Bacardi 8 was the “sole preserve of the Bacardi family for over one hundred and thirty years” it is a “unique blend of the finest Bacardi Rums matured for no less than eight years”. Whilst the first part of the of the statement may be slightly fanciful the second part indicates to me that ALL the rum in the bottle is at least 8 years old. Still this hasn’t stopped the Bacardi Bashers and the Rum Conspiracy Theorists (there are some absolute crackers to be found online) from suggesting otherwise……yawn.
As I mentioned in my earlier review of the Bacardi Reserva https://thefatrumpirate.wordpress.com/category/bacardi-reserva/ I had put off trying the Bacardi 8 due mainly to my dislike of Bacardi Gold. Incidentally the Bacardi Gold (or Oro as it is in some markets) has recently been re-released in the UK as a 40% offering as opposed to the previous 37.5% effort. Due to the joy of travel I’ve already tried both offerings. Neither impressed. But as shown in my review of the Reserva I was wrong to totally dismiss Bacardi.
To date the vast majority of my purchases have been made online. This is due to there being very few specialist shops in my part of the world (North East England). I’ve found a couple of shops that carry a limited line of rum’s but rarely do I have get the joy of actually walking into a real shop and picking up something a bit special (read halfway decent!). Such is that rarity that even the the thought of a duty free in the Airport fills me with joy!
I knew before I got into Newcastle Airport’s duty free that the rum selection would be fairly limited, I expected to pick up some Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Lambs maybe even a Woods or a Pussers. In the end I left with just Bacardi. Two bottles of the Reserva, a bottle of the new White Sipping Gran Maestro De Ron https://thefatrumpirate.wordpress.com/category/bacardi-gran-reserva-maestro-de-ron/ and a bottle of this, the Bacardi 8. The main bonus of the duty free was that they were all 1 litre bottles.
The Bacardi 8 cost £32.99 which is fairly reasonable as the 70cl bottle retails for between £25-30 in the UK. Unlike with the 70cl bottle you get a very nice cardboard tube to store the rum in. The tube and bottle have that sort of retro look that Bacardi go for and is consistent with the usual Bacardi branding. I like the consistency in the branding. I always think a strong brand identity is a good marketing strategy. You’d certainly never pick up a bottle of Bacardi thinking it was something else.
On the rear of the tube (as pictured) you get the story/marketing schtick. The bottle itself has all the usual Bacardi touches, the bat and the Case Fundada En Cuba slogan emblazoned across the bottom. The Bacardi 8 doesn’t seem particularly expensive it is competitively priced along with most other 8-10 year old rums. However, if it tastes anything like Bacardi Gold it definitely won’t be value for money!
To date as far as I understand the Bacardi’s I have tried have been from the Puerto Rican distillery. Until reading up on the Bacardi 8 I wasn’t even aware they had a distillery in the Bahamas. I also learnt a little about geography as well as I was going to note this is a Bajan rum. Wrong!
The solid presentation of the rum is continued when you open the bottle. A good foil bottle topper is removed to reveal a black Bacardi Bat cork stopper. The cork is large and gives a very nice pop upon opening the bottle. The cork is synthetic but I have no issues with that at all. Its very solid and well made and a nice touch. The initial pop of the bottle also gives you a very nice nose of a very fruity smelling rum.
In the glass the rum smells very inviting. There is very little in the way of “booze” in the nose, the rum smells sweet but also oaky. It is not quite as “Cuban” in terms of oakiness and in particularly smokiness as the Bacardi Reserva. It is slightly darker than the Reserva, which would suggest longer in the barrel. I don’t think it is due to artificial colouring. The Bacardi 8 doesn’t display the ACR mark (Authentic Caribbean Rum) but I think it could appeal to those who seek out those kind of rums. I don’t think this rum has been sweetened or altered too much.
Despite the sweetness when nosing the rum, when sipped the rum isn’t actually as sweet as you might expect. It isn’t as dry and as smoky as the Reserva but it is nearer to that in profile than Bacardi Gold or the Superior (it is streets apart from the White Rum). The rum is actually really nice just to sip. It is very smooth for an 8 year old rum. The Reserva I found was best mixed with cola to take its roughness away a little. The Bacardi 8 however when mixed with cola becomes quite oily and bitter. To be honest in a Cuba Libre it isn’t very nice at all.
When sipped, or mixed with a little ice or water the Bacardi 8 is as good as anything I have sipped. It’s very smooth and easy to sip. And I’m not a massive sipper of rum at all. Most of the rums I really enjoy I mix with cola. As a starting point for sipping rum I think Bacardi 8 would be a good start. It isn’t hugely expensive. It’s also a good gateway into Bajan and rum’s from other Caribbean islands such as St Lucia and Antigua. I find the rums from this part of the Caribbean to be more balanced than the much drier Cuban style or sweeter Demerara/South American styles. It is a well balanced rum. It has nice notes of sweetness and oak. It has some similarities with Angostura 1919 but I think this is slightly better. Both are very smooth but this is a little more flavourful.
For my tastes the rum could be slightly sweeter. In terms of my Cuba Libre’s I either enjoy the rum to be slightly rough and ready or a bit sweeter than this, depending on my mood.
The Bacardi 8 is another solid well made, nicely crafted rum which has been made with care. A lot of people will still bemoan Bacardi without actually trying their products. If this was bottled up and sold under the Foursquare brand they’d be lapping it up!