Brugal 1888: The Newest Rum In Town

Calling all sailors, pirates, bartenders, rum enthusiasts and drinkers of fine Caribbean spirits--there is a new rum in town: Brugal 1888.

The ultra-premium, extended aged stuff is the newest in the line of fine rums made by the Brugal family of the Dominican Republic.

What distinguishes Brugal 1888 from any other rum is the fact that it's finished -- or aged a second time -- in Sherry oak barrels imported from Spain, a deviation from their typical method of aging rum in American oak barrels used to make Bourbon.

It's dark amber-colored rum, with a slight hint of vanilla fragrance. Meant to be sipped and enjoyed over rocks or neat, it gets sweeter as it's consumed.

"It really evolves as you're sipping it in the glass," says Gustavo Ortega Brugal, the fifth generation of the Brugal maestros roneros -- or rum masters, "and that's due to the complexity that it has and the aging in the Sherry oak barrels."

In part, the production process accounts for the complexity because it's double-distilled, double-aged blend of their finest rums, aged first with American White Oak barrels then finished with Sherry oak and the barrels are stored horizontally so that the liquid is in permanent contact with the wood, ensuring that the rum gains the highly specific characteristics of color, aroma and taste.

It is aged between five and 14 years, compare this with Brugal's Extra Viejo, which is aged between five and eight years.

The Edrington Group, a Scottish distilling company that controls Brugal & Co. through shareholding, partly innovated the effort to create an ultra-premium Brugal rum. George Espie, the Edrington's Master of Wood and creator of the Macallan single-malt whisky, hand-picked the barrels used for aging Brugal 1888.

Brugal 1888 commemorates the year when Andres Brugal founded the Dominican Republic's number one brand of rum.

The ultra-premium rum costs about 50 bucks for a 750mL bottle, and is 80-proof, or 40 percent alcohol.

One of the Caribbean's most popular brands of rum, Brugal products are now available in the United States.

This is one rum that you seriously want to enjoy every sip. It doesn't deserve the insult of being mixed with anything. It's like pouring A-1 over a fine cut of steak: ruined.

The bottom line is that if you get caught using Brugal 1888 as a mixer, you're bound to get slapped.

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