricoles, the limited-edition pure single rums, won’t do anything to move the needle for rum if you can’t find them at the average bar counter.
With Bacardi’s global reach, this Bacardi 10 will find itself in those bars. It will get more people drinking rum, and more, importantly, it will get more people rethinking rum. And once that happens, all rums will benefit.
As I’ve said before, we all started our rum journeys somewhere.
And this will help start countless new rum journeys, journeys that could never have begun with a Captain and coke.
And that is no small thing.
Bacardi Reserva 10
Rum Journal Rating: 93 Points