Bacardi Superior White Rum

A far as white rums go, the expectations can be pretty low. Most aren’t aged and some are filtered to remove any color and most of the flavor. I think the Fat Rum Pirate described it (or quoted someone else) as “sweet vodka”. I think that is a pretty good description and I can’t top that. And to me, the Bacardi Superior is nothing more. There is some sweetness, and I get a hint of something tropical in the aroma, but nothing comes through.

In a cocktail, it adds the alcohol kick. I remember getting more of a subtle fruitiness from the Cruzan Light Rum.

Proof: 80 (40% ABV)

Paid: $7 for 375ml

Buy again: No


Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum

Apparently, spiced rum enthusiasts who spend time online really like Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum. I’ll spare you the oft repeated stories about the artwork and the guy behind Sailor Jerry’s. It is a spiced rum with a slightly higher proof than others in the category. Oddly, I get a cherry candy flavor from it. And it is fairly pronounced even in Rum and Coke, as well as other cocktails I’ve tried. On review, I also get a cherry medicine aroma.

46% ABV (92 Proof)

Paid: $10 for a 375ml

Buy again: No

Cruzan Black Strap Rum

Do not gaze into the inky darkness!

I wasn’t prepared for this. After a series of exciting discoveries about rum being the right spirit for me, I decided to go all in. I saw the bottle on the shelf, and the liquid inside looked dark and mysterious. As with most Cruzan bottles, it wasn’t expensive. Reviewers warned me that it was an “acquired taste”.

I finally succumbed to curiosity and took the bottle home. Removing the cork (synthetic maybe, but my first bottle with a cork) yielded the aroma or molases, maple syrup, and a sharper alcohol hit. Not stronger, sharper.

A sip. Very sweet, very… musty? Molasses. A challenge!

I tried it in a Rum and Coke. It didn’t work for me. I have used it in a couple of cocktails that were assertive and it definitely holds its own. It will get used, but “acquired taste” was right!

Distiller: Cruzan Rum Distillery/Beam-Suntory

Proof: 80 (40% ABV)

Paid: $17 for 750ml

Buy again: Probably not.

Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum

My Second Bottle

Spiced Rum. Who hasn’t heard of Captain Morgan? Even to someone who hadn’t had a drink in 30 years, the name and commercial image of Captain Morgan was burned into my brain. I was intrigued. Here was a category of rum that was, by its definition, loaded with spicy flavor.

Off to the web! The Rum Howler Blog gave Bacardi Oakheart a score well above the other spiced rums that were reviewed (at least among the ones in my local ABC stores). Another factor was the Common Man Cocktails Spiced Rum Blind Tasting linked on the Resources page. As much as people (and Derrick in this case) don’t want to like the Bacardi brand, sometimes it is exactly what you end up liking (look at around 21:00 into the video).

I’m not saying this is the best spiced rum. While quite a few brands are represented at the new (and second largest in the adjacent county) ABC store, many are not. Bacardi Oakheart apparently has a wide distribution, as one would expect for a Bacardi brand.

So, with a bottle in hand, I removed the screw top and was greeted with the smell of maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and some other sweet and pleasant aromas. A slight sip, well, there is the alcohol again. I can taste the aforementioned flavors, but I wouldn’t try to drink it straight, as is my lot in life when it comes to alcohol. The burn I get when tasting it in a cocktail is more peppery than alcohol.

I tried and enjoyed it first in a Cruzan Car. Then, after remembering one of the reviews, made my first (spiced) Rum and Coke! This hit my taste buds in all of the right places. In time I learned that there are sweeter spiced rums, although this is plenty sweet, but Oakheart is my go to if I want a little less sweetness.

This experience only cemented my interest in rum in general.

Proof: 70 (35% ABV)

Paid: $13

Buy again: Yes

Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum

Here we get into the gray area of alcohol. Is this a liquor? Or is it a liqueur? Unlike a rum or vodka bottled at 80 proof (40% ABV), this is at 53 proof (26.5% ABV). The lower numbers of the latter case is common in liqueurs.

Regardless, this is a rum with coconut flavor. It smells like coconut, and it doesn’t hit you with the smell of alcohol. It tastes like coconut. It is sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. It tastes more natural to me than Malibu.

In a mixed drink, it adds a nice tropical note.

Proof: 53 (26.5% ABV)

Paid: $16 (on sale) for 750ml

Buy again: Yes

Gosling’s Black Seal Black Rum

Gosling’s Black Seal was my second dark rum. It actually says “black”. Rum terminology is often confusing and there is a lot of overlap. Gosling’s comes up over and over online with regard to a cocktail called a Dark and Stormy. I don’t care for ginger beer (one of the main components in the aforementioned cocktail). But after the Meyers’s, I was intrigued. The Gosling’s Black Seal had nowhere near the “punch” that the Meyers’s had and none of the “smokey” flavor.

I have tried to sip it straight. Alcohol. Some sweet or molasses bitter taste.

I have tried it with a little water or over ice. Doesn’t help, but again, did slightly bring out some subtle flavors.

Not that this meant that it was bad in a cocktail. I’d say it gets lost in heavily sweetened and fruity cocktails.

Distiller: Gosling Brothers Limited

Proof: 80 (40% ABV)

Paid: $17 for 750ml (on sale)

Buy again: Probably Not

The Naked Turtle White Rum

I ran across The Naked Turtle White Rum in an ABC store I hadn’t visited before. It was labeled as an un-aged white rum (naked). The company advertises that they are involved in sea turtle rescue.

I bought the bottle and headed back to the Lair. Upon opening it, I was surprised by the aroma of marshmallows, and some alcohol. This carried through into cocktails, but more as an element of sweetness, than as a marshmallow flavor.

In a cocktail the Turtle doesn’t bring much burn. I’m guessing it has some level of sugar that offsets the alcohol burn.

Importer: Diageo

Proof: 80 (40% ABV)

Paid: $13 for 750ml

Buy again: Probably

Meyers’s Dark Rum

Meyers’s Dark was my first dark rum. It was specifically called for in some cocktails, and I thought I’d give it a try. A few conflicting reviews let me apprehensive. I was about twice the price of the Cruzan Light, so not knowing if I’d like it, I picked up a 375ml bottle.

My first sniff told me that danger lurked nearby. It smelled harsh with a strong charred whiskey aroma from decades ago. The “dark” description did not disappoint.

I have tried to sip it straight. Not my best choice.

I have tried it with a little water or over ice. Doesn’t help, but did allow me to discover there was more than char in their.

No one considers Meyers’s Dark a sipper. No one. Ever.

In a cocktail, things got interesting. Most of my cocktails to this point were sweet and fruity. This added a depth that cut through the sweet and fruity with a smokey taste, and added a complex (but not overwhelming) molasses flavor.

Distiller: Sazerac

Proof: 80 (40% ABV)

Paid: $11 for 375ml

Buy again: Probably

Cruzan Light Rum

Cruzan Light was my first light rum, or any rum for that matter. It’s choice was determined from painstakingly pouring (pun?) over reviews and YouTube videos. Of course, after I purchased it, I found other reviews that contradicted this. This brings us to rule #1:

On the Internet, an agreement on anything by one group, will be disagreed upon by another group.

I have tried to sip it straight. Don’t do that.

I have tried it with a little water or over ice. Doesn’t help.

Then again, I don’t think anyone expect Cruzan Light to be used in this manner.

I have tried other light rums, and as previously noted, in a cocktail, the differences are small or totally insignificant (to me). Middle-shelf and inexpensive.

Distiller: Cruzan Rum Distillery/Beam-Suntory

Proof: 80 (40% ABV)

Paid: $12 for 750ml

Buy again: Yes