Bacardi Reserva Ocho Rum: Unrevealing the Latest Review of This Amazing Spirit

Before reviewing this Bacardi Reserva Ocho Rum, I’ve always considered Bacardi to be a brand of spirits that works best in a cocktail: something to provide alcohol content and a smidge of flavor, but not really something to be savored and enjoyed on its own. But that’s the exact perception that this bottle of 8 year aged rum is trying to break — and the results were a bit surprising. Yes, I am talking about Bacardi Reserva Ocho Rum and lets get into the details.

Bacardi Reserva Ocho Rum


That Rich Aroma of Bacardi Reserva Ocho Rum

There’s a rich and delicious aroma coming off the glass that you can smell from across the table, with significantly more aromas attributable to the barrel aging process. I’m picking up on the brown sugar and marshmallow tones that you’d normally expect from a rum, but mixed in there are also dried figs, apricots, raisins, vanilla, and baking spices making for a fruitcake-esque impression like you’d find in the “rancio” components from well aged cognac.

All of those aromas translate into the flavor, but not quite in the proportions I was expecting. The brown sugar, marshmallow, and vanilla components are the clearest and most immediately apparent as soon as you take a sip — and while the dried figs, apricots, and baking spices are all present, they are more like supporting characters in the cast rather than big players. The smooth sugary texture and flavor from the base spirit overpowers whatever spicy texture might have been added from the baking spices and lingers well into the finish.

Bacardi Reserva Ocho Rum

How About Some Sugar & Ice

Surprisingly, I think the addition of some ice actually does this spirit a favor. Usually, ice smooths out any roughness that is present, but this actually seems to do the opposite. There’s a bit more texture to the spirit now, which is probably a result of the sugary smoothness from the base rum spirit being toned down. Without that sugar to hide behind, what’s left is heavier on the maturation components resulting in a darker and richer version of this spirit.

There’s still some brown sugar front and center, but it has more saturation and more presence. There’s a darker tone to it, more like a slightly charred creme brulee covering rather than just raw sugar — including just a touch of bitterness. It has some character and depth that we didn’t see before, and the dried figs, apricots, and baking spice flavors almost turn this into a bourbon. It still retains that generally sweeter and lighter trademark rum characteristic, though, instead of an earthy or corn heavy note like you might expect from a whiskey.

Full Disclosure

This isn’t the usual cocktail that we use for this test. Usually, I’ll make a Daquiri for the cocktail part our rum reviews, but the bottle specifically called out that this would work well in an Old Fashioned, and who am I to argue with the distiller? After all, really what we’re looking for here is how well this does in a classic style cocktail, and an Old Fashioned definitely fits that bill.

As soon as you take a sip, you’ll realize that this is almost like cheating.

What makes a good Old Fashioned is the combination of sweeter notes like caramel and brown sugar with some darker tones to provide a good balance for the angostura bitters. You are absolutely getting that here, with the heavy emphasis on sugary notes (brown sugar, marshmallow, and dried fruit) all playing their parts. The result is a delicious cocktail that has some complexity and depth to it, which is exactly what you want to see.

Bacardi Reserva Ocho Rum

The sugary flavors Bacardi Reserva Ocho Rum seem to be providing more than enough sweetness that you don’t actually need a sugar cube or any simple syrup. It works fine all on its own. In fact, if anything, I might suggest throwing in a cocktail cherry and orange peel as a garnish and calling it a day. That little extra fruit from the cocktail cherry is just the perfect accompaniment to the rest of the flavors and adds a tiny bit more depth that puts this over the top in my opinion.

This is a really good example of the Dark & Stormy, especially for something that isn’t artificially spiced. A lot of what you’d normally see if in a version of this made with a dark rum or a spiced rum is from the additives, but in this case it’s just the oak barrels doing their thing.

I’m getting a lot of the same flavor profiles that I’d see with a good bourbon: the brown sugar, vanilla, and a bit of dried fruit balancing out the brighter and more cheerful ginger beer and lime juice. The difference is that instead of getting some black pepper spice on the finish (like with a high rye bourbon), it just mellows into a sugary sweetness that almost tastes like a Coca-Cola. I’m not mad — I practically live on the stuff — but it isn’t necessarily the unique texture that I’d like to see here.

With Bacardi Reserva Ocho Rum, this is a good sipping cocktail, but it could be better.

Final Words

I didn’t come into this review with high expectations. Bacardi has always been a brand that I thought made for a fine mixer, but I hadn’t seen anything that really made me want to keep the bottle on the bar longer than it took to make the review. For me, this bottle of Bacardi Reserva Ocho Rum was a game changer that really shows off what Bacardi can do and the real potential of their rum.

That said, there are a couple rough edges. The flavors of Bacardi Reserva Ocho Rum aren’t quite as well-saturated as they could be, especially when taken neat. And there’s a touch of bitterness on ice that I’d prefer to skip in the future. It could use some refinement but as a cocktail spirit at this price point, I’d say it is a solid option.

Overall Rating

Overall Rating: 4/5
A surprisingly flavorful and rich rum that works best in a cocktail.


Neetu is a highly respected author who has dedicated her writing career to the exploration of alcoholic beverages. Her publications seamlessly merge historical accounts, cultural insights, and the art of mixing drinks, captivating readers with fascinating stories. Renowned for her deep knowledge and unique talent for enlightening and entertaining audiences, Neetu is widely regarded as an authoritative figure in the field.