You don't name a rum after the founding date of your distillery unless it's good.
I've long had a special place in my heart for Brugal Rums. I like the short dry finish that most of their rums have. It really makes them noticeable in Tiki drinks. But mostly, it's the fact that it was a bottle of Brugal Anejo that Cap'n Rob produced to fill all of our flasks as we waited for the Reverend to call me out to get married; but that's a story for another time...
Brugal Rums are made in the Dominican Republic and are typically classified as a Spanish style rum. Spanish style rums are typically molasses based and are produced through a column based distillation process. If you follow the Martin Cate rum categories, Brugal 1888 is a "4" Column Still Aged. That aging leaves an amber colored rum with a full body for a column still rum. What makes Brugal 1888 special is the way in which it is aged. The rum is first aged for 6 years in American Oak barrels that were previously used for Bourbon. Then the rum is re-barreled into Oloroso Sherry casks where it rests for an additional 2-4 years.
This double barrel aging produces a complex character with coffee, dates, and vanilla typical with bourbon barrel aging. However, the sherry casks add notes of citrus and red berries. It's only 80 proof but there is a bit of heat to it, especially when taken neat. While I'd still consider Brugal 1888 dry, the aging does make for a long finish. Brugal recommends drinking it neat at 74-78 degrees F. That definitely opens up the aromatics and this is, without a doubt, a sipping quality rum.
That being said, I have been trying to make a rum based version of the Old Fashioned for about 2 months with little success. None of them were bad, but most of them just made me want a bourbon old fashioned! However, I'm happy to announce that Brugal 1888 was my missing ingredient. So, without further ado, I give you the Old Fashioned Tropicale!