The Lone Caner is a sad island of rum appreciation in an otherwise obdurate ocean of whisky. The name itself is a wry commentary on many things: my character, the the rabid whisky aficionados inhabiting the province and the country in which I lived (as well as the utter paucity of selections in the region I now call home); and it found its origin in the Liquorature Collective, where I loudly and cheerfully bugled my preference for the extract of the cane right from the get go in 2009. After sampling, reviewing and writing about rums on and for Liquorature for almost four years, I decided to open up The Lone Caner as a website in its own right in March 2013 and transferred all my work there.
I’m not a bartender, cocktail expert, mixologist, oenologist, or -ologist of any kind. I’m not an XP panelist, nor do I take part in judging, or contests (this may be pure laziness on my part, or because nobody knows how to find me to ask). But in reality, I just happen to like rums, reading about ’em, and writing. I’m in the fortunate position to have access to more rums than most and constantly buy and trade both bottles and samples with friends and shops and collaborators.
The site is about rum reviews and tastings and essays on producers, as well as whatever news or issues of the rum world I feel like commenting on. Nothing more, though I have brought other areas of my interest (like book reviews) into it here and there. However, this site is primarily geared towards rums and their makers, and in that vein their are several main topical divisions of the site, each with its own introductory blurb.
- The main reviews
- The Key Rums of the World section
- The historical Rumaniacs mini-series of old and out of production rums
- Essays, factual and informative in nature (I hope), on aspects of the rumworld
- Opinions, where I just express my thinking and opinions on the subject.
- The Makers, which are biographies of companies I write from time to time when available literature is insufficient.
I have no particular interest in spiced or flavoured rums, never buy them and don’t review them – there’s too much good, unmessed-with stuff out there for me to bother. I’m not a 100% purist who believes every rum that has the slightest bit of adulteration is an abomination (and despise the puritan ethos of those who agitate for it so hysterically), but I don’t like the practice either. But I know it will always happen, and therefore am a firm proponent of honesty in labelling and complete disclosure, so that the consumers can understand what they are buying.
Note that in an IPhone, Instagram and twitter age, I write for desktop sized screens. I’m not brief, and write what I feel – only 20-30% of my verbiage is ever about tasting notes, and throw in any observation that seems relevant. Where necessary, this includes as much information about the distillery or producing company as I can find in order to provide as complete a picture of the product as possible. Not everyone agrees with this idea (or my flowery language), but I’m done apologizing for that. It is what it is.
Also: people often say critics or reviewers should be neutral. I say “bulls**t.” I’m a firm believer in having preferences, but not biases and these should be stated where necessary. Reviewers are human beings with tastes of their own, and I’m no different. My preferences (not biases) exist, and where rum is concerned, full proof hooch bottled at greater than 40% will earn my favour. I have a thing for Demeraras, Jamaicans, Caronis from Trinidad, unaged pot-still white-lightning, agricoles and the occasional growly, off-the-reservation tipple only a mother would love. Not many Bajans enthuse me. I used to like sweeter rums, but over the years since 2009, the pendulum has swung somewhat the other way. That’s not to say I don’t like a Millonario or Zacapa 23 or a Diplomatico once in a while…I just don’t like them as much as I once did. My preferences change over time.
A few other points:
- I never solicit industry: beg my friends a lot; and am part of several sample sharing networks, often run by yet other friends of mine (who are not in industry). Mostly and within my financial limitations, I just buy everything (which surprises more than one producer who approaches me about tasting their lineup); and take no freebies except from my friends, who know of my passion, or the occasional formal tasting…I found that I simply didn’t believe in my own impartiality when agents and makers sent me samples, and so I deliberately eschewed the practice many years back. I relax the rule if I have already written about and reviewed many products from a given company, but always state outright where my sample or bottle originates.
- Unsurprisingly, then, I have very little respect for reviewers who do not disclose sources of the rums they write about and who flashily advertise on their sites that they have connections with this or that producer or online shop. You can usually tell who they are by the overworked use of the word honesty in their claims of unbiased opinionating.
- I have a day job, studies, multitudinous other interests, and a family. Sometimes that interferes with the frequency of updates. It happens but there will always be something for the tenaciously patient. I love this gig to much to ever let it go entirely
- As the Caner enters the second decade of reviewing, it’s clear that a lot of rums – indeed, the entire rumisphere – has changed. Reviews written ten years ago should not be indicative of either my current opinions or the actual rum as it is now bottled. With that in mind, the older work should be seen as a resource to show what it was like then, and what I enjoyed then, but not necessarily now.
- At the end, what you are getting is an educated, informed opinion – mine, to be exact. That opinion is influenced by the amount of rums I’ve tried, my background and my personal palate. My favouritism exists, and is developed and earned, not bestowed or bought. You are welcome to disagree, as long as you concede that my opinion may also have validity. And no amount of reviews I will ever write will ever absolve anyone of forming their own opinions, or thinking and researching for themselves, since I am not infallible or the fount of all rum wisdom. In that vein, any errors of fact are entirely my own, made in all innocence during the course of my research. When pointed out, I’ll correct them.
- If you want to send an email, firstname.lastname@example.org will find me; or, drop a comment here on this page. I usually check in once or twice a day unless I’m on holiday somewhere.
All the best
The Lone Caner
nice to see a website of your own with your rum reviews.
Caner – I love the website and articles. Every time I try a new rum (to me) I attach to your site to absorb your rum reviews whilst I enjoy.
I find your reviews both tasteful ( you got the buds) and enlightening (” Hair on your chest and weight in your pants”) or weightening.
I would love to hear you’re comments on a newer rum I recently ran into in Alaska liquor stores. It ‘s called ‘Kirk and Sweeney’. A rum that has a almost planted or infused vanilla flavour (not complex enough for a rum of this age) yet has a lovely finish in the throat that keeps be going back for more. I am a rum lover like yourself and find it a somewhat confusing rum as it seems un-natural or tampered with in terms of flavour ( not that complex), yet the finish seems to linger and call for another sip. I hate to put myself out there as a noob but I find it to be as intoxicating as the Cruzan single barrel or as Zacapa 15 or 23. I almost feel like I have been tricked by a infused flavouring yet I find the finish quite satisfying. Please let me know when you review this animal. P.s. I have a bottle of Brugal Unico I found in St.Thomas on a Cruise. I would love to know if you have any thoughts on it – I probably should just open it and go for it?
Sorry – you must get quite a few of these rambling type comments – gotta say – take it as a compliment to you . Not easy to review rum and maintain such a cohesion of thought.
Love the site – use comments as desired. Don’t know how you do it .
Let’s see if I can address all questions.
I picked up a bottle of the Kirk and Sweeney, but have yet to crack the thing, since every time it comes to the forefront of my queue, something more interesting displaces it. I’ve tried it though (my friends helped) , and reckon it a mid-tier sipping rum of no real complexity, just a very pleasant one. Finish is clean and crisp, not all that long after a somewhat voluptuous taste. Has it been adulterated? Not sure. I was already three sheets to the wind when I tried it, so a more complete answer will have to wait until I do a formal.
I think you should open and try the Brugal whenever you can. Sharing rums with my squaddies is always worth it since then they come back with their stuff which I may not have, and that keeps my expenses down. Plus, if you don’t, how will you know how good (or bad) it is, and if you like it at all?
With respect to reviews, I sample, I make my notes, I pick a characteristic or a thought and I structure the essay around that as best I can. It takes time to do right, which is why I only put up one or two a week. It’s still a lot of fun finding the perfect phraseology to be both funny, perceptive and apropos. And after four years of writing, it’s become a weekly ritual I take great pleasure in doing.
Thanks for all your kind words. Have fun in your sampling.
A most enjoyable and informative site. Many thanks.
The true highlight of visiting your site, for me, is partaking in your commentary with a realization that you are here to share wisdom & experience without hesitation. I appreciate the coalescence of matter-of-fact breakdowns of your exploits with my spirit of choice, and opinions that are staunchly held. Keep up the good work. Happy to have discovered your writings.
While I certainly engage as much as I can with all comments and commentators for the reasons you mention, I find that most discussions occur on Facebook, not here. I respond in both places, but save more detailed replies for the site, since FB doesn’t really allow for in-depth commentary or nuanced exploration of ideas. Glad you like it 🙂
From what origin are you? Coz in my country some people have the same surname as yours!! And Mauritius has other good rums such as Chamarel, St Aubin , Bougainville, Beach House Spiced etc… On the other hand your site is very interesting. And you should visit rhumfest Paris there are so many different references of rum …there it could be interesting in terms of variety
Is there any rums with 90 % alcohol ?
Yes, the Marienburg 90% White from Suriname
It`s pure alcohol with 90%. Probably its work for aging and blend with other rums and will be bottling between 60/70% for Overproof Rums
90% buddy is on Fire jajajaj
Hello, I am planning to be in Calgary in the next little bit and was wondering if you could pass on a couple stores where I could pick up some of the more hard to find finer rums.
 Kensington Wine Market for sure. Top pick for the good stuff
]2] Willow Park Spirits comes in for honourable mention
 Any large Co-Op store is worth looking into, they occasionally have interesting rums in the “glass case”
 CSN Wine & Spirits
Keep in mind that Alberta is privatized, so there are Mom-and-Pop stores all over the city. You’d be amazed at the dust-covered stuff you can find in some out of the way strip mall.
Nice job on the reviews. Obvious dedication. I have about half the world’s top rums that are available in my collection. My only hard comment for you is about your El Dorado reviews. The 12 is better than the 15. You should try them again, side by side. The 21 is awesome. Too bad the average American hasn’t discovered aged rums. I stopped drinking Cognac years ago. The El Dorado 12 is a secret weapon for sure.
I *did* try them side by side. The 12 is in no way superior to the 15 to me, but this calculation seems to be different for everyone and I respect your feeling that it’s the reverse.
I read on your 1994 albion review that the original ablion still was likely destroyed. Does that mean the new albion from el dorado is from a new still?
Would the same go for the new skeldon that was released by el dorado?
The original wooden still at Albion was destroyed, yes. The question is, which still made the 1994? I thought it was the Savalle still, but rereading my notes it sure seems like an Enmore or a PM rum now.
The things is, the Savalle, PM, Enmore and Versailles stills (these four are the most famous) are now all at Diamond and still functioning; so what DDL is doing is recreating the original marks using the existing stills and whatever distillers’ notes and samples from the past they retain.
Given that all stills were consolidated at Diamond by 2000, and both these 2019 releases are post-2000, they have to be recreations, since no stills remained at the plantations of Skeldon and Albion. What interests me is (a) that they were made at all, since back in those days when they were laid to age, the two estates were not household names and Velier was not a blip on anyone’s horizon and (b) on what basis are they called Skeldon and Albion? The recreated profile? The still settings? The cane molasses from the factory on that estate? I hope I can get a long read of the labels and that the information is provided there.
Ah very interesting. Thanks for the knowledge.
My order for the skeldon just shipped. I’m happy to pass along photos once it arrives although I assume you have your own bottles on the way.
Some friends of mine and I are buying them for sure, but given my location and travel schedule, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to try them any time soon. I look forward to checking them out, though, whenever the chance presents itself. Let me know how you like them, when you have a chance.
Wah! as they say in the mughal courts. Appreciate your diligent efforts.
It’s been wonderful to discover The Lone Caner for improving my own knowledge about rum. I’ve listed the Lone Caner in my top picks for rum magazines to read in my own publication The Rum Ration.
love your blog. i am a novice.
can deal with smith and cross, but its not my go to.
right now liking fourquare emperey for my daily driver.
was wondering what you thought of this profile :
thank you for sharing your incredible knowledge.
Don’t think anything of it, since I have not tried it.
I have been searching for a rum, it was dark and sweet amd kind of heavy or thick. It was in 1975 and we were in Naples. Me and a few buddies just got off our Navy ship and hit the bar on base. I do not know what kind of rum it was, but it was great, never tasted anything like it again. Can you think of any sweet dark rum like that? When you moved it around the glass it kind of stayed in the glass for awhile. Bill Kennard, Retired Navy
A long time spirits drinker, I have expanded my forays in to rum in recent years as a copilot my long love of the king of all kitsch, Tiki. One thing begets another as they say, and I now enjoy drinking a fine rum.
Not that I have forsaken scotch or american whiskey, or a fine anejo, more is better.
I have only discovered your site a few weeks ago. Well, I’m an old chap and as such you get used to having missed out on stuff. I always liked my Schnapps and had been pretty impartial about whether it’s ABC (Armagnac, Brandy, Cognac) or Whisky or “Edelbrand” (fermented and destilled fruits, berries or roots) – as long as it was “good”. Among my friends, over the years, I got quite a reputation for being rather eccentric (and vocal) about “good”. Take Grappe, for instance. Over the years, there has been this totally mis-guided trend about it being “premium” and “barrel aged” – as with everything nowadays. It all has to be “rounded” and “palatable”. It’s Grappa, for f***s sake! It’s made from grape peels and what’s left at the bottom of the barrel after you’ve squeezed the juice out. It’s not supposed to be “nice”. It’s supposed to set everything on fire it comes in contact with and leave a smouldering trail of grape-skin, fruit kernel and burnt soil in its wake. Ask for a Nardini “sessenta” if you want to experience this. Go for the plain 50% if you feel sqeamish.
Until about a few months ago, I have to admit, I didn’t have rum on my radar. My friends used it for mixing. Bacardi White or Black, because that’s what you do. Tried them. Meh. Til one of my hobby-mixologists came up with “you have to try this” really good rum. Botucal Reserva Exclusiva. Guess where I’m from. I did not react kindly to it.
It’s because we all have an “image” in our minds when we hear a word. When I say “fir”, I bet you have something like a christmas tree. I think my problem was, when I hear “rum”, it’s something like a basket full of over ripe exotic fruit on the aft deck of a sailing vessel, with hemp, tar and muck thrown in for good measure and an after taste like a seawater soaked teak plank smashed in your face. It’s something a fitlhy 18th century sailor would have poured down laughing and tell the story of how he swam back home to Galway after his merchant sunk just off the coast of Hispaniola.
The “Reserva Exclusiva” didn’t quite cut it. In fact, I was so appalled by the experience, you could say “traumatized” (in modern no-cojones speak), I began to look and read. This can’t be what “rum” is all about. I loved reading “Captain Hornblower” when I was a child. You can’t spoil my childhood like that!
Having introduced myself, this is where your site kicks in. I read therumhowlerblog, became a member of rumratings.com, thewhiskycask.de (also: the rumcask) and various other German sites…searched Amazon for “rum” and read all the reviews of 4556 pages (well almost). And so on.
I absolutely intend to devour your site. I love how you write. I like how you have a background on every single distillery / person ever involved. Never mind “a billion flies can’t be wrong: shit must taste great!”. Here’s the place I must go for an opinion! I appreciate the effort that has gone into this work of love – I really do.
Thank you, “lone caner” for all this, it’ll be months to plough through all this valuable information. And I will be a grateful follower in you path!
PS: The rum that changed it all? the rum I would recommend to a “novice” like me? Hampden Estate Overproof 8 yo
Pour it into your nosing glass. Apply nose. It made me giggle. Apply nose again. White sandy beach, a smiling guy approaches you with a basket full of dubious fruit you’ve never seen before. Some of them smell quite rotten and alcoholic, so of course you buy the whole lot. By which time the smell alone will be so enticing, you have to try it. A mouthful of everything, and then some. Delicious. Slurp. Gurgle. Whatever. There will be new tastes until you think you had enough and swallow. Mauna Kea erupts down the oesophagus, lava all the way to stomach. It made me laugh with joy! Minutes (litterally!) later, my mouth is feeling dry, with a woody taste to it. Yeah! 🙂
So, this is by way of introduction,
thank you, thelonecaner –
Love to read your history and experiences with other spirits. Thanks for reading and I hope the site lives up to your expectations.
We need more sites on rum, more conversation about rum and more appreciation of RUM
The world is awash with second class and over hyped spirits full of trendy flavours and too much sugar
More power to your elbow (old English saying)
I agree. Most of the conversations on those very topics take place on the FB and reddit groups now. Websites are a diminishing resource, alas.