Brugal Siglo de Oro

by Matt Robold on December 17, 2007

While on my most recent trip to the Caribbean, my wife insisted on stopping in one extra shop on St. Maarten when I thought we were done for the day.  While we wandered around the shop, I took stock of the rums on their shelves and my eye was caught by a blue bottle with the word “BRUGAL” displayed prominently across the front in gold lettering.  While I was familiar with Brugal rums (which is to say I had heard of and coveted them), I was honestly not at all familiar with the Siglo de Oro rum.

After a quick check of the price ($68US), I pulled the bottle and its associated box from the shelf and carried it to the checkout counter, where my wife smirked and made a joke about “Still managed to find another one huh?”  Yes, I have an addiction.  I can’t help but buy interesting rums.  The fine fellows at Hi-Time Wines in Costa Mesa, California are supporting their children with my “problem.”

When we returned home, I started to research this magnificent blue bottle.  As it turns out, Siglo de Oro is something of a rarity outside of the Dominican Republic, where it is made.  Ed Hamilton of the Ministry of Rum expressed a bit of surprise that I had found this particular spirit in St. Maarten.  A lot of other rum enthusiasts have expressed a desire for me to post my tasting notes, so on Repeal Day (December 5th) I sat down with the bottle and a glass, along with a pen and my Muppet notepad and dove headlong in to the premium offering from Brugal…

Appearances

I poured the spirit in to my tasting glass and did the requisite swirling.  The rum is a warm amber color and has very strong legs.  The legs are a tad bit runny (no pun intended), but watching the glass, you almost get the impression that you’re watching syrup run down the sides instead of rum.

Nose

The eyes having been appeased, it was time to turn to the nose of the spirit.  I swirled the rum in the glass while I kept my nose several inches above the rim.  There are a lot of different scents that jump right out.  Hints of orange peal and leather come to the forefront, with woody notes and a bit of a surprise with the scent of banana floating on top.  The nose was cool and earthy, evoking images of the rain forest.  I was suddenly more interested than ever in what flavors I would find trapped inside my glass.

Palate

As the nose foretold, this rum has a woody flavor to it.  The immediate flavor on the tongue is that of the barrel with a mellow sweetness.  There is a hint of leather which is blended nicely with notes of orange and coffee.  Despite the syrupy legs, the Siglo de Oro has a very light but earthy body to it.  The finish was clean, leaving a slight tingle on the tongue.  The most dangerous aspect of the rum is probably the burn – which is non-existent.  If a person didn’t know what they were drinking and how hard and expensive it might be to replace, they could easily finish the entire bottle in a single sitting without realizing it.

I was a tad surprised at the fact that I didn’t taste any of the banana that I had detected in the nose.  I rechecked the nose and, sure enough, it was still there; but no amount of searching revealed the flavor to go along with the smell.  The mental imagery, however, was still intact.  If you close your eyes while drinking this, you quickly find yourself standing amidst the calls of birds, standing on a mountain-top under the shade of the rain forest canopy…broken shoots and branches behind you where you cut your path with your machete…you old companion Pedro and his ever-trusty horse standing next to you.  You remove your hat to wipe your brow as you glance around, trying to determine where next to search for the lost idol of – wait, what was I talking about again?

The Long & The Short Of It

There’s no need for my usual verbosity in describing how great this rum is.  This is perhaps the best rum on my shelf, rivaled only by Pyrat Cask 1623, Ron Zacapa 23 Años, and Temptryst Cherrywood.  I would recommend it to anyone who has the means of acquiring it that doesn’t involve taking it from me.

Dood’s Rating: 5 Bottles of Rum Out of 5

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{ 16 comments }

Count Silvio December 18, 2007 at 11:58 am

Cool review Dood. I liked especially the mental images you gave. A great way of describing the nose for example. Fortunately for me my local cigar bar sells this rum. I will have to go there on a quiet time of the day and sample this product.

Tiare March 23, 2008 at 10:56 pm

A very interesting and lively described review Dood! Now i want this rum..i have as much of a “problem” as you have!

I think its time to PM the Count..

Mike April 4, 2008 at 1:54 am

It is a fantastic rum. One of my co workers went home for the holidays in the dominican republic and brought me back a bottle. You are almost dead on with your description. The smoothness was incredible from the oak aging. I treasure this bottle…my father is the only one i would give a glass to..Oh well

The Rumelier November 12, 2008 at 9:11 pm

I just got given a bottle today by my best customer. After reading your review while watching the waves crash over the beach at my local I can’t wait to go home and sample it. It sounds fantastic.

Joseph Rowley January 5, 2009 at 12:08 am

I first had the pleasure of this particular holy water in April 2003 when my wife and I went to Sosua for our 25th anniversary. The rumswere much cheaper then at the bottler in Puerto Plata.
I LOVE Brugal Rum and this one in particular. I was more than a little surprised at how I hit the bar at 10 AM and drank constantly until after midnight without so much as a slur. I am not a big drinker. However when I brought this bottle home and my wife and I along with a friend enjoyed the whole bottle, which was fine, I was rather amazed that I caught a buzz. It is very good but it will sneak up on you.
We went back this spring and brought some more home. I was very distressed at how much the price had gone up but what can you do? It was $41/bottle now and only $18 five years ago if I remember correctly. I wish I had bought a truckload and sent it home somehow.

Raphael January 12, 2009 at 12:12 am

I tasted this rum last week at a bar at Las Americas airport, and was actually pretty let down by it. Your description of the color and flavors is pretty dead-on, but I found the shot I had to be surprisingly harsh, with a noticeable burn on the palate and especially in the throat. I’ve never been a big fan of Brugal’s rum (or as I prefer to call it, “Brutal”) in the first place — although I’ve consumed more than my fair share while living in the DR for a few months — but I expected something much more smooth and complex from such a pretty blue bottle.

Of course, I concede it’s possible I was the victim of a bait-and-switch, but I did find the rum to be of a higher caliber than the Brugal extra viejo I’m used to drinking.

The Barceló Imperial, OTOH — now THAT’s a terrific rum, and a great buy at about $30 a bottle. I’m looking forward to tasting my hideously-overpriced bottle of 25-year Opthimus.

Matt Robold January 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Hi Raphael,

Interesting that my bottle seemed to have so little burn. I’m also wondering if maybe your drink got switched on you. The bottle I have is smooth and subtle, very unlike the majority of the Brugal line, which I find to be more boldly flavored.

I agree with you about Barcelo Imperial. A wonderful rum. It is perfect to drink on its own or in a nice cocktail.

I can’t claim to have tried Opthimus…now I’m intrigued.

Marco January 26, 2009 at 3:42 am

Just came back from D.R. Brought home Imperial and Siglo de oro. Did a taste test with my son: Both were absolutely smooth and easy sipping. No burn at all, excellent. Terrific straight up. As both were FANtastic, we decided that value for the money – Imperial was the winner. I paid in D.R. >Siglo de oro= $50. Imperial= $20.
I will never buy Bacardi or Captain Mo again. With terrific rums like Havana Club, Flor de cana, Mount Gay, I don;t bother with ‘the popular mixers’.

Rum'0'rama February 18, 2009 at 3:25 am

I’m glad I stumbled across this site. Great reviews and I really enjoyed this one. Makes ya wanna drink rum which I suppose would be the highest compliment.
Anyways, I was lucky enough to get a bottle of that rum in the dominican airport/duty free. Took me a while to get into the huge oak flavour but once I did the bottle started to empty a lot faster. Fantastic rum.

Mike sweetland March 6, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Hello everyone.my name is mike and I thought I would through my 2 cents worth in about this wonderful rum.this rum is the best I have tasted.every year we visit the Dominican republic and return home to Canada with at least 3 bottles.I’m lucky enough to have friends there that purolater this rum to my home when I want some. All we can buy in Canada is the carta dorada.which is nice to but a far cry from the brugal ( blue ) as I call it.so to all you rum drinkers that have sampled the silo de oro enjoy!

StriperGuy June 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Have you tried the garden variety Brugal Anejo? Really excellent stuff for $14 or so. My standby sipping rum.

meningitis symptoms June 29, 2009 at 8:19 am

I was lucky enough to get a bottle of that rum in the dominican airport/duty free. Took me a while to get into the huge oak flavour but once I did the bottle started to empty a lot faster.

just chillen July 13, 2009 at 7:34 pm

I just received a bottle of Brugal from my brother for my birthday, as he was in the DR. We open the bottle and was amazed at the smell and later the taste.I need to find more friends and family the frequent the DR, I want more.

scott cryer December 19, 2009 at 12:47 pm

I got a bottle of that 3 years ago in the Dominican Republic and sadly, I finally finished it. I just couldn’t keep it on reserves any longer. Just love this rum. The woody smell/taste, makes me feel like I’m standing in a room full of wood rum barrels in some damp, room in the hot Caribbean. I know what you mean Mr. Dood about how it really brings visual references (hmmmm….hallucinogenic rum!)
They sell Brugal in Canada but sadly, not that puppy. Now I’ll have to bribe friends going down there on vacation to pick me up a bottle of this and what the hell, a bottle of Ron Zacapa XO to boot.
Cheers everyone and Happy Holidays!…hic :)

BNB August 27, 2010 at 9:51 am

I have like five bottles of Barcelo Imperial. Friends and families aways bring it to me they they go on vacation to DR.

I don’ like to drink rum to much unless it is in mixed, but will drink it if I am out of premium Tequila (Don Julio, Cabo Wabo), Barcelo Imperial is the only rum I would straight up that I can afford. However, I do like to mix rum with coke and for me Brugal Extra Viejo (which is cheap) is the best rum to mix with coke and two cube of ice.

I would say mix equal parts of Extra Viejo and coke and add two cube of ice per 4 to 5 ounces of the mix and you set to get a slow good high.

eric mendez October 12, 2010 at 7:59 am

Is there any way of purchasing this bottle outside of d.r.somebody is selling a bottle on ebay for 250 that is crazy when u can purchase a bottle for 40 to 65 dollars.

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