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Captain Morgan Private Stock

Review: Captain Morgan Private Stock  75.5/100
a Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted On December 15. 2011

Admiral Sir Henry Morgan (aka Captain Morgan) was a Welsh ‘privateer’ who attacked and plundered the Caribbean on behalf of, and with the written consent of (in the form of an English Letter of Marque), the Governor of Jamaica, Sir Thomas Modyford. Privateers at that time in history were essentially ‘legal pirates’ who were allowed to attack and loot enemies of the state reaping the rewards from their plunder in lieu of pay. Researching Sir Henry Morgan, I learned he was a skilled naval captain, a ruthless buccaneer, and one of the most successful ‘privateers’ in the history of piracy earning a Knighthood for himself in 1674. It is no small wonder that someone decided to name a Rum Company after Sir Henry Morgan.

In fact, the Captain Morgan Rum Company traces its history back to 1945 when Seagram’s CEO, Samuel Bronfman, negotiated the purchase of the Long Pond Distillery from the Jamaican Government and formed the Captain Morgan Rum Company. The company’s iconic rum brand, Captain Morgan’s Original Spiced Rum was based upon a recipe purchased from two local Jamaican pharmacists, the Levy Brothers, who had developed the recipe using rum from the Long Pond Distillery.

The subject of this review, Captain Morgan Private Stock, is the company’s most premium spiced rum. According to the Captain Morgan Website, it is made from the finest of Captain Morgan’s reserves and married with ‘a richer blend of mellow island spices’ than the regular Captain Morgan Spiced Rum. It is bottled at 40% alcohol by volume and fortunately for me, the Diageo Marketing Team here in Alberta provided me a the sample bottle of this rum for my review:

In the Bottle 4.5/5

I like the Captain Morgan Private Stock Bottle. To the left is a picture. As you can see, the bottle is a little different in shape from their standard rum bottle. Above the label we have two swords crossing embossed on the glass referencing the link between Captain Morgan the Privateer and the Captain Morgan Rum, and on the left side of the label we have a nice portrait of the Iconic Privateer. A nice cork enclosure tops the bottle in a bottle presentation which catches the eye but is not ostentatious.  My only quibble is that the Rum is not labeled clearly as a ‘Spiced’ or ‘Flavoured’ Rum here in Canada. It most certainly has been flavoured as the website attests.

In the Glass 9/10

If you pour a glass of Captain Morgan Private Stock into a glass side by side with much older rums and ask someone to pick out the younger two-year year old rum just by nosing it, I suspect the task will be very difficult. This is surprisingly mellow for a young spiced rum. Vanilla, and lots of it is responsible for making this rum appear to be so smooth in the glass. To be sure you can also sense the rummy caramel and the scent of baking spices which rise to the air in a candied updraft, but Vanilla dominates the breezes. It is only after you allow the glass to sit for a while that the nose begins to sense some vague astringency of a younger rum.

In the Mouth 45/60

This is a rum full of duplicity. In my very first tasting, I loved the flavours I encountered, Vanilla, baking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar), caramel, and even a little oak spice. In fact I loved the flavour so much I instantly went out and purchased two more bottles. But, as I sipped on the rum over the next few days my delight turned to dismay. The Vanilla became more noticeable each time I sipped the rum, its flavour grew in leaps and bounds until that was all could taste whenever I tried to steal a sip.

I tried mixing the rum with cola, but I ended up with what tasted kind of like Vanilla Coke, which has always been my least favourite of the flavoured colas.  I tried lots of ice which helped to bring the sweetness level down but, I still tasted nothing but Vanilla.

I should note that I tasted this rum with three of my friends. They kind of shake their heads at my dislike for the strong vanilla flavour as each of them quite likes it.

In the Throat 11/15

The exit, like the entry, is loaded with vanilla. There are a few nuances of baking spice and oak and of course some rummy caramel left over as well; but it is the vanilla that I notice above everything else. To me this finish is very cloying, and displeasing, but to my friends, the finish is smooth and satisfying. As I said earlier a rum full of duplicity.

The Afterburn  7/10

If you love Vanilla, I suspect you will like the Captain Morgan Private Stock very much. As for me, I was defeated by the vanilla flavour which to my palate became cloying over time to such an extent that I actually avoided completing the final tastings of this rum which caused the review to be delayed by a good stretch of time.

My friends, Connie, Lukasz, and Dennis who help me with my tastings think I am crazy with respect to Captain Morgan Private Stock . They all love the rum, and to their palates, the rich vanilla and candied sweetness are wonderful. Unfortunately they are not scoring the rum, I am.

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


Suggested Recipes

My friend Lucasz prefers the Captain Morgan Private Stock with ice:

Captain on the Rocks

2 oz Captain Morgan Private Stock
3 Large Ice Cubes

Serve in a rocks glass

Captain and Cola with Private Stock

My friends Connie and Dennis prefer the Captain Morgan Private Stock with cola:

The Captain and Cola

2 oz Captain Morgan Private Stock
4 large Ice Cubes

In a large tumbler add the Captain and the ice
Fill with cola

Enjoy with or without a squeeze of Lime

And Remember to please consume in a responsible manner, the aim of my website is not to help you drink more; it is to help you drink better!


My Scores are out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret them 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 spirit. 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)



I originally reviewed the Captain Morgan Private Stock in the Summer of 2009, and although that original review was transferred to my website in October of 2009, in the months that followed, the review was lost in one of my many early site re-organizations. Happily I have now remedied that unfortunate circumstance with this new updated review based upon the most current bottling.

7 Responses to “Captain Morgan Private Stock”

  1. Josh said

    I think you were a tad harsh based on the vanilla taste, I give this an 83, its very smooth and for me, the vanilla taste is awesome. More complex flavors would be nice, cocoa and banana flavors would compliment it well. I know this sounds crazy but mix this with black cherry cream soda, the black cherry and vanilla taste explode in your mouth, might be too sweet for some. A mojito with this isnt bad either.

    • Thanks for the comment Josh

      I think it is fair to say that Captain Morgan’s private stock is my own private little hell. Almost everyone seems to disagree with me, then again almost everyone seems to like being clubbed over the head with vanilla.


  2. Dan said

    Thank you for the review. I always interesting to hear a different perspective on what was my gateway rum into the world of sipping rums and to this day remains my stand by spirit of choice. Can’t really disagree with anything you said either as Private Stock is quite vanilla heavy, but then that’s always been one of its more endearing traits to my palate and why it is my go to rum. The only thing I’d say is that I’ve never felt the vanilla overwhelming when compared to the other flavors like cinnamon and caramel, more heavily complimentary. But I can see how it would be overwhelming to someone who doesn’t favor a stronger vanilla flavor in their rums. I’ve run into a similar difference of opinion about a particular flavor in a rum with a pair of friends who swear by Pyrat XO Rerserve as their stand by in large part because of the citrus notes in it. Those same citrus notes which I find overwhelming and why I’m not a fan of that particular rum.

  3. Jim R said

    I first tasted this rum on a cruise ship and imediately bought 2 liters. they served it ice cold. I prefer it this way so I keep it in the fridge. It is the best sipping rum I have ever tasted

  4. Maxx Z. said

    I am a big rum drinker and Vanilla is my favorite thing about any rum. It really is what I search for in a rum. So clearly this is by far my top choice when it comes to rum. I do find it interesting to hear it from your side, it does point out somethings I ignore because of my love for vanilla. (Vanilla coke is by far my favorite pop). This being said I completely agree with most of what was said and found this a great and honest review. I would PERSONALLY bring the “in the mouth” score to 53-55 and the “after burn” to 9/10. Thank you for another great review.

    • Thanks Maxx

      I always think that my review is good if someone who disagrees with my scoring finds my description honest and fair. I appreciate the time you took took let me know!


  5. Hi Chip

    I think of this rum as a solid mid-ranger – something that can, in a pinch, be had on its own and not be mixed with anything; the rather heavy body and spices lend to that. It’s better than most young blended rums and may even serve as a sly intro to sippers if one’s tastes run that way. But you’re also correct that the vanilla outstays its welcome: I’d rather have a young, piquant, dead-heavy molasses based “straight” rum like Young’s Old Sam or Coruba to drown my mixin’s in, than to attempt it on this one.

    My regards to the Chums…

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