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Ragged Rock Rum

Review: Ragged Rock Rum  82/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted June 17, 2012

Ragged Rock Rum is produced by the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC). It is apparently made  from the same 4 marques of Jamaican Rum which are used to produce their Famous Newfoundland Screech. I was  told that the treatment of these marques is slightly different, which could mean that they are blended in different proportions, or perhaps they are not aged for the same length of time or in the same style of oak barrel. (I should note that by Canadian Law all rum, dark, white, spiced or otherwise, must be aged at least full year in oak barrels.) I was told by a representative of the brand that I should consider the Ragged Rock to be an amber or lighter version of Screech Rum, and perhaps that is the most reasonable description to begin with.

In the Bottle  4/5

The Ragged Rock Rum unabashedly presents itself as “The Rum of the Rock”, with a front label adorned with the tattered pink, white and green stripes of the unofficial Flag of Newfoundland. The tattered flag is symbolic of a life of grim realities faced by the people who have lived their lives upon that rock which is called Newfoundland. The history of Newfoundland has always been linked to the extreme boundaries of tragedy and hope which are embodied by the waters of the North Atlantic. The residents of the Rock have always been blessed by the North Atlantic bounty; yet they are always at its mercy as their fishing vessels troll the rocky coastlines.

The unofficial flag may be tattered; but it still flies defiantly, representing the resilience of these people and their way of life.

In the Glass  8/10

I poured a little rum into my glencairn glass, and began as I often do with a good look at the spirit. We have a pale amber spirit which leaves light sheen on the inside of the glass when I tilt and swirl it. A few legs form, but most of the oily sheen disappears back into the glass without fanfare. The initial aroma is one of butterscotch with light impressions of almond, vanilla, banana and orange peel. The rum smells pleasing, but somewhat light in the glass and not overly complex.

When I allow the glass to breathe, I notice a light impressions of pencil shavings and perhaps a touch of tobacco. These aromas do not develop in the glass, but these oaky impressions are welcome nonetheless.

In the Mouth 49.5/60

The ragged rock rum enters the mouth, and I find myself agreeing entirely with the chosen name for the rum. It has a rough and ragged feel upon the palate. The rum is lightly bitter, with butterscotch, banana and orange peel all melded together as the dominant flavours. Impressions of charred coconut and treacle are apparent as is a very light dab of cocoa which all seems to account for that light bitterness I note in the rum.

I decided to try a few cocktails with the rum, and of course the first cocktail I tried was a simple rum and cola. Mixed fifty-fifty with cola and a couple ice-cubes added, the rum tastes solid. I can serve this with no qualms to my friends. I decided to go further and mixed a cocktail of mine called, the Sloe Lime Daiquiri. It was really nice! The ragged Rock rum is definitely suited for fruity cocktails as well as the tradition rum and cola.

In the Throat 12/15

The rum finished rather short with that light bitterness diminishing the appeal of the lingering butterscotch and orange peel flavours. A very light sweetness creeps in at the end which helps to keep the score up.

The Afterburn 8.5

The Ragged Rock Rum is a nice versatile spirit. It is not a well aged rum with layers of oaky flavours. It is a more simple rum. I can enjoy sipping the rum over ice. However, when I mix a nice bar drink, my enjoyment increases as the rum is particularly suited to the cocktail experience.

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

Suggested Recipe:

I enjoyed the Rum and Cola and my Sloe Lime Daiquiri when I mixed with the Ragged Rock Rum, but I found a nice cocktail on the Ragged Rock Rum Website which was also particularly appealing, the Ragged Dagger! I highly recommend it.

The Ragged Dagger

1 ½ oz Ragged Rock Rum
2 oz Orange Juice
2 oz Cranberry Juice
Splash of Peach Liqueur
Orange Wedge

Fill a cocktail shaker filled with ice
Add the first four ingredients
Shake and strain in to an ice-filled cocktail glass
Garnish with an orange wedge and serve
Of course, enjoy!


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)

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