Right. This is a re-review of Brugal 1888. I reviewed a bottle in February and the bottle was bad; it was corked. Luckily for me the shop I bought this from (Amazon) sent me a new bottle free of charge, and I’ve been drinking this for a few weeks – time to review a good bottle!
What is it? Well, I wont cover old ground. You can read details of the bottling and my previous review here (Brugal 1888 – corked). Essentially, it’s a sherried column distilled rum from the Dominican Republic.
Let’s get down to it then;
Nose: Similar (naturally) to the corked bottle; gooey toffee, Crème Brule topping, golden raisins, sultanas and honey – but it seems “wider” and “rounder” if that makes sense, a lot less narrow and the smells merge and overlap with better integration. This is where things start to pick up; the oak is warmer and the incense is much more intense with plenty of mouth-watering rolling tobacco. The nose is much fruitier than before too, with flamed orange peels and even some grapefruit. There is some faint earthy, mushroomy smell further in which is quite consistent with the rancio notes I’d expect from a sherry matured spirit.
Palate: Still a medium mouth feel, a bit fuller than before (the old bottle seems thin now). No damp cardboard or wet dog! Result. There is still a musty cork note in this, but that’s common with what I’ve had in previous DomRep rums and is just part of the character, it’s not a “flaw”. Here is where the difference in this new bottle is found. Big fruity oranges, that slightly sour grapefruit note and lots of honey. Big fat juicy sultanas, figs, buttercream, milk chocolate and coffee. There is a big handful of roasted mixed nuts, covered with fresh cinnamon and a prickle of oak and it moves to the finish.
Finish: Medium. Juicy, mouth-watering and spicy at the same time. It’s a dry finish, with plenty of vanilla, clove, root ginger and walnuts. There are notes of coffee bean, brown sugar and mint as things fade out.
Thoughts? Well this is seriously better than the first bottle I had. When I did a side by side it’s like they were almost different rums, which I’m very happy about. I’ve looked back through my previous review and I think I was being a little kind when wrote it, it wasn’t until after that I really realised how bad that bottle was. Is it for me? Well, yes. I’m not a massive fan of the DomRep style, it’s fine and has a place but I find it all a bit “magnolia” – you know, you paint your walls magnolia because it’s goes with everything, it’s neutral and doesn’t offend anyone….but it doesn’t really excite, its just “there”. This rum, however, is quite different. It’s easily the best DomRep rum I’ve had so far and the ex-sherry casks have been fantastic by pumping it full of big flavours. One I’d consider getting again.