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Cruzan Single Barrel Rum

Review: Cruzan Single Barrel Rum 90.5/100
A review by Chip Dykstra (AkA Arctic Wolf)
Posted on July 13, 2018

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.

Cruzan Single Barrel Rum is produced from a blend of vintage rums which have been aged up to 12 years. Once blended the vintage rums are then finished in a new oak barrel for about one year. Barrels are bottled individually with each bottle of rum coming from a single barrel. Because each new barrel will have different characteristics, each bottling will be a little different from the last; but, the general character of each bottling should be similar due to the overall blending process.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

Pictured to the left is the new bottle design for the Cruzan Single Barrel Rum.  I like the bottle design with its low center of gravity and the wide neck which makes for easy pouring. I also like the large wooden topped cork closure which adds to the masculine appeal of the bottle design

My only quibble with the presentation is that the bronze lettering on the label tends to blend in with the colour of the rum in the background making the label hard to read.

In the Glass 9/10

The rum displays a rich bronze colour in the glass. Once poured, I immediately noticed a rich toffee scent which seems to have a nice oak spice embedded in the aroma. I catch hints of maple in the breezes as well as vanilla and orange citrus peel. The immediate impression is of a rich pleasant rum which promises to bring all the right elements to the palate. Thick viscous legs formed when I swirled the glass and I noticed that as the glass began to breathe that a nice aroma of dark brown sugar and baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg) have began to build.

This is a rum that grows in the glass and I have scored the nose accordingly.

In the Mouth 54.5/60

A nice spicy tingle greeted my tongue as the rum entered my mouth. Oak disguised as citrus peel and the taste of butterscotch led the way with a gush of dried fruit mixed in. I also taste deeper notes of charred sugars which give an impression of treacle, and a slightly smoky sensation which one encounters when tasting a spirit with a sherry influence. Perhaps some Spanish oak was used in the aging barrels of a portion of the blend.

As it was on the nose, the spirit grows richer and more complex over time. The citrus peel has joined with the vanilla and oak spice to bring me an impression of marmalade, and almond flavours which I missed earlier have taken a similar journey towards marzipan. Cigar-like tobacco and crushed walnuts complete the flavour profile which is very appealing indeed.

In the Throat 13.5/15

The rum has a heavier body and a longer finish than I remember from previous visits. The sweetness of dark brown sugar has meshed with vanilla and oak spice giving me impressions of cinnamon rolls as I swallow the rum.

The Afterburn 9/10

The Cruzan Single Barrel Rum seems to get better every time I taste it. When I open a bottle, it seems to disappear far too fast, and I found myself wandering over to my local store to pick up another to keep my collection intact. I cannot think of a better endorsement than that. A nice easy sipper with just enough complexity to keep the rum interesting.

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


Suggested Recipe:

El Padrino
(cocktail by chip & forrest)

This is a cocktail I designed with my good friend, forrest several years ago. (He also has a website, His is called, “a drink with forrest“. I gave him a few thoughts I had regarding premium aged rums with complex oaky taste profiles, and it was my wish to do a nice twist on a traditional cocktail called “The Godfather” which is a Scotch and Amaretto combination.

Forrest loved the idea, and together we created this offering:

Photo courtesy forrest

The El Padrino
(Spanish for Godfather)

The name El Padrino fits perfectly with the mood and feeling I was trying to capture with my original suggestion as premium aged oaky rums like the Cruxan Single Barrel may truly be called the Godfathers of Rums!

2 oz Cruzan Single Barrel Rum
1 oz Amaretto
1/8 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

Build on ice in small rocks glass
Garnish with a thin slice of lemon.

Note: If you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


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))


5 Responses to “Cruzan Single Barrel Rum”

  1. Kevin said

    I saw your recipe recommendation and I have another for you for this specific rum…given I have tried it with a few others, but for the cost, this is one of the best ones.

    2oz Cruzan Single Barrel
    3/4oz simple syrup
    5 dashes Orange Bitters
    4 ice cubes
    Orange Peel

  2. CJ said

    Have you had a chance to taste their older bottling of the Diamond Estate Single Barrel rum? I was wondering whether this newer rum is similar?

    • Sorry Cj. I was not able to taste the Diamond Estate Single Barrel. My understanding is that the rum is in a constant state of evolution.

      • CJ said

        That’s more than alright. I have a bottle of both, but haven’t bothered to open the newer single barrel bottle. I guess this gives me a good excuse to pop the top and compare the two!

  3. Hi Chip: I absolutely agree with your review. When I wrote my own a few months ago I was surprised at what an overall depth and solidity the Cruzan displayed. I must have gone thorugh two other bottles since then just on the strength of the quality I noted in the first pass.

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