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Siesta Key Gold Rum

Review: Siesta Key Dark Rum  78/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on September 4, 2012

Drum Circle Distilling is a small artisan distillery located in Sarasota, Florida. Their distillation system was crafted for the distillery by Christian Carl, a German company which has been producing distillation systems for over 150 years. Working directly with Christian Carl, Drum Circle Distilling was able to custom design a small-batch copper still (which can be run as a simple pot still or with a side column) which they believe is perfect for making great tasting rum. This distillation system operates in a 6400 square foot work space which also includes barrel racks for aging, as well as labeling and bottling stations. At this Florida distillery the spirits are hand-crafted from beginning to end in a batch style production cycle from Florida grown sugar cane.

Their Siesta Key Gold Rum is a unique blend of rums of different ages and of different barrel types. Drum Circle Distilling Founder (and Distiller), Troy Roberts blends the rum to suit his own personal taste. The barrels are a mix of first use oak barrels of various sizes, lightly used barrels that were purchased new, and used Maker’s Mark barrels. Troy also uses different char levels on the various barrels to bring out different aspects of the oak into the rum flavour profile.

Currently the oldest rum in the blend is approaching three years. The aging and blending process involves using rum from the different barrels (and of different ages) and then re-barreling the resulting blend of rum into the Maker’s Mark barrels for additional smoothness. According to Troy Roberts, he initially used caramel colouring in the first few batches of his rum; but because he now has enough aged rum on hand for blending he no longer requires the use of any caramel. In fact, current batches of Siesta Key Gold Rum are made without added colour and without added sweeteners.

I was sent a sample of the Siesta Key Gold Rum for the purpose of a review upon my website. After a somewhat tortuous journey my sample arrived a few weeks ago.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

The tall slender bottle which houses the Siesta Key Gold Rum is shown to the left. The labeling and synthetic cork closure are of a higher standard than I would have suspected from a new distillery, and this leaves me with a very positive first impression. As you can see from the photo, the bottle I am reviewing is from the sixth batch of rum produced by the distillery.

Incidentally the Gold Rum is bottle at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Glass  7.5/10

The rum displays a light amber colour in the glass, and when I tilt my glass and give it a slow twirl I see that it drops slender fast-moving legs back into the rum. My initial impression is that the first wave of aroma is perhaps a little sharp and penetrating. The immediate nose brings forward sweet butterscotch, orange peel, almond and vanilla. I allowed the glass to breathe a few minutes, and noticed that a few oak spices had entered the breezes with a few scattered baking spices.

That penetrating sharpness doesn’t really disappear, and I suspect it is a combination of the new oak used in aging, and the relative young age of the rum which is responsible.

In The Mouth 47/60

The rum translates fairly well from nose to palate. The sharpness I sensed on the nose seems to reveal itself as banana peel and a peppery oak spice upon the palate. Flavours of butterscotch and vanilla are apparent with hints of almond and light baking spice lurking in the shadows. The spirit doesn’t really grab me as a sipping rum, but the sharp fruit flavours and peppery oak spice seems to bode well for mixing in cocktails.

Of course this led me to try a few, and I quickly discovered the rum takes to fruit juice rather well. I mixed one of my Sloe Lime Daiquiris, and I was quite pleased. I also found pleasure mixing with grapefruit in a recipe called the Celebration (see recipes below).

Mixing with cola did not go so well, but then again, not every rum needs to find a home in the Cuba Libre; Daiquiris and Rum Punches are every bit as satisfying.

In the Throat 11.5/15

The banana peel and peppery oak spice make the exit moderately harsh on the throat, and even in cocktails, this sharpness is noticed. Some interesting flavours trail down including an odd smokiness at the end which I suspect comes from the new charred barrels. I am torn about the score here, but after some thought I decide that the harshness is more distracting than the smokiness is interesting.

The Afterburn 7.5/10

In some ways it is unfair to judge a new spirit from a new distillery when what I am tasting is from only the sixth batch produced. And I am afraid that many of my readers will look at my score and decide that I did not like this rum. That would be untrue. I do like the Siesta Key Gold Rum, especially in a fruity cocktail. It’s just that I think this rum has a way to go before all of the kinks are worked out. This is only batch number six, and in some ways it is really surprising that the rum shows so much promise so soon. As the distillery refines their distillation and aging techniques, I am sure the quality will continue to increase. I hope I am able to acquire another bottle in two or three years to see how the rum has progressed.

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


Suggested Recipes:

The Celebration

1 3/4 oz  Siesta Key Gold Rum
1 3/4 oz  Grapefruit juice
1/2 oz  Red Currant Syrup (sub Grenadine)
1/2 oz  London Dry Gin

Lemon Slice

Combine the first four ingredients into a metal shaker with ice.
Shake until the metal shaker chills.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with lemon slice

Of course … Enjoy!


Sloe Lime Daiquiri Sloe Lime Daiquiri

1 1/2 oz  Siesta Key Gold Rum
1/2 oz  Fresh Lime juice
1 tsp Grenadine

Ice for the shaker
4  Large Ice Cubes
1 Chilled Glencairn Glass
1/2 oz  Sloe Gin

Place the first 4 ingredients in a metal  shaker.
Shake until the metal shaker chills.
Strain into a chilled glencairn glass
Add four ice-cubes

Float the Sloe Gin on the top and let everything sit for one minute.
Garnish with Lime Slice if desired….. Enjoy!!


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)

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