As anyone who has spent any time on the Internet reading or researching rum will know – Bacardi tend to take a bit of a bashing in many quarters. This is mainly due to their Bacardi Superior White Rum. As with most things that go “mass market” it just isn’t cool to follow the crowd. It’s far trendier to enjoy a Caliche or an El Dorado 3 Year Old white rum.
Bacardi also get a bit of a kicking due to their often quite preposterously flavoured rum’s. They certainly haven’t caught the imagination the way Absolut’s flavoured vodka’s have.
The Bacardi Reserva isn’t readily available in the UK. Some online stockists do have some bottles available, which vary in price from £25-35 for a 70cl. Luckily for me Bacardi Reserva is available within European Duty Free’s. This enabled my in laws to pick up a 1 litre bottle (quite a rarity in my collection) for around £23. Which made for a pleasant and surprising present, I was expecting Bacardi Gold.
Due to my disappointment with Bacardi Gold I had resisted trying the more “premium” Bacardi’s. I wasn’t convinced that I would enjoy them at all. I was also quite confused about the Bacardi Reserva and the Bacardi 8. Were they the same rum for different markets? The internet definitely didn’t help at times!
I did some research shortly after receiving the Bacardi Reserva. After some time surfing the web I discovered that Bacardi Reserva is a rum which is made at the Bacardi distillery in Puerto Rico. Bacardi 8 is produced in the Bahamas at their distillery in Nassau. So two very different rums. Further research on the web also reveals another Bacardi Reserva. Bacardi Reserva Limitada. Price wise it would be difficult to get the Reserva and the Reserva Limitado confused! They are VERY different rum’s. When reviewing this rum I was unable to find my original sources – the Bacardi websites are varied and quite confusing! If anyone has any further details please send me the links. I may have some information wrong!
Due to the Reserva being a 1 litre bottle I was able to put my bar optic and Bacardi branded optic pearl to use. It has been out of use for a good few years since I realised Bacardi Superior wasn’t quite what I wanted to be drinking. The bottle is a standard bar style bottle with a metallic screw top. The label is clear and uncluttered and in the traditional Bacardi “style”.
The rum is quite a light coloured anejo and it is aged for around 5 years. (I’ve seen 4 and 6 quoted) as I said earlier please let me know if you know better. It does have a similar profile to other rums of this age slightly rough and ready. It has been stored in oak barrels and the smokiness of the barrel definitely comes through in this rum. It is quite similar to Chairmans Reserve in that respect. Anyone who has read my reviews of this rum will know any similarity is a very good thing!
The initial tasting of this rum was a very pleasant surprise. It is dry and smoky with a lot of characteristic similar to a decent blended Scotch Whisky. On its own as a sipping rum, I could see it appealing to a whisky drinker. It smells quite like a whisky. It is a dry, light rum in those respects it is similar to Bacardi Superior. However, this rum lacks the sickly sweet smell. and taste.
Where I found this rum really came to its own is when it is mixed with cola in a cuba libre. A twist of lime balances out the slight roughness of the rum (to be expected of a 5 year old rum). The initial dryness and alcohol smell seem to temper slightly, the fruitiness of the cola mixes extremely well with the dry oakiness of the rum. The rum also seems to be adding a little fruitiness which was previously hidden to the cola. In long mixed drinks the rum really comes alive. It gives quite an interesting complex flavour. It certainly shows that when Bacardi put their mind to it they can produce a very decent rum at a good price.
If you do encounter a rum snob and they slag Bacardi off, ask them if they have tried Bacardi Reserva. Even if the rum isn’t necessarily to someone’s particular taste I would disagree with anyone who tried to suggest this is a bad rum. This is a rum which has shown Bacardi can compete with in the mid price and premium rum category. The Bacardi 8 will definitely be on my radar now and hopefully I’ll get that reviewed soon.
Too much rum, too little time (and money!)