Brugal 1888

Owner

Manufacturer:

Brugal & Co. / The Edrington Group Limited

Price approx:

40

Origins

Terroir:

Dominican Republic

Regulations:

Denominación de Origen Ron Dominicano (DO)

Classification

Style:

spanish

Gargano:

single modernist rum
raw material

Raw material:

molasses

distillation

Distillation:

three pairs of two column stills

aging

Aging:

6 to 8 years in White American Oak ex-whiskey, followed by 2-4 years in Spanish Sherry Oak casks

sugar added

Sugar added:

< 5 g/L

alcohol by volume

Alcohol by volume:

40%

additives

Additives:

caramel

Pretext

The company's founding date as a product name suggests even if intuitively then still clearly - attachment to tradition and that product features are representative for a brand, craft or style. Brugal & Co. was actually established in 1888, it has been releasing aged rums since 1952, although the '1888' variant was introduced in 2010 as a novelty in the manufacturer's offer. This innovation is doblemente añejado, meaning double aging in two barrel types.


The double aging idea seems to be an imported concept because it appears shortly after the majority stake acquisition by the Edrington Group (2008). Although the family in the fifth generation still runs Brugal, the casks selection (those after sherry) is the Georg Espie hands; unrelated Scottish Master Wood from the corporate sister distillery Macallan.


In turn, at Brugal the Maestro Ronero position can only be awarded to family members; only the descendants of the founder Andrés Brugal Montaner may hold the title. The highest quality standards are therefore ensured by natural selection, however carried out on a microscale because within the family. I am not a geneticist, so I may have a wrong understanding of the intergenerational predispositions transfer. In opposition to my dilettantes, I will quote the company's slogan “a family recipe, handed down through generations”. Even if the recipe materializes in 70-80 thousand liters of rum every day.


Brugal 1888 looks phenomenal after rebranding (2017). When it comes to the form - it's a perfectly contoured, transparent bottle with a thick heel and a characteristic mesh, expressing individualism and uniqueness. When it comes to aesthetics - every detail is fine-tuned; subtle nameplate; stylish typography with a brilliant combination of a golden font put on a dark liquor background. The product clearly stands out on the shelf. The user experience successfully reflects the noiseless elegance. Words of appreciation for Pocket Rocket Creative.  👍


In general, promotional materials are outstanding. I like the idea and implementation of Pavol Kazimir shorts. All the more, there are some inconsistencies in brand communication. Because I really don't know how to interpret Jassil Villanueva words - the first Dominican and at the same time the youngest in the world Maestra Ronera - when she states disarmingly that after pasta supper she swigs the  thousand-eight hundred-eighty-eight direct from the bottle. It sounds a bit contrary to the product claim "a rum made to sip". Although the product targets millennials and for this reason it's hard to say if it was a lapsus or a well thought out strategy to shorten the distance. 😅

Procedure

Brugal doesn't have its own crops but is based entirely on domestic production. Molasses comes from sugar factories located in the south of the Dominican Republic (Ingenio Cristóbal Colón or Central Romana Co.). Yeast propagation (24h) using the proprietary strain is followed by twelve-hour fermentation. In San Pedro de Macoris there are three pairs of two column stills in use. The resulting aguardiente of 95% abv is the basis for all offered variants. The rest is due to the aging length and expertise in blending. The aguardiente is then transported to warehouses / bodegas in Puerto Plata and is diluted to 65% abv. The water is filtered to get a slightly acidic with a pH level around 4.5


Time has come for a barrel. However there is no age statement on the '1888' bottle. Brugal is part of ADOPRON and of WIRSPA and may use the Authentic Caribbean Rum mark too. A truly binding privilege strengthening our belief that the given aging range is credible: initially six to eight years in ex-bourbon American white oak (Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, Heaven Hill), following two to four years in European red oak (first-fill sherry casks*). The barrels are laid in a horizontal position to maximize the surface interaction with the wood. *First-fill cask means that it hasn’t previously been used to mature any other spirit than sherry and also only once (here oloroso). Sugar content below 5g / L. Caramel for color uniformity.

Aroma
The sophisticated sweetness of red and dried fruits, raisins and dates, complement a spicy woodiness, with hints of cinnamon.
— as they tell
Vanilla pudding, pineapple, camomille, coconut shreds.
— as examined by RumExam
Taste
Well rounded and smooth with body and character. Perceived sweetness of toffee and vanilla balanced with peach, cocoa and cloves.
— as they tell
Peach-nectarine, raisins and raspberry, cinnamon and burnt wood.
— as examined by RumExam
Afterburn
Remarkably long-lasting and elegant, with a hint of honey.
— as they tell
Caramel with subtle tannins.
— as examined by RumExam
⁖Reviewed on: April 9th, 2022