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Bacardi 8 Yr Old Rum

Review: Bacardi 8 Yr Old Rum 90.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted April 25, 2010

My introduction for this review was accomplished previously in my article “Ron Bacardi & Cuba – Turbulent Times” published in the “Extras” Section of my Blog.  (And published previously on Rum Connection)

One thought I would like to add, is that I went into this review fully expecting to dislike the Bacardi 8 Year Old.  It is, after all, quite fashionable to bash Bacardi and claim with a somewhat superior air that anything they make is for the masses, and therefore obviously inferior.   Well let me say right up front that it is just that type of intellectual snobbery that made me pass up this wonderful rum for almost a year.  This rum doesn’t just break the stereotype … it destroys the stereotype!!  Read on…

In the Bottle 4/5

When I score a product in the bottle, one thing I look for is a bit of “wow” factor.  An impressive looking canister housing the liquid, or a unique bottle shape, or even a little booklet I can read which tells me why I should buy the rum.   This presentation however;  is a simple and understated.  I think perhaps the Ron Bacardi label with the 8 year age statement serves the purpose to catch the consumer’s eye.  The addition of a nice solid cork topper to distinguish the 8-year-old rum from its younger cousins is a nice touch.

In the Glass  9/10

This rum has been aged for a full 8 years in ‘hand selected’ oak barrels.  According to various sources, the rum was finished in sherry oak barrels.  The care with which the rum was aged becomes apparent as soon as the bottle is opened.  The aroma is gentle, inviting, and very well-balanced.  As I poured the bottle into the glass, I was enticed by soft fragrances of dried plums, light caramel and a wonderful light oak aroma.  Hints of spices drifted in the air perhaps cinnamon, perhaps nutmeg and allspice.

Once the rum was in the glass and I swirled it, I noticed a light sheen of oil which dropped long slender legs down towards the rum.  I will confess that I like long slender legs, it indicates a lighter rum which usually has a crisp entry and clean finish.

In my Mouth 55/60

I could not help but notice that the delivery of the Bacardi 8-year-old rum was very similar to the delivery of a really good whisky. I am not talking about flavours mind you, I am talking about style.  The rum carries a lovely light smoke, and a firm oak flavour which provides foundation and character.  This is not a sweet rum dripping with honey. It is a firm well oaked rum.  It has a slightly heavy, slightly smoky presence which is reminiscent of a very soft very chewy peat.  (Of course this is not peat, it is the sherry influence from the finishing barrels.)  This smoky presence helps to blend and carry the other flavours.  I taste  figs,  dates, and dried plums.  I even get a nice mellow Apricot Brandy which weaves in and out of a light caramel adding a delicate sweetness.  Nutmeg, allspice, and a gentle cinnamon accent the flavours beautifully.

Against all of this is a nice oak backdrop.  For me the rum is truly outstanding in the balance, complexity and character of its delivery.

In the Throat  13.5/15

Prunes and raisins slide down my throat in a long mildly dry finish.   The burn feels a little stronger than I was expecting, probably strengthened by the dryness.   The oak flavour seems to linger in my palate for a long time before it vanishes along with whispers of spice and smoke.

The Afterburn 9/10

I admit that I have been, to some extent, enchanted by Bacardi 8.  It was so much better than I was expecting.  I think some of you will believe I am crazy for scoring this rum as highly as I have, but I feel that Bacardi has really raised the bar.  I taste balance, complexity and a strong oak character in a whisky style  that I find simply delightful.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Suggested Cocktail

It is said that Ernest Hemingway preferred his daiquiri to be made with Bacardi White Label rum.  As well, I have come across the suggestion from more than one source, that the preferred daiquiri  in pre Castro Cuba was made with Bacardi Rum.  With this in mind, I have chosen to make the Hemingway Daiquiri with the Bacardi 8-year-old rum and, although I am no Hemingway in my writing ability, sometimes it is nice to dream:

Hemmingway DaiquiriHemingway Daiquiri (with Bacardi 8 Year Old Rum)

These proportions may not be exactly as per the original Hemingway Daiquiri, but I have come across many different  ‘original’ Hemingway Daiquiri recipe suggestions.  Not knowing for certain which the true original is, I chose the one where less fruit would be wasted. This keeps my wife happy.

2 oz   Bacardi 8 Year old Rum
1/4 oz      maraschino liqueur
Juice from 1 fresh Limes
Juice From 1/2 Grapefruit

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled large highball glass.

Now for those who do not know Earnest Hemingway was a diabetic, and hence there is no sugar in the recipe.  I am not a diabetic, and to be honest, I find this recipe a little tart.  So I thought I would ’sloe’ it down a bit (pun intended) and give the recipe some sweetness and a little more rum for balance.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Grapefruit CatapultThe Grapefruit Catapult

3  oz   Bacardi 8 Year old Rum
1/4 oz      Sloe Gin
Juice from 1 fresh Limes
Juice From 1/2 Grapefruit
1 – 3  teaspoons of Simple syrup or Grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a glass of your choice.

This recipe also gave me a good excuse to use up that other half a grapefruit to keep my wife happy.  Trust me on this one folks.  Keeping your wife happy is a great start to any evening of cocktails.

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

You may (loosely) interpret the scores as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

 

35 Responses to “Bacardi 8 Yr Old Rum”

  1. Hans said

    Hello,

    Just tried the 8Y and agree with your review about it. The oaky and smokey aftertaste is almost as if I’d been sipping a glass of smooth, triple distilled Irish whiskey, very impressive and remarkable…After warming up in the glass for a while it seems to me as if the smokey undertone gains strength, could you agree with this?

    Kindest Regards,
    Hans (Belgium)

    • Hi Hans

      It’s been a few years since I last tasted the Bacardi 8, so any comment I make regarding how the smokiness changes with temperature would be stretching my memory cells a little too much. However, if that is your experience, I certainly cannot disagree.

      Take care and welcome to my website!

  2. Branko said

    This review….its like not only reading my mind, but put those exact words on paper. I’m impressed by the way you describe this suburb rum.

    I still remember when I bought this rum. It was on discount, and after a long hesitation, (some people can stand for an half hour in front of a butter stand, It’s me, but then in front of A rum selection.) I purchased this bottle, with the thought “It would be piss anyway, but at least I gave it a try. Man, I was wrong. I’m not going to explain what I felt, because that is closely written in this review. But, this rum is in my selection, and its a though one to beat when i’m in the mood for a cigar and some outstanding blues music on a late summer night!!!

    O, yeah…one more thing. I love your website and the rum reviews in particular. You’re my hero, I met some new rum’s due to your reviews!

  3. Jason said

    One of my favorites. i actually wait until Christmas and buy the boxed set with the glasses.Very good rum. I have recently been drinking Blackheart Spiced rum. Better then Captain Morgan especially mixed with Cola. Hope you have a happy new year.

  4. Bear said

    I bought a bottle of this and thiught it tasted odd. I ended up using it for cooking as I found it unfit to drink. I agree with you on all of the other rums on your list with the exception of cockspur 12 which I would have rated at 90.

  5. Shawn said

    Hey Chip, The BC Liquor Store is doing a limited release of the Bacardi Reserva Limitada. From what I have heard it is a pretty remarkable rum. Have you had the pleasure of trying this one yet?

    • When I was in Miami several years ago serving as a Rum Judge at an international rum competition, I was invited (along with the other judges) to sample a new well aged Bacardi Rum side by side with 7 other premium rums (I can not remember them all but Zacapa 23 was one of them). The Bacardi rum I tried was extremely good. However, I do not know for sure whether it was the Reserva Limitada or whether it was another brand in development.

      What ever rum this was, it proved to me that Bacardi could make a rum which stood side by side with the best rums in the World.

  6. Josh said

    I really disliked this which is the first time I’ve really disagreed with one of your reviews maybe its my taste buds but this rum tasted weird, the whisky like touch to it rubbed me the wrong way and I like whisky. It had this bitter cherry like after taste to it which reminded me of cherry cough syrup. It was decent when I mixed it but it wasnt really doing it for me I like rich and sweet flavors in my rum and I didnt get that outside of the smokey whisky touch and a little cherry. Maybe I’m not as advanced tasting wise but I couldnt taste any fig, nutmeg, or cinnamon . But hey thats just me, I’ve never liked Bacardi and figured this would be different and it was but not in a really positive way. At max I personally give it a 80

    • You are not the only one to disagree with this review. The dry whisky-like features of this rum are not for everyone. I like it, but I respect that others have different taste preferences. slainte

      (Interestingly enough though, when I was judging rums at an event a couple years ago, I was given grief by a couple of the judges over my scoring of this rum. I got the last laugh when they each scored it higher than I did when we sampled the rum blind later that day.)

  7. Tommy Mac said

    I just cracked a bottle of this rum. I was liiking to replace my bottle of Ron Bacardi Reserve and discovered it’s no longer made. Note: saw a bottle for sale online for over $200! I like the 8 Anos much better. Agree with the whiskey-like character of the rum (that’s a good thing). The Ron Bacardi was much smooth as silk and much sweeter but could never be mistaken for anything but rum.

    I’m not a big rum fan but this 8 Anos is good enough to enjoy neat. This is high praise from a guy who only buys rum to have on hand for guests.

    • I suspect what you saw online was not the Reserve but instead the super limited Bacardi Reserva Limitada. I am glad however you found enjoyment with the 8 Anos.

      Cheers

  8. fretmonger said

    I discovered this rum about 4 years ago… I must admit that it is clearly the best bang for the buck. I was pleasantly surprised that you gave it such a high rating as truly beleive its a winner. This is my everyday rum…

  9. Mitch said

    I recently tried this rum, and I found it had a very unpleasant taste of plastic – I thought maybe it was just something weird going on with my taste buds, so I tried it again a few days later and had the same experience. This off-taste is strong enough that I can detect it even when I make mixed drinks with the rum. One thing I noticed that may be causing this is that the “cork” is not an actual cork, as it sounds like it was on your bottle – it’s made of rubber. Maybe the alcohol leeched some of the chemicals from the “cork”? I tried to give the bottle to a friend, but he tasted it and detected the same flavor and didn’t want it. I’m thinking about just pouring it out, it’s that bad!

    • Hi Mitch,

      I have noticed a trend towards synthetic cork toppers, but I have not noticed any sort of a correlation between a ‘plastic’ taste and these toppers. It is significant to me that your friend noticed the off taste as well, as this lends credence to the notion that something is amiss. If I was you I would return the bottle to the place of retail from whence it came. It is likely you would receive a refund.

      Chip

    • Holly said

      Hi Mitch,

      I have the same problem. I have been a fan of this Rum for years, but I recently bought a bottle and have experienced the horrible “plastic taste”, I thought maybe it was just me, but apparently not! I am going to return this to the store I got it from as I think maybe it is a bad batch. My batch number is L1023215114PR5380, I wonder if it is the same as yours?

  10. William said

    I just purchased this and was surprised that says made in the Bahamas. I was expecting Puerto Rico, I didn’t even know the Bahamas had a distillery. Not that I’m complaining, it’s actually very good rum for the price. Any info though on this anomaly?

    • I turned this bit of information up, The Bacardi facility in the Bahamas was built in 1965 on New Providence, the capitol island of the Bahamas. I believe it recently closed as Bacardi has completed the transition of moving most of there Caribbean production to Puerto Rico. Bacardi still has (I believe) facilities in Mexico as well.

  11. Jed said

    I love your review and responses also as I am but a mere mortal amateur in the realm of liquor tasting and more over, describing what I taste. Very interesting.

    • Hi Jed

      Thanks for being a frequent visitor to my blog. I deleted the second part of your comment as I have recently made the decision not to get involved in any way with helping people to sell their spirits/collectibles through my website. This is based upon legal advise have received. Sorry.

  12. Yello to Mello said

    Hi chip, I agree with you on this one. I got 2 samples of this when I bought some bacardi white for some mojitos. Usually I never get to a lot of my samples and they ended up accumulating and was looking for disappointment as well.

    I had some of this at a BBQ a few weeks ago along with some cohiba cigaritos to keep the ‘skeeters away

    • I think that the Bacardi 8 is the best that Bacardi has released to date but I wait in anticipation of a new rum that Bacardi may release next year. I tasted it in a blind run against other premium rums, Zacapa 23 Solero., Pampero Anniversario, et cetera. The New Bacardi was every bit as nice as the others, in fact on my sheet it was the highest scoring of the flight.

  13. howardwalton said

    I am not a big rum drinker, but thought since I am here in Cuba (GTMO, with the Navy) I might try some with a (non-Cuban) cigar. Bacardi 8 seemed like the best option at the base exchange. I admit I was intially brought down that a Bacardi product would be the only premium choice, as they do get bashed a lot for being “the rum of the masses,” and the other Bacardi products I have tried have not done much to overcome that bad press in my eyes (and mouth). As it turns out, I needn’t have worried, as I find Bacardi 8 absolutely delicious. Obviously well crafted, and with a variety of flavors, I drink it straight over the rocks or with a little water. A great companion for a nice cigar, it has opened my eyes to the possibilties of rum, and I will probably keep a bottle in my liquor cabinet for the forseeable future. I am glad to see that someone who knows a lot more about rum than I do feels the same way.

  14. kumaresh said

    Hello there….well, to start i thought the bottle/packing was very impressive. But in terms of taste, i felt it had a strong wood finish perhaps too strong bourbon finish to it which overpowers the other characteristics….
    I also felt it was too light bodied lacked the depth of a good rum, the rum taste to it was rather mellow….

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Kumaresh. I guess we disagree somewhat on this one, I happen to like the Bacardi 8 a lot and find many nuances that interest me. But its good to disagree a little, else life would start to become boring.

      Cheers!

  15. DanB0y said

    I live in Quebec (Canada) and the variety of rhum at our liquor stores is somewhat limited.. So I have tasted about 10 different rhums over the last 2 years and Bacardi 8 is simply the best to me. Very nice reviews, im bookmarking this blog.

  16. Hi Chip

    I’ve been getting conflicting feedback from all my research on the Bacardi 1873. Some say it’s discontinued and replaced by either the Reserve or the 8yr old; others only mention it as a solera (my bottle makes no such claim on the label); overall, here seem to be few reviews out there. Yet just last week, Co-op pushed a whole raft of them on to their shelves, in more than one store, which makes it unlikely (to me) to be a discontinued product. Anything you can tell me based on your own knowledge?

    Lance

    • Hi Lance

      The Bacardi 1873 used to be bottled in Puerto Rico and then it was labeled as a Solera Product. The production was shifted to Mexico and the word solera was dropped from the label. The product reportedly tasted much different after the switch. I have no information as to its status other than to say that I have read reports of the bottle being discontinued in some markets. That could be a purely regional decision.

  17. Jeff Kiess said

    I totally agree with your review. Bacardi 8 was recommended to me by the spirits specialist at my local liquor store and he didn’t steer me wrong. Like you, I was prepared to pass up “Bac 8″ out of snobbery to the Bacardi name, but I was intrigued and glad I moved on the suggestion. It is, dare I say, superior stuff that delivers a textbook rum flavor. I have had Ron Barcelo Imperial, Pampero Aniversario, Cruzan Single Barrel, and Ron Zacapa Centenario and I must say that Bacardi 8 is better than all but Ron Barcelo. Hell, it might even beat it if I ran a head-to-head taste test. (Ron Zacapa is actually too smooth, for my taste. It seemed to lack the complexity of Bac 8 and had a mouthfeel more like thin syrup than a spirit with presence. I know, insane words to seasoned rum aficionados, but I can’t help what my senses tell me). Indeed, Bac 8 has a whisky element to it. I was sipping it one night and thought the same thing. (Single malt scotch and bourbon are my favorite spirits). I think the packaging designers at Barcardi got the bottle design and presentation just right, it’s one of the best-looking bottles out there, IMHO. To think it can be had for under $25 is all the more amazing.

    This review was my intro to your blog. It looks like a great one with diverse reviews. Bookmarking!

    Cheers,
    Jeff

  18. pkazimir said

    hey Chip,

    nice review. I have to say this rum is one of my favorites for sipping after a hard day. You mentioned the smoke taste and I totally agree with you!

    Looking forward to read more posts like that.

    -pkazimir

  19. Hi Capn

    Bacardi Rums tend to polarize opinion, I am happy that my review gave you cause to revisit the bottle, but I am sorry that your experience was different from mine.

    Sometimes, that is the way it goes, as two or three palates which are equally good can each find a different path in a tasting.

    • Capn Jimbo said

      Chip, you are so right. Palates do differ and I like to review the impressions of others to see what else we might pick up.

      Then too, we all develop our own descriptors. For example Sue Sea’s “rindy” is my “leather”. I often detect a deep tone which I call “tarry” (but in a good way), Sue Sea finds to be a “deep raisin/prune or mincemeat”.

      What’s important I think is that we seem to be consistent. If she finds “rindy” I will almost always find “leather”.

      When we started (as per Luis Ayala) we created a test kit using 4 oz sealed bottles of a decent white rum (Ron Matusalem is brilliant for this) and made samples for raisin, cinnamon, real vanilla, molasses and the like. For aroma testing only.

      The notion is to discover how these various aroma elements really present in rum. Different than they do on their own, believe me.

      The other approach we took was to seek and find common descriptors that really summed up the rum. This happened quite by accident when one day tasting 1919 I exclaimed “this smells like Bananas Foster”

      And so it did! A magical moment. So much so that our guests later called us to ask the name of “that Bananas Foster rum”. We then realized that such common experiences and summary descriptors were actually far more effective and accurate than painstakingly describing each and every wispy impression we manage to draw out.

      The former is memorable, repeatable and meaningful – the latter approach is confusing and can easily become meaningless.

      For example, Sue Sea called Bacardi 8 Yr “Orange blossom licorice”. Don’t get me wrong, we still tear em apart into the aromatic molecules we detect. But it is the summary descriptor that may better communicate…

      • I completely agree! I got into an small argument once over the term ‘rancio’. I was giving my first impressions of Barcello Imperial and I said something to the effect of, “There is a distinct bourbon overtone and a kind of leathery tobacco deeper down. Something metallic, like copper tubing gives this a lurking bitterness …” . My critic surmised that the copper tubing and bitterness was probably a “rancio” element. He may have been right, but I had never encountered rancio elements before. I was not sure what it meant, (still am not) and so I used terms which described correctly what I tasted and which I believed others would understand. Fancy descriptors which are not common to the readers are, as you said, meaningless. I know what copper tubing taste like, anyone who has popped a penny in his mouth has an idea too. I try, (I do not always succeed), to use terms which can be understood by the common person.

        This is why I chose to use my peculiar methodology, it focuses my attention on a process everyone can understand, using terms and a process everyone can understand. Its not perfect, nothing is, but it gives me and my reader a consistent format and makes the review more accessible.

  20. Capn Jimbo said

    Your glowing review caused me to revisit our somewhat dated review of Bacardi 8 Anos. Although Sue Sea and I found this Cuban style rum light and pleasant, our retasting was not much different.

    Sue found floral notes “like frangipans or orange blossom” over a light vanilla and oak. I added licorice with a light honey sweetness, and a dry/astringent, peppery mouth finish.

    I still have trouble believing this rum is truly eight years old, as it presents more like something in the 3 to 4 year range. There was a distincet alcohol prickle on deep nosing.

    Our rating was a 6 (of 10). Pleasant, light sipper, but unremarkable. For the full review, click on The Rum Project sig, above.

    Really not bad, but not exceptional. A simple young rum for a fair value.

 
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