Nov 062014
 

D3S_9071

Don’t bash the bat until you’ve given this rum a fair shot.  Because it’s damned good.

(#187 / 74/100)

***

Many – myself among them – believe that one of Bacardi’s more unappreciated rums is the 8-year-old, and I’d argue the Reserva Limitada joins the club…and even dials it up a few notches.

The company may sell more rum than anyone else, has enormous (and heavily criticized) tax breaks and subsidies to keep its costs down, is a global juggernaut of the entry-level rums, but at the upper end of the scale has a real bad rep with rum lovers who just disdain it. So if Bacardi wanted to break into the rarefied realms of stratospherically-priced premium rums lovingly issued by craft bottlers, they did well with this one.  And yet, many who taste this rum will express their “surprise,” and how “unexpected” it is.  But it shouldn’t be: one can’t be in the rum making business for over a hundred years and not pick up something, right.  The real mystery is what took so damned long, and why they can’t do better.

Still,  let’s just move away from any preconceptions we might have regarding the brand, and simply address what I tasted that day: a dark amber rum in a standard bottle (I didn’t see a box, but a quick search confirms it comes with one) bottled at — what is now, for me — a mild 40%. (Interestingly enough, while I meant it when I said dark amber, some photographs online suggest a lighter colour, almost honey-like).  The nose demonstrated a solid, creamy nose of coconut, some fruit, burnt sugar, even nougat… and a touch of mischief thrown in via a flirt of lemon peel.  Some clove and cinnamon danced around there after opening up.  It was well done: there was nothing truly exciting or freakishly adventurous about it — it probably wouldn’t be a Bacardi if it exhibited such traits — just seamless quality.

Same for the taste. Soft, smooth, sweet, it was a baby’s drowsy kiss to your palate.  It was a really good melange of coconut shavings, banana, almonds, caramel, raisins, honey, some allspice and cinnamon; even some freshly baked bread.  Barely any smoke and leather or tannins from the ageing. I’m hoping that they didn’t cram sugar into the thing to smoothen it out – that would be a real shame (yet I can’t rid myself of the thought). The mouthfeel at 40% held to that unwarlike temper to which I had become accustomed in my recent enjoyable battles with full-proofs – gentle and easygoing, almost creamy, with merely a nip of the alcohol bite, far from unpleasant.  As for the fade, pretty decent for a mere 40% offering – soft and lasting, with all those rich scents taking their bow before departing.

D3S_9072

Bacardi does this so very well: they don’t seek the edge of the envelope, they don’t shoot for the stars, they don’t go off the reservation.  They simply, day in and day out, make rums that are cut above the ordinary for their age, type and price point. Okay, the cost for this rum is pushing it for the masses that drink and move the brand by the tankerload, yet it must be conceded that it’s being marketed as a premium rum, and so perhaps a different audience is being sought.

This rum apparently hailed from stocks which were reserved for the founder’s family, and were released rarely – commercial production began in 2003, and one supposedly had to go to Puerto Rico to get any, up until 2010 when it began to be released more widely.  Varying online sources mention that the age of the blends comprising the rum is 12-18 years and averaged 16 years (one noted that this average is now 12 years, another said 15) and aged in lightly charred American oak.  The 2010 press release noted 10-16 years. I found it enormously irritating that the Bacardi website itself didn’t mention a damned thing about it. What does it say about a marketing strategy in today’s world, that you get the most information from re-sellers, online shops and hobby sites, rather than from the actual manufacturers?

In the end, whatever the background material (or lack of it) says, I must confess that Bacardi’s Reserva Limitada is quite something: it’s neither a cult object, nor a brave miss nor even a “flawed masterpiece”.  It is, indeed, a solidly excellent rum, well made, carefully put together, showing real care and attention —  I enjoyed it a lot. And if it is, at 40%, a little to weak for my own personal taste these days, it sure won’t let down legions of its drinkers, who might just be encouraged by this review to pony up the coin which the bottle will cost them – or at least for the cost of a shot in a bar somewhere.  In that case, I honestly don’t think they’ll be disappointed.

 D3S_9071-001

Other notes

Bacardi’s strategy mystifies me.  The rum is a blend limited to 8,000 bottles per year, which many boutique makers would be proud to issue: and as noted, it’s a very good rum, great for sipping. My question is, why blend it at all?  Why not issue an age-specific or even a year-specific rum and ratchet up the advertising to tout its uniqueness?  What’s with the anaemic 40% – this thing could easily be a shade stronger and deliver more punch. And then really earn its “premium” cachet.

Rating system

  • 40-50 Hooch. Raw, brutish, unsubtle. Deficient in nose, body, flavour or finish (or all of them), barely worth a mix.
  • 51-60 Not meant as a sipping spirit. Makes a good cocktail.
  • 61-70 You might want to experiment with drinking this one neat, or mix it, as your tastes go
  • 71-75 Good sipping rum with a few discordant notes that can still make a good cocktail.
  • 76-80 Really excellent, top tier drink. Almost nothing wrong here, and good for many things.
  • 81-90 No additive or ice should ever touch this. It’s great.
  • 90+ Succeeds n every level – aesthetic, appearance, nose, taste, finish, the lot. Phenomenal, top-of-the-line. Almost guaranteed to be pricey.
 Posted by on November 6, 2014 at 1:16 am
Mar 262013
 

First posted December 3rd, 2010 on Liquorature

Bacardi Black is a deep, dark rich mixer’s drink just the right side of sweet enough, but lacks the cojones to be a decent sipper on its own merits. 

(#054. 54/100)

***

The mainstays of Bacardi’s massive sales are, to my mind, the low-enders: those rums not good enough to stand on their own, but which have a bold taste, a decent body and – somewhat like Johnny Walker – sufficient overall quality to be a cut above the average.  The normal Joe who walks into a liquor store isn’t after all, looking for a life-changing experience: he’s looking for a decent drink at a good price that won’t make him void his bowels, lose his sight and tie his alimentary canal up into a complex knot.

Such a rum is the Bacardi Black, which I will tell you right out, is not a sipping rum by any stretch of the imagination (unless you like low enders to sip and cause you pain) but will liven up any drink you make with it. It’s a cocktail base, pure and simple, and should be treated as such and I must be equally honest and tell you it’s one of the best out there at its price point (less than $30 for 750ml). I should also point out, however that the Black is no longer available as the Black since it has now been replaced as the Bacardi Select rum. Dunno what difference there is between the two.

You can almost always tell tipple for the masses: with a very few exceptions, almost no care is taken tartin’ ‘er up, and this is no exception.  Tin foil cap.  Cheap label with bare minimum of facts.  A reekingly pungent nose that only reluctantly releases its claws and puffs a grudging fart of caramel into your face like a baby’s bum at the exact wrong time. A thin little toot, you understand…the Black is not a heavy dark rum.  But to some extent you are compensated by a transformation of the initial caramel whiff into light cinnamon, some bonbons, and a weakly burnt-wood belch.

The body is, as I say, not for sipping.  A tad on the thin side, tasting of oak and carmel, some vanilla and maybe nuts.  But oddly, for a rum this dark, there is a lack of boldness and assertiveness, a lack of sweet, that’s somewhat at odds with its aggressive styling and bold dark looks: it’s as if Will Smith turned into a wuss, or something.  And that finish: ugh. Lousy. Hobbesian, truth be told – nasty, brutish and short.

I know I’m making a case that this is just another piece of dreck.  But it’s not, really – it’s just not meant to be had neat (and my apologies to all of you who have tried it that way and liked it – but you need to trade up). As a mixer in cocktails it’s actually really good….its weaknesses are compensated for by whatever we chose to add to it.

Bacardi’s 20 million cases of annual sales are more than just a question of a stable of brands or a favourable tariff regime with the US.  They have simply, and for generations, made a damn fine series of rums.  What they lack in uber-quality and premium labelling (they have nothing to even breathe upon the Appleton 30 or DDL’s aged offerings), they make up for in volume of decently distilled spirits that appeal widely because of both their overall quality (sold cheaply) and their ubiquity. I’ve found Bacardis the world over and always affordable, almost always better than the local hooch.

By eschewing top-end and exclusive premium rums and concentrating on making a series of excellent mid- and low-tier products – like the Black and the Gold – Bacardi have essentially created what every manufacturer dreams of making just once and then selling a jillion.  Simply put, with the Black and its like, Bacardi have made the Model T of rums.

A:5/10 N:15/25 T:16/25 F:10/25 I:8/15 TOT: 54/100

 Posted by on March 26, 2013 at 7:30 am
Mar 262013
 

First posted 17 September 2010 on Liquorature (#053)

A tentative foray, a single spy, sent into the camp of the premium rums, perhaps to scout out the territory for further invasions to come (we can hope).  Capture one and be surprised by its low price and overall quality. If Bacardi can make this one, I don’t know why they don’t come charging into the high-end market in force.

***

Maybe it’s just me, but I sometimes find stronger notes and more positive tastes at the middle and lower end of the price and snoot scale;  more premium rated rums can get their cachet from age statements, distillery snobbery and the supposed excellence and uniqueness of their maturation process…but don’t consistently please (or awe) the drinker any more than a regular rum could (sometimes even less). A lesson that does not seem to have been lost on the subject of this review: the 8 year old Bacardi.

Observe this brand.  It’s the best selling rum in the world.  It smartly moved its operations to Puerto Rico and then to Mexico in the pre-WW2 years to take advantage of favourable tariff regimes with the US, and created a marketing campaign which made it the pre-eminent tropical drink of its time.  A series of extremely capable family members (some of them in-laws) kept the voting shares and quality control up to scratch into the modern era.  And yet, it is considered fashionable today to bash the brand for its commonality and staid middle-of-the-roadishness.

Part of that is its utility.  The damned thing can be used for anything.  You can cook with it, drink it, mix it, use it as a base, an ingredient or a mixer. It has no real character except its lack of one.  It’s bland.  It’s like the a ’40s jeep or ’50s Land Rover or ’70s Toyota.  It’s the faceless English banker, the anonymous Japanese salaryman  of rums.  It is, succintly put, often seen as boring. But my lord, does it ever sell. The gold, the black, the white…they can be found everywhere

The 8-year old is something else again. Bacardi blends for the most part, but they’ve taken the time to put together this tawny golden blend of rums aged eight to sixteen years old and aged in used white oak barrels that once held sherry.  This might account for a softer and more candied nose than one might expect from what could be seen as just another young rum. It’s a tad sharp, yet not so medicinal as others I’ve had.  I’ve always meant to try it for that alone.

Tasting is a surprising delight: the slight sting to the nose disappears entirely, and a body of some substance makes sipping this without ice a definite must-try. It’s not as sweet as other rums, and the arrival on the throat is more like a dry, rich brandy, or the Bruichladdich Renegade rums.  It’s got a solid flavour profile, with traces of vanilla, nutmeg and light fruity undertones, perhaps peaches.  More to the point, it has real body, not some kind of anorexic thinness reminiscent of its cheaper cousins further down the scale.  And the finish is excellent, with a slow deep burn, not a sting: this rum is more like a decent whisky, I judge, with just enough sugar in it to keep me liking it.  A lot. I’d sip it straight with no problems, on ice without doubt, and as a mixer in any situation.

Bacardi 8 does not try for superiority (although the packaging is quite decent for its price and age…I particularly liked the cork stopper). It really is a good mid ranger, and in its own way, defines what a good rum could be if it doesn’t hanker after any kind of pretentiousness.  A superstar it’ll never be: as an all rounder, it may be one of those undiscovered steals that those who patronize the low-end rums feel is a find all their own, and they’d be right to think so. You wouldn’t be wasting your thirty-plus bucks if you dropped them on this quietly impressive product.

 Posted by on March 26, 2013 at 7:21 am
Mar 242013
 

First Posted 27 Nov 2010 on Liquorature

(#049. 47/100)

A pleasant mixer but not worth it as a sipper…like a date you want to kiss but really aren’t sure you want to bring home just yet.

***

I’m at a loss to say what Bacardi 1873 is, based on what I’m reading.  Research is maddeningly inconclusive: Is it a solera, as some bottles advertise themselves to be, or a standard blend of some kind?  Some sources suggest that it’s an aged blend that has now been replaced by the eight year old.  I hesitate to commit myself to any of these positions, because while I can tell my bottle is definitely not a solera (that is usually clearly identified as such on the bottle, and the one I sampled makes no mention of it), I can’t ascertain anything else.

It would also appear that the few rum reviews out there are at odds on whether it is discontinued or not, and if so, replaced by what.  Bacardi’s own (woefully inadequate) website is hardly a fount of information on the matter and thus far they have ignored my inquiries. On the other hand, Chip Dykstra of the RumHowler Blog was as helpful as ever, and responded that while the 1873 started life as a Solera made in Puerto Rico, production was subsequently moved to Mexico and the specialized solera method was discontinued.

Faced with this dilemna, a reviewer does what he can: he directs an inquiry at the distiller, does as careful a tasting as he is able, and puts a picture of the bottle up to ensure that readers know precisely what they’re reading a review of.  And this is what I’ve attempted to do.

Price wise, nothing to say. About $35.  Bottle, not the rounded shape of the standard Bacardi’s like Black, Gold or White, but more squared off.  Cap – >>sigh << – cheap crap tinfoil press-on.  I won’t go so far as to say these initial indications denote low-end, but it does seem to be trending that way.  On the other hand, I like the rich and deep amber-gold colour of the rum as the light strikes it (something I’ve attempted to show in the picture I took).

Working on the assumption that this is a blend, the trick is to see if a decent tasting can suggest, with a fair degree of assurance, whether it’s an old or young one running up the spine.

On those nose, there is a surprising lack of any kind of spirit burn on the initial sniff, just soft vanilla notes wrapped around a caramel and burnt sugar core. There is a hint of oaken tannins on the back end which suggest some level of ageing, but it’s impossible to say how much: the relatively simple nose doesn’t lend itself much to dissection.  I need to mention, though, that after I left my glass to stand for a bit, a sly citrus hint came sliding out of the softer background of vanilla.

The palate confirmed the overall lack of complexity the nose had suggested.  The body of the 1873 was lighter than I expected for something of this copper-brown/amber coloured hue; and slightly sweet without overpowering you with sugar, and a shade dry (not as much as the Bermudez, however). The rum is spicy, packing a light stinging burn on the tongue, yet perseverance elicits the taste of dried fruits as well, the nonsweet kind, like dates, perhaps; this last is very faint and is no more than a light impression. As for the finish, it’s short and sharp, and the medicinal fumes which thus far escaped you are back to claw their way up your throat and spoil what so far had been an unremarkable, but also not particularly bad, rum.

I’m really not impressed with the 1873 on its own – this one seems to be tailor made for a cocktail base of some kind, and indeed, as a mixer with the usual suspects, I really enjoyed it. I believe it to be a blend of rums aged no more than five years. As a sort of general product, it doesn’t try to be any one thing, but too many, and there we may have hit on the reason for its lack of success with me.  The makers never got around to hanging their hat on any kind of flavour profile, while trying to please everyone: that marks it out as a low-ender, to my mind.

I sometimes wonder how much rum-lovers’ tastes the world over are formed from early exposure to the best selling rum in the world.  When  you think about it, drinkers who start with scotch appreciate the drier, not so sweet variations that hark back to whisky and cognac, while also liking the sweeter, more full-bodied stuff; but drinkers who began with Bacardi and never strayed from the true faith tend to like the former somewhat less, and concentrate their love on the latter. This private theory of mine is anecdotal at best, but who knows.

Be that as it may, Bacardi 1873 is a pleasant blend of no great sophistication, and sports its youthful physique and unpretentious nature like any teenager that ever lived but fails on the finish line. It’s main selling point might be that it’s a cut above the black and gold variations, and works exceedingly well as a mixer. For some, it might work as a low-end, none too stellar sipper (something like the El Dorado 5 yr or English Harbour 5 yr)…not for me, though.

A:5/10 N:10/25 T:15/25 F:10/25 I:2/10 TOT: 47/100

 Posted by on March 24, 2013 at 7:57 pm
Mar 242013
 

First posted 13 October, 2010. #039

The  best selling and most commonly quoted spiced rum in the world.  It’s the standard by which all other spiced rums are measured not because of its excellence, precisely, but because of its overall “okay-ness”. It’s okay everywhere while being truly outstanding at little. It’s sweetness and spice are part of the appeal.

***

The fact that this is a low end mixer should not dissuade you from giving it a shot (no pun intended) if you’re in the mood for a reasonably low-priced little something. It’s about on the same level as the cheaper Bacardis (Gold, and Black), but it is spiced and therefore somewhat sweeter than normal, and also not meant to be taken seriously as a sipper.  Yet many aficionados with a less exclusive turn of taste are quite ardent supporters of The Captain’s spiced variant.

As I’ve noted in my review of Captain Morgan’s Private Stock, Seagram used to make the rum, but sold the rights to Diageo in the mid-eighties, and currently it is the world’s best selling spiced rum. The name is nothing more than a marketing ploy, since it enhances the connection to swashbuckling, seafaring pirate days of yore, but beyond that, there isn’t anything else (note that the TV advertising campaign I have seen in Calgary also plays on the whole bit about being like a pirate in breaking the rules and thinking outside the box to achieve success…an interesting bit of moral relativism given Morgan’s history and actions).

Captain Morgan is a tawny gold colour, and displays a medium light body in the glass. The nose is heavy with rum and vanilla, and a bit of caramel thrown in.  I can’t say I detected anything beyond that, because the scent is so overwhelming.  Yet the youth of the rum is evident in the sharpness at the back of the throat (it’s been matured for two years or less in charred white oak barrels), so there’s not much point in trying the rum to sip (unless you’re a slight nutcase like me and want to try it that way nevertheless). The finish is pretty good, though, a tad sharp, though not nearly as much as the nose suggested it would have. Last flavours of vanilla and nutmeg.

For my money, I suppose it’s okay.  It’s a versatile ingredient in mixed drinks, but just too sweet to really appeal to me — and for all those who have read my reviews about liking sugar in my rums, this must sound strange, but there is something as too much and this is a case in point.  Perhaps adding just a smidgen of coke to mitigate the burn is the way to approach it.

However, like Bacardi, the Captain is available just about everywhere, and as a result, if you drop thirty bucks on a bottle when getting something in a hurry, well, you’ll certainly get what you pay for plus maybe a bit extra. Your friends and guests sure as hell aren’t going to refuse it, and, if offered at a party, neither would I.

 Posted by on March 24, 2013 at 7:18 pm
Mar 242013
 

First published 01 October 2010. #037

This deep-throated bellowing maniac of a rum does almost nothing well – but one thing so grandly it borders on Van Gogh-level insanity: it hits you in the face.  A lot.  It doesn’t stop, ever. Welcome to the lost week of your life.

***

Even in the world of lesser rums, there is such a thing as subtlety..a whiff of class, or style, be it ever so humble. Bacardi, with this 151 proof beefcake, sneered long and loudly and stated flat out that they wanted no truck with that kind of pansy nonsense.  They stayed as far away from the notion of class as they could, and made a popskull that reminds you of nothing so much as the liquid equivalent of a Tarantino movie, or a permanently pissed off woman packing an Uzi in either hand. The rum acts like Bacardi decided to build some kind of high test which jet engines can run on and set altitude records. It’s as if they let some mad scientist out of their chemistry lab and he went ape while unsupervised.

Bacardi 151 is absolutely not a for the weak. If you’re merely average, then make your will, alert your relatives that the possible cost of long term health care will be theirs, and ensure the insurance is paid up.  Kiss your significant other tenderly one last time. If you’re still single, well, you may be in luck, ‘cause after a shot or ten of this massive ethanol delivery system, you will think just about any girl and maybe even the neighbor’s dog is fair game. And I have to state up front: with a rum this powerful, clear health advisories are in order.  Do not drink while smoking, or when camping out and stoking the fire.  The 151 is as flammable as hell: giving vent to a loud fart or indulging your propensity to bloviate may leave you as a rapidly decomposing burnt amoebic mess on the floor.

Because Bacardi 151 is quite simply, nuts.  It blows out your sniffing nose at 500 hp and 8000 rpm, and when you’ve recovered breath, rediscovered your voice and stopped crying like a little girl, it thunders down your throat with a tonsil-ripping 600 ft-lbs of torque.  Zero to drunk arrives in 2.5 shots – yeah, go ahead, try it – and that figure is only marginally exaggerated.  Generations of insects will expire on your exhale, and professional flamethrowers will avoid you like the plague.  Other drunks at the bar will only vaguely remember seeing a flash of alcohol fumes as your sobriety disappears over the horizon in a cloud of vaporized rum.

In between the waves of spirit and ethanol burns waft tantalizing hints of something warm and caramel like. Hey, if you don’t mind some suffering and try a second sniff or a real taste, you can probably pick out the molasses and the burnt sugar, plus – and I’m reaching here – vanilla (I was comforting my throat with EH25 and weeping into my wife’s shoulder a the time so my memories are a little hazy).  But these are like bunny rabbits in a cane field of jaguars and have about as much chance: the 151 swiftly, efficiently and mercilessly hunts them down, eviscerates them with sharp ethanol claws and has them for lunch. You only think you noticed such warm and comforting scents and tastes before reality invades your fantasy and you are ravaged yet again.

Bacardi’s makers took a rum aged a minimum of one year, snickered into their mustaches, and distilled it to a whopping 75.5%. At that strength, it’s kind of irrelevant what kind of barrels they age it in…they could age it in my son’s potty with a diaper floating in it, and the next morning both diaper and potty would be gone. That also makes it one of a select few overproofs in the world today: their own 151 Dark, or the Stroh 80, Sunset Very Strong, the SMWS Longpond 9 year old 81.2% or poorer bastard cousins like the Wray & Nephew White Overproof (a mild 63%) or the Stroh 54 (at which you can just see Bacardi laughing hysterically whenever they name it).  The company can, of course, indulge itself in such cheerfully infantile pursuits – selling more rum than just about every nation on the planet allows it to pretty much create anything they feel like.

Making this one, they may not have attempted to create a superrum. But for my money, they sure as hell gave birth to a rum like few others. Which probably means that, as with other overporoofs like the Stroh 80, you’re more likely to run out of bar patrons than a bottle of this stuff – or cojones, or whatever other words the Puerto Ricans use for “courageously stupid.”  It’s not quite my thing and I’m not masochistic enough to try 151 on a consistent basis, however grudging an affection I may have for it: but that this rum exists at all is reason enough to admire it.

 Posted by on March 24, 2013 at 7:14 pm
Mar 242013
 

First posted May 25th, 2010 on Liquorature. #021

Surprisingly mellow sipper from a purveyor not noted for such drinks; not overly complex, but warm, buxom, heavy and with a rich nose and body. This is the Mother Hubbard of rums, to keep in the cupboard.

***

Right from the get go I must mention that I’ve given Captain Morgan a wide berth thus far, simply because it always had a reputation as a low- to mid-level mixer.  The fact that it was a spiced rum – whether or not it says it is – also added somewhat to its plebian cachet.  Not that I have a real issue with that, but there’s so much other good stuff out there that I don’t need to go to Puerto Rico for my rums. Without trying to be insulting, the fact is that Puerto Rico, which enjoys a favourable import tax regime with the US, makes the Budweiser and Coors of rums, with all the negative connotations this implies.  In making common hooch to appeal to the widest possible audience and lowest common denominator (the US consumer), some of the quality is lost in the quest for sales.

The Captain Morgan brand actually originated in Jamaica, where Seagrams bought the Long Pond distillery in the 1940s. Tax incentives favouring Puerto Rico caused them to transfer manufacturing to a factory outside San Juan (close to where the Bacardi family was setting up a factory at the same time); in 1985 they sold the rights and brand to Diageo, a British concern and the largest spirits company in the world.  Diageo noted that they will transfer the production facilities to St Croix in 2011 or thereabouts. Nowadays there is a Captain Morgan Rum produced in Puerto Rico by Seagram (or its successors), and another by J. Wray and Son in Jamaica.

Having bored you to tears with all of this tedious history and trivia, the question remains, is it any good?

Going in, I wasn’t sure: my experience with Puerto Rico was previously with Bacardi – the bestselling rum in the world and the choice of expatriates in far flung and remote corners of the world such as where I used to be – and Bacardi is a well-meaning, reasonably tasty but generally boring mixer — I tarred Captain Morgan with the same broad brush. Surprisingly enough, however, it really is quite a good rum.  In fact, it’s a really nice sipper for the newbie who wants to get away from mixers without losing the body and taste.

The nose is candied and overwhelms right out of the gate with vanilla and caramel. The dark undertones of molasses are clearly in evidence. The dark body has some strong legs, yet they don’t kick you in face with harsh spirit notes either.  This is why as an intro to a sipper, Catain Morgan is a pretty good way to start. The sweetness usually imparted by coke or other mixers that cut the spirit burn is essentially taken over by the spices added to the rum itself. And clearly effort has been taken to mute and smoothen out the palate.  The downside of this is that beyond the candy of these spices, it takes a real expert to taste anything else: try as I might, I could not discern more than butterscotch, vanilla and caramel and some very faint traces of what may have been orange.

The finish is also surprisingly smooth and even, and lasts quite a bit.  This may be attributable to the spices, but even so, for a three-year-old rum, I’m quite impressed. As an SDR, it ranks right up there, though its lack of complexity and deeper rum notes render it unsuitable for more discerning (and choosier) palates.

Speaking for myself, I’d buy this again, sure.  It may not be top tier (I paid just under $30 for it), but I have a sweet tooth and love a decently crafted rum that is at home either by itself or in company with a cola. As a man who has spent triple digits searching for the best of the best (and been disappointed more than once with expensive losers that fail on the finish), I cannot fault the Captain Morgan for not aspiring to great pretentiousness.

So, unlike a Coruba, which I’d feed to favoured enemies in quantity, this one I’d gladly share on a warm sunset or cold winter night with my friends – for a low end rum, from me, that’s high praise indeed.

 Posted by on March 24, 2013 at 6:00 pm