Coruba Imported Dark Jamaican Rum
Review: Coruba Imported Dark Jamaican Rum (85.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on March 31, 2016
Coruba Rum is produced by J. Wray and Nephew who trace their history back to 1825 when company founder John Wray set up ‘The Shakespeare Tavern‘ in Kingston, Jamaica. By the middle of the century John Wray was distilling and blending his own rums (primarily for his patrons at the Tavern), and by the early 1860s Charles J. Ward joined his uncle, and they began to sell their Jamaican rums internationally.
In 1916, J. Wray and Nephew was purchased by the Lindo Brothers & Co. who also acquired the prestigious sugar cane estate, the Appleton Estate. Lindo Brothers merged the two Jamaican entities into one company, J. Wray and Nephew Ltd. In 2012, J. Wray and Nephew Ltd. was purchased by the Campari group.
When I did a little research, I was surprised to learn that the Coruba brand encompasses a range of rums which includes not only the familiar Original Dark Rum (which is the subject of this review) but also Coruba Spiced Rum and Coruba Coconut Rum. Coruba’s New Zealand website also refers to a Coruba Gold Rum which may be in production as well. All of these spirits are 100% Jamaican Rum.
In Canada, the Original Dark Rum is labeled Coruba Imported Jamaican Rum. The dark spirit is produced from is a blend of pot and column still rums that has been aged for at least two years in American oak barrels. Caramel is added for both colour and flavour (source: New Zealand Coruba Website).
The spirit is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
In the Bottle 4/5
Coruba Imported Jamaican Rum is sold in the economical tall clear glass bottle shown to the left.
(I believe a change to the look of the bottle is underway as both the Campari America website and the Campari New Zealand website show a new bottle with a changed label.)
The colourful label on my bottle features a nice Caribbean theme with palm trees, sandy beaches and tropical sunsets. An orange band around neck of the bottle proudly proclaims the rums Jamaican heritage. The back label tells us that the rum is produced by the Rum Company of Kingston (part of the J. Wray and Nephew which is now owned by Campari), and that the brand was established in 1889. The back label also provides some simple tasting notes.
My only quibble is with the metallic screw cat which cheapens the look.
In the Glass 8.5/10
The rum shows us the dark rich bronze colour of a caramel enhanced rum. When I tilt the glass and twirl it, I see medium fat droplets forming which run down the inside at a moderate pace. Coruba is a dark rum made in the manner and style of a not too distant past when it was entirely the blender’s mastery that was needed to sooth and flavour the spirit. The rum in this blend is only two years old, and it would be a mistake to believe that aging has anything but a small role in the dark colour or the rich collection of aromas that we sense. This rum achieves a goodly portion of its flavour, aroma, and colour from whatever manner of caramel was added to the blend prior to bottling.
The breezes above the glass are full of molasses, candied caramel and orange peel. Menthol, cinnamon, cloves, wood spice, mocha coffee and cola also taint the air above the glass with their presence. Allowing the rum time to breathe reveals additional accents of orange marmalade and rich vanilla. I must say that the menagerie of scents and smalls is rich and inviting.
In the Glass 51.5/60
The rum gives the mouth a nice bitter-sweet punch of Jamaican pot-still flavour as it crosses the palate. This Jamaican influence provides a bevy of character with the musty, oily flavours of the pot still. Combined with this is a mixture of molasses, treacle, orange peel, brown sugar and cinnamon spice, menthol, and vanilla all sliding across the taste buds filling the mouth with their rich flavours. Complimenting everything a light dusting of oak spice which seems to help bind everything together.
Of course a rum such as this is 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. When I mix the aforementioned bar drink I find the Coruba be particularly well suited as a dark Cuba Libre’ mixer as the flavour of the rum pushes through and enhances the cocktail. I mixed a few other nice recipes as well. The tiki style Dragon Zombie and a daiquiri style Brooklynite (click on the links for the recipes). The Coruba Dark Rum has great range for mixing (see one more great recipe below).
In the Throat 13/15
For a two-year old rum the Coruba is quite smooth. The exit features flavours of molasses and treacle with a gentle touch of menthol. The ester-filled flavours of the Jamaican pot still give the back of the throat a light kick as the rum goes down. My empty rum glass contains ebbing impressions of baking spices (brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla), cloves and orange peel.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
For the most part, I like my rums to have spent some time in the barrel such that oak, rather than molasses and caramel provide the backbone of their flavour profile. This means that young dark rums which achieve the bulk of their flavour through additions of special ingredients such as vanilla, spice and caramel do not appeal strongly to me. Coruba Imported Jamaican Rum seems to have found a sweet spot in between the two styles. The two years spent in the oak barrel provide a very nice compliment to the Jamaican pot still flavours and to the caramel enhancement of the rum.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
This bar drink is attributed to Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin (In the Land of Cocktails) with the assistance of Ted Haigh (Dr. Cocktail). The name is an homage to Lally’s and Ti Adelaide’s grandmother, Nellie Valentine.
1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (Sonoma County Rye)
1/2 oz Dark Rum (Coruba Dark Jamaican Rum)
1/2 oz Orange Liqueur (Cointreau)
1/3 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/3 oz Lemon Juice
a few dashes of Bitters (Fees Cocktail Bitters)
1/3 oz Sugar Syrup
Add the ingredients into a metal shaker with plenty of ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a twist of Grapefruit
Please Enjoy Responsibly!
And if you are interested in more recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for my mixed drink recipes!
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)