Rum Review: Brugal 1888 Ron Gran Reserva Familiar

Whiskey is all the rage these days. But what about a little love for another brown spirit? Rum doesn’t get as much respect as it deserves, especially when you consider that some of the world’s best distillers and blenders are working to create outstanding spirits. Some of the best drams available — and at some of the best prices — are found on the rum shelf.

Brugal 1888 is a dry rum from the Dominican Republic that is crafted to appeal especially to whiskey lovers. But here’s the fun part: you don’t even have to enjoy whiskey to like it. This is a fine rum that stands very well on its own.

Packaged in an elegant bottle, this rum is a gorgeous shade of copper that reveals the time it’s spent aging. According to the Brugal website, it’s aged for 6-8 years in American Oak Casks, followed by 2-4 years in Oloroso Sherry Casks — “the same casks used to mature the world’s finest single malt.” (Note the reference to whisky.)

They aren’t lying about the sherry casks either. You can smell it right from the start. A warm, fruity aroma greets you, not unlike some Scotches and bourbons. The taste is rather dry, unlike many aged rums. There is some toffee and vanilla sweetness, but it’s restrained. There is also the expected oak, along with some spice, mainly cinnamon and pepper.

You’re not going to confuse Brugal 1888 with bourbon or scotch. It’s definitely rum. But it’s more subtle and restrained than a lot of rums. It has an elegance to it that I found appealing. It’s not the style of rum that I enjoy the most — I generally prefer Jamaican or Demerara rums — but it’s a very nice spirit.

At $50 a pop, you’re probably going to want to drink this rum neat, or perhaps with a little ice. However, I can report that it makes for a mighty fine Daiquiri.

Brugal 1888 Rum Label