Review: Barcelo Rum
￼￼Produced in the Domincan Republic from distilled sugar cane since 1930, it is only relatively recently that the Barcelo rum range has started to make a greater impact in the European markets. All four products are distilled in vacuum column stills before being aged in either ex-bourbon barrels or new white oak barrels and finally blended.
I usually like to undertake a comprehensive review of each product, testing in several different cocktails to offer some detailed thoughts. On this occasion I must admit to only having tried bite-size samples and thus my notes are limited to tasting neat.
Ron Barceolo Gran Platinum
Only launched in 2011, the Gran Platinum is a blend of rums aged an average of 6yrs before being filtered through charcoal to leave the end product colourless, giving the appearance of an unaged rum. Unsurprisingly given the relatively long barrel-ageing for a ‘white’ rum, the nose reveals a vanilla and oaky edge with more than a hint of cream soda. It smells nice enough but I can’t help but think that 6yrs in the barrel has resulted in a loss of freshness that is so characteristic of ‘white’ rums. The PR copy for this product talks a lot of pineapple, green apple, hay, coconut water and condensed milk on the palate but I honestly struggled to find such an exciting line up of flavours. By no means is the taste bad, and it certainly is smooth, but everything just seemed a little muted and indistinguishable. I would however like to have a ‘play’ with mixing this rum as I suspect some good mixing might release a lot of the potential.
Ron Barcelo Gran Anejo
Also aged for 6yrs in ex-bourbon barrels, but not charcoal-filtered and presumably using a different blend to the Gran Platinum is the Gran Anejo. Distinguishable on the nose are aromas of vanilla, butter, candied peel and brandied cherries which excite the senses much more than the platinum. The palate is sweeter than the nose would lead you to believe, but still drier than the molasses-based rums that some may be accustomed to. The sweetness is relatively brief, and develops into a more complex and leathery taste with lighter sherry-like notes penetrating. The upfront and mid-palate are more impressive than the finish and include some nice spicy fruit and nutty elements, leading me to conclude that with the right ingredients this rum would mix well whilst also providing it’s own character.
Ron Barcelo Imperial
Aged for an average 10yrs in new white oak barrels, this is the signature product from Ron Barcelo that really shows off the style of this range beautifully. Rich and full bodied on the nose with aroma’s of cinnamon, orange, apples and dates. There is a mild dry smokiness and hint of new leather that adds an intriguing complexity. Tasted neat it is very very smooth and perfectly balanced on the sweet-dry scale. Upfront is a full-bodied taste of chewy toffee and cocoa which becomes more complex as the rum develops in the mouth. A touch of pepper, oak and leather combine with the traditional ‘rummy’ tastes to make for a sophisticated yet very approachable rum. Perhaps a little flat on the finish but that is only in comparison to the huge up-front taste and there is still a good length to this rum. The full-bodied and couple flavours of this rum, combined with its relatively dry style mean I suspect it would mix wonderfully in drinks like the old fashioned where different bitters would pick out the huge range of flavours going on here.
Ron Barcelo is available to buy from Master of Malt.
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.