Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum

Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum sits firmly on the middle shelf. The ‘black barrel’ description comes from the fact that the rum is finished in heavily charred bourbon barrels, in an effort to impart some additional oaky char to the flavor.

The aroma is molasses, caramel, banana, some oak, and a light spicy note. The alcohol is minimal, and after sitting for few minutes, disappears from the aroma.

The taste is mildly sweet, with flavors of molasses, and the light spice comes across as cinnamon. The oak char that sometimes get lost is very prevalent here.

It is not as intense as the Mount Gay XO Reserve Cask, and that’s okay. This is very drinkable neat, but inexpensive enough to mix. In fact, this is amazing when mixed with Coke. A bourbon drinker could find a lot to like here. A very nice rum indeed, and a contender for my favorite neat rum.

Age: No age statement

Added Sugar: No

Proof: 86% (43% ABV)

Price: $28 for 750ml (NC ABC)

Buy Again: Yes

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.

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