Typical is not a word that describes Brugal Rum. It’s a bit of an all or nothing rum actually, that is distinctly different from many other brands that surround the home island of Brugal: the Dominican Republic.
Last Monday was the introduction for Amsterdam since Brugal has not been on the Dutch market for such a long time. And what a way to do so: one of Holland’s leading design studios, Droog Design, was chosen as the location to not only celebrate it’s 125th anniversary, but also to introduce the Papa Andrès, the finest expression from the house of Brugal.
The main room of Hotel Droog was the bar area where the lovely hostesses welcomed everyone with a selection of Brugal drinks, ranging from the classic Daiquirí to a variation on the Dark n Stormy. The event was organized specifically for the on-trade, so many bartenders and -owners had chosen to indulge their Monday evening in rum. We were welcomed by the people from Maxxium, who are responsible for the brand in The Netherlands and they invited the attendees to take the tour around the building, where 4 spaces were dedicated to the different aspects of Brugal.
First were invited to the tastingroom, where the Dutch brand ambassador Chioke Rosalia talked us through the 3 expressions of Brugal: Dry, Anejo and XV. The first 2 rums are essentially the same, but the Dry is filtered 3 times, removing the colour and a lot of the wood tones. The Anejo indeed has a different character, with the wood drastically taking the rum in another direction. Each expression is presented by Chioke accompanied by little jars of fruits, herbs and spices, each representing the flavours and tastes that can be found in the different rums. The XV is the last with still that dry body, but with ripe fruit and dark chocolate. It has been finished on Pedro Ximenez sherry casks so this brings a very mature
The continues to the Demo Bar, where none other than Wayne Michael Collins has taken over the bar to prepare a few drinks. He starts off with a passionfruit Mojito and since it’s a free night for bartenders it’s difficult to capture their undivided attention with this but as his drinks become more classic and strong, he gets everyone gathered around. A rum-based Manhattan, called a Cuban Manhattan with Brugal XV, maraschino and a nice touch of sherry.
After that, it was time for the finalists of the Brugal competition to show their skills. A normal drinks-editor would be in the front row to see what great concoctions the 3 contenders (Timo Janse, Rudy van den Blink and Joel De Bull), but I have to admit I was in another room enjoying the fine drinks and Caribbean food. Anyways, Joel won the competition and a private cocktailbar for him and 25 friends.
Was that all? No, that was not all, because we had 2 of the only 500 bottles of Papa Andrès that have been released for sales. Until exactly 1 year ago this blend was enjoyed only by the family, but on Oct 23rd 2012 the company released this small batch to be enjoyed by rum lovers around the globe. It does set you back a good $ 1200 but you do get one amazing rum for it! It still bears all the characteristics of a Brugal rum (dry, sharp wood tones, dark chocolate) but has such an overwhelming complexity that one glass was barely enough to satisfy the senses.
Copyright for all images in this post is by Jesaja Hizkia