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Archive for the ‘Rum Reviews’ Category

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown (#35 – #31)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 27, 2016

2016rum_howler_badgeWhen I decided to switch things around this year and publish a countdown of the best mixing rums, I was expecting some push back from my regular readers who look forward to my annual review of the very best rums each year. So far however, my mixing rums list has been met with great enthusiasm. I suspect that everyone was ready for a change this year and a list which is new and fresh is much more exciting than a list which was perhaps getting a little stale which essentially the same information upon it each year.

I will admit though that this year’s list was much harder to put together. Rather than spending a few weeks at the end of the year re-tasting my favourites, I spent most of the year sourcing rums and building cocktails. By my count, I built, tasted and rated almost 160 cocktails as I constructed my overall rankings.

I trust the fruits of my labour were worth the effort. Here are the next five spirits in my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown:

SAM_0305 Plantation Overproof#35  Plantation Original Dark 73 % Overproof Rum

“… I decided to mix a more complex cocktail which I created call, the Hart Breaker. This cocktail combines an overproof rum with lime, agave syrup, and a heavy dose of crushed ice. It is really a great recipe, and with the Plantation Overproof, it was extremely tasty. I followed this up (the next day) with a true tiki recipe, the Zombie (see recipe below). The zombie kicked my tonsils hard; but again it was just plain tasty with the Plantation rum …”

demerara-solera-14-2012-e1358214323815#34  Rum Nation Demerara Solera N° 14

“… What we have is exactly what the nose implied, a funky ‘navy’ style rum. If you like rums like Pusser’s Navy Rum, then you will like the Demerara No. 14. (Although this is a little less spicy than Pusser’s.) I did a little mixing and found that the rum really shines in cocktails. The rum has the ability to push its funky navy flavour through the mixed drink, even when mixing with cola …”

Pusser's Spiced and Cola SAM_2521#33   Pusser’s Spiced Rum

I mixed putting in equal amounts of spiced rum and cola. I felt this ratio of spiced rum to cola was much more to my liking. Having found a suitable ratio for my rum and cola, I next set out to make a more complicated bar drink. Using a brandy recipe which I favoured, I tweaked the ingredients and came up with a new cocktail I call, Bitter Blood and Spice. This mixed drink quickly became my preferred serving for the Pusser’s Spiced Rum. 

SAM_0724 Smuggler's Cove#32   Smuggler’s Cove Dark Rum 

” … Of course rums such as this are practically destined from birth to be mixed with cola, and my review would be remiss if it did not involve a nice rum and coke. The resulting bar drink is very nice. The Smuggler’s Cove seems to be particularly well suited as a cola mixer. I am pretty sure that the agreeable flavour of Smuggler’s Cove and Cola will ensure the rum will disappear quickly at my next deck party …”

SAM_1350# 31  Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced Rum

“… The rum mixes very easily into all manner of cocktails. I did a little experimentation, and I found the rum mixes easily with ginger ale, cola, all manner of fruit juices, and even with iced tea. I even tried a little mixed with egg nog (it is almost Christmas Season after all), and I really enjoyed the results …”

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Stay tuned for more mixing rum revelations as I will be adding five more rums to this list shortly.

And you can follow the rankings by bookmarking this page:

The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown

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The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown (#40 – #36)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 25, 2016

2016rum_howler_badgeAlthough I tried to compare all of the mixing rums in this countdown using similar cocktails, the truth is that occasionally I would go off the chart and construct servings which I felt suited a particular rum better than the standard cocktail for the category. This was the case with the #36 spirit, Gosling’s Black Seal. For those unfamiliar with Gosling’s, it is the standard rum for the Dark ‘n Stormy Cocktail. In fact if the serving is made with any other rum, it cannot properly be called a Dark ‘n Stormy.

Although Goslings Black Seal is a strange tasting rum which many people find difficult to mix, in the aforementioned cocktail it tastes so good, that I had to include the dark brooding rum on my list.

Along with the spirit from Goslings, here are the next 5 entries in my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown.

SAM_0726 Cabot Tower 100 Proof#40  Cabot Tower 100 Proof Rum 

“… Cabot Tower is not a well aged dark rum, rather it is young and brash; however, it is also full of the wonderful flavours of a full strength Demerara rum. The only reason my score isn’t higher is that a large swat of treacle-like bitterness follows all that flavour, and that bitterness, not the heat and the spice, seemed just a little out of place. This is no sipper, (unless you are into self punishment); but, after trying out a few bar drinks, I discovered that all that flavour (and even that bitterness) works really well in long tall cocktails …”

Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum#39  Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum

” … I like that this spiced rum dares to be different. Not that it is revolutionary, 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 welcome doses of ginger, allspice, mace and juniper which makes the path they chose a little more challenging for the palate but also make it much more fun. 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 …”

Bayou Spiced and Cola SAM_1668#38  Bayou Spiced Rum 

“… As I sip, the spiciness builds, and for me the obvious way to enjoy the spirit is with a well placed ice-cube. I am not saying the rum needs an ice-cube; it does not. However for myself, the addition of the ice-cube mutes the sweetness just a tad and gives the spices more expression. I am a Rum and Cola nut; so I decide that I should also try that combination in my mixing glass with the aforementioned ice. I am hooked pretty much on the first sip, as the laid back deck drink has just enough attitude to be enjoyable without being demanding in any way …”

last-mountain-distillery-7#37  Last Mountain 306 Original Saskatchewan Rum  

” … the standard, rum and cola cocktail (Cuba Libre’) is enhanced in a big way by the firm fine oak spice within the 306 Original Saskatchewan Rum. In Canada (and throughout most of North America) cola is the standard mixer for amber rums, and the enhanced flavour provided by the oak spice is definitely a huge positive for this spirit. Adding a few bitters makes the cocktail even better …”

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#36  Gosling’s Black Seal

“… I smell burnt caramel apples, intense hyacinth, and wisps of cinnamon and nutmeg. Maybe even a little allspice. At the same time the smell is earthy. It makes no sense to my nostrils to get this earthy smell but it is there in spades. (I hate to admit this; but in my imaginings I actually think of an old graveyard with freshly upturned earth, hyacinth and hibiscus on nearby graves and pungent burnt smells coming from the glass.) I find myself grabbing a bit of lime and some ginger-beer and making a strong Dark ‘n Stormy cocktail. For myself anyway, this classic Gosling’s Rum cocktail is the best way to enjoy their Dark Rum …”

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Stay tuned for more mixing rum revelations as I will be adding five more rums to this list shortly.

And you can follow the rankings by bookmarking this page:

The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown

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The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown (#45 – #41)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 23, 2016

2016rum_howler_badgeToday’s entries in my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown do well to represent the range of rum styles available to bartenders and mixologists. We have an overproof white rum from Jamaica, a dark rum from Newfoundland and Labrador, a three-year aged rum from Belize, a spiced rum from Guyana, and a flavoured rum from Kenny Chesney.

I had great fun throughout the year making & scoring my cocktails for each of these rums. Some of them, (like Old Sam) I hadn’t tasted for years. Others (like the Wray and Nephew Overproof White) I tasted for the first time.

Here are the next five Mixing Rums in my 2016 Countdown:

Wray And Nephew Overproof#45  Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum

” … Mojitos, Mai Tai and Tiki drinks, and Daiquiris all seem to plausible destinations for this intense, fruity, ester filled rum. In that vein of thought, I went in went in a very specific Tiki direction first and crafted a variation on the basic Zombie Cocktail. Then I crafted what I called a High Test Daiquiri. I loved both recipes, although I admit the High Test Daiquiri might be an acquired taste for some as the full throttle flavour of Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum pushes right through the lime …”

old-sam#44  Old Sam Demerara Rum

“… The molasses and caramel flavours release a few baking spices onto the palate and I detect a nice nutty element as well which reminds me of walnuts and Brazil nuts. Old Sam is an ‘old style’ rum blend which tastes of molasses and tobacco. It is perhaps a little rougher than I expected; but I found that when I mixed a little of this rum half and half with cola and added and ice-cube, I was very happy with the results …”

bluechair_coconut#43  Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum

“… I mixed a nice tall deck drink for myself mixing the coconut rum with a bit of lemon juice and some blue Curacao (see recipe below) and sat in the afternoon sun enjoying the mingling flavours of my cocktail. The Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum promises to be a nice addition to my growing staple of summertime mixing spirits …”

3 Barrel#42  Travellers (Parrot) 3 Barrel Aged Rum

“… The Travellers 3 Barrel Rum is what I would consider to be a nice introductory sipping rum which will suit a large variety of palates. It has a flavour profile that tends just a little to the sweet side of the flavour path, but this sweetness is tempered with just enough oak to make the rum delicious. The rum also mixes very well. I sampled some with cola and with ginger-ale to equal delight. I made some cocktails with fruit juice as well and everything always seemed to work out nicely …”

el-dorado-spiced#41  El Dorado Spiced 

“… I poured a few friends a glass of the El Dorado Spiced, as part of my review process, and solicited their opinion as to how well it stacked up both neat and mixed with cola. The opinions expressed by my friends match my own as we all enjoyed our libations and thought the El Dorado Spiced and Cola tasted especially nice. The spicy thrust from the rum pushes through the cola without becoming cloying or overwhelming …”

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Stay tuned for more mixing rum revelations as I will be adding five more rums to this list shortly.

And you can follow the rankings by bookmarking this page:

The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Rum Howler Annual Rum Countdown (Best Mixing Rums)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 16, 2016

In addition to my Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown, I have been working on another special project during the year that is 2016 as I have been building, tasting and rating cocktails in secret throughout the year. As a result of these efforts, my annual 2016 Christmas Season Rum Countdown is going to be a little different from years past.

rum-fun-sam_2865

royaloakRather than building a list of the best premium rums this year, my Rum Howler year-end list will feature the very best rums (which I have tasted) which all of us love to serve in cocktails. (Those mixed drinks included the Rum Old Fashioned, the Cuba Libre, the Mojito, and the Daiquiri as well as libations specific to the class of rum I was rating.) Not only does my year-end rum list feature a completely different selection od spirits this year, it is also larger than ever with 50 spirits included for your cocktail enjoyment.

It is my intention that this list represents only those rums we love to mix. Therefore, all of the rums on this list would carry an age statement of less than 5 years. Additionally, if the rum was blended from spirit of different ages, then I used my best judgement to exclude any rum which would carry an average age of 5 or more years. Finally I also excluded any spirit which was marketed as a premium sipping rum. (Just to be clear, although these are all ‘Mixing Rums’, the truth is that many are just fine on their own as sippers giving the rum connoisseur the best of both worlds.)

As with any such list, there is always that one spirit which just missed being included. In this case it is Angostura Royal Oak Select Rum which landed in the #51 spot. And so today, as a sort of prequel to my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown, I thought I would re-introduce you all to this fine rum from Angostura:

#51 Mixing Rum of 2016: Angostura Royal Oak Select Rum

“… I mixed a few bar drinks in my examinations beginning with the quintessential cocktail for a young amber rum, the Cuba Libre’. I followed that up with a Rum and Ginger cocktail and then a simple Daiquiri. Although all of the cocktails tasted nice, strangely enough I preferred the daiquiri. Of course, when I referred to my original review of this rum which I wrote almost five years ago, I saw that I had come to the same conclusion …”

Please enjoy my review of the Angostura Royal Oak Select Rum, and stay tuned for my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rum Countdown!

The reveal begins on November 21st, Chimo!

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Review: Ron Carupano Anejo

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 5, 2016

classic-sam_2858Ron Carupano Anejo Rum is produced by Destilería Carúpano, CA. This is a true  Venezuelan rum produced at Hacienda Altimira in Macarapana. According to the Ron Carupano website, Hacienda Altamira-Carúpano was established by the Spanish slave trader, Captain Felix del Fierro. (Not many rum companies are willing to recognize the common roots with the slave trade that rum possesses, and I applaud the Destilería for not obfuscating upon this matter. History should be learned from rather than forgotten.)  The Hacienda was closed in 1901, after the death of Thomas Massiani, one of the owners; however, in 1954 the Morrison family purchased the property and together with Alejandro Hernandez (owner of Industrias Pampero) created Destilería Carúpano, CA.

Ron Carupano Anejo is produced from molasses in a 3-column distillation process where distillate is rectified to 95 % alcohol by volume. After distillation, the rum is diluted with demineralized water to bring its concentration to 50% alcohol by volume. At this point the spirit is set down in white America oak barrels to age for up to 6 years.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Ron Carupano Anejo

“… The initial nose is light and clean. A light honeyed butterscotch sugar aroma along with firm fine wood spices rise into the air after I swirl my glass. Hints of orange peel and even lighter impressions of anise drift into the merry little breezes. A nice sweep of vanilla with a cinnamon accent settles itself into the air as well …”

Please enjoy my review of this Venezuelan rum which has just entered the Canadian marketplace, Chimo!

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Review: Monymusk Classic Gold Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 27, 2016

classic-gold-bottle-750mlMonymusk Classic Gold Rum is produced in Jamaica by a new partnership called the National Rums of Jamaica. The spirit is produced at the Claredon Distillery (also called the Monymusk Distillery), near Lionel Town in the heart of Jamaica’s sugar cane producing region.

For those who are interested, National Rums of Jamaica (NRJ) is a partnership between three separate entities, the National Sugar Company of Jamaica (which is owned by the Jamaican Government), Goddard Enterprises (which is the parent company of the West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados), and Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) (the makers of El Dorado Rum in Guyana, South America). National Rums of Jamaica owns 73 % of the Claredon Distillery; the other 27 % is apparently owned by Diageo who have historic ties to Jamaica which is the original home of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum.

Monymusk Classic Gold Rum was produced from aged rum from both the modern column plant and the double-retort pot stills. This is a non age stated rum, but my best guess based upon my tasting notes, would be that it is a blend of 2 to 5-year-old rums. This new dark rum has recently been released in Ontario (distrinbuted by Woodman Wines and Spirits), and is available though regular LCBO outlets.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Monymusk Classic Gold Rum

“… The breezes bring me scents of molasses/licorice stained caramel combined with the rich aromas of Jamaican pot still rum. Orange peel, rich baking spice (vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a touch of cloves), hints of resin-like camphor, hints of menthol, and a light but firm impression of wood spice all leap into the air giving the rum a rich and inviting nose …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a classic cocktail suggestion from the Stork Club Bar Book. Chimo!

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(For those interested, I found this great article online written by Cocktail Wonk, which describes his tour of the Monymusk facility.)

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Review: Seven Fathoms Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 20, 2016

rum-old-fashiones-sam_2840

Rum Old fashioned with Seven Fathoms

Cayman Spirits Co. began distilling spirits in 2008 at the George Town Harbour Distillery on Grand Cayman island. With a small single column still, the company uses local ingredients (including fresh cane juice from locally grown cane harvested on Grand Cayman’s East End) to produce their rum distillate in a batch style. The Seven Fathoms Rum distillate is then matured in American White oak bourbon barrels in a process that involves aging the rum seven fathoms deep under water in a secret location off the coast of the Grand Cayman island where the rolling waves rock the rum barrels in much the same way that they would be rocked in the cargo hold of a ship that was transporting the rum across the sea.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Seven Fathoms Rum

“… I notice a lovely butterscotch scent rising into the air above the glass accented by some nice dusty wood spices. I like how the two scents merge together as the glass sits which is an indication to me that the rum may be a little older than I first suspected. Vanilla and cinnamon baking spices appear as well as a nice almond scent which moves to marzipan as I am examining the glass …”

Please enjoy my review of this unique rum which includes a nice cocktail suggestion, the Rum Old Fashioned.

Chimo!

 

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Review: Captain Morgan Jack-O’ Blast Limited Edition Spiced Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 10, 2016

jack-oblast-sam_2843Captain Morgan Jack-O’ Blast has began to appear on store shelves throughout North America. The new spirit from Captain Morgan (apparently produced from Caribbean Rum, fresh pumpkin, cinnamon and autumnal spices) promises to deliver an insanely delicious shot. This is because the new limited edition spiced rum is (based upon the media information provided) designed to be ideal for the shot glass.

Coinciding with the release of this new pumpkin spiced rum, the Captain Morgan media team began to send samples and product information to media outlets (like The Rum Howler Blog) to write about their new spirit. Of course, I had to put it through the paces of my review system to see if it was all that Captain Morgan promised.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Captain Morgan Jack-O’ Blast

“… The aroma from the glass is very nice. I let my wife have a nice sniff, not letting her know what was inside. She immediately smiled and said my rum reminded her of her pumpkin spiced chai tea that she loves. I guess you could say that Captain Morgan nailed it! Pumpkin, caramel, and vanilla rise into the breezes accented lightly by cinnamon and cloves. The combination is wonderful and promises to be delicious prompting me to quickly steal a sip …”

Please enjoy my review of this new spiced rum from Captain Morgan.

Chimo!  

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Review: Dictador Cafe 100 Month Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 6, 2016

Dictador Cafe SAM_2681Recently Dictador released what they call their 100 Month Series which includes four new rums all aged for 100 months. Unlike the more premium Dictador Solero Aged Rums, the 100 month series is meant to be a gateway series consisting of spirits which are meant to be embraced both as entry-level sipping rums as well as cocktail spirits.

The Dictador Cafe 100 Month Aged Rum was created to be a discerning spirit for the rum and coffee enthusiast. The base rum within the flavoured spirit is a continuous column still rum which was aged (for 100 months) in ex-bourbon oak barrels. At maturity the rum was filtered through Colombia’s most well know agricultural product, 100 % pure Arabica Coffee beans.

The final flavoured rum was then bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Dictador Cafe 100 Month Rum

“… The cafe aroma from the glass is inviting, however it masks the rum-like scents of butterscotch toffee, vanilla and baking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves). The absence of a cloying sweetness within the breezes is refreshing; however it does hint that a firm coffee-like bitterness may be present when we sip the flavoured rum …”

Please enjoy my review, and stay tuned for further reviews of some very unique flavoured rums and spirits in the coming weeks.

Chimo!

 

 

Posted in Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Big Rig Sugar Beet Brum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 2, 2016

easy-sam_2775The Big Rig Craft Distillery opened their doors on October 17, 2015 and they already have an impressive line-up of spirits for sale at their boutique store within the facility. These spirits include their Premium Vodka and Wildrose Gin; their selections of White Dog Distillate (not whisky for three years yet); and their intriguing Sugar Beet Brum. As well, they are experimenting with an array of flavoured Vodkas some of which are bottled and ready for sale, and others which are in development.

Sugar Beet Brum is produced from raw (brown) sugar manufactured from Alberta Sugar Beets on the company’s main still (Mighty Morley). This is a versatile still consisting of a large wash still, two columns, and a condenser. Chemically, sugar manufactured from sugar beets has the same composition as sugar derived from sugar cane, and in fact if this product was manufactured from cane sugar it could legally be called rum. As Sugar Beets rather than Cane is the source of the raw material for distillation, the folks at Big Rig decided that Brum was a suitable name.

Here is a link to my review of Big Rig’s Sugar Beet Brum:

Review: Big Rig Sugar Beet Brum

” … The Brum has a very rum-like nose with semisweet butterscotch rising into the air alongside aromas of mushy banana and orange peel. Some light hints of menthol are apparent as well as a very light underlying grassy herbaceousness …”

Please enjoy my review of this very unique spirit which includes a Commodore inspired cocktail I call Easy.

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(More complete information regarding the production of Big Rig Craft Distillery spirits can be found here: The Big Rig Distillery Tour.)

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