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Blackheart Spiced Rum

Review: Blackheart Spiced Rum  (83 /100)
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka) Arctic Wolf
Published on February 26,  2013

Blackheart is a relatively new spiced rum from the Blackheart Rum Co, a whole owned subsidiary of Heaven Hill Distilleries. The rum caught my eye, or rather the blackhearted siren on the label  caught my eye at a local trade show, and I decided to investigate this new over-proof offering in the spiced category. The local importer, Diamond Estate Wines and Spirits, was more than happy to accommodate me by providing me a bottle to review as well as sell sheets and pictures.

Blackheart Spiced bottle shotPart of the Blackheart Spiced Rum marketing campaign is the introduction of their feminine mascot of the same name. According to the sell sheets:

“Blackheart is named for the sultry seductress of the high seas. She is bold and bawdy, cunning and cutthroat, sexy and seductive. She left a trail of broken hearts wherever she traveled. That is how she came to be known as Blackheart.”

Those same sell sheets give a further glimpse of the marketing strategy:

“Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum is imported rum with spice, caramel and other natural flavors. Blackheart is a high-proof spiced rum that embodies an edgy, hip lifestyle. It is premium quality rum without the premium price.”

Bottled at 46.5 % alcohol by volume, the rum may indeed have a bit of an edge to it. Although I guess I had better get tasting to find out.

In the Bottle  4/5

As you can see from the bottle shot (j-peg) to the left the Blackheart Spiced Rum arrives in a pretty standard tall bar-room style bottle. What catches the eye is the label which features Blackheart sitting seductively on a wooden dock post by the ocean. At first I quite liked the label, but the more I looked at it the more something just seems wrong with our little lady Blackheart. The graphic is of low quality which gives her skin a rather mottled appearance, especially on that right shoulder which is facing me. Maybe I quibble too much, but in this day and age, such poor image quality in the graphics is rather puzzling.

In the Glass 8/10

In the glass, the rum displays a slightly thickened consistency with a light mahogany colour with a reddish tinge. The initial nose is tainted with hints of black cherry, cinnamon, licorice and indistinguishable peppery spices which accent the caramel rum scent. The combination is quite interesting and reminds me of Dr. Pepper soda (but not nearly so sweet which I hope bodes well for the spiced rum).  I let the glass breathe, and a few baking spices (vanilla, brown sugar, nutmeg and more cinnamon) climbed out of the glass as well to greet the breezes. So far I am quite happy with what I have encountered in the air above the glass.

In the Mouth 50/60

I was quite happy with my first sip of the spiced rum. As the nose implied, it does not carry as much sweetness as most other spices or flavoured rums, which I think is a good thing. I taste some black cherry soda without the bubbles, with a healthy helping of vanilla, cinnamon and caramel. Other spices are a little harder to distinguish but there is some black licorice, a bit of nutmeg,  a smattering of clove and some hints of allspice. Whether these spices have all been added is mere speculation as the flavour impressions I receive could be from the underlying rum as well.  I should note that although the rum is stated to be 93 proof, it is quite smooth. There is just a touch of astringency, but the rum is quite sippable.

I tried the Blackheart with a splash of cola, and I was impressed enough to spend the rest of that Sunday afternoon sipping on Spiced rum and cola cocktails listening to tunes while I puttered around on my back deck cleaning off the remnants of snow and ice that were still hanging around, (basically getting it ready for what I hope will be a warm Spring).

In the Throat 12.5/15

The finish is a touch dry with lingering flavours of cinnamon, caramel, black cherry and vanilla. Despite the high-proof , this is pleasant, and I think that touch of dryness in the finish is what is working so well with the cola.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

The Blackheart Spiced Rum was a thoroughly enjoyable diversion. I found it quite similar to Sailor Jerry, although the Blackheart is not quite as sweet, and perhaps a touch smoother despite the higher alcohol proof. I will probably be sharing this rum with my friends on that back deck of mine this spring when the sun gets a little warmer, and I fire up the barbeque. It fits that relaxed, eclectic atmosphere which I enjoy so much with my friends.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.


Suggested Recipes:

Here is a great high-ball recipe for barbeque season.

SAM_0626 Spiced MandieSpiced Mandie

2 oz Spiced Rum (Blackheart of course)
1/4 oz Chartreuse
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz sugar syrup
Fees Cocktail Bitters
Slice of Lemon

Quarter a lemon slice and place it the bottom of a tall glass
Add a few drops of bitters and the Chartreuse and muddle with a long spoon
Add lots of ice
Pour the Spiced Rum, the Lemon Juice and the sugar syrup over the ice
Complete with cola
Stir and serve


My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

3 Responses to “Blackheart Spiced Rum”

  1. Kevin said

    I have really enjoyed and valued your opinions on rums over the past few years and youre reviews have heavily influenced a lot of my purchases of rums. (Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva is by far the best). However, that being said, the Blackheart compared to Sailor Jerry is not a fair comparison. Yes, they are both spiced rums and higher proof, but Blackheart is soo heavy on the cherry it is almost like it was intended to be mixed with Dr. Pepper specifically…Sailor Jerry is powerful stuff, but subtle enough to be combined effectively and taste great with root beer, coke zero, dr. pepper, mixed drinks, etc. Sailor Jerry is still my top #1 spiced rum due to its diversity.

  2. Patrick Halstead said

    Here in the NW corner of the USA, Blackheart is generally $2-$5US less per fifth than other “name” spiced rums and it does serve well as a mixer, at least with cola. On its own, however, the first sensation (illusion) is of effervesence, i.e. bubbles being created on the tongue, reinforced by its “Say ‘hello’ to Dr. Pepper (or Mr. Pibb, or Dr. K….) soda pop impression. The underlying rum asserts itself but, while 93 proof lively, exits with little afterburn or other characteristics. The pin-up on the bottle may be better looking than the one used for Sailor Jerry but is embarrassingly less authentic.


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