Rumaniacs Review #153 | 1005
In this series of Rumaniacs reviews (R-149 to R-154) we’re looking at a set of Bacardis from the 1970s to the 1990s that were all part of a small collection I picked up, spanning three decades and made in Mexico and Puerto Rico – they display something of what rums from that bygone era was like, and the final review will have a series of notes summing up what few conclusions we may be able to draw.
Although some online references to the rum suggest a 1990s dating, the “Premium Black” is older, introduced much earlier: it was already a fixture by the mid 1980s. The diagonal red label design was discontinued in 1980, but let’s be conservative and give it something of a window around that date.
The Black — or more precisely, the ‘dark rum’ style it represented — seems to have gone through a number of changes over the years as its makers appeared not to know what to do with it (except maybe find a dark rum mixer for people to play with): it was variously called Ron Superior Premium Black, simply “Black”, Carta Negra, Superior Dark, issued at anywhere between 37% to 40%, and in all cases the dark colour was advertised as being imparted by heavily charred barrels, and, more recently, by caramel colouring.
Nowhere is the age mentioned, which seems to be a thing with Bacardi until a few years ago – perhaps because they blended like crazy, NAS was fine and they never felt it to be necessary until they twigged onto to the potential value of a real age statement when the 8 YO became a big seller. In the absence of anything better I’ll suggest that it’s a youngish blend of rums under five years old, but more than that I wouldn’t venture.
Strength – 40%
Colour – Dark Gold
Label Notes – Produced by Bacardi Corp. San Juan, Puerto Rico
Nose – Very nice. Say what you will about The Bat (and a lot has been), their low end rums are consistently of better than average quality for their (heavily and illegally subsidised) prices. The nose is quite good, here: Danish cookies, caramel, toffee, honey, all the hits, plus vanilla and coconut shavings. Citrus, coffee, well polished leather…nice, if not new.
Palate – Sweet, smooth and war. Again, little that we have not already tried. Caramel, toffee, salt butter, vanilla ice cream, a squirt of lemon juice. Traces of flowers and honey trail behind all this.
Finish – Short, warm, aromatic. Pipe tobacco, florals, toffee and vanilla
Thoughts – Overall it’s nice and better than the four we’ve reviewed thus far. So what? It’s being damned with faint praise, is all. After it edges towards a more intriguing profile and the tantalising sense of something new, it retreats: one is therefore left with a sense of frustrated disappointment, at a rum which had potential and then returned to the safety of what was known. Too bad.