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Bacardi Black

Review: Bacardi Black   76/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted May 23, 2013

Bacardi Black is a traditional dark rum. As such it achieves a major portion of its flavour, aroma, and colour from the special ingredients (caramel colour for sure) which are added to the final blend prior to bottling. The Black is apparently blended from rums which have been aged up to four years; but, it would be a mistake to believe that the maturation of the rums in the blend have anything but a small role in the rich dark colour we see or the strong collection of aromas that we sense above the glass.

Bacardi Black appears to be disappearing from the shelves of the liquor stores in my locale, and even Bacardi has dropped any mention of the product on its US-based website. It appears to have been replaced by Bacardi Select, which is a similar style of rum although I do not know if it is the same blend as the Bacardi Black.

SAM_0763 Bacardi BlackIn the Bottle 3.5/5

Bacardi Black arrives in a tall glass 750 ml bottle (not shown) as well as in the smaller plastic (PET) 375 ml bottle shown to the left. The label is professionally made and includes the iconic Bacardi logo at the top. Other than the label I am not impressed.

I do not like plastic bottles which cheapen the look of the product, and I dislike metallic screw cap closures almost as much. Bacardi has taken an economic approach to the bottle presentation in order to achieve low production costs, but this approach has caused me to dismiss the rum upon the my shelf in favour of other for quite some time.

(I cannot even remember if this bottle was a provided sample, or whether I purchased it several years ago.)

In the Glass 8/10

The rum is not as dark and inky black as many of the other so-called black rums are. Perhaps Bacardi has been judicious with their caramel enhancement or perhaps they take a less literal approach to the words ‘black rum’. The initial aroma above the glass is full of butterscotch, molasses, vanilla, and candied caramels. There are hints of licorice, some noticeable maple, and sweet sticky canned fruit (apricots and peaches).

If I strain my senses, I also sense some dried fruit in the form of currants and dates and perhaps even a touch of cocoa. The aroma is not unpleasant, although there is very little evidence of oak aging in the breezes.

In the Mouth 46/60

Taking a sip, I am instantly reminded that the flavour for this rum is not necessarily pure. In fact, I sense a vague medicinal quality to the rum which gives me an ‘artificial’ impression. I taste flavours of sugar cane syrup, licorice stained molasses, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Some bitter nuttiness resides underneath, and those flavours of canned and dry fruit seem to drift in and out of the my consciousness.

The rum is by no means a sipper as that medicinal quality becomes cloying very fast. However, with the addition of an equal part of cola the rum tastes quite nice. This is not “I’m doing cartwheels” nice, but it is pleasant enough to be served to my friends on my back deck when we are barbequing hot dogs and snacking on potato chips.

In the Throat 11/15

The finish leaves a bit of a bitter aftertaste in my mouth when I sip the rum neat, perhaps this is a cloying remnant of dark caramel. When mixed with cola, I taste a little too much vanilla in the finale, but it is acceptable to all of my friends (who like vanilla much more than I do).

The Afterburn 7.5/10

Bacardi Black is a very average rum. I would not hesitate to serve to my friends; but it is a rum I not go out of my way to look for. My score of 76/100  reflects this mediocrity, although as a rum and cola mixer it does just fine.

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


Suggested Recipe:

SAM_0773 Lemon Cola CoolerLemon Cola Cooler

1 3/4 oz Bacardi Black
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
Cracked Ice
Slice of Lemon

Shake the first four ingredients over ice
Strain into a tumbler half full of cracked ice
Complete with cola
Garnish with a lemon slice

Please enjoy the 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)

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