Bumbu XO is a smooth, rich, and beautifully crafted Rum. Its predecessor, Bumbu The Original Rum, was already a bestseller. But among true connoisseurs, it was also one of the most criticized Rums. The reason is simple. The original Bumbu version had a low alcohol content and contained a lot of sugar. The alcohol content of 35% by volume made it more of a Rum liqueur than a traditional Rum. The sweet taste and intense flavors of vanilla and banana emphasize this even more.
But now comes the premium XO version. And that is not distilled in Barbados but Panama and stored up to 18 years in former Bourbon barrels. This premium version is a little more expensive and has much lower sugar content. The alcohol content is also higher and provides a better balance of the Rum. A completely different product than Bumbu The Original, but in a good way.
Bumbu XO review
Aged: Bourbon barrels for up to 18 years
Alcohol: 40% ABV
Taste: Toffee, toasted oak, vanilla, orange zest, and pepper
Price: $40 - $45
Bumbu XO is a blend of Rums aged for up to 18 years in previous Bourbon barrels. When looking only at the age of this Rum blend, the pricing is very competitive. But when considering the quantity produced, it becomes apparent that the proportion of 18-year-old Rum cannot be too high. But even then, $40 is fair, to be honest.
While the original Bumbu comes from Barbados, Bumbu XO is produced at Don Jose Distillery in Panama. The distilled product ages in Bourbon casks for most of this time. And in a final step, the Rum is refined by aging in Spanish White Oak Sherry Casks.
The presentation is as impressive as with Bumbu Original. Maybe even a little more elegant, thanks to the matte black finish. Even the metal cross looks slightly better than on the original bottling. The rest of the bottle remains the same. But after all, looks aren't everything as Rum is primarily about taste. And clearly, the taste is more mature than that of the original.
Taste of Bumbu XO
When poured in a glass, the Rum reveals its dark mahogany color. The smell is quite pleasant and atypical for a Rum. Notes of orange, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg dominate, and a light oak aroma is present. The Sherry cask finish is also quite pronounced. The Rum is well-sherried and contains strong notes of roasted nuts.
When sipping, the oak notes get more intense. And the spicy flavors of ginger and cinnamon are paired with a slight sweetness. Overall, Bumbu XO is far less sugary than the original expression. Once the spicy notes disappear, coffee and orange dominate the taste. The finish is pretty short and sweet. It's hard to describe but reminds one of marmalade with hints of cinnamon.
Compared to Bumbu The Original, the taste is entirely different. That also means that diehard Bumbu Rum fans might be disappointed by this XO version simply because it's lacking that prominent sweetness. If you're new to both of them, best try them one by one to discover the differences between bot spirits and find your favorite.
Best way to drink
Like other aged Rums, Bumbu XO is great for sipping neat or on ice. That way, you can enjoy the complexity and taste the notes coming from the Sherry cask finish.
Bumbu XO FAQs
Bumbu and Bumbu XO are two completely different products. Bumbu XO is distilled in Panama instead of Barbados, contains more alcohol (40% ABV to 35% ABV), is aged longer (18 years instead of 15), and is a lot drier than the sweet Bumbu Rum.
XO stands for extra old. In the case of Bumbu, the XO refers to the longer storage time of up to 18 years.
Bumbu XO is a full-strength Rum. It contains 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof). That's more than the original Bumbu Rum, which has an alcohol content of 35%.