If our friends are someplace known for their rum, they know to pick us up something that looks interesting to review. Our friend Doug did just that when he went on a cruise to the Caribbean. The unique bottle of Bumbu XO is a very thick, heavy black glass bottle with a tarnished foil “X” across a map of the Caribbean. Let’s see if “X” hits the right flavor spot.
Bumbu Rum Company is under the umbrella of Sovereign Brands, a family-owned wine and spirits company partnering with high-quality family-owned companies worldwide. Information about Bumbu Rum Company itself is vague. They are best known for Bumbu The Original rum made “at a historic distillery in Barbados founded in 1893.” Bumbu XO, though, is “distilled and aged” in Panama. Since it’s not specific where we’ll leave the scuttlebutt to others.
Bumbu’s Master Distillers source sugarcane from around the world that contains certain minerals to create the unique characteristics of the XO blend. Bumbu XO is distilled using a continuous column still, then aged in ex-bourbon cask before finishing in Spanish white oak sherry casks. The rum is “aged up to 18 years” which would indicate a solera method of aging however, there is no verification of this on the company’s website.
Note: Bumbu XO needs five minutes to breathe before sipping or you will get a mouthful of alcohol burn.
There are vanilla, molasses, and a slight hint of oak on the nose. The palate, however, is initially subtle opening up after being held a bit on the tongue. There, the vanilla comes through to reveal even more of the bean while the oak takes a back seat. For me, the finish is where you should spend time exploring. There is a spice that takes a while to identify. There’s a potpourri of Caribbean spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. Not one of these spices takes the lead. I find this blend satisfying and worth the effort to explore.
When I popped the cork, the aroma was sweet and inviting. I was surprised that a rum aged up to 18 years was still this golden, yet its liquid clung to the glass as an aged rum should. I don’t get the vanilla or molasses on the nose that Clint does, but rather a more citrus-forward nose with some hints of floral. The palate surprised me. The liquid almost sparkled on my tongue presenting orange peel and spices. When it traveled to the back of the palate the tongue radiated with ginger and orange until it warmed the chest cavity. Further sips brought out more spices that played with the orange peel.
This was one of the most unique sipping experiences we have had in a while. There is so much that wants to be explored in this rum. If you like spice-forward rum, then Bumbu XO is for you.
Overall: 4.25 of 5
Sipping Rum Scale
1 – An expensive mixer
2 – A quick celebratory shot
3 – Wouldn’t be embarrassed to share with friends
4 – Are my friends worthy of a sip
5 – Special moments rum