Extremely Smooth. A noble, copper patina color and hardened amber taunt you in Siglo de Oro’s bottle, and once in your glass, some of the multitude of thin legs run at a moderate pace, while others lag behind and simply bead up, left behind to evaporate. On the nose, a caramel bouquet is followed quickly by aromas of sweet smoke, fresh oak, dried tobacco and thin supple leather, copper, fruit (white raisins, mango and banana), mild molasses dunder, heavy bready flour pastry and nutmeg. Initial tasting brings an unexpectedly refined rum, with a woody texture and caramel, followed quickly by delicious flavors to equal the aromas. The tasting is firmly supported by a substantial medium-weight body, the perfect segue the semi-dry finish, with caramel and mild oaken vanilla lingering halfway down the throat.
Siglo de Oro is distilled from the molasses rendered from sugracane grown exclusively in the Dominican Republic, and aged solely in white American oak, ex-bourbon barrels.
Brugal's 2012 release of Siglo de Oro is delivered in a magnificently heavy, round glass vessel, packaged in a solid blue presentation case. Swing open its doors to reveal a perfume bottle-shaped decanter inside. Gold script on the left inside flap (loosely translated) reads: “A Century of time and careful persistence are concentrated in this bottle, it contains the Special Selection of Rums chosen by the Brugal house at the threshold of the new Millennium. Founded in 1888 by Don Andrés Brugal Montaner, the tradition has destined generations of his family to create the perfect Dominican rum. It is built upon their time and dedication, for those who enjoy and truly know drinks of high quality.” Franklin Brugal and Gustavo Ortega, two of Brugal’s Maestros Roneros (Master Distillers), graciously autographed the right side flap of The Rum Gallery's box.
Early in the 21st Century, Brugal issued their first version of Siglo de Oro in a blue ceramic bottle shaped like Brugal’s crest. Both iterations are special commemorative editions. Either makes an artistic display worthy of collecting. Siglo de Oro (2012) is certainly Brugal’s finest expression to date.
The name SIglo de Oro has tremendous significance. Literally meaning “The Golden Century”, for Brugal it commemorates over a Century of rum production since the distillery’s founding in 1888.
“Siglo de Oro” also commonly refers to a time in Spain’s history that begins with the Age of Discovery, marked by Columbus’ first voyage in 1492, and ending with the decline of the Habsburg dynasty in the mid 1600‘s. The period, spanning over 150 years, saw unprecedented progress in exploration of course, but also art, music and literature. For me, what characterizes the period is its magnificent expressions of hope. Witness timeless literature as in Cervantes’ Don Quixote (the eternal optimist); remarkable paintings from El Greco, Velazquez, etc; World-expanding feats of navigation and exploration best personified by Columbus, a man with a singular, lifelong ambition to see what was out there beyond the Ocean’s horizon.
Choose either reference, but please enjoy Brugal's Siglo de Oro in your lifetime. We are living in a new Golden Age of Rum, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate it.
Reviewed: November 2012 at the Rum Gallery, USA.
Credits: My adventurous friend Pavol Kazimir, a native of Slovakia who’s now residing in the Dominican Republic (smart fella), brought this bottle of Siglo de Oro to me in April 2012 during our annual meeting at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. He has since achieved notoriety as “Best Bartender in the Dominican Republic,” an award bestowed upon him the knowledgeable people behind Ron Zacapa and Diageo. Muchas gracias, Pavol.