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