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Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum

Review: Captain Morgan Spiced Rum 81/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Revised on June 15, 2016

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.

Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum is of course the name of Diageo’s top-selling spiced rum. It is the most successful spiced rum (at least with respect to sales) in the entire category, and has pretty much set the standard for sales and marketing for all other spiced rums to follow.

Captain Morgan original SAM_2625In the Bottle 4.5/5

The Captain Morgan logo is perhaps one of the most recognizable logos in the entire world. It is hard to argue with the success of the image and the brand identity that the logo on the bottle has generated.

The standard 750 ml bottle which houses the rum is an industry standard. This style of bottle is easy to grip, easy to pour, and fits on any bartender’s shelf. It’s hard to quibble with the presentation that has come to define the category.

In the Glass 8/10

The Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum displays a pleasant amber in the glass which flashes brilliant yellow in the light. A pleasing aroma of rum and vanilla rises from the glass and light accents of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg follow. I sense a very light oak backdrop in the air which gives the nose just a hint of orange peel and wood spice.

When the rum is allowed to decant, the vanilla scent deepens, and a moderate alcohol tone begins to unravel into the air as well. I have heard others describe the rum as medicinal, I disagree. To me what we are noticing is the normal vegetal tones of a young rum which has spent two years or less in an oak barrel before bottling.

In the Mouth 49/60

When I sipped the Captain Morgan Original Spiced, I noticed the light astringency within the rum. There is also light youthful vegetal flavours, and a firm vanilla presence.  As I became used to the flavour, I began to taste light oak spices, a peppery citrus zest, and the faint echo of baking spices. My feeling is that the flavour profile is quite approachable, but it is not really geared towards sipping. This is a mixer and that is where the rum excels.

An in fact, Captain Morgan Original Spiced is unabashedly portrayed on television and on their own website as a mixing rum. Pretty much the first link you find on the Captain Morgan website is a link to Captain and Cola. In fact I would argue that the entire Captain Morgan marketing strategy is dedicated to demonstrating the mixability of the Captain Morgan Spiced Rums. So, for this review, mix I did.

I mixed a long tall drink based on Captain Morgan Spiced and Orange juice, and of course, I mixed more than one Captain & Cola. I have to admit, both tasted very nice. The Original Spiced Rum seems to find its place easily into bar drinks and cocktails  just as advertised. I ended my examination with a modern cocktail creation, the Cable Car, which was developed in 1996 at the Starlight Room in San Fransisco by Tony Abou-Ganim. This cocktail blew me away and quickly overtook the Captain and Cola, as my favourite way to enjoy Captain Morgan’s Spiced rum. Thanks Tony!  (See below for my recipe suggestions.)

In the Throat  11.5/15

The exit is slightly sharp, accompanied by a thin burn. It seems that even in the finish the Captain begs to be mixed rather than sipped. In a bar drink that burn can be paired with cola, or fruit juice. At that point we tend to call it ‘kick’, and then it seems a good thing.

The Afterburn 8/10

I understand why Captain Morgan is a market leader.  The rum has a little spicy attitude, but stays safely in the realm of spices which will not offend. It has just enough burn to be noticed with cola, but not enough burn to be off-setting. If you serve Captain Morgan at a party, probably all of your guest will accept it. It won’t be anyone’s favourite sipping rum by any means; but, it is a safe choice at a party that requires a crowd pleasing spiced rum.

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


Suggested Recipe

Cable Car SAM_2624The Cable Car was created in 1996 at the Starlight Room in San Fransisco by Tony Abou-Ganim. Tony’s recipe is based upon the Classic Sidecar; however the Cable Car uses Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum as the base of the cocktail instead of brandy.

It is absolutely delicious!

Cable Car

1 1/2 oz Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
3/4 oz orange Curacao (Triple Sec)
1  oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio) (optional)
Orange peel

Add the ingredients to a metal shaker with ice
Shake all until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a cinnamon sugar rimmed cocktail glass
Garnish with an orange peel

Enjoy Responsibly!


The review above replaces my original review published on September 19, 2010. Here are two additional cocktails which were published with the original review.

Orange Push-upCaptain’s Orange Push Up

1 1/2 oz  Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
Juice from one Navel Orange
1/2 oz Grenadine
Splash of Lime juice

4 large ice-cubes

Mix the first four ingredients in a shaker with ice
Strain into a tumbler with more ice and enjoy.
No garnish necessary.

Enjoy Responsibly!



Captain's Island SunsetCaptain’s Island Sunset

1 oz Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
1 oz Peach Schnappes
1 oz Cranberry Juice
2/3 oz Lime Juice
1/3 oz Grenadine

Mix over ice in a cocktail shaker
and serve in a short glass

And remember to please 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)


6 Responses to “Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum”

  1. Note:

    The review was updated on June 15, 2016 with a spirit from a glass bottle as shown in the new photo. There was no substantive changes in either the tasting notes nor the score. It is my current belief that PET plastic does not alter the taste of spirits. (The PET plastic bottles still cheapen the overall look of the product however.)

  2. N_L_S said

    I didn’t mind the review, but there is no way you can write a review with liquor from a plastic bottle. When I drink liquor from a plastic bottle I can always taste the plastic. The plastic gets into the liquor and to verify this you can see baby bottles are no longer made with the typical plastic. Cheers anyhow!

    • Hi

      I have quite a collection of small 200 ml flask style bottles that are glass and plastic (PET), and I have reviewed spirits from both styles of bottles. (I am currently doing a review for Abuelo Rum from a glass flask.) There is a bit of controversy surrounding the issue of plastic bottles, and I have been told by some manufacturers that the new environmentally friendly plastic bottles are manufactured differently than before and leave no plastic residue or taste in the spirit. I am unsure of whether this is true, and I would welcome some more feedback.Irregardless, the plastic bottle is sold at retail and thus should be the subject of a review from time to time.

      I guess I am going to have to revisit this review with a glass bottle and see if anything changes.

      Thank you for your comment, it was appreciated!

      • jason tice said

        I thought the taste seemed different that’s what brought me here… i was searching to see if anyone else thought the plaatic bottles vs the glass seemed more harsh. Ive been a captain drinker for about 7 years now and it seems the taste is truly different to me… is it in my head?

        • Hi Jason

          Since my original review I have had the opportunity to taste the Captain Morgan Original Spiced to or three times from the glass bottle. I honestly could taste no difference. However, like you, I do sometimes believe that I do taste plastic when I consume a drink from a plastic container or bottle. Maybe it is in our minds, or maybe some manufacturers of PET plastic do not do as good of a job. I do not know.

          • Steveim said

            A great fan of your reviews Arctic Wolf; you always do a great job regardless of the type of spirit

            Just wanted to add info on plastic. What the original poster said a year ago–“The plastic gets into the liquor and to verify this you can see baby bottles are no longer made with the typical plastic.”–is flat out wrong/misleading.

            Many baby bottles used to be made with plastic that is now known to leach BPA (Bisphenol-A) into what it contains. Which is now considered a “hazardous substance”. These plastics fall under recycling symbols 3 (PVC) & 7 (“other”; polycarbonate is the problematic one). Baby bottles are now made from different plastics (& glass) that don’t leach such things.

            But prepackaged beverages have never come in containers made from such plastics. PET is the usual one used (for alcohol, soda pop, juice and so on) and it is hazard-free. Also should not impart a taste to the contained beverage. Would be interested to see a genuine double-blind study about the perception some people have that it does impart something to the beverage.

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