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Ratu Dark Rum (5 Years Old)

Review: Ratu Dark Rum (5 Years Old)  82.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Refreshed March, 2020

Ratu Rums have been produced by the Rum Co. of Fiji since 1980 at their distillery in Lautoka Fiji. There are three rums in there line-up at this time, the 5 year old Ratu Spiced, the 8 year old Ratu Signature, and the 5 Year Old Ratu Dark.

According to their website, the rums are produced from hand cut sugar cane grown in Fiji’s rich volcanic soil. The distilled spirit is filtered through charcoal made from coconut shells and aged locally in oak barrels before being bottled. Interestingly, the 5 year old Spiced and Dark rums are bottled at 40 % abv. whereas the signature 8 Year Old is bottled at 35 % abv. (This could have something to do with the Angel’s Share bringing the older rum below 40 % abv. by the time 8 years of tropical aging is completed.)

In the Bottle 5/5

Ratu 5 Year Old Dark Rum is presented in the short stubby bottle shown to the left. I love everything about this rum presentation. The bottle and label look great and serve to highlight the Fijian provenance of the spirit. The heavy glass bottom adds stability to the bottle on the shelf. The cork topper adds class, and the slightly lengthened neck ensures I won’t spill when I pour the rum from the bottle.

In The Glass 8.5/10

The Fijian Rum has a firm copper hue in the glass and when that glass is tilted and twirled I see a thickish film which has a stubborn crest. Medium fat droplets finally form which fall slowly down the side of my glencairn.

The breezes above the glass bring me a mingling of treacle (burnt caramel), molasses and dark licorice and tar. As the glass breathes, the treacle dominates but we also notice oak and baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon and clove), firm molasses with a hit of licorice and some herbal menthol as well.

Everything about the nose indicates a typical dark rum with no surprises and no disappointments.

In the Mouth 49/60

The first sip reveals that the rum is somewhat spicy and aggressive with a light alcohol bite. I taste a nice mingling of treacle, oak spice, and cocoa as well as a touch of menthol. As I sip the treacle continues to push through making the dram somewhat bitter. Alcohol astringency hints at a wider than normal distillation cut,however nice flavours of cocoa and coffee save the dram. Ice tones down the heat and makes the dram much easier to sip with dark caramel, a touch of oak spice and cocoa pushing through.

The spirit is a natural rum and cola mixer, but we can do a little better than that for cocktails and with the last of my sample I mix a Brooklynite which I have shared down below.

In The Throat: 12/15

The spirit is nedium bodied with a bit of a powdery mouth feel. We taste firm flavours of bitter treacle and oak spice as we swallow with cocoa settling in afterwards. A touch of astringency hints that some younger rum may have been used in the blend.

The Afterburn  8/10

Ratu Dar Rum is almost there. Unfortunately I found just a touch too much astringency and bitter treacle which kept the scores down. Both are tamed with ice which saves the score. The rum would work well in a cocktail like the Brooklyinte (see below), or with ice and cola.

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


Suggested Serving:

The Brooklynite cocktail appears to have arrived on the scene in the 1940s in Brooklyn, New York. It appears in the 1946 edition of the Stork Club Bar Book, and is basically is a daiquiri made with dark rum and honey.

Brooklynite with Ice

2 oz Ratu Dark Rum
1/2 oz Honey syrup (1:1 ratio honey and hot water)
1/2 oz Lime juice
dash of Angostura bitters
Slice of Lime

Add the four ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice
Garnish with a Slice of Lime

If you are interested in more 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

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