A few of us recently took a vacation to the beautiful Now Larimar resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The other half were stuck in a frozen tundra for a week… suckers. In their jealous rage, they assigned us the task of momentarily dragging ourselves off the beach and writing at least one post related to our trip. Since we’ve already covered Mama Juana, naturally, this story is going to be about rum, the other staple alcohol of the DR.
“Where’s my Shoe?”: The Story Begins
On one particular evening, we ordered a bottle of wine for one of the rooms, but were too impatient to wait for room service to bring us a corkscrew. We instead tried to open it with a shoe, to predictable results. After cleaning the wine and broken glass out of the shoe, we figured it would be a good time to try some rum, so we sheepishly made our exit under the unimpressed gaze of the poor house cleaner who was left to mop up our mess.
Once we sidled up to the rather impressive main resort bar, we asked the bartender to line up their selection of premium rums, so we could have a taste-test and write some notes.
Please bear in mind that the following impressions are from people who don’t know too much about rum and had just smashed a wine bottle in a shoe (our way of saying that we were three sheets to the wind).
“Rum is Rummy”: Our Rum tasting Experience
When we arrived at the main bar we had Juan, the very friendly barkeep, line up his favourite five rums (we later added a sixth for good measure). Included in his list were four Dominican Rums (two Brugal and two Barcelo varieties) as well as a bottle of Baccardi, which for us was synonymous with generic rum in desperate need of some Coke. The sixth bottle was another Barcelo, which was in a pretty cool bottle (because that’s what our temporary photographer, who had moments earlier broken a bottle of wine in a suede shoe, decided would be a good strategy for picking quality spirits).
Brugal Extra Viejo: This is one of Brugal’s more premium varieties, which becomes extremely evident when sipped right after the Dorada. This rum was very smooth and lacked the boozy up-front kick of the previous glass. It had a complex flavour profile with hints of vanilla and cocoa.
Bacardi Gold: Oh man! This needs Coke… quick, get me some Coke and a time machine so that I can go back to being 18.
Barcelo Imperial: “Oh yeah…” – The words of our temporary photographer as he took his first sip. Was this really a great rum, or was he realizing that corkscrews get their name from their unmatched ability to remove corks from bottles? Lucky for us, but unlucky for the rest of our shoes, it was the former. This rum was actually fantastic! It was extremely smooth, even more so than the Extra Viejo. There were notes of cocoa and oak with hints of sweetness that did a great job of rounding out the flavours.
Barcelo Dorado: We found this rum to be the lightest of the six we tried. It had relatively little spice and didn’t last too long on the palette. Decent, but definitely not our favourite.
Barcelo Gran Anejo (Bonus! It was all-inclusive after all…): We didn’t have too much to say about this rum, but that probably has more to do with the fact that we just had six glasses of rum in quick succession. I’m told it was good.
Let me leave you with some words of wisdom from our very own Brandon Wright;
“This rum is very rummy.”
– Brandon Wright, Chief FMMS Editor, 2015
Up until our trip to the Dominican Republic, we might have interpreted Brandon’s quote negatively, but after seeing what some Dominican rums have to offer, we now see that rum is in fact rummy, but in the very best possible way.
Special Thanks to James Tarsky, our Photographer and Wine Smasher in the Dominican Republic