Very Smooth. Brugal Siglo de Oro shows a characteristic medium-dark amber hue, no doubt colored by spending time aging in oak casks. The nose is velvety sweet with burnt sugar (though not overpoweringly so), slightly adorned with dried apple; refined but delicately earthy. Initial tasting immediately displays a wonderful complexity, and with a little coaxing from your palette reveals subdued flavors of, wood, bark, leather, brown sugar, and dried fruit from a molasses base. Very mild spicy hints, notably vanilla, clove and a pinch of cinnamon can be ascertained. A moderately full body builds on an earthy foundation, perfectly suited to sustain the finish, which lingers slightly sweet, then dries to a lip smacking subtle glow.
After a little searching, I was fortunate to find Brugal’s blue bottled rum in Las Terranas on the DR’s Samana Peninsula during an excursion to that beautiful Caribbean island during the spring of 2008. Availability is even more limited outside of the Dominican Republic. Created in anticipation of the 21st Century by the largest rum producer in the Dominican Republic, Brugal’s Siglo de Oro is every bit the part. The packaging is most reverential and unique, from its gold embossed royal blue box to its artistic blue porcelain bottle with bold gold BRUGAL emblazoned diagonally up and to the right across its front, sealed by real composite cork under a porcelain cap. The bottle’s shape is truly a family crest or coat of arms, and mimics an attenuated fleur de lis, or perhaps a plumed male pheasant in full display. Siglo de Oro is Brugal’s finest rum.
Update 2012: Brugal released a second version of Siglo de Oro, this one delivered in a magnificently heavy, round glass vessel, packaged in a solid blue presentation case. See Rum Gallery's exhibit here.
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.
But 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.
I find it positively encouraging that Brugal views the 21st Century with a similarly sensitive hope for humanity. Drinking this rum won’t usher in a new age of enlightenment, but if you sip it with that idea in mind, perhaps you’ll be tempted to contribute in some meaningful way. Brugal Siglo de Oro earns my respect and admiration —at the very least I know what to fill my glass with for a toast on New Year’s Eve.
Reviewed: October 2008 at the Rum Gallery, USA.