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Bacardi Oakheart Smooth Spiced Rum

Review: Bacardi Oakheart Smooth Spiced Rum  (86/100)
A Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on October 20, 2011
(Re-examined as part of my 2016 Spiced Rum Countdown)

In 1862, Facundo Bacardi and his brother José bought the Santiago de Cuba Distillery and began to distill what would become the most popular commercial rum in the world. Using a method of charcoal filtering, and oak barrel aging  along with a still of copper and cast iron, Facundo Bacardi created a smoother more refined version of the locally made rum. His smoother version of the spirit became local favourite, and over time, an international sensation. Of course, Bacardi Rum is not made in Cuba anymore, the Ron Bacardi Company left Cuba in the wake of Fidel Castro’s plans to nationalize all private property and privately held bank accounts on the Island. The Bacardi family moved important trademarks out of Cuba, and using a Bacardi owned plant built in Puerto Rico, were able to continue to build their company. Bacardi is now the largest family owned spirits company in the world.

Bacardi’s Oakheart Smooth Spiced Rum is one of those spirits which shows firm signs of its age in the glass. It is produced from a blend of column distilled rums which have been aged in charred oak barrels. This aged rum is then spiced to reach a flavour profile which walks the path of a vanilla accented by fragrant spices the combination of which is meant to compliment the aged rum but not to dominate it.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

The photo to the left shows off the new Oakheart bottle presentation. I like the textured bottle which is easy to grip, and I like the bold label. About the only thing I do not like is the metallic topper. If you look at the threads you can see that there is only two of them. When I received my bottle for review from Bacardi, I checked the cap and it had already loosened. The fill line was not low, so I know I did not lose any liquid; but I am always unsettled by a loose cap, and this seems to happen much more often with these pressed on metallic caps than with plastic caps or corks.

In the Glass 8.5/10

I began my examination of the Oakheart rum with a look at its colour and visual appeal. The rum displays a golden amber colour, and when I tilted my glass and gave it a slow twirl, I noticed a thin sheen of liquid left on the side. Small legs developed and ran down back into the rum. I like that the droplets do not seem to be unduly thickened by sugar.

The nose from the glass carries a light accent of oak spice with butterscotch, caramel, and a firm indication of vanilla rising up into the breezes. I sense some light baking spices as well as a very light indication of dried fruit (raisins and dates). When I allowed the glass to breathe, the vanilla notes deepened. I also begin to sense some maple in those breezes above my glass and the baking spices have firmed up with more obvious impressions of nutmeg and cinnamon.

In the Mouth 51.5/60

The rum is surprisingly creamy in the mouth, and this creaminess serves to coat the palate allowing the flavours to linger. I taste a lot of vanilla, some nice rummy butterscotch and a little dollop of maple syrup. The rum has a bit of spicy heat as well, with some orange peel, cinnamon and cloves heating the palate. The oak seems a little lost in the spice when you sip the rum neat. I suspect it is adding to that orange peel zest flavour I noted, but it is hard to decide where the light spice flavours end and the oak begins.

Spiced rums are usually meant as mixing rums and so I wanted to try a couple of cocktail/bar drinks just to see how things tasted.  I mixed a standard Spiced Rum and Cola with lots of ice. I have to admit that this relatively simple bar drink really surprised me. The spice really ‘popped’ on my palate with flavours of cinnamon, and baking spices making a very positive impression in the cola. In fact, I found myself mixing my Oakheart and Cola frequently over the next several days, and each time I was more impressed than the last.

Based upon my success with my Oak and Cola mixed drink, I experimented with ginger ale and created a refreshing tall serving I have dubbed, the Flying Machine (see both cocktail recipes below).

In the Throat 13/15

The Bacardi Oakheart finishes with a spicy pop of cinnamon and other baking spices (kind of like the flavour of nice sticky cinnamon buns). The throat is heated by these spices; but I do not really sense any burn or discomfort. After the swallow, the palate is left with the lingering aftertaste of vanilla and cinnamon.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

In mixed cocktails, the Bacardi Oakheart shines, and it seems each time I sample the spiced rum I became more impressed. This spirit has character which only comes from the time spent in an oak barrel, and this aged character adds real depth to cocktails and bar drinks.

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


Suggested Recipes:

Oakheart and ColaOakheart and Cola

2 oz Oakheart Spiced Rum
4 oz Cola
Slice of Lime

Fill a bar glass full of ice
Add 2 ounce of Oakheart Spiced Rum
Fill with Cola
If desired garnish with a slice of lime.

Please consume responsibly as this spiced rum and cola is very addictive!


While Spiced Rum and Cola is a conventional theme of the tall back deck drink; this summer I have been traveling a different path in which ginger ale and/or ginger beer has replaced the ubiquitous cola. Here is a variation which works particularly well with Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum.

Flying Machine SAM_2725The Flying Machine

1 1/2 oz Spiced Rum
1/2 oz Bols Triple Sec
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 oz Old Thyme Ginger Beer

Add a slice of Lime to the bottom of your favourite tall drinking glass
Fill with Ice
Pour the first three ingredients into the glass over the ice
Add two dashes of Bitters and complete with Ginger Beer
Stir to mix thoroughly
Enjoy Responsibly!

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!


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)


16 Responses to “Bacardi Oakheart Smooth Spiced Rum”

  1. Judy said

    As most I never liked any of the commercial spiced rums. On a trip to Tortola BVI we stopped by the Callwood rum distillery, where after a tasting, I purchased their spiced rum. Problem is that you can only buy it on the island of Tortola;-(
    I decided to try a bottle of the Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum and was pleasantly surprised. I still would like more of the Callwood but till I get back to Tortola the Bacardi will do. BTW try it with Raspberry Ice Tea.

  2. Hans said

    Became curious about the Oakheart after reading your review anx bought a bottle…I just r0tried it (neat, no ice or coke…) and yes, once again the review I readwhile tasting the stuff translates in words what my nose and palate are trying to tell me 🙂
    Smoothness,the flavlurof maple, oak and cinnamon and a bit of peppery heat in the beginning, no burning feeling afterwards and the vanilla/cinnamon flavour lingering on the palate minutes after tasting….can’t wait to try “Oak&Coke” after what you told about its great taste! Thanks again for the accuracy and clear writing !


  3. Michaqedl said

    Just discovered this drink and I am about to purchase my first bottle. Liked you review which reinforced my decision to buy a bottle. Question: How would this go as a ‘Toddy’, ie heated like a Mead?

    • Hi Michaqedl

      I am glad my review helped you out. I have to be honest and say that I have no idea how the rum would work in a toddy, as I rarely make toddies. The Oakheart would however, make a great base for eggnog if that helps. 🙂

  4. Okay, 85.5 points for Bacardi Oakheart. I have to disagree. You can’t rate Barcelo Imperial at 81.5 and BacOak at 85.5. I know that Barcelo probably is flavoured with additional sugar and whos knows whether that’s all but Oakheart? I have both of them at home and would never ever present Oakheart as a sipping rum. It does its job in some cocktails and sometimes can even replace a cheap whiskey in them. But when I tried to sip it I could only think of two words: Sugar and Artifical. Your Rating Scale implies that higher scores mean a higher sippability and as I said: Bacardi Oakheart is by far inferior to Barcelo Imperial in this discipline, don’t you agree a bit?

    • We will agree to disagree. The Barcelo Imperial appeals far less to me than the Oakheart.

      (Thanks for catching that bad link to the MGXO review, I appreciate it when these things are brought to my attention.)

  5. Patrick Halstead said

    Ditto on the negative vibes regarding Bacardi but, like others, I tried it after reading your review. Two points: Although a “spiced” rum, it is sufficiently different than many of the others and is relatively smooth (as advertised) while still having character. Second, as you noted, it begs to be mixed and seems less likely to rudely challenge one’s friends’ palates in that role.

  6. SeldomSeen said

    Hey Chip – Just getting around to responding to your review on Oakheart.

    Man,… I swore I’d never buy another Bacardi product after discovering fine sipping rums via the prodding of a close friend. They were a revelation to me on what a Rum can really be,… and what my palate was expecting a Rum to taste like back in the day. So now I LOVE RUM,….. mostly neat over a cube. But all I saw was Bacardi way back then,… and cheaper rums attempting to compete that I figured could only be worse (…and they weren’t things labeled Plantation, Diplomatico, Zacapa, El Dorado, Doorly’s etc., etc.) So Bacardi pretty much monopolized the market back then and put me off of Spirits altogether. It was all just Aviation fuel to my palate and in my mind. So for decades, beer and wine were pretty much the only things in my alcoholic beverage wheelhouse. And I could only despise Bacardi all the more for what they did to dampen my past culinary possibilities once I discovered REAL RUMS. And I am still harboring a considerable amount of animosity towards them….. Grrrrrrr.
    Then along comes your review. I resisted, but my Rum buddy demanded we give the Oakheart a try once I showed him the review. Man, I am really getting tired of eating crow with my Rum. But for the money, I’ll have to say this inexpensive mixer has found it’s way into my galley. I still sneer at it though,… every time I reach for it. I hate Bacardi. Grrrrrrr!

    • What a great comment!

      Your story is remarkably similar to mine. It really was not that long ago that all you could find on the market in my locale was white rums, and dark rums which were really just white rums with caramel added. Anejo meant it had been in a barrel for a whopping 2 years, and even all of those were laden with caramel to make them look much older. My revelation came when I was looking for a really nice whisky to buy my brother-in-law. The shopkeeper asked why not a premium rum and I explained how there really was no such thing. So he gave me a sip of Flor de Cana 7 and Matusalem Gran Reserve 12 year solero. I have been hooked on good rum ever since.

      And this is a good rum, as you have discovered! 🙂

      (PS: Try the Bacardi 8 year, another good rum!)

  7. Stacee said

    After reading this I took the plunge and bought a bottle. Typically I only buy Captain because I haven’t had good results with any other rum. But this stuff really hit the spot! Thanks!!

  8. Estera said

    Great review the only thing i disagree with is under your oakheart and coke recipe, Oak and coke as Bacardi is marketing it, if you want to stick with how Bacardi is recommending to serve it i would take the lime out. Their market strategy is “no flipping lime”.

  9. colin brooks said

    thanks for the info, just tried it with lemonade and found it very nice, will try it with cola next, bacardi is my main drink
    and have tried all the varieties,

  10. Gorgeous Bear ( GB ) said

    Dear Arctic Wolf, Thank you for a very thorough test review of Bacardi Oakheart.
    I am very keen on the White Superior and was a bit unsure whether to buy a bottle.
    You’ve convinced me that to get one would be a good idea.
    I’ll let you know how it goes.

  11. Mike said

    stumbled on your blog, thanks for the info! just picked up a 1L bottle to make spiced apple cider because they were out of Capt Morgans. I was worried since i’m serving a bunch of guests but after reading your post i’m actually excited to try this. I’ll try sipping neat / with ice tonight and give it a go. Thanks!

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