Category: Rum Reviews



Today we review a rum from the British West Indies (Barbados)—Pusser’s Rum.  For more than 300 years Royal Navy of Great Britain had their Pursers issued their sailors a daily ration (or “tot”) of rum. This was believed to prevent scurvy as diet restrictions on board were prone to cause the disease.  Sailors’s  turned Purser into “Pusser” and the daily tot continued until July 31, 1970 (now sometimes recalled as “Black Day”) when the tradition ended.  Per the Pusser’s website, entrepreneur Charles Tobias obtained the recipe and rights of the five-rum blend and formed the company on the BVI and started selling to the public in 1980.  The company donates a portion of the sale  of each bottle sold to the Royal Navy Sailors Fund.  Per the website, Pusser’s is now a single malt rum, uses no flavoring agents, and is mostly pot-stilled.  The bottle is Royal Navy Blue and Red with a blue-capped cork and British Naval Flag on the front.

Opening the bottle, the aroma  is strong but not overpowering.  The first neat sip is rich, with molasses coating your throat like a warm blanket on a cold night.  The 84 proof rum has a smooth middle with a  residual metallic finish from distillation. The extra 4% from most rums, brings a powerful substance to the drink and can be stout without being overpoweringly heavy.  This is a very good sipping rum, for those that like more “oomph” and mixes well with regular cola.  It may be a little too strong for most diet colas.  If mixed with fruit juices, it works better with a little less rum and more juice.  Which has an upside in that the bottle lasts a little longer that way.

I had little expectations of this rum, and was very pleasantly pleased. At approximately $25 per bottle, this is not a cheap rum, but a good rum for the price. The buyer needs to be aware that this rum will not be a rum for everybody as responses from friends and family varied greatly.  I give this rum  7and a half corks and slide it into my Top 10 Rums.

The Rum Quest continues.

The Rum Guy




Today’s rum tasting is a product from Spain called Dos Maderos.  This rich gold libation comes in a pleasantly solid etched glass bottle with the light yellow label marked “5+3”.  This is a very unusual rum, in that it is originally from Guyana and Barbados, aged five years in oak casks, then an additional three years in casks that held 20 year Sherry.  Hmm, quite interesting premise.  Opening the cork top to let the rum breather, you get a hint of oak and molasses.  The first straight sip was somewhat unimpressive, some fruit flavor, with a touch of vanilla, and spice.  The finish is very clean with a pecan overnote.  This rum mixes very well with both diet and regular cola, and surprisingly well with fruit juices.  With juice the pecan and oak were more pronounced.  At almost $40 per bottle, this is a high-end product.  Is it worth the price?  This rum reminds me of the hot girl you had a crush on in high school and tried to hang around with her and her friends.  After a few months of failure you begin to notice her little sister who is always annoyingly around.  She is not as pretty, or as well-built, but funny, and cute, and fun.  This rum is like that little sister, it grows on you after a while.  The first part of the bottle was going to get a disappointing review, but by the time it was empty, I had grown to appreciate the subtleness of the flavors.  Would I buy it again?  Probably not, bit I could see giving it as a gift.

We have not tasted a lot of product out of Spain. In the end, this was a good beginning for rum from this market.  I look forward to sampling more from Spain and reporting accordingly

This rum gets a solid 6 corks out of ten.

The Rum Quest continues!

–The Rum Guy

Appleton Estates XV Rum

Appleton Estates XV Rum

For some people growing up as the second or third (etc) child in the family, there was sometimes a tough go of it when following the footsteps of a high or overachieving sibling.  The neighbors, your relatives, school teachers, coaches, ad nauseum were all quick to point out how the older sibling was so smart, well-behaved, fast, quick-witted and “practically perfect in every way”.  It was hard to find your own path and pursue your own goals while having the looming shadow of the past around every corner.

Such is today’s review of the Appleton Estates VX Jamaica Rum.  Previous readers may note that Appleton Estate Plantation  Grand Reserve is currently listed as #5 in my Top Ten Rums.  So how does “little brother” VX Jamaica Rum fare?

 

Well, let’s talk about the bottle.  Pleasantly hefty, with a beautiful red and gold label with an embossed V/X the picture features a mule-drawn cart in front of a distillery surrounded by mountainous jungle. The label states the 80 proof rum is hand blended and also, distilled, blended and bottled in Jamaica.  The outstanding website states that all Appleton Estates Rum come from the 11,000 acre estate in the Nassau Valley of Jamaica.  The estate dates back to 1655, when the British captured Jamaica from the Spanish, and is mentioned as a rum producer as far back as 1749.  This is no new debutante at the party.

Opening the screw top and letting the rum breathe for a moment, then pouring it into a glass brings little aroma.  The first neat sip is unimpressive, a little cocoa and earthiness, a touch of oak with a dry mechanical finish.  Not a good sipping rum.  Mixed with cola and diet cola  it is merely average.  It does not blend well with fruit juices.  This rum is like going to the school dance and seeing all the good dancers out on the floor and you end up with a partner who is earnest, but not very good looking and has no rhythm.  At $25 bucks a bottle, this rum should hear that dreaded refrain, “Why can’t you be more like your big brothers?”

This rum gets 3.5 corks out of ten.

The Rum Quest continues!

—-The Rum Guy

OK. I must say that the Rum Guy got creative in his reviews tying music lyrics to rum reviews.  I am clapping…..a, oh, not quite.  They are to Beatles lyrics….which I hate. Seems Rum Guy and his immediate friends are stuck in yesteryear.  Come on dude, get in the now.  But a stunningly creative review as well is a must read. And, I have to admit, since this is a vodka site, I have been slacking since I have grown a bit dry on trying vodkas….so enjoy the Rum Guy……..now!

Begrudgely yours, Admin.

 The Rum Guy has been quite a slacker lately.  No, not in trying to find the best rums for the best value, but rather putting those reviews in some kind of coherent, semi-readable ramble.  So, inspiration struck me the other night while listening to some “oldies” with son John.  Why not do a (pardon the expression) “mash-up” of the last few rums I have  tried in a similar fashion to the back side (that’s the second side for you young ones who don’t remember vinyl records) of the Beatles Abbey Road?  With apologies to the Fab Four….Hmmm, let’s try this:  Disclaimer:  The lyric quotes are Lennon/McCartney”

“Mean Mr. Mustard-sleeps in the park, shaves in the dark…..such a dirty old man….”  That would be Cockspur 12… a rum from Barbados. Crafted from a Danish seaman back in 1884.  The distillery is on Brighton Beach, just a touch north of the capital, Bridgetown.  The beachside distillery still produces what they call the most popular rum in Barbados.  The glass bottled with the black label and red, strutting rooster is simple, not overly attractive.      Tasting it….Hmmm, was not impressed.  This aged award-winning dark rum has a complicated initial flavor with fruits, cherry, oak but a very “muddy” finish. It is not a good sipping rum.  Mixes OK with regular cola, not so well with diet cola, and not at all with fruit juice…..at over $32 a bottle, this was a big disappointment, like

 “Polythene Pam”, but Cypress Creek Reserve is a local rum from DEW Distillery in Wimberley, Texas.  .  “You could say she was attractively built….” This tall, thin bottle has a black label with a faux Hill-Country painting of oak trees and a creek.  Well done, kinda like a wine label.   This was their vanilla flavored rum and I could tell this is a newer product.  This was a very bland, very vague, rum.  So light, “She Came in Through The Bathroom Window” and left the same way. This rum disappeared in cola, hung around like a little sister with diet cola and the vanilla vanished with fruit juice.  At roughly $25 per bottle, it was vaguely disappointing.   Y’all Keep trying DEW.  Keep plugging away. I am convinced that Texas Rums can be successful.  I love Railean Rums, for example from the coast.

“Once there was a way, to get back homeward….Golden Slumbers filled my eyes”… this would be South Bay rum, a handcrafted product from Hato Nuevo, Santo Domingo, The Dominican Republic. The overly busy pale yellow label features a boat beached on the shore with some indiscernible  vegetation in the background.   This is a small-batch rum, with good open flavors of fruit, sugar cane, oak and a hint of licorice(?).  Not a great sipping rum, it works well with cola and diet cola, but vanishes in fruit drinks.  At around $32 a bottle, “Boy, you’ve got to carry that weight, carry that weight a long time”….and that price is a heavy load for what you get…..

“Are you gonna be in my dreams, tonight….” “ …love you…”  This would be Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, from Venezuela.  Some previously reviewed rums from Venezuela have not been kind, but this rum rapidly became one of my favorites. This becomes very comfortable, like warm house shoes on a cold floor.  The squat, dark green frosted bottle, hints of the magic fermented juice.  The busy label looks like an example from an old stamp collection.  Busy, but intriguing.  This is an antique rum, distilled from exclusive heavy rum reserves.  With some aged rums, the flavor and texture don’t really reflect the longer aging process, probably because of the blending.  Yes, you get a smoother, more consistent flavor by blending, but you also blend a lot of character out.  Not this 80 proof rum. You can taste the 12 years with notes of ginger, fruit, rum cake, and oak.  This is a very balanced rum, blends beautifully with both cola and diet cola.  It accents the fruit juices but blends with a smooth twist of the hips, like long-partnered salsa dancers.  This rum makes my Top Ten.

“And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make…..”

I love rum, and look forward to continuing to try them from all over the world.  For those of you keeping score at home:

Cockspur 12 – 3 corks

Cypress Creek Reserve—3 ½ corks

South Bay – 5 corks

Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva  8 corks

…….”Her majesty’s a pretty nice girl, but she doesn’t have a lot to say…..today I’m gonna make her mine, oh yeah,  today I’m gonna make her mine…”

The Rum Quest Continues!

–musically yours,

The Rum Guy

Today’s review is on a white or silver rum product “born and raised” in Texas.  Railean White Rum is from Railean  Distillery in San Leon Texas, on the shores of Galveston Bay.  I have previously reviewed their darker Reserve XO rum with favorable results.  Would the white hold up their side?

First, the bottle.  Railean’s “mascot” the Monk Parakeet is colorful and makes for a very attractive bottle.  Evidently the San Leon area has a large population of these birds.  The large black and green label has the mascot prominently displayed.  This makes the bottle stand out on the shelf at my local retail establishment.

How is the rum?  Opening the bottle, you get the clear, bright presentation.  The first flavor is smooth, with a little metallic back-bite at the finish.  This rum is a dry, crisp rum, with a little citrus.  It mixes exceptionally well with cola’s both diet and regular and also flourishes with fruit juice and “boat” drinks.   This is a very good white rum.  At about $23 a bottle it is not a cheap rum, but the quality is worth the price.

If you are looking for break away from the “big house” distilleries of white rum, I strongly recommend the Railean White.   I am looking forward to trying their single barrel Small Cask rum.

As an lagniappe, note that Railean is also now making “Agave Spirits” , what most people would call Tequila.  Technically, like sparkling wine can only be called Champagne if made in the Champagne region of France, only Agave spirits imported from Mexico and must be either 100% Blue Agave or Mixed can be called Tequila.  Hence, Railean makes three different types of Agave Spirit.  Next time I am in the mood to make Marguerita’s, I will pick up one of theirs to try.

The Rum Quest continues!

The Rum Guy

Today’s review is on a white or silver rum product “born and raised” in Texas.  Railean White Rum is from Railean  Distillery in San Leon Texas, on the shores of Galveston Bay.  I have previously reviewed their darker Reserve XO rum with favorable results.  Would the white hold up their side?

First, the bottle.  Railean’s “mascot”the Monk Parakeet is colorful and makes for a very attractive bottle.  Evidently the San Leon area has a large population of these birds.  The large black and green label has the mascot prominently displayed.  This makes the bottle stand out on the shelf at my local retail establishment.

How is the rum?  Opening the bottle, you get the clear, bright presentation.  The first flavor is smooth, with a little metallic back-bite at the finish.  This rum is a dry, crisp rum, with a little citrus.  It mixes exceptionally well with cola’s both diet and regular and also flourishes with fruit juice and “boat”drinks.   This is a very good white rum.  At about $23 a bottle it is not a cheap rum, but the quality is worth the price.

If you are looking for break away from the “big house”distilleries of white rum, I strongly recommend the Railean White.   I am looking forward to trying their single barrel Small Cask rum.

As an lagniappe, note that Railean is also now making “Agave Spirits” , what most people would call Tequila.  Technically, like sparkling wine can only be called Champagne if made in the Champagne region of France, only Agave spirits imported from Mexico and must be either 100% Blue Agave or Mixed can be called Tequila.  Hence, Railean makes three different types of Agave Spirit.  Next time I am in the mood to make Marguerita’s, I will pick up one of theirs to try.

The Rum Quest continues!

The Rum Guy

I have been short on Vodka reviews lately while I drain my backlog, so here is yet another rum review from our Rum Guy. Enjoy.

Today’s review of the latest Rum adventure is The Kraken (Black Spiced Rum).  This rum, brought to us via import from  Proximo Spirits, Jersey City, New Jersey.   The website is somewhat contradictory, which is becoming more and more common with some rums. At one spot it states the rum is distilled from Sugar Cane Molasses from The Virgin Islands. At another place is states the base rum is from Trinidad and Tobago, aged 12-24 months in oak barrels and the various spices are added.  The website states the rum is all-natural, gluten-free and vegan.  But is it any good?

The bottle itself is a contradiction.  The glass itself is quite attractive , solid, with handles on either side of the neck for carrying.  The label is black and white , much too busy with the hand-drawn logo of a huge sea creature like a cross between an octopus and a squid enveloping a large three-masted sailing ship.  The art style is as if taken from the old sailing maps from several hundred years ago.  The label is not impressive, but may catch the eye from a marketing standpoint.  I have bought rums previously based on the attractiveness of the bottle/label/contents.  But I won’t buy that rum again, unless it’s a good rum for the value.

 

Opening the screw-top of the bottle to let the rum breathe a little, I find my first concern.  No cork in the top—just the screw-top.  Upon pouring straight into a glass, the rum is dark, but not what I would call “black”, more of a dark brown, hmmm another concern.     The first taste offers a basic rum, with a touch of cinnamon, earthy chocolate, and perhaps clove, but all are very feint, and are more a vague echo then actually notes.  This is a 94 proof rum, much higher kick then most rums which are around 80 proof, but you can’t tell that by the taste, or the kick.  The rum mixes relatively well with regular and diet cola, not as well with fruit drinks.  For a spiced rum, this is very bland stuff, like a Disney Afternoon Special for kids.

 

Overall, I give this rum only a disappointed three corks out of ten.  Not a terrible rum, but for approximately $18 a bottle, I expect black spiced rum to taste like a dark, spiced rum, not a basic rum with some spices dipped in briefly like a tea bag.   This  wild sea creature of a rum is more krill then Kraken.

 

OK, so we have been doing rum reviews here lately instead of Vodka reviews.  We will get back to vodka reviews shortly, as soon as I finish all my dead soldiers I have been reviewing. in the mean time, another rum review from our ‘Rum Guy’.  And yes, as one comment stated, he does taste the rum mixed with soda…..as well as straight.  In case you have not heard, most of the rum marketplace use it for mixing………..

Today’s candidate for election into the Rum Guy’s Top Ten rums is  “Cayman’s Reef Barbados Rum”.  This is a mysterious rum, as the bottle indicates it is imported and bottled by the Cayman Reef Rum Company in that famous rum hotbed of Princeton, Minnesota just a few miles north of Minneapolis.  This town of less than 4,000 sits on the appropriately named Rum River.  However, web searches for the name of the company, and/or the name of the rum are fruitless.  It is evidently connected to World Spirits, LTD in Princeton, but there the search dies as World Spirits is privately owned and evidently doesn’t release much information about itself.

 

The clear-glass bottle is attractive with the name and two palm trees etched in gold offsetting the darker amber liquid within.  It states it is aged five years in oak casks.  Pulling out the cork, the rum aroma is quiet but flavorful.  Sipping straight, you can taste a hint of chocolate, and a brief kiss of blackberries.  This 80 proof rum mixes very well with both regular and diet colas with very little back-bite.   The finish is very smooth.  While it is not a perfect match for fruit juices it does not clash either.  It is good for frozen Boat Drinks.  This rum is soft and easy, like old comfortable house shoes, but like house shoes, you wouldn’t take them to a party.

 

At under $20 a bottle, this is a good rum for the price.  As a candidate for the Top Ten, however, it does not win the election.  It is not a great rum,  but I could see buying it again.

 

The Quest Continues……

 

The Rum Guy

On the never-ending road to seek out the world’s best Rum and best Rum values, today’s entry is Pecan Street Rum, from that noted Rum hotbed that is Pflugerville, Texas.   Produced by Spirit Of Texas Distillery, this company began in 2010 as the result of three friends in the high-tech industry were looking to stretch their wings and try something new.  Rumor has it the basic business plan was hatched in a sauna.   The first product released was Pecan Street Rum and they have now added Spirit of Texas, a white dry rum.

 

The Pecan Street Rum bottle is a pleasingly squat, clear bottle that amply shows the golden-brown  mixture within.  The cream colored label is simple with filigree in each corner and the name written across a bronze metallic pecan nut, with a five-pointed Texas star underneath.  Upon opening slowly to allow the bottle to breathe, the cork pulls gently.  The aroma is quite impressive, pecans, molasses, hint of orange.   You can tell it was aged in oak barrels.  This rum is made from scratch from molasses and pecans are added for flavor.  And what flavor.  Pouring it into a glass the color promises a new adventure.  The initial flavor is quite surprising, as the pecans are out in front but not overpowering.  Surprisingly, this is a good sipping rum.   Mixing it with cola or Coke Zero, it keeps a consistently good flavor and texture.  However, mixing it with fruit juices or Boat Drinks the pecan flavor does not play well with others.

 Photo courtesy of Juan Gonzales/ Lime Fly photography 

I am not a huge fan of most “flavored” rums, indeed I have to be in a particular mood for them, but this rum is an exception to the rule.  This is a good rum.  At approximately $20 a bottle, this is a great value and a truly unique product.  It may not be a rum for the weekend party, but definitely a rum for a sunset watching from the porch.

 

 

As I have not listed my Top Ten rums in a while, I thought I would list them below.  They are almost all dark or golden rums as that is my preference these days.  Of course, as with most Top 10 lists, it may vary from week-to-week depending on mood, money, madness, and cosmic debris…..

 

1)      Pyrate

2)      Plantation Grande Reserve

3)      Old Monk

4)      Mount Gay Extra Old

5)      Flor De Cano 7 yr

6)      Railean

7)      Pecan Street Rum

8)      Gosling’s Black Seal

9)      Tropic Isle Spiced Cask

10)   Bacardi Gold (Yeah, I know—I am slumming)

 

 

The Quest Continues!

 

—The Rum Guy

In my continuing search for the world’s best rums and rum bargains, this entry reviews Rhum Barbancourt, a sugar cane dark rum from Haiti.  The rum is produced by one of Haiti’s oldest companies, Société du Rhum Barbancourt, T. Gardère & Cie in Port Au Prince.  The company began in 1862 by a Frenchman Dupre Barbancourt.  Currently the fourth generation of the family still runs the company.  The bottle states it is pot-stilled from 100% cane juice, aged in imported white oak casks for eight years.  Rum, like most wines, generally age well and improve with age and Eight years is longer than most rums are aged and should produce a fine product.  We are trying the Five Star Reserve Speciale.

 

Given Haiti’s long tragic history, I was hoping for a rum of good quality and a good bargain.  Spreading the word of a great product that could help the economy an impoverished country would be a positive outcome.

 

The bottle itself is dark, with a wheat colored label with a female figure (goddess?) in front of a blue star.  The company’s website did not explain the history of the label.  Upon opening the bottle, I was concerned with the fact that it was a screw-top.  In the few years I have been reviewing rums, there have been some good rums with a screw-top, but no great rums with one.  The great ones have a cork stopper.  Letting the rum breathe before tasting straight up, I found the aroma to be very chemically strong, almost like dry cleaning fluid.  The rum was dark as it should be, with a good dark rum texture.  However, the first taste did nothing to dispel that mechanical flavor.  Over several weeks of mixing it with Coke, Coke Zero, and various fruit juices, the rum was a great disappointment.   It reminded me of old school Ben Gay sports ointment: not a good experience.  Some rums may present better than others with soft drinks or perhaps fruit juices or boat drinks, but this rum didn’t blend well with anything.  Unfortunately, the only recommended uses for this rum would be for cleaning carburetors or perhaps pouring on fire ant mounds and lighting them on fire.

 

At approximately $25 a bottle, I was extremely disappointed in this product.  It may be the worst rum I have ever had.

 

The Rum Quest continues….

 

The Rum Guy