Rums, like Old Fashioneds, are making a comeback.
I’ve sampled quite a few of them and I’d like to share my experiences.
This is going to rattle a lot of cages but I find Captain Morgan Private Stock to be the best all around rum. It is well balanced, stands up well to ice and mixes superbly. I prefer a sweeter rum, but not so sweet that it’s sugary. The taste of this rum is deep and complex with a long, perfect finish. It costs a bit more than I like to pay, but I’d have to say that it’s worth it.
So Good, Yet So Cheap:
I’m not a big fan of Bacardi rums but their Black Rum is really quite good. It has a somewhat heavier presentation, though Bacardi calls in a medium rum. It starts and finishes strongly and has a lot of caramel and licorice both in scent and flavor. It’s a great mix with Diet Coke.
Nearly Great, But Pricey:
Sugar Island is a bold rum at 92 proof but it is very smooth and sugary in the extreme. The spice is minimal but the overall sense of sweetness rules. Its fullness almost reminds me of the finish of a good port. Even though I enjoy this rum, I’m not sure that it’s worth the hefty tariff. Plus, it’s made in California which maybe OK for wines but just doesn’t seem right for a spiced rum.
Another 90 Proof Winner:
I actually prefer a 70 proof rum for mixing, though some have a tough time stating up to melting ice and whatever it’s being mixed with. 90 proof rums almost always sacrifice smoothness for a strong start, finish and depth of flavor. 90 proof spiced rums frequently lack spice flavors. One exception is Sailor Jerry which tips the scale at 92 proof but is an marvelously spiced rum with distinct vanilla, nutmeg and a nice cinnamon flavor. I’ve noticed the price on Jerry drop of late which makes it an even tastier proposition.
My Daily Favorite:
Captain Morgan simply cannot be beat for the money and it never disappoints. Yes, I like to try and frequently enjoy other spiced rums but if the original captain was the only spiced rum in the world, I would shed no tears. This is a balanced spiced rum. This is a smooth spiced rum with plenty of flavor. This is a rum you can sip or mix. This, in the end, is the spiced rum all of the pretenders are trying to be.
Liquid Licorice is Not a Spiced Rum:
Kraken rum has an overpowering taste of licorice, rather than flavors of actual spices. This must be cheap and easy way to make a rum that, to the uninitiated, might come across and dark and bold. Dark it is, bold it’s not. It’s passable, but with all of the other fine rums on hand why bother?
A Poor Rum from a Great Company:
I have no idea how a great rum distiller like Bacardi can sell a rum as bad as their Oak heart. It has a spineless and astringent quality that lingers even when it’s mixed. Sipped, it is nothing short of abysmal. One can only hope that Bacardi takes a beating on this and goes back to the drawing board and comes up with something worth drinking. If this was the only spiced rum on the market, I wouldn’t drink spiced rum ever again.
A Promising New Kid:
Well, not exactly a new kid but certainly a new rum from a solid company. I came across Cannon Blast with its distinctive, hard to carry (though easy to roll, if that’s your thing) cannonball shaped bottle. Yes, it’s an idiotic name. There’s no way around that. But, it’s a delightful spiced rum with an initial hit of lime that’s followed up by a smooth, warm spiciness that is near perfect when mixed. The folks at Captain Morgan obviously take this stuff very seriously, that’s for sure. I cannot imagine another rum distillery with the guts or creativity that a rum like this took to create.