The Rum Howler Blog

(A Website for Spirited Reviews)

  • Copyright

    Copyright is inherent when an original work is created. This means that the producer of original work is automatically granted copyright protection. This copyright protection not only exists in North America, but extends to other countries as well. Thus, all of the work produced on this blog is protected by copyright, including all of the pictures and all of the articles. These original works may not be copied or reused in any way whatsoever without the permission of the author, Chip Dykstra.
  • Cocktails and Recipes

    Click Image for Awesome Recipes

  • Industry Interviews


    Click the Image for Great Interviews with the Movers of Industry

  • The Rum Howler Interview (Good Food Revolution)

    Click on the Image to see my interview on Good Food Revolution

  • The Rum Howler Blog

  • Rum Reviews

  • Whisky Reviews

  • Gin Reviews

  • Tequila Reviews

  • Vodka Reviews

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,069 other subscribers
  • Subscribe

  • Visitors

    • 14,385,203 pageviews since inception
  • Archives

  • Follow The Rum Howler Blog on

Pumpkin Face Reserve Rum

Review: Pumpkin Face Reserve Rum   87.5/100
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published October

Pumpkin Face Rum is a new brand of rum being distributed in Canada by Pure Global Imports. The rum inside the cool looking pumpkin shaped bottles is apparently a blend of selected rums from the Dominican Republic. I was curious about those pumpkin faced bottles, and I found this statement on the Pumpkin Face Rum website:

“The pumpkin is a symbol of celebration to people around the world. The origin of the pumpkin can be traced to North American seeds dating back to 7000 BC. The word pumpkin comes from the word “pepon”, which is Greek for “large melon” and later changed by American colonists to “pumpkin”. Colonists would often slice off the pumpkin top, remove the seeds, and fill it with cream, honey, eggs and spices. They cooked the pumpkin in hot ashes until blackened then enjoyed its contents.”

pumpkin line-up

I the was able (through the good folks at Pure Global Imports) to secure samples of all three Pumpkin Face Rums. According to the brand producer (Itsko Imports Inc. of Beverly Hills California), Pumpkin Face Reserve Rum  is an ‘ultra premium’ Dominican rum produced from selected stocks of rum which were produced in the decades of 1980′s, the 1990′s and 2000′s. Some of these stocks were aged up to 20 years before they were blended into this rum.

Note: If you are curious about the math of that previous statement, I should let you in on a little secret. Some of the selected stocks for this rum were at some point in their life cycle ‘rested’ in stainless steel vats for a significant time period, perhaps as long as 10 years. Those years in airtight vats may have contributed some benefit to the rum; but it is widely agreed that distilled spirits do not age in air tight containers. Therefore although some of these rum stocks may actually have been distilled up to 30 years ago, the actual maturity of the spirit is significantly less than that.

Pumpkin ReserveIn the Bottle 5/5

Just as I was well pleased with the bottle presentation for the previously reviewed Pumpkin Face White Rum, I am just as happy with what I see for the Reserve Rum. For the reserve rum the glass bottle is amber coloured reflecting the amber colour of the aged rum inside.

These ‘Pumpkin Faced’ bottles are the coolest thing I have seen in a long time (at least as far as rum bottles go).

In the Glass 8.5/10

As soon as I opened my bottle of the Pumpkin Face Reserve Rum, I noticed a very obvious orange peel scent bursting from the bottle. When I poured the rum into my glass, I noted it had a rich copper/amber colour, and some nice wafting aromas of butterscotch rose up to join with the scents of orange peel which were already in the air. The breezes above the glass seems to hint at a hot and spicy rum as peppery smells of spicy oak, tobacco and cardamom had joined the fray.

I allowed the glass to breathe and the rum slowly evolved in the glass, becoming richer and perhaps mellowing out with time. Baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg), toffee, marmalade began to push through the spiciness and obvious hints of chocolate and roasted walnuts joined the fray.

In the Mouth 52/60

I found the Pumpkin Face Reserve seemed to have a split personality when I sipped from my glass. Initially I tasted a push of alcohol and spice as the rum heated my mouth and throat. Orange peel, wood spice, and butterscotch dominated the flavour with spicy tobacco and alcohol heat not far behind. However, when I allowed the rum to breathe for several minutes, the character of the rum changed completely. Chocolate began to ooze out of the rum with underlying flavours of dark caramel, fresh crushed walnuts, and rich baking spices particularly vanilla and nutmeg. Knowing that the Reserve is a blend of different aged rums, I wonder if perhaps the initial heat I had felt was perhaps a reflection of the younger rums in the blend, and that by allowing the rum to breathe for several minutes I was able to get at the richer flavours of the older rums underneath.

In the Throat 13/15

The Reserve’s split personality makes it difficult to arrive at appropriate scores. The rum initially seems to carry a little burn into the throat which made sipping difficult to enjoy. However, allowing the glass to breathe for several minutes tempers this burn and releases more of the chocolate and walnut flavours in the finish. Adding ice takes the rum to a completely different level, releasing even more chocolate and walnut flavours in a finish which is delightful.

The Afterburn 9/10

I know I am going to get some hate mail. I always do when I suggest that adding ice can increase one’s enjoyment of an aged rum or whisky. However, it is absolutely true in the case of the Pumpkin Face Reserve Rum. The ice soothes some of the unwanted heat, and tempers a bit of the rum’s sweetness which allows the rich underlying flavours free rein. And I guess that is why I bumped up the score here in the Afterburn. I want to recognize that this rum becomes something special when sipped over ice.

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


Suggested Recipe

SAM_0872Pumpkin Face Rum Old Fashioned

2 oz Pumpkin Face Reserve Rum
1 tsp simple syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Fees Cocktail Bitters
3 large ice cubes
1 twist of orange peel

Add the first three ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink. (This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink)
Drop the peel into the cocktail if desired.

Please Enjoy 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)


3 Responses to “Pumpkin Face Reserve Rum”

  1. Greg said

    I bought all three of these rums in the States a few weeks ago, simply because I love all things Halloween and these bottles make awesome decorations. It’s good to know that when I do open them one day, there will be a great spirit inside waiting for me. Looking forward to seeing how the 23 Year Old does, as it seems like a great price for a rum that old.

    On a side note, I agree with your comments about ice. I find certain rums, including Zacapa 15 and 23, benefit from a single ice cube. It really opens up the flavor and does not overly dilute or chill the spirit.

  2. Alex said

    Look forward to the review of the 23 year old. I manage a liquor store and am definitely gonna get these in before Halloween. I have no doubt that based on the bottle alone they be a hot item for the few weeks leading up to Halloween.

%d bloggers like this: