Spaniard Don Andrés Brugal Montaner founded the company in 1888 after settling in Puerto Plata, a beautiful city on the north coast of the Dominican where the Brugal aging facilities still remain. Today, the company’s maestros roneros—master blenders—are his fourth- and fifth-generation descendants. Both rum production and culture have deep roots in the Dominican. Every bottle of Brugal begins its journey in the fields of San Pedro de Macorís, in the south eastern part of the country. Brugal’s distillery in San Pedro is where the magic begins. The molasses is diluted with water and yeast, causing a reaction with the sugar to produce carbon dioxide and alcohol, called “vino”. This sugar cane wine is then distilled, yielding raw “flema”, which is 90 per cent alcohol. This is distilled yet again, and the lighter alcohols that concentrate at the top of the distillation column are used for the final product. This is the heart of what makes Brugal unique. This part isn’t as glamorous as the aging facility, but it’s absolutely crucial. By extracting the heavy alcohols, which normally supply flavour to rum, all flavours come from wood aging instead. The final alcohol used for Brugal is extremely neutral, and a quick test proves it: put it on your hands, rub them together, and it totally evaporates, leaving no smell, no stickiness. This alcohol is diluted to 65 per cent, and transported by truck to Puerto Plata to the aging facility. Brugal’s acquisition by Edrington has only stood to benefit the spirit maker, as it now uses the same wood policy as the Macallan, and has access to some of the best American and Scottish whisky barrels in the world. It is actually difficult to age rum in the Dominican for more than eight years because of the rate of evaporation. Once aged, the rum is filtered, various ages are blended by the maestros roneros, and then left in resting tanks, allowing the rums to fully mix together. White rums are left for six days; it can be up to a month for the others. Brugal’s rums are molasses-based, made entirely from molasses created using sugar cane from three nearby provinces in the Dominican Republic.
A clear with a dark amber to brown color with reddish highlights (clearly showing the influence of the wood on the rum). The bouquet has shows a complex aroma that was influenced by the woods and there were notes of dried fruit (apricot, raisins, figs), chocolate, vanilla, caramel, almonds and a toasted note. On the palate, the rum had a smooth, viscous quality with notes of dried fruit (apricot, raisins, figs), vanilla, caramel and toasted almonds. The influence of the sherry was more pronounced on the palate.