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Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

Review: Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum  83/100
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Revised on June 13,  2012

Sailor Jerry Ltd. was formed when Ed Hardy and Mike Malone partnered with a small Philadelphia clothing store to make running shoes, t-shirts and other assorted products featuring the tattoo artwork of Norman Collins (Aka Sailor Jerry). Collins, who was also a writer and a poet, as well as a radio show host, is best remembered today as one of the great pioneers of tattoo art and culture.

In fact, Larry Collins has become legendary in North America tattoo culture. He practiced his art in Chicago as a young man learning his craft from well-known tattoo artist Gib “Tatts” Thomas. Later, when working as a sailor aboard a steamer vessel, he went to Japan to study the techniques of the far east. When he settled in Honolulu, Hawaii in the 1930s, he opened his own shop, and word of his distinctive style was spread around the globe as the naval ships came and went, carrying upon them the sailors who has stopped by his shop for an original “‘Sailor Jerry” tattoo.

Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum was created in 1991 as a logical extension of the Sailor Jerry brand. At 96 proof it is a relatively strong spiced rum, and like the tattoo artwork of its namesake, word of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum has slowly spread around the world. In fact, it is now one of the best-selling spiced rum brands in the world.

In the Bottle  4/5

The spiced rum arrives in a standard ‘bar room’ style bottle shown to the left. This is the kind of bottle you would expect to find at the seaside bars where the sailors from the various steamer vessels would go to drink rum when they received their shore leave. The label features a drawing of a Hawaiian girl playing on a ukulele and swinging her hips, which I believe is a replica of an original Larry Collins artwork. I like what I see, although I have my usual reservations concerning the metallic screw cap topper.

In the Glass 8/10

When I poured my Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum into my glen cairn glass to examine it, I saw that it laid a thin coating of rum on the inside of the glass. This persistent oily sheen gives up a few small droopy legs but otherwise remains clinging to the inside of the glass. The rum has a nice golden amber colour and the nose is a nice mixture of black cherry, caramel, baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon and cloves) and smidgens of oak and light tobacco. The aroma reminds me a lot of Dr. Pepper soda.

In the Mouth 50/60

As I sip on the Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, I am again reminded quite firmly of Dr. Pepper soda. I taste a lot of caramel, black cherry and vanilla. The other spices are laid further back in the flavour profile, but I can taste cinnamon, and nutmeg, a few scattered cloves, and hints of allspice.

I like that the flavour profile for Sailor Jerry is quite different from the other vanilla and caramel spiced rums in the marketplace. The black cherry flavour works well especially mixed in tall cocktails.

In the Throat 12.5/15

The finish is quite sweet with the lingering triumvirate of caramel, black cherry and vanilla pushing the other flavours out-of-the-way. This is pleasant, but not all that complex.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

I like Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum. The flavour is original, and the spirit is very easy-going especially considering it is a 92 proof spirit. As such Sailor Jerry is good for deck parties where the long tall drinks are flowing (and it is even an acceptable sipper).

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


Suggested Recipe

Spiced Metro Swizzle
a cocktail by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)

2 oz Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Cranberry Juice
1/2 oz Grenadine

Ginger Ale

Shake the first four ingredients over ice
Strain into a tumbler half full of cracked ice
Stir until the glass frosts
Complete with Ginger-ale



You may (loosely) interpret the scores 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 “Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum”

  1. Soley said

    Bottles in Australia are sole with a plastic topped cork stopper. A satisfying “pop” each time the bottle is uncorked.

  2. bryano said

    I wondered when this would get a review. Sailor Jerry’s was my gateway rum. I couldn’t believe how smooth it was for the alcohol content. I usually stick to sipping rums these days – but a Jerry’s and root beer is a great mixer.

    • You are not the first one to suggest to me that Sailor Jerry works great with Root Beer. I have a bottle of Blackmaker Root Beer Liqueur that perhaps I will have to experiment with..



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