Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum
Review: Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum 81.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (aka Arctic Wolf)
May 10, 2016 (original review published October 2012)
Recently the media team responsible for Captain Morgan Rum in North American has began sending me recipe suggestions (as well as samples) for most of that expanding range. This is because Captain Morgan has been rapidly expanding their family of rums in the USA to include a new white rum, three flavoured rums (Captain Morgan White Rum), three flavoured rums (Captain Morgan Pineapple, Grapefruit and Coconut Rums), and three spiced rums (Captain Morgan Original Spiced, 100 Proof, Black Spiced and Cannon Blast Rums). You can click the links to read the review for each.
This has given me a good excuse to review each of the new rums and to revisit some of those spirits which I had previously reviewed. One of those previously reviewed spirits is Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum. The Black Spiced Rum was released in 2012, and it pays homage to the story of Captain Morgan’s burial on the shores of Port Royal Harbour, Jamaica in 1688. Apparently (according to the information sent to my by the Captain Morgan media team) an earthquake struck Jamaica just after the good Captain was buried. His casket was dislodged from its tomb and washed out to sea. It was never recovered, and to this day it has been suggested that perhaps his spirit lives on haunting the seas of the Caribbean searching for his lost remains.
The Captain Morgan website tells us that this rum is crafted with Blackstrap Rum which indicated to me that the rum as well as being spiced has been enhanced with caramel/molasses to enrich the flavour as give the rum its darkened hue. The rum is bottle at 47.3% alcohol by volume.
In the Bottle 4/5
The Captain Morgan seems to be aiming its arrow directly at Kraken Black Spiced Rum. Both the bottle (which if you added two rings on the neck) and the label (which uses an almost identical colour scheme) remind me very much of the Kraken, and the Black Spiced Rum is (just like the Kraken) bottled at a high bottling proof (47.3 % abv, which is actually just a smidgen higher than the Kraken).
As the bottle empties, images of Captain Henry Morgan’s casket and skeleton are revealed inside the bottle on the backside of the front label which helps to connect the rum to the story of the captain’s burial. Of course the front label shows the iconic Captain Morgan logo with the swash buckling Privateer placing his foot upon a barrel of rum.
Although the presentation is good, I did deduct a point because I felt the over all ‘look’ was not really original. As I said earlier, it is very similar to that other Black Spiced Rum.
In the Glass 8.5/10
I poured a small sample into my glencairn glass And noted that the rum does indeed look very dark and inviting. When I tilted and twirled my glass I saw that the rum left a light sheen of liquid on the inside and the crest at the top of the film held for just a few moments before dropping thin watery legs back down into the rum. The scent of vanilla is quite strong, and this aroma is accompanied by molasses-like notes of treacle, dark caramel, and bits of dark licorice. I also sense an overt spiciness of cinnamon, and cloves. As the glass sits, I also seem to catch a firm indication of cherry cola.
I am not really sensing any discernible oak in the breezes, and my sense is that the rum is very young despite its dark colour. This sense of youth is reinforced by a light astringency rising into the breezes, however I should note that with the high bottling proof, I expected much more of an alcohol push from the bottle than what I am receiving.
In the Mouth 48.5/60
Taking a sip, I notice the rum leads out with a spicy “candied” flavour. I taste cherry licorice, molasses and caramel, lots of vanilla, and spicy cloves and cinnamon. At first I was not overly enthusiastic, but I admit that over time the flavour grew on me. Although it is relatively smooth considering its high alcohol content, the Captain Morgan Black Spiced does still gnaw a little at the tonsils and the back of the throat. I would not describe it as a sipper. This was not surprising as most of the Captain Morgan website information and indeed their entire marketing campaign seems to be aimed at ways to enjoy their rums by mixing bar drinks and cocktails and not by sipping.
To that end, I mixed Captain Morgan Rum’s flagship cocktail, the Captain and Cola, and I was very happy with the result. It is obvious to me that the rum was designed specifically to mix very easily with cola bringing more cinnamon and cloves to the fore than the traditional Captain Morgan Spiced Rum does, yet remaining true to the vanilla pathway which works so well with coke. I also mixed one of the recipes which the Captain Morgan media team sent me (the Honey Badger), and I enjoyed it enough to make the serving my recommended cocktail for the Black Spiced Rum (see recipe below).
In the Throat 12.5/15
The rum is, as I said earlier, quite smooth considering it carries 20 % more alcohol forward than most other spiced rums on the market. It taps the tonsils if you sip it neat or on ice, but mixed with cola, the alcohol push of the rum is barely noticeable.
The Afterburn 8/10
When I published my first review of Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum, I did a side by side comparison with Kraken Black Spiced Rum (click on the link to read the review). The two rums are obviously similar, and to me it is also obvious that the success of the Kraken had a great deal to do with the decision of Captain Morgan to make their own high-proof Black Spiced Rum. Although the two spirits are very similar, I did find the Captain Morgan Black Spiced has more to offer me. The overall flavour profile is more balanced and more suitable to mixed bar drinks.
My score of 81.5/100 indicates that the Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum despite its relative smoothness and balance is not necessarily a sipper, but it is a great mixer.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
1 1/4 oz. Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum
3/4 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz. Honey
1 Lemon Wedge
Add the ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a suitable glass
Garnish with a lemon wedge.
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 and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)