While you may not realize it, the Dominican Republic’s Ron Brugal the most popular rum brand within the Caribbean — that is, as a measure of consumption in the region.
That’s not exactly a surprise, given that it’s the number one seller by far in the Dominican Republic, the third-largest country in the Caribbean.
And it is rather ubiquitous in the rest of the region — even in local bars that don’t have rums outside of their own islands, you’ll often find a bottle of Añejo sitting on the corner of the shelf.
And no matter which expression you choose, you’ll find a solid molasses rum that’s the essence of Dominican rum-making, one with more than 130 years of tradition.
Outside of the Dominican Republic, though, the range is a bit limited.
There’s the white, the aforementioned Añejo, and the de facto flagship, the Brugal 1888. The 1888 is a blend (the company doesn’t specify the aging) that’s aged first in ex-bourbon and then in ex-sherry casks.
That’s without mentioning the halo rum of the range, the Papa Andres, an ultra-rare expression that’s also notable for always being in the Uber-Premiurm competition of the Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth.
Within the Dominican Republic, you can find some rarer, more interesting expressions, however.
That brings us to the newest rum fro Brugal: the Leyenda Fifth Anniversary Edition.
The first Leyenda debuted five years ago as a special edition, notable for its double aging in bourbon and sherry casks.
The new Fifth Anniversary edition is also a blend: according to Brugal, that means a blend of rums aged two to five years in ex-bourbon, and rums aged four to six years in ex-Sherry barrels.
So what is it like?
The aroma is marked by notes of sherry, brown sugar, candied apricot and a hint of fennel.
The flavor profile is marked by citrus peel, oak, tropical fruit and even a hint of maraschino cherry.
There’s the unmistakable dry finish that marks all Brugal, but it’s a bit more understated, more elegant.
Interestingly, it’s bottled at just 38 degrees, a bit of a rarity in the premium rum world; but it’s got some welcome boldness on the edges, a warm glow that adds to what is a very balanced, drinkable rum.
It’s a very good rum, one that’s a perfect way to cap off a long dinner with friends, and enough boldness to enjoy with a fine cigar — a perfect cigar pairing for replacement for a cigar you might traditionally pair with a glass of port.
Rum Journal Review: 91 Points