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Rum Review: Old Brigand Black Label Superior Barbados Rum

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How do you rate Old Brigand Black Label Rum (five is best)?
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot

Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 3499
Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:18 am    Post subject: Rum Review: Old Brigand Black Label Superior Barbados Rum Reply with quote

Old Brigand Black Label Rum: "Rummy Red Hots"

Do you remember "Red Hots"? You know, those little round red candies bout the size of the 81mg aspirin therapy tablets you now feel obligated to take, lol (rum "afficianados" tend to be the older, wiser types).

Get ready.

Old Brigand is yet another of the Barbadian based rums affiliated with the R. L. Seales company. And Sue Sea and I have yet to leave anything made by Seales on the shelf. The two eldest rums in the Brigand portfolio are the ten year (very hard to find) and the (now) more common Old Brigand Black Label Superior Barbados Rum.

Whew! I said it, but from now on I'll refer to "Black Label", you betcha.

Brigand Black Label - now isn't that better? - is alleged to be a blend of rums of five or more years in age (compare to the "Ten Year" blend of rums of 10 to 13 years). One thing we do know is that Richard Seales will not advertise an age unless "every single drop of rum" qualifies.

Basta! To the reviews:

Sue Sea:

Old Brigand Black Label comes in a nice squat, heavy bottle with modestly tapered shoulders. A calming large black label, no surprise, with red trim, traditional gold typeface and featuring a small earringed pirate (with a black and red stocking hat). It speak of strength and solidity, both fair descriptions of the rum to follow.

Black Labels aroma presents with a deep, orangey leather over a background of cinnamon. I found a nice high pineapple (it's important to nose a rum high, medium and low). Pleasant, but simple enough that I moved to the tasting fairly quickly. The front palate comes in with a nice smooth honey and the heat soon emerges. The finish is white hot, and I mean hot, in a nice way, and relatively short.

All in all, Old Brigand Black Label is very consistent, with a nice orangey leather from beginning to end. I want to say that in this regard it is balanced - it does what it does well, but without a great deal of complexity.

I see this as a party rum, good for all and especially those new to rum. Easy drinking, but with attributes enough to fairly represent rum, but without challenge.


Sue Sea and I find that we agree more and more as time passes, and particularly with a rum like Old Brigand. To the aroma I'd add only a background of spice (Sue Sea agrees) and what I like to call a deep tar - an effect that is clear to me but which requires a bit of explanation.

"Tar" is not at all a bad thing - quite the opposite. I first noted it with Mount Gay Extra Old... the next day. I'm sure many of you have had a nice rum tasting, but left the glasses overnight. Then had the opportunity to nose the remains - a lovely deep, uh, tar. That do it?

Anyway Black Label has it, in the background anyway. Brigand is a clear light amber with well-established thin legs. The palate opens sweet, the rum remains consistent and with a sweet and growing, growing heat, from clove, to black pepper, to white pepper, to hot. A glowing, strong powerful heat that I felt on the top of my head.

Nice. The throat (and head, lol) finish is astringent, short and strong. In sum, Old Brigand Black Label does not disappoint but it does not thrill either. Orangey leather, sweet and heat are all common attributes of the "rum taste" and Black Label delivers. Accordingly, it's a great introductory or daily drinker if you like those attributes. Seales, as always, has done a nice job.

Still it is fair to say that due to much experience with and considerations of rums have come to appreciate the unusual and exception. We appreciate mystery, romance and complexity - mostly missing here.

A good daily drinker at a fair price, about $19 if you can find it.

Rating (10 is best): Sue Sea - low 7, Jimbo - high 6.

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Joined: 26 Nov 2012
Posts: 139
Location: Cleveland

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently was in a city with a Total wine and decided to pick up a bottle of this. I must say I really liked it. It was smooth and easy and reminded me of Cuban rums.

My favorite rums have been Jamaican style and Cuban style (kind of opposites I know). Early favorite Cubans were the Ron Matusalem and Westerhall Plantation (which I'm convinced is also doctored). So I did a taste test with Westerhall.

Westerhall was too sweet. The additional sugar is really obvious next to the Old Brigand.

The Old Brigand was subtle, sublime, but very enjoyable. It wasn't challenging as Appleton or as complex as Pritchards. It is honest rum and balanced. It was great to get the feeling that I used to get with the doctored Cubans. I've spent time drinking Bourbon over the last couple of years and I can't stand the sweet rums anymore. Old Brigand isn't the best rum or my favorite, but it renewed my enjoyment of rum. There can be several styles and variety in rum without adulterations.

Bajan rum is my least favorite style. Old Brigand may be my favorite of those that are classified as Bajan. What I like about it isn't the Bajan traits.

Solid 8.
Rum Reviews Rankings and Cheat Sheet
References: MGXO, R Mat. GR, Scar Ibis, Apple 12, Barb 5, Pusser's, Wray and Neph, ED 15, 10Cn, West Plant, R Barc Imp.
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