Bumbu XO Rum - Bartender Review

By Timo Torner / Last updated on August 21, 2023

Bumbu XO is the new premium release from the makers of the popular Bumbu Rum company. Distilled in Panama, the alcoholic beverage is aged 18 years.
Bumbu XO Rum Review

This premium XO version is not distilled at West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados Barbados (like Bumbu original) but in Panama. The resulting rum then ages up to 18 years in former Bourbon barrels. In the final step, the sugar cane spirit is refined by aging in Spanish White Oak Sherry Casks.

It is a little more expensive than the standard Bumbu and has significantly lower sugar content. The alcohol content is higher (40% vs. 35%) and provides a better balance of flavors in the liquor.

Bumbu XO Review Summary

  • Produced By: Sovereign Brands
  • Owned By: Brett and Brian Berish
  • Product WebsiteClick here
  • Production Location: Don Jose Distillery, Panama
  • Classification: Aged Rum
  • Flavor profile: Toffee, roasted oak, caramel, vanilla, orange zest, and pepper
  • Aging: 18 years in ex-bourbon barrels, finished in Spanish sherry casks
  • ABV: 40% (80 proof)
  • Price: $40 - $45 / 750 ml
  • Overall Rating: 4/5

What is Bumbu XO Rum?

Bumbu XO bottle
  • Distilled: Panama
  • 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 smooth, rich, and beautifully crafted rum that contains 40% alcohol (80 proof). Its predecessor, Bumbu The Original Rum, was already a bestseller. Yet, among true connoisseurs, the spiced rum was one of the most criticized rums. 

The reason is simple: the original Bumbu version has a low alcohol content of 35% ABV and contains a lot of sugar. That made the liquor more of a rum liqueur than a traditional rum. The sweet taste and intense flavors of vanilla and banana emphasize this even more.

The price for Bumbu XO typically ranges between $40 and $45 per bottle. 

Tasting notes

Finished in Spanish sherry casks, Bumbu XO reveals a dark mahogany color when poured into a glass. The smell is quite pleasant and atypical for a rum. 

A bouquet of orange, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg dominates, and a light oak aroma is present. The Sherry cask finish is also quite pronounced, and the rum contains strong notes of roasted nuts.

When sipping, the oak notes get more intense. And the spicy flavors of ginger, pepper, and cinnamon are paired with a slight sweetness. Overall, Bumbu XO is far less sugary than the original expression.

Once the peppery spice 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.

If you're new to Bumbu Rum, try them one by one to discover the differences between both spirits and find your favorite.

On ice

Poured over a large ice cube, the spicy flavors of Bumbu XO are muted creating a better balance of flavors. I liked the addition of orange peel to the spirit as it helped to unfold the cinnamon and ginger notes in the distilled spirit.

In Cocktails

Bumbu XO works great in many traditional rum cocktails. We tried it in a few classics listed below:

Mai Tai

The peppery spice notes in the spirit worked well in a classic Mai Tai. However, I felt that other ingredients overpowered the flavor profile. Overall, Bumbu XO made for a decent Mai Tai. However, to really highlight the rum base, look for another cocktail recipe.

Piña Colada

This one was much better than the Mai Tai. Cream of coconut, fresh pineapple juice, and a bit of lime juice helped to bring out the flavors of Bumbu XO. The resulting drink had an excellent balance of sweet and sour with a creamy texture and just hints of spices. Not the best rum I ever had in a Piña Colada, but a solid choice.

Bumbu XO Old Fashioned

Last but not least, we tasted the XO rum in an Old Fashioned to highlight the flavors of the spirit. Sweetened with Demerara syrup and balanced with Angostura bitters, we served the drink over a large ice cube garnished with an orange peel. The result was stunning as I enjoyed every sip of this Caribbean twist on a classic Old Fashioned. Maybe I would reduce the amount of syrup next time (I used 2 bar spoons).

Bottle Design

The bottle design of Bumbu XO rum is a true testament to its luxury and craftsmanship. Bottled in a sophisticated and matte black glass, the bottle in itself looks impressive. 

The intricate detailing on the label and cap exudes elegance, with silver cross accents that catch the light and draw the eye. The deep amber hue of the rum inside contrasts beautifully with the bottle's dark tones. 

Overall, the presentation of Bumbu XO is just as impressive as the one of Bumbu Original. It comes in a beautiful black bottle with a silver metal cross on the front.

Maybe the bottle design is even slightly more elegant, thanks to the matte black finish. Also, the metal cross looks slightly better than on the original bottling. The rest of the bottle like shape and size remains the same. 

How to drink

Like other aged rums, Bumbu XO is best sipped neat or on ice. Like that, you can enjoy the complexity and taste the notes from the Sherry cask finish.

But the notes of roasted oak, vanilla, and spices make Bumbu XO an excellent choice for a classic Rum & Coke or a Rum-based Old Fashioned cocktail.

Bumbu vs. Bumbu XO

Bumbu and Bumbu XO are two completely different products. The latter 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 drier than the sweet Bumbu Rum.

Compared to Bumbu The Original, also the taste is entirely different. That also means diehard Bumbu Rum fans might be disappointed by this XO version simply because it lacks that characteristic sweetness. Here's a quick overview of the differences:

Feature Bumbu Original Rum Bumbu XO Rum
Taste Profile Sweet with Vanilla, Chocolate, Banana, and Molasses Rich with Toffee, Roasted Oak, Caramel, Vanilla, Orange Zest, and Pepper
ABV 35% (70 proof) 40% (80 proof)
Bottle Transparent with gold-colored cross Matte black with silver cross
Production Location Barbados Panama
Aging 15 years in ex-bourbon barrels 18 years in ex-bourbon barrels, finished in Spanish sherry casks
Price (approx.) $30 - $35 / 750 ml $40 - $45 / 750 ml

What does XO mean in Bumbu Rum XO?

XO stands for extra old. In the case of Bumbu, the XO refers to the longer maturation time of up to 18 years. 

Subscribe to Cocktail Society!

Receive our latest recipes, reviews, and insights - straight to your inbox.
Subscription Form

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ContactAbout usPrivacy PolicyTermsSitemap
Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com.

© 2023 Cocktail-Society.com