Whiskey makers are in the midst of a love affair with rum barrels for finishing purposes — so why shouldn’t the reverse be true, also?
The second part of an annual release of five rums in the Reserva Ocho line, this is the follow-up to last year’s Reserva Ocho Sherry Cask Finish (which we didn’t review). With Reserva Ocho Rye Cask Finish, Bacardi takes an 8- (to 12-) year old rum, initially aged in bourbon barrels, and finishes it in rye casks (source unstated) for two months.
The results are surprisingly good. The nose combines sweet molasses and classic, heavy fruit notes with a distinctly grassy, spicy character driven by the rye. The proportions of each are initially about equal, though eventually the fruitiness wins out, allowing notes of bananas and apples to linger in the glass.
The palate is immediately drier, but quite engaging, with the rye spice hitting the tongue first. Again the rum moves slowly back toward a traditional, molasses-driven character, with light notes of caramel and chocolate lingering late into the experience. The slightly overproof rum warms on the finish, ultimately finding a nice balance of fruit and wood, albeit with a mildly medicinal overtone that stands as the only soft spot in one of Bacardi’s finest releases in years.