Rum in general is made by going through a fermentation and distillation process.
During the fermentation process which lasts between 24 and 48 hours, the sugar
from the sugarcane is transformed into alcohol due to yeast activity. The
sugarcane molt that is produced from this process is somewhere between 4 and 6%
alcohol. It is then immediately sent for distillation. During this process, the
molt is heated to a temperature of 70 degrees to vaporize the volatile elements
and condense them. |
What is produced as a result of these processes is vacuum packed and the alcohol
that is produced is taken from the plant and stored in the oak barrels for no
less than one year as required by law. The duration of the aging will depend on
the type of rum being produced.
The Brugal Company produces several different kinds of rum. After introducing
its dark rum into the market in 1888, Brugal sought to upgrade the quality of
its products and in 1920 built the first warehouses its Carta Dorado and Blanco
rums. The clear, white or “blanco” rum that Brugal produces is considered the
purest among the white rums produced in the Dominican Republic. The Brugal Carta
Dorado is a dark rum and is aged 3 years. The Brugal anejo, also a dark rum, is
more expensive and is aged for 5 years. This rum began being produced in 1952.
Then there is the Brugal extra Viejo, a dark rum which is aged 8 years and the
most expensive of this group. The Extra Viejo rum was first produced in 1976.
Brugal also produces 2 more expensive, less frequently consumed rums. The are
the Brugal Siglo de Oro which is a 12 year old rum and finally, the Brugal
Unico, a 30 year old, expensive rum. This is the ultimate for rum connoisseurs.
Brugals production vice president, Fernando Ortega Brugal, describes the aging
process as one where a chemical course of oxidation occurs over the course of
time. Because this occurs in the oak barrels, the alcohol acquires a color,
taste and bouquet that hints of oak and becomes slightly fruity. He explains
that as with fine wine tasting, there are 3 aspects involved in tasting rum.
These are the visual (sight), olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste). To the
eye, the rum must appear clear, to the nose, rums aroma must be pleasant and to
the plate, it must be flavorful. It must taste of wood but also have a
combination of other flavors such as coffee, tobacco, vanilla, raisins and
Tourists visiting Puerto Plata can visit the Brugal factory and learn about this
process and examine the rums progress throughout. These tours are offered
several times per day. During these tours, visitors to the factory can see for
themselves that many of the steps involved in Brugals production continue to be
done by hand such as the placing of the characteristic yellow netting around the
bottles. Towards the end of the tours, visitors view the bottle production line
and are treated to a free sampling of the rum and have the opportunity to
purchase it at the best prices. The Brugal tour has become one of the highlights
of any trip to Puerto Plata and on any given day, as many as 500 tourists may
pass through the factorys gates.
Today, Brugal is taking a lead role to establish that there is only one real rum
- that which is actually produced from the sugar cane. Caribbean rum producers
are concerned at the growing quantities of spirits being passed off as rum
around the world. Efforts have now advanced hand in hand with the European Union
to establish an official definition, and now Dominican rum can be classified
under the prestigious label of Denomination of Protected Origin (D.O.P) as are
the products of the region of Champagne, France and tequila from Mexico. With
Brugal being the third largest producer of rum in the world, it has a lot to
In recent years, Brugal has begun to penetrate new markets and it has
strengthened its position among rums sold in the United States. It has continued
to increase its exports and experience continued growth. It has also seen sales
growth in Spain, Italy and the other Caribbean islands and Brugal has begun to
approach new markets in Europe and Latin America.
Some popular ways Brugal is consumed is over ice, mixed with coke which is
commonly referred to as a ‘cuba libre’, mixed with 7-up which is commonly
referred to as a ‘santo libre’, or simply by itself in a glass. Some people mix
Brugal with fresh fruit juices. It is also usually the main ingredient in
mamajuana which is a drink that is rumored to have qualities as an aphrodisiac.
If you travel anywhere within the Dominican Republic, Brugals popularity is
evident. From bars, to stores, to colmados, to people’s homes, you will come
across a bottle of Brugal just about anywhere you look. Rum is the Dominican
Republics national drink and Brugals omnipresence can be considered a direct
testament to its quality.