Review: R.L. Seale’s Old Brigand

Last year I had my first and only trip to the Caribbean, more exactly to Barbados where I genuinely fell in love with the place. I would go there every week if I could, but instead I have to settle with drinking rum made there from my cozy room while sitting in front of a computer and refreshing the blog’s visit count. When I returned obviously I brought back with me a hefty amount of rum part of which was this hipflasky Old Brigand.

I wanted to keep this for a special occasion, but I feel like a bit of “sunshine” wouldn’t hurt given the current situation and I’m also running low on rums to write about… well, until my next order arrives.

At the beginning of the 20th century in Barbados the Rum Duty Act came into effect allowing distilleries on the island to sell only in bulk. This gave birth to various blenders such as Martin Doorly, Alleyne Arthur and Reginald Leon Seale who would buy the large quantities of rum, blend them after their own recipes and then sell them under their own brands. Old Brigand was one such brand and was owned by Alleyne Arthur until 1993 when it was acquired by R.L. Seale. Nowadays Old Brigand is distilled, blended and bottled at the Foursquare distillery and is widely available and consumed on the island – you’d be having a hard time finding this outside Barbados unfortunately, trust me, I know.

R.L. Seale’s Old Brigand is molasses based, pot and column still distilled and aged for 2-3 years (according to thefatrumpirate) in ex-Bourbon casks in Barbados. Bottled at a very decent 43% ABV and free of any sweeteners.

On the nose it seems quite moreish. Apple and carrot juice, banana and mango smoothie, coconut cream, plums, toffee and leather. Charred oak, damp cardboard and vanilla. A touch of olive brine along with some sweet cherries. Has a decent amount of layers for such a young rum.

On the palate it feels rounded, but not light, the ABV shows its teeth a bit. Coconut water, peaches, sultanas, marmalade and vanilla custard. Has a nice, creamy mouthfeel. Cacao butter, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg and sweet cherries. The charred oak comes back with some white pepper and a touch of cola. The finish is short to medium with notes of coconut and charred oak.

I’ll be lying if I’d say I remember how much I paid for this, but anyone who went to Barbados and had any of the bottles will vouch they are fantastic value for money. If this would’ve been available in the UK it would’ve easily been on my top 10 value for money rums list. A young, yet multi-layered rum that works as a mixer, shot or even a light sipper.

R.L. Seale’s Old Brigand score:
Flavour/taste: 46/70
Value for money: 15/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 76/100


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