Monday, 28 November 2016

Review 99 - Bacardi 8

Photo copyright © H.Kristoffersen
Constructed, not crafted.

For most of us the first encounter we ever had with rum, was in very badly made cocktails and/or long drinks immediately after achieving legal drinking age (some of us perhaps even way before being legal).

Those badly made drinks typically contained one of two products: Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum or the Bacardi Superior.

For me, it was the Bacardi for a while (a long with cheaper super market ”rums”).

So, the notion of anything remotely suitable for sipping being made by the big bad bat, may seem unbelievable. Some people however claim, that Bacardi has made two products worth drinking without anything added.

The Bacardi 8 – or Ocho as it is called today – and the Bacardi Reserva Limitada – or the Bacardi Gran Reserva Limitada, as that one is called today.

The past many reviews I’ve done has been rather expensive rums, rums not easily found or rums which doesn’t exactly cater to the majority of aspiring rum enthusiasts.

That’s why I decided to go for a cheap, super market level rum, with somewhat of a pedigree.

Enter the Bacardi 8.

According to the Bacardi website it was created in 1862 and has been the primarily private rum for the Bacardi family for seven generations. Apparently this wasn’t an everyday tipple, and it was only trotted out for the most special occasions. Last but not least, it is supposed to be one of the oldest private rum blends in the world.

What the actual fuck, Bacardi?! If, and I do mean a very big if, you had to make up some crappy story, at least do it properly. I mean, it may be true, some of it, but it just feels like a load of bull.

And the oldest private rum blend? What is that? Private rum blend? So unless some other company claims to have private blend, then yes, Bacardi, you would be right. But it is not anywhere near being one of the oldest blends in the world. Not even by a long shot.

Okay, okay. Corking the rant hole.

The 8 is aged for a minimum of 8 years. It hails from Bahamas, which is quite unusual, since most Bacardi products originate from Puerto Rico. But since Bacardi is a big cooperation with footprint in Puerto Rico and USA, why not also in Puerto Rico?

I haven’t been able to track down any information about distillation method or any of that sort of useless facts, so we’ll have to settle with ”aged for a minimum of 8 years”.

It is bottled at a yawning 40%, so nothing new or exciting here.

The Fat Rum Pirate measured a sugar content of 12 g/L, and I’ll take his word for it.
I have to applaud Bacardi for not going totally crazy with the sugar though. Considering their Cuban legacy, 12 g/L is not a lot (as Cuban rums are allowed to add up to 20 g/L), and with a low priced product like this, it would be tempting to just drop the sugar bowl and cater to the masses.
My particular bottle came with out any protection, but I have seen the exact same bottle in a copper coloured tube as well. Perhaps it depends on where you get it.

The bottle it self is a somewhat standard bar room bottle. A little more chubby, a smidgen more stubby, but still quite sturdy and heavy. If has all sorts of embossed features, and if only the ”8” had been embossed on it too along with the ABV, then they could have done without the label all together.

Others have noted that the plastic stopper hid a synthetic cork, but mine came with a natural cork, which disintegrated when I tried opening it. I thought this only happened with very old bottles and corks. Perhaps my bottle spent a small eternity on the shelf at the shop.

The rums has a bright copper colour, and behaves as expected in the glass. Thick residue, fat ring, big legs, slow speed.

I didn’t know what to expect, but still I was a little surprised. Unintentionally I let it breath half an hour before starting the nose job, and that may have been a good idea in this case.

The first scents are soft and full of vanilla and caramel, with some sweet oranges, green apples and kiwi notes as well.

It has a touch of freshly cut grass and a thick shrubbery during the spring.

Quite fresh actually.

But every single component is vague and restrained.

The composition feels industrial and it comes off as an overall weakling.

Taking the first sip it feels obvious that it has been sugared into submission.

Thick taste of maple syrup, along with a clear sharpness and suspicious amounts of vanilla.

There is also some fruity notes of green apples and kiwi again, and perhaps even some green grapes.

Underneath mild oak shows up along with some black pepper and a little leather.

I’ll have to say that it is quite fun and also a little enjoyable.

It is no masterpiece or marvel of any kind, but for what it’s worth, it’s okay.

At first it gives off a huge heat blast, and then it dies super quickly.

After just a couple of minutes, you are left with just a little warmth and a tiny amount of sticky syrup on the back of your tongue.

It cleans up nicely even though the sugar does what it can, to cling to your mouth, and thank god for that.

Rating and final thoughts
So, does Bacardi make a sipping rum. Yes they do.

The 8 is easily mistaken for a proper sipping rum, and I could easily enjoy another glass of it.
And I believe that many others could have some fun with it as well.

Do not make the mistake of believing that it’s great, or exclusive or anything other than a slightly above mediocre entry level product.

Because when taking everything into context, it is not a great rum on the over all scale.

It is at the very beginning of something actually worth sipping.

And the reason is this: It feels constructed, not crafted.

The 8 is not a great feat of masterful creation, like so many other great sipping rums.

I have read a lot of reference to the 8 as a premium mixing rum, and the Bacardi website does state so themselves. And I believe it. This will make killer long drinks and cocktails.

Being available for something like €25, you would be a fool to expect a super sipper.

If you want a decent sipper, you’ll need to throw in a little more cash. You’ll still be in dangerous waters and need to know what you’ll be buying, but at least you’ll get a chance to pick up something a bit more fitting for our favourite activity.

Coming to a close, I need to make one final note:

Rating: 66/100


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