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Black Magic Spiced Rum

Review: Black Magic Spiced Rum  82/100
A review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published September 7, 2018

Black Magic Rum is a brand of dark spiced rum owned by Sazerac.

This dark spiced rum has an interesting back story which links the spirit to the magic an ancient sorceress who lived on an island off the coast of Africa. This island apparently existed ‘before time itself’ and was inhabited by a people ‘full of gaiety and life’. Unfortunately this wonderful island sank; but before it did the sorceress imbued the ‘essence and spirit of her people’ into their native drink. Making a rather long story short, several bottles of the magical liquid have turned up over time giving rise to (among other things), the great Pharaohs of Egypt, the Emperors and Dynasties of China, and even the brilliance of William Shakespeare.

One last bottle of this wonderful elixir was found by a Sea Czar whose ship’s steward promptly stole it. This steward ended up in the Caribbean and is said to have began to add a single drop of his magical liquid into each bottle of a dark and mysterious spiced Caribbean Rum (which of course he began to sell). The Steward is long gone, but the implication is that his magical liquid can be found ‘should you ever find a rum marked with the hidden sign of the ancient sorceress’s protection.

I have noticed that dark rums (and spiced rums) seem to revel in amazing back stories, from magical whales which guide sailors to their wonderful elixirs (Whaler’s Dark Rum) to the ghost of Captain Morgan which is said to haunt the seas of the Caribbean searching for his lost remains (Captain Morgan’s Dark Spiced Rum). There is even a dark spiced spirit which connects with a mythical giant octopod which can destroy entire sailing vessels and the crews which sail them (The Kraken Dark Spiced Rum). Black Magic Spiced Rum is the first dark can spirit which I have encountered which purports to have a connection which stretches back to the era before time even existed.

As it is with these types of marketing campaigns, the back story of the spirit serves to deflect attention away from the fact that very little real information is provided about the rum in question. According to the company website, the Black Spice d Rum is apparently made from ‘a blend of light and dark rums with a secret blend of various spices’.The back label further enlightens me as it lists West Indies Rum, Sugar, Natural and Artificial Flavours, and Colour as the ingredients which can be found in the spirit.

That’s not much to go on; but fortunately I was given a sample bottle so that I could taste the spirit and provide this review.

In the Bottle 4/5

Black Magic Rum arrives in the stubby clear bottle shown to the left. I like these stubby bottles as they seem to fit easily into the narrative of their back stories. A bottle of rum which connects to the ocean and its sailing vessels should be stubby with a low center of gravity such that it will not tip over easily as the ship navigates the ocean waves. I also like the medium long neck which makes pouring rum from the stubby bottle much easier.

I looked upon the label and bottle for the hidden sign of the ancient sorceress’s protection. I found all sorts of imagery hidden in the waves, sea serpents, snails on treadmills octopods, a floating bottle, and even a sea-captain walking on the waves. I am sure these all have some meaning which connects to that back story of the rum. However I suspect that the hidden sign of the sorceress is contained in the embossed crest on the back of the bottle under which is written:

“To the ladies and to that which they protect … May you soon find yourself more gregarious, more enchanting, and more charismatic than you ever dared to dream.”

The rum promises a lot, and since I seem to have a shorter supply of charisma than I had in my youth it is with a hopeful nod that I pour out my first sample.

In the Glass 8/10

When I poured the spiced rum into my glencairn glass, I noticed the rum displayed itself as a coppery brown spirit which when tilted and twirled released small to medium-sized droplets which ambled back down the inside of my glass. These medium-size droplets are easily explained by the added sugar, and the dark colour is an indication of the caramel colouring used.

The aroma from the glass is pleasant. A somewhat candied sweetness reminiscent of caramel and molasses candies rises into the breezes. I sense the spiciness of cinnamon and cloves, as well as perhaps a touch of orange zest. There are obvious vanilla notes, indications of treacle as well as a few aromatic scents which I was unable to really decipher.

Although the nose is pleasant, there is a light medicinal quality apparent which keeps the score in check.

In the Mouth 50/60

I was quite pleased when I took my first sip of the Black Magic Spiced Rum. Although I did not recognize any indications in the flavour profile of oak and aging, the spirit is nonetheless quite mellow in the glass and easy to sip. In fact, with a little ice added I quite enjoyed the overall flavour. Caramel, indications of molasses and licorice, and hints of cinnamon all greeted my palate with a light sweep of vanilla. I mixed a rum and cola next and that rum and cola serving became the basis of a few pleasant evenings on my back deck this past summer (until the wood smoke from the British Columbia forest fires chased me indoors).

I attempted next to mix a more sophisticated cocktail (I tried both a Cable Car and a Fog Horn), but something within the flavour profile seemed to unbalance each serving so I contented myself for the rest of the summer with the Spiced Rum and Cola. Perhaps those artificial flavours added are the cause of the interference in the short cocktail.

In the Throat 8/10

The rum has a relatively short finish which again persuades me to believe that very little aged rum has been used in the spirit’s construction. There is again that light medicinal quality which is more apparent in the finish than it was when I sipped.

With ice added, the end flavours are pleasant with caramel, molasses, hints of licorice and cinnamon.

The Afterburn 8/10

I was of two minds as I began to write my review for the Black Magic Spiced Rum. An initial thought was that the spirit seemed to come up short as I was unable to construct a suitable short cocktail. However, this could well have been my shortcoming rather than the rum’s. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the Black Magic Spiced Rum and Cola serving and in fact, it became one of my go to ‘Deck Drinks’ this past summer. The spirit was also quite pleasant when sipped over ice.

Considering all things, my score of 82/100 seem about right, however, according to my wife, my overall charisma did not seem to improve over the summer as I emptied my bottle of Black Magic Spiced Rum. (I suspect some things are beyond the impact of even Black Magic.)

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Suggested Serving

As noted in my review, the Black Magic Spiced Rum is a natural mixer with cola especially during the warm days of summer. Adding a twist of lime puts the serving over the top.

Black Magic and Cola

2 oz Black Magic Spiced Rum
4-6 oz Cola
Lots of Ice
Lime Wedge

Fill a bar glass full of ice
Add 2 ounce of Black Magic Spiced Rum
Fill with Cola
Squeeze a lime wedge over the serving
Stir and serve

Cheers!

Note: If  you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more mixed drink recipes!

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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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