Bermudez Don Armando
Review: Bermudez 1852 Ron Anejo 10 Anos Don Armando 89.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted May 9, 2010 (Revised November 2011)
My sample bottle of the Don Armando 1852 Ron Anejo 10 Anos Rum was also supplied by Westway L. Limited, as they are introducing the Bermudez rums into my home Province of Alberta. The year 1852 is proudly displayed on the label of each bottle of Bermudez rums indicating the year in which the Bermudez family began to produce rum commercially. In fact, the Bermudez rums have been produced in the Dominican Republic practically from the beginning of its nationhood making the Bermudez Distillery the oldest commercial rum distillery in the Dominican Republic.
In the Bottle 4/5
Don Armando arrives in a tall, slender brown bottle bearing a golden label with strong easy to read black fonts. My bottle is entirely in Spanish, but I can make out the 10 year age statement and the 40 % alcohol by volume strength of spirit. A black screw cap screw cap lies under black foil at the top of the bottle. I have seen a few pictures of a cardboard box display for the rum but I did not receive this extra packaging with my sample bottle.
In the Glass 9/10
The rum is a nice clean copper/amber colour which shows brighter flashes in the glass than its younger cousin the Bermudez Anejo 5 Anos. A gentle spicy oak rises out of the glass first, followed quickly by a soft caramel. I allowed the glass to breathe for about two minutes and was rewarded with the inviting scents of brown sugar and cinnamon spice. The aromas were so nice that I was tempted to steal a sip from the glass before my nosing was complete. (Okay I admit it, I was more than tempted, I was compelled to indulge my palate, and I had to finish my inspections in the glass on the following day.)
When I swirled the glass, I was greeted by the appearance of a nice smooth oil. As I watched, large droplets of rum formed and began a slow crawl down the side of the glass. Many of these ‘legs’ never reached their destination and remained suspended above the rum only halfway finished their journey down the side of the glass. When I took my last sniff of the air around the glass, the fully decanted rum had become heavily scented with a spicy toffee aroma and hints of citrus.
In the Mouth 54/60
This is a soft, oily, slightly dry rum with a nice spicy oak accent on the tongue. It is not as sweet in the mouth as the nose will suggest. Rather than a rich brown sugar we have more of a mellow butterscotch on the palate. Nothing reaches up and grabs at your palate; instead, the rum can be pooled in my mouth allowing me to take my time to enjoy the nuances. A firm but light oak spice, a mellow butterscotch, a hint of orange peel, dabs of cinnamon, and a small offering of ripe apricots makes this a wonderful experience. There is a suggestion of smoke but it is vague and indistinct. Perhaps it was my imagination, but I seemed to find it hiding behind the oak spices and wandering occasionally between the other flavours.
In the Throat 13.5/15
The rum has a very smooth long exit, with a nice burst of oak and citrus spice on the back of my palate. The burn was just strong enough to let me know that I was drinking a rum with 40 per cent alcohol strength, but there was not enough burn to ever be uncomfortable. A complete lack of bitterness capped the experience, which is exactly how I like my rum to finish.
The Afterburn 9/10
Ten years of aging in oak has resulted in a very smooth and suave rum. There are no real faults that I could discover. The rum is slightly dry, with good balance of flavour; not cloyingly sweet, nor is it bitter in the least. In spite of being mild, the flavour profile was very robust. I received the same taste impressions in a variety of settings. All of the flavours coexisted very easily with no particular taste impression trying to dominate the other flavours.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
Don Armando can be enjoyed neat, or with just a splash of water. The splash of water opens the flavours, and projects the rum into a new tier of enjoyment. When I mixed a little with Coca Cola, it was great; but, to be honest, it was no better than the younger Bermudez 5 Anos mixed with cola so I decided to reserve the Cuba Libre’ style cocktail for the younger version of Bermudez rum, and try to construct something a tad more elegant for this rum.
The result of my construction was a cocktail which was so good that I decided to make it the recommended recipe for the Don Armando rum. I have playfully called my cocktail, The Armando Grande’. Here is the recipe:
The Armando Grande’.
3 oz. Dark Rum (Don Armando Bermudez)
3/4 oz Fresh Orange Juice
1/4 oz Lime Juice
1/8 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
Dash Bitters ( Angostura)
Mix over Ice
Strain into a highball glass
Garnish with a Lime slice or
Flamed Grapefruit zest
Hint: Leaving the finer pulp in the orange juice allows it to carry the colour into the cocktail.
I will confess that I wanted to explore a little more with cocktails for the Don Armando rum but alas my sample bottle was only a 350 ml size and this precluded my ability to experiment any further.
And always remember, my aim is not to have you drink more, it is to have you drink better!
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)