In 2018 Bacardi announced that they were releasing two new products Cuatro and Diez with the goal of fleshing out their portfolio. In the case of Gran Reserva Diez forms a bridge between Ocho and Reserva Limitada in the premium portion of the line. Diez is a blend of rums that have been aged a minimum of ten years in used American White Oak Bourbon barrels. The rum is charcoal filtered, then blended and bottled at 40% ABV.
The 750 mL bottle is the short handled design that we have seen both Ocho and Limitida Reseva switch to. The “10” around the neck band clearly pops on the shelves and if that does not catch the eye, the gold Bacardi bat logo centered on the bottle will. Each bottle is individually numbered and the one sampled for this review is CS880. One thing of note on the back of the bottle along with the basic details of the product and Bacardi’s tasting notes is the Puerto Rico Geographical Indication symbol. Which in this case means the rum is created from fermented molasses, is distilled using a continuous column still, aged a minimum of one year in white oak barrels, and that the rum is produced and aged in Puerto Rico.
The rum is amber hued mahogany in color in the bottle and brightens significantly in the glass. Agitating the liquid created a thick ring that spun off fast moving legs. Both the ring and legs evaporate in a few minutes, leaving behind a light coating of residue and beads around the glass.
The aroma of the rum has a surprisingly dynamic profile. It leads with strong banana flambé, salted toffee, dark cacao, dried apricots, with a roasted oak/nuttiness completing the experience.
The rum has a silky entry that envelops the tongue with a twang of oak tannin laden alcohol. The swirl of flavors erupts mid tongue and I quickly identify caramelized banana, floral vanilla, spicy bread pudding, charred oak, with raisins and dried apricots. As the rum begins to fade there is a push of sweetness married with the oak tannins before it ends with a short dry finish.
Bacardi Ocho has long been one of my favorites of the Bacardi line. I was curious how the Diez would stand up in comparison and have to say I just found it okay. Instead of stepping up, in my opinion, it took a different path and lost some of the robustness that I enjoy with Ocho. Throughout the tasting experience the wood notes are fighting with the other flavors for domination and ultimately wins the battle ending the experience in a rather abrupt finish. Overall, I wanted more from a rum with this age statement and it failed to meet my expectations. I appreciate what the blenders attempted, but believe I will stick to Ocho for its more versatile experience.