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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