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Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum

Review: Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum  (84.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on

The Cruzan Rum Company is located on the Island of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. The Island of St. Croix is the largest of the US Virgin islands, being approximately 28 miles long and 7 miles wide. Along with the tourism industry and one of the largest oil refineries in the Caribbean, the St. Croix economy is dependent to a large extent upon the Rum Industry as a major engine of their economic growth.

All of the Cruzan Rums are produced using a modern five column distillation method which produces a light bodied rum, the quality of which can be tightly controlled by the five column distillation. The rum is then aged in once used American oak bourbon barrels. The Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum is a relatively new offering, boasting 9 spices blended in an aged rum. The spices listed upon the Cruzan website are allspice, vanilla, pepper, ginger, mace, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, and juniper berry. It is bottled at 40 per cent alcohol by volume and is, I believe, aged for up to two years in the aforementioned American Oak.

The sample bottle of Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum for this review was provided by the local Beam Global Spirits Team. Cruzan Rum is owned by Beam Global Spirits & Wines, INC., a subsidiary of Fortune Brands.

In the Bottle 4/5

The Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum arrives in Cruzan’s new bottle design. In fact, this is the new design which The Cruzan Rum Company has began to implment for their full range of light and dark rums. I personally would prefer a little more information on the Cruzan 9 label such as the designated age of the rum and perhaps a little tidbit regarding the rich history of rum production on the Island of St. Croix.

I also have my normal reservations regarding the metal screw cap which seals the bottle. On the positive side, I like the overall bottle shape which is to my mind somewhat more masculine than the older Cruzan Rum design, and I like that the word “Cruzan” has been embossed on the sides of the bottle which makes it easier to grip when I am pouring.

In the Glass 8.5/10

I poured a little of the Cruzan 9 into my glencairn glass and gave it the customary tilt and swirl. The rum imparts a bit of an oily sheen on the sides of the glass and even shows some tiny thin legs. The colour of the rum is a golden mahogany, lighter than I was expecting which perhaps is an indication of an absence of caramel colouring.

When I brought the glass to my nose I was struck by the scents of pungent spices mingling with the sweeter scents of caramel toffee. Vanilla, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and cloves are easily identified in the breezes although vague unfamiliar accents above the glass tell me that much more is going on. The overall aroma is not as sweet as I was expecting and this bodes well as spiced rums which rely on sugar and vanilla for most of their flavour usually do not sit well with me.

In the Mouth  51/60

The rum is sweet, pungent and spicy with a plethora of different flavours evident. The spices present quite a paradox of impressions. Some are warm and aromatic but others are sharp, intense and penetrating. There is only a light feathery sweetness at first but as the glass decants the sweetness increases with a building of brown sugar and cinnamon flavours. The warmer more aromatic flavours seem to be produced by the vanilla, the cinnamon and the flavour of the rum itself. The sharper flavours seem to be produced by ginger, pepper, and cloves.  I get the sense in the mouth that much more is going on than I can describe, and I am happy that this is a spiced rum that dares to be different, and dares to challenge my palate with non typical spices.

I did a little mixing with cola at first, and found that I liked the spicy rum and cola combination. I also tried a recipe from the Cruzan Rum Company website, the  Cruzan 9 Punch  which tasted really nice. I thought it might be a challenge to mix the Cruzan 9 spiced rum but it seems to meld well in a variety of cocktail styles. (You may see a few of these recipes at the end of the review.)

In the Throat 12.5/15

I like the exit of this spiced rum.  It starts out lightly sweet in the throat and finishes with a pop of spicy ginger, nutmeg  and cinnamon. In particular the ginger seems to last and last in the throat but there is just enough sweetness mixed in to make this pleasant.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

As I said earlier, I like that this spiced rum dares to be a little different. Not that we are being revolutionary or anything. It’s just that I am pleasantly surprised that the company chose to work on the more pungent side of the spice path just a little to the left of the more trodden slopes of vanilla and caramel. We have a little of that here, but we also have ginger, allspice, mace and juniper which makes the path they chose a little more challenging for the palate, but, it also makes it much more fun.

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


Suggested Recipes

Spiced Punch

Cruzan 9 Spiced Punch

1 1/2 oz Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum
4 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Cranberry Juice
1/2 oz Sugar syrup

Fruit wedge

Build in an ice filled Collins glass
Layer the cocktail pouring the cranberry and rum first
Then complete with orange juice
Garnish with a citrus fruit wedge

Cruzan 9 Raspberry Smooch

1 1/2 oz Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum
1/2 oz Raspberry Syrup
6 oz Pineapple Juice
Frozen Raspberry for garnish

Build in a tall Highball glass over ice
Garnish with a Frozen Raspberry

Enjoy these cocktails responsibly!


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)


2 Responses to “Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum”

  1. DjB said

    I always thought Cruza 9 Spice to be an unsung hero of Rum. I think it would make a great choice !

  2. Patrick Halstead said

    Based on A.Wolf’s review and with eyes open, if not wide open, I bought a bottle. I was also motivated by my affection for the Cruzan black strap formulation. Saying “spiced rum” is about as definitive as saying “plaid”, as we all know but the Cruzan spiced is not sweet or fruity in the manner of numerous others. It is initially light and bright, in my view, and would make a less conventional apertif, since the pungency Chip cites has a way of purging the palate. I intend to try it with ginger beer but wasn’t won over mixing it with cola. Nothing wrong here — it is relatively elegant — but you won’t mistake it for Brinley’s, much less the ever-present Captain’s version.


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