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Brugal Ron Anejo

Review: Ron Brugal Anejo – Desde  1888  (85/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on June 7, 2010


I am sipping a little Brugal Ron Anejo closing my eyes and letting my imagination build a place where the rum takes me….  Its late afternoon, and I have I found myself at a road side cafe near the ocean, separated from, but within walking distance of a small Dominican Village.  I’m sitting on an old wooden cabana chair with the smells of the nearby village caught up in the canvas umbrella overhead.  Oils from the roadside, and saps from the trees overhead have speckled the umbrella, mixing with the canvas and leather only to be washed out by the rain every now and again.  Some large ceramic urns with banana trees stand on the patio nearby.  The table beside me has a bowl of dried  fruit and exotic looking nuts for me to chew on.   Inside the cafe they must be baking, as I can smell  banana bread and sticky cinnamon rolls whenever the door opens.

Across the road there is a path to the ocean.   I can see the roll of ocean surf in the distance as the waves break on a rock strewn coastline.  Occasionally a gust of wind brings a little of the ocean brine across my face…..


The Brugal distillery was founded in 1888, by Andrés Brugal Montaner.  Over the next one hundred and twenty years the company grew steadily, and it is now one of the three largest distilling companies in the Dominican Republic.  The original family which founded Brugal is still in the control. George Arzeno Brugal, is the current chairman, and most of the board members are direct descendants of the original company founder.

In fact, the Brugal Distillery has become an institution in the Dominican Republic.  Pretty much every friend I have who has visited this wonderful Country has a vivid tale to tell of a an amazing bus ride to the distillery,  ….  and a tale to tell of how much fun it was to sample the rum.

The Brugal Ron Anejo is a blend of rums aged from 2 to 5 years.  It is being brought into my market by Beam Global Brands.  Beam Global Ambassador,  Simon Mooney arranged for me to receive a sample of the Brugal Anejo for review.  (He also arranged for me to receive a set of Brugal bar glasses which I have used to showcase my recipes at the end of the review.)

If it suits your wishes you can learn a little more with a click on the link here to visit the Brugal Website.

In the Bottle 4/5

Brugal Ron Anejo arrives in a typical style rum bottle pictured to the right.  The label and bottle are not spectacular,  but they are definitely adequate for the purpose.  A plastic screw top cap completes the display and although I am not inspired,  I am not dismayed either.

In the Glass  9/10

The initial aroma from the glass is that of brown sugar spices followed by woody tannins.    There is an earthy accent in the breeze which carries a light oily or perhaps tarry aroma.  As I sat back and let the rum decant, baking spices began to rise as did a deeper dark brown sugar.  Banana and cocoa bean (fruit)  wafted lightly from the glass as well.

When I tilted the glass and checked side for legs, I found swift moving droplets running down back into the mahogany coloured rum.

In the Mouth 51/60

Brugal Anejo is soft and pliable in the mouth with more viscosity than the initial entry of the rum would imply.  A light taste of smoke and dried fruit seems to grab me first with a quick follow through of the sharp woody tannin and a mildly bitter bite of banana peel.  As the rum sits in my glass, flavours of  deeper brown sugar and cinnamon build, as does a mild nuttiness…

In the midst of all of this is a slippery haunting flavour which pervades in the rum, but identification of this flavour sensation at first eludes me.  Vague images of soft banana and papaya ride in the currents, and I can almost but not quite taste a musty tobacco and old leather.

Then it hits me, like a gust of wind blowing off of a rocky seashore… I taste the ocean!  It tastes like drying seaweed trapped on the rocks on the warm seashore.  I can taste a dash of sun-dried sea-salt mingling with a smidgen of  iodine.  The flavour which was initially so hard to identify has become  a mild musky ocean brine that mixes with a leathery smoke at the heart of the rum.

In the Throat 12.5/15

The rum has a medium length  finish with cocoa and dried fruit starting the parade down my throat, and then a gathering of woody tannin and banana peel providing a lasting impression. Perhaps I get a touch of sea-salt right at the end, or perhaps that ocean brine was just a figment of my imagination.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

Brugal Ron Anejo is not overly sweet. It carries some banana peel bitterness which will at times make both the entry and the exit seem a little rough.  But it also carries wonderful nuances of the Caribbean Sea which I have never noticed in a rum before. It is complex and rich. When I am in the proper mood to relax and appreciate the nuances, the rum is wonderful.

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


Suggested Recipes

With so much complexity this rum will be a treat to mix and explore.  I noticed some banana flavours and aromas in the rum and it reminded me of a cocktail I have not seen or tried for a long time, The Jolly Roger!

I first found The Jolly Roger in “The Complete Bartender’s Guide” by Robyn M. Feller on page 257.  Here is the recipe:

The Jolly Roger

1 oz Dark Rum (Brugal Anejo)
1 oz Banana Liqueur
2 oz Lemon Juice

Fill a metal shaker with ice
Add the three ingredients and shake
Strain into a tall glass
Add Ice

I would have snapped you a nice picture of the Jolly Roger but when I went to make it, I found that my Banana liqueur was a little tainted from not being used for at least three years.  I tried to buy some more, but when I went to three separate stores to buy some, I came up empty.  So I had to switch gears and come up with another idea.  I spied a bottle of Southern Comfort, and another of Yukon Jack and so I decided to get creative.  Here are a few recipes which I came up with:

Comfortable in HispaniolaComfortable in Hispaniola

1 1/4 ounce Brugal Anejo
3/4 ounce of Southern Comfort
3/4 ounce Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon sugar syrup

Mix the ingredients in a metal shaker until frosted
Strain into a suitable cocktail glass
Add Ice

This drink is amazingly yummy.


1 1/4 ounce Brugal Anejo
3/4 ounce of Southern Comfort
3/4 ounce Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon sugar syrup

Mix the ingredients in a metal shaker until frosted
Strain into a highball glass
Add Ice
Top with Orangina

I had to do something with that bottle of Yukon jack I had spied in the cupboard.  So I began to think of what might work well with rum and Yukon Jack….

So back to the cupboard I went and saw a can of Ginger Beer and I decided to make a “mule” style cocktail  based upon mixing Brugal Anejo with Yukon Jack and Ginger Beer. It is tall, refreshing and delicious.  I call it, The Klondike Mule.

The Klondike Mule

1 1/2 oz  Dark Rum (Brugal Anejo)
3/4 oz Yukon Jack
juice from 1/2 Lime

Ginger Beer

Fill a tall glass with ice
Add the Brugal Anejo, Yukon Jack, and Lime Juice
Top with Ginger Beer

Here is a tip. If you do not have Yukon Jack, just sub Southern Comfort and call it the Comfortable Caribbean Mule!


And remember the aim of my blog is not to encourage you to drink more…it is to encourage you to 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)

6 Responses to “Brugal Ron Anejo”

  1. Viny said

    I have enjoyed Brugal, for a long time. Experimented with many mixtures but my absolute favorite is as simple as Brugal and pepsi. A true delight.

  2. André said

    Great review! I can’t wait to read your reviews of the Extra Viejo and Siglo de Oro. Them too have that signature Brugal ‘musk’ combined with extra ageing.

    • Thanks Andre

      I did this review blind refusing to look at any other reviews or commentary until I had finished. When I came up with all of my tasting notes I was, I admit, a little fearful of putting it down on paper. The underlying flavour was so unique, and my interpretation was so…lets say off that beaten path to the ocean, that I was really worried I got it wrong. Then a few days ago, I drank some Johnnie Walker whisky and tasted that same muskiness deep down. I realized that if a Scottish whisky could carry elements of the seaside, then certainly an Island rum could too. So I published the review with no thought to changing the tasting notes, and I am glad I did.

      • André said

        That taste you detect is obviously there, but I could never give it justice like you did. I always refered to is as a tobacco or leathery taste. With your oceanside taste description I think you may have nailed it! I can’t wait to go home and take a swig of Siglo de Oro to confirm this…

  3. Capn Jimbo said

    At The Rum Project (link above) my rum tasting partner Sue Sea and I have tasted most of the Dominican rums with great favor.

    We long ago became aware of a unique taste and flavor that is as distinctive as dunder in a good Jamaican style rum. So distinct that we continue to consider whether the Dominican rums deserve their own style (among Barbadian, Jamaican, Cane Juice, Cuban and Demeraran – styles, mind you, not countries).

    That unique aroma: musty leather or cork.

    Now, now I know that sounds offputing but – just like dunder – is an acquired preference. Sadly, most rum drinkers are taken in by the many secretly altered rums that tend to sneak in additives like vanilla flavoring (rarely authentic), sugar and caramel, along with peppery spices among the most common.

    Misled and spoiled in this fashion, most rum drinkers will not appreciate the Dominicans and their musty aroma and taste. Those who graduate to the more pure rums will come to appreciate the Dominican style.

    Capn Jimbo

    • Thanks for the comments Capn. I think it is about time I add your site to my blog roll, as your contributions in commentary have been most welcome. Your site is interesting to say the least, some might call it controversial. I think it is best for me to say no more and will let those who travel there make up their own minds.

      Kind Regards


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