Brugal Especial Extra Dry is the newest entry into the marketplace, replacing Brugal Blanco on the shelves. This white rum is produced from 100% Dominican Republican sugar cane molasses. After fermentation the rum is distilled twice using Brugal’s proprietary methods to remove the sweeter alcohols, which helps create the signature dryness in their portfolio. They
then age the rum for two to five years using American white oak barrels. Finally, when the time is right, the Brugal Rum maestros select the rum casks that they wish to use for blending. The rum is then charcoal filtered three times, removing all color from the rum. Once the rums are blended they are brought to 80 proof during a resting period using local Puerto Plata spring water. The Rum Maestros then do one final check and only after it meets their approval is it bottled.
This is the second Brugal expression I have seen with the new bottle design. The cut and feel of the 750 ml bottle reminds me of Brugal 1888 but lacks the heft and is really easy to handle. The blue metal screw cap is secured to the bottle via the neck wrap. While the bottle is new it was good to see they kept the netting. Like the Blanco it is replacing, the bottle is wrapped in a slick silver netting that contrasts nicely with the crystal clear rum.
Pouring the rum in the glass releases a crisp ethyl alcohol aroma that settles quickly. I let the glass sit for a few minutes and discovered an aroma of caramel, vanilla-coconut, light butterscotch, and a tiny hint of smoky oak.
The crispness of the alcohol pops up front with a nice spicy heat that forms the base line. Additional sips reveal the light coconut-vanilla notes from the aroma, hints of butterscotch pop through and smoky caramel comes in and lingers in a not surprising, considering the name, dry finish. The spicy heat of the rum counters any strong sweetness of the flavor profile and instead provides a pleasant robustness that demonstrates the age range of the blend.
Brugal Especial Extra Dry has a nice robust flavor profile that plays well in all sorts of
cocktails -Classic, Tiki, etc. If you prefer really sweet rums, this rum may not be for you. By design the flavors the Rum Masters blend together and make sure are present in every bottle, mute the sweetness and instead provides a versatile dry rum for your drinking pleasure.
With rare exceptions I do not sip white rums neat; however, I could see where Especial would be enjoyable with a single ice cube. I wanted to see how it worked with fruit juices. After writing up the tasting notes, I mixed up one of my favorite midday cocktails called a Rum Sunrise. 4 ounces of orange juice, 2 ounces of Especial, stirred in a rock glass with three or four ice cubes. I then drizzled one tablespoon of grenadine over the top and when the grenadine touches the bottom of the glass it is ready to drink. The rum augmented the fruit flavors and provided enough of its own that I enjoyed the drink more than usual. Mojitos and Daiquiris are easy to recommend for this rum; however, I challenge you to experiment with it with some of your favorite cocktails and see how it adapts. It is my understanding as Blanco sells through we will see Especial replace it on the shelves, so if you do not see it in your store that sell Brugal, it is only a matter of time.
This review first appeared in Got Rum? magazine.