Barcelo Imperial 21 Anniversario

Barcelo 21 rum

Product of:  Dominican Republic
Aged:  over 10 Years
Price: $150 / 700ml
Alcohol: 38% ABV
Context: Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating: 10

Tasting Notes
Extremely Smooth.  The color of Ron Barceló Imperial 21 alerts you to a deeply aged rum that has taken on it’s hue from  toasted oak ex-Kentucky bourbon barrels.  The nose taunts your tongue over this rum, as the many complex aromas are so harmoniously balanced and well developed that you hesitate to sip, lest you spoil the pleasure of another sniff.  It is that good. Barcelo 21 possesses a sweet characteristic that is once and the same incredible but not overwhelming, with an herbal woody complexity.  Flavors of caramel, fresh oak and vanilla are apparent.  Less so are hints of blackberry, orange, cardamom, anise and toasty marshmallows. By all means, do plunge in after sufficiently tormenting yourself with sniffing. The initial taste is the ultimate reward, for all the flavors your nose teased you with are evident when sipping. Indulgent tasting reveals greater complexity and additional flavors including mint, cinnamon, and a slight paraffin to accentuate the body. The finish is a medium-long and delicately caramel sweet. That these flavors are all balanced and recognizable from sniff to finish are testament to the blender’s art.

Anecdotes
Culled from the Barcelo family's reserves of their finest aged rums to commemorate the annivresary of their 21st harvest, this exceptional Premium Blend version is both expensive and ever more difficult to find.  Sadly, Barcelo Imperial 21 Anniversario was last produced in 2005, making it all the more collectible and savorable once you embrace a bottle. A visit to the Dominican Republic will reward you with many random fortunes, among them might be Barcelo 21, if you look really, really hard.   Keep looking, Barcelo 21 is one of the finest tasting rums in the world.

Opinion 
For my visit to the DR in Spring 2008, I knew locating a bottle of the supremely collectible Barcelo Imperial 21 would require searching, bartering, and parting with lots of hard earned money.  But of all the treks I’ve made to score exotic rum, I am happiest with this found treasure, bottle # 35650. Barcelo Imperial 21 stands in great company amongst the most flavorful and noble rums in the world.   Supremely aromatic, flavorful, complex and smooth, Barcelo 21 is one of the finest rums, period.  On any scale; be it complexity, smoothness, flavor, and color; in my honest opinion, it equals the best.  I only wish I had more.

Reviewed:  February 2009 at the Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017