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Bacardi 8 Review

Here it is.  Chip’s take on Bacardi 8, a rum that some say is one of the most widely available and overlooked premiums on the market.  See what he thinks.

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Review: Bacardi 8 Yr Old Rum 90.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)

My introduction for this review was accomplished previously in my article “
Ron Bacardi & Cuba – Turbulent Times” published here yesterday.  One item I would like to add is that I went into this review fully expecting to dislike the Bacardi 8.  It is, after all, quite fashionable to bash Bacardi and claim with a somewhat superior air that anything they make is for the masses and therefore obviously inferior.   Well let me tell you right up front that it is just that type of intellectual snobbery that made me pass up this wonderful rum for almost a year.  This rum doesn’t just break the stereotype … it destroys the stereotype!!  Read on…

In the Bottle 4/5

When I score a product in the bottle, one thing I look for is a bit of “wow” factor.  An impressive looking canister housing the liquid, or a unique bottle shape, or even a little booklet I can read which tells me why I should buy the rum.   This presentation however;  is a simple and understated.  I think perhaps the Ron Bacardi label with the 8 year age statement serves the purpose to catch the consumer’s eye.  The addition of a nice solid cork topper to distinguish the 8 year old rum from its younger cousins is a nice touch.

Picture 8In the Glass  9/10

This rum has been aged for a full 8 years in ‘hand selected’ oak barrels.  According to the Rumelier, whose knowledge I trust, the rum was finished in sherry oak barrels.  The care with which the rum was aged becomes apparent as soon as the bottle is opened.  The aroma is gentle, inviting, and very well balanced.  As I poured the bottle into the glass, I was enticed by soft fragrances of dried plums, light caramel and a wonderful light oak aroma.  Hints of spices drifted in the air perhaps cinnamon, perhaps nutmeg and allspice.

Once the rum was in the glass and I swirled it, I noticed a light sheen of oil which dropped long slender legs down towards the rum.  I will confess that I like long slender legs, it indicates a lighter rum which usually has a crisp entry and clean finish.

In my Mouth 55/60

I could not help but notice that the delivery of the Bacardi 8 year old rum was very similar to the delivery of a really good whisky. I am not talking about flavours mind you, I am talking about style.  The rum carries a lovely light smoke, and a firm oak flavour which provides foundation and character.  This is not a sweet rum dripping with honey. It is a firm well oaked rum.  It has a slightly heavy, slightly smoky presence which is reminiscent of a very soft very chewy peat.  (Of course this is not peat, it is the sherry influence from the finishing barrels.)  This smoky presence helps to blend and carry the other flavours.  I taste   figs,  dates, and dried plums.  I even get a nice mellow Apricot Brandy which weaves in and out of a light caramel adding a delicate sweetness.  Nutmeg, allspice, and a gentle cinnamon accent the flavours beautifully.

Against all of this is a nice oak backdrop.  For me the rum is truly outstanding in the balance, complexity and character of its delivery.

In the Throat  13.5/15

Prunes and raisins slide down my throat in a long mildly dry finish.   The burn feels a little stronger than I was expecting, probably strengthened by the dryness.   The oak flavour seems to linger in my palate for a long time before it vanishes along with whispers of spice and smoke.

The Afterburn 9/10

I admit that I have been, to some extent, enchanted by Bacardi 8.  It was so much better than I was expecting.  I think some of you will believe I am crazy for scoring this rum as highly as I have, but I feel that Bacardi has really raised the bar.  I taste balance, complexity and a strong oak character in a whisky style  that I find simply delightful.

Suggested Cocktail

It is said that Ernest Hemingway preferred his daiquiri to be made with Bacardi White Label rum.  As well, I have come across the suggestion from more than one source, that the preferred daiquiri  in pre Castro Cuba was made with Bacardi Rum.  With this in mind, I have chosen to make the
Hemingway Daiquiri with the Bacardi 8 year old rum and, although I am no Hemingway in my writing ability, sometimes it is nice to dream:

Hemingway Daiquiri (with Bacardi 8 Year Old Rum)

These proportions may not be exactly as per the original Hemingway Daiquiri, but I have come across many different  ‘original’ Hemingway Daiquiri recipe suggestions.  Not knowing for certain which the true original is, I chose the one where less fruit would be wasted. This keeps my wife happy.

2 oz   Bacardi 8 Year old Rum
1/4 oz      maraschino liqueur
Juice from 1 fresh Limes
Juice From 1/2 Grapefruit

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled large highball glass.

Now for those who do not know Earnest Hemingway was a diabetic, and hence there is no sugar in the recipe.  I am not a diabetic, and to be honest, I find this recipe a little tart.  So I thought I would ’sloe’ it down a bit (pun intended) and give the recipe some sweetness and a little more rum for balance.

The Grapefruit Catapult

2  oz   Bacardi 8 Year old Rum
1/4 oz      Sloe Gin
Juice from 1 fresh Limes
Juice From 1/2 Grapefruit
1 – 3  teaspoons of Simple syrup or grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a glass of your choice.

This recipe also gave me a good excuse to use up that other half a grapefruit to keep my wife happy.  Trust me on this one folks.  Keeping your wife happy is a great start to any evening of cocktails.

To check out more of Chip’s reviews, tune into the
Rum Howler Blog.