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Compass Distillers Spiced Rumb

Review: Compass Distillers Spiced Rumb   81.5/100
Reviewed by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted April 14, 2020

Compass Distillers is located in Halifax Nova Scotia, where Graham, Josh, and David began their distilling journey with a belief that they could create world-class spirits locally. Their artisan Craft Spirits are not imported, they are not blended with generic ingredients, nor are they pumped out of a factory; Rather, they are made from scratch, with locally sourced ingredients.

Compass Distilled Spiced Rumb is crafted with Crosby’s Molasses and Brown Sugar that is fermented and distilled in small batches. In Canada, Rum must be aged for one year in oak barrels. The Rumb which is produced by Compass Distillers is bottled without aging and so to differentiate the spirit from legal rumin Canada which must be aged for at least one full year, the product is called rumb.

According to the Compass Distiller;s website:

We bottled Christmas so you can enjoy it year round.  Starting with our white Rhumb we added whole spices, fresh orange peel and whole vanilla beans in a very small batch.  Rum, spices and orange – straight up – no sugars or artificial flavours added.  A delicious combination great for sipping, or add it to your favourite ginger beer, cola, or eggnog.

My sample bottle of Spiced Rumb was bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume

(Note: in the USA and many parts of the Caribbean there is no aging requirement for rum, and thus this product could be labeled as rum south of the border.)

In The Bottle  4/5

Compass Distillers sell most of their products in the squat cylindrical bottle shown to the left. The bottle follows the bartender’s creed of being easy to store (the stubbly bottle is stable with a round shape that rests easily on any bartender’s shelf); easy to hold (the round cylindrical bottle is not too wide for the average person’s hand); and easy to pour (the glass stopper comes out easily and the long neck helps us avoid spilling).

The image on the labels represents the historical origins of Spiced Rum in tropical climates. The colours from the sunset also reflect the colour of the spiced rumb.

I like the bottle and the label although it does have a sort of ‘I printed this label at home on my home printer’ look to it. That look aids in communicating that this is an artisinal spirit, although perhaps there should be more ‘art’ in the label to help it stand out in a crowded retail setting. (I am being a bit niggly, my tasting group liked the label and bottle just fine.)

In the Glass 8.5/10

When poured into the glass the Compass Distillers Spiced Rumb has a pale gold colour and the initial nose brings light butterscotch and vanilla aromas combined with scents and smells which seem to have an association with gin-like spices. I checked with the producer and learned that the rum is constructed from unaged rum distillate and spices which any gin enthusiast would recognize: cinnamon, clove, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla bean, orange, licorice root.

In particular the spicy cardamon comes through clearly on the nose as does a lovely impression of licorice. The cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg are more subtle, but they are impacting the breezes as well. The entire menagerie is quite nice, although it is quite a different path than the one Captain Morgan blazes for spiced rum which relies more on vanilla.

In the Mouth 49/50

The spiced spirit translates well from the nose with the gin-like spices taking control.  Cardamom in the lead accented by cinnamon and cloves. Licorice shows though into clearly as well. The vanilla and butterscotch flavours are present as well reminding us that this is indeed a rum base spirit.

As I sip the impact of the cardamon seems to grow which means that it is time to mix a cocktail or two as this is almost certainly intended as a mixing spirit and not as a sipper. I try two different directions, the first mixing with cola as I make the standard tall spiced rum and cola serving. Then I change direction mixing with ginger-ale. This second path is the one I prefer and my preferred cocktail is shown below. (It is nice to have a spiced rum that mixes on an alternate path.)

In the Throat 12/15

The spirit is perhaps just a touch too spicy on its own as the cardomon (and probably the cinnamon and cloves as well) add heat to the exit. Some caramel sweetness and a touch of vanilla help with the spicy heat and after the swallow we notice a nice earthy flavour of licorice settling in.

The Afterburn  8/10

Compass Distillers Spiced Rumb is quite a nice spirit. As indicated it travels a different path than Captain Morgan and this means that the standard spiced rum and cola drink which wotks so well for the Captain isn’t necessarily my recommendation for the Spiced Rumb. Instead I recommend that ginger ale be the mixer of choice (or ginger beer). This is nice because ginger ale is a more versatile mixer which means we can make much nicer recipes (as I have shown below.)

So if you’re tired of Capt’n and Coke, I think maybe a transition to Spiced Rumb and Ginger might be a path you want to follow.


Suggested Recipe:

While Spiced Rum and Cola is the conventional theme of the tall back deck drink; this Spiced Rumb I believe travels a different path in which ginger ale and/or ginger beer can replace the ubiquitous cola. This cocktail ups the anti a little adding a touch of sophistication to the tall serving.

May I present The Flying Machine.

The Flying Machine

1 1/2 oz Spiced Rumb (Compass Distillers)
1/2 oz Bols Triple Sec
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 oz Ginger-ale

Add a slice of Lime to the bottom of your favourite tall drinking glass
Fill with Ice
Pour the first three ingredients into the glass over the ice
Add two dashes of Bitters and complete with Ginger Beer
Stir to mix thoroughly
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)

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