Rum Review: Barcelo Imperial
Ron Barcelo Imperial Review
My first experience with Ron Barcelo was not pleasant. I purchased a bottle of their white rum as part of our 32 light rum blind tasting, and it was one of the worst. But despite that poor showing, I had heard good things about their aged rums, so when I found a bottle of their Imperial while visiting family in Florida, I picked one up to take home.
The Ron Barcelo Imperial bottle shape is essentially a rounded off rectangle. And at 5.125” (13 cm) wide, it’s tough to find a home for it on the shelf. This is the type of bottle bartenders complain about, so marketing folks take note! You may have thought the wide bottle would make your product more visible on the back bar, but it’s just as likely to be turned sideways to make room for another (reasonably shaped) bottle of your competitor’s product. The closure system could use some work as well. While I don’t mind artificial cork stoppers, this one is a bit jarring because it is so wide. Coming in just under an inch, the tan material reminds me of a partially amputated thumb.
OK, enough bashing on the packaging, let’s see how it tastes. In the glass, the rum presents a rich copper bronze with hints of gold and mahogany. A swirl creates a laser-thin ring and a hundred droplets that almost refuse to leave their rummy friends atop the glass.
The nose is just mildly astringent; the initial aromas are of fruit macerating in sugar. Pear is jumping out of the glass with orange esters and green apple. It’s very bright in its fruitiness. Let’s have a taste…
The initial sensation is true to the nose—bright and bursting with sour fruits. These flavors are quickly supported by a oaken base layer that implies some serious aged rums of the Cuban tradition are here. The entire affair is suggestive of sweetness while maintaining a dryness not always found in Dominican rums. This base layer is flavorful—I’m tasting fortified wine notes and bittersweet chocolate now along with a bit of blood orange and grapefruit. The finish is lively and piquant, leaving the palate coated with a sense of oak.
To sum up, Ron Barcelo Imperial is a unique rum. I can’t recall another aged rum in my collection that opens with sour apple and pear and leaves you feeling as though you’ve just taken a nap in a sherry cask. So while this isn’t exactly my prescription for a perfect sipping rum, I must give it points for originality.
On to the scores:
- Appearance: 1/1
- Nose: 1.75/2
- Mouth feel: .75/1
- Taste: 3/4
- Aftertaste: 1.5/2
- Total Score: 8/10
Have you tried Barcelo Imperial? Please share your thoughts below!