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Dominican Republic Brugal Rum
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 toffee.

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 gain.


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.
 
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