Pusser’s Spiced Rum
Review: Pusser’s Spiced Rum 84/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on May 21, 2016
Pusser’s Rum is advertised as the original rum of the British Royal Navy. And it is a fact that for over 300 years it was a tradition of the British Navy that each member of the crew was issued a daily ‘tot’ of rum. This tradition began in 1655, and by 1731, the tradition of the daily ‘tot’ was in general use throughout the British Navy. As it was the ship’s purser who was responsible for issuing the rum, the tot of rum became known as Pusser’s Rum in a sort of slang derivation of the term ‘Purser’s Rum’.
Although the naval tradition of the daily tot had ended, in 1979 Charles Tobias obtained the rights and the blending information for the British Naval Rum, and formed Pusser’s Ltd. on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. His company produces their Pusser’s Rum following the blending information and the traditions of the Admiralty.
Pusser’s Spiced Rum is new to the Pusser’s range. According to the producer’s website it is flavoured with a blend of locally sourced Caribbean spices which have been steeped in Caribbean rum over 7 days. The final rum is bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume.
In the Bottle 4.5/5
Pusser’s Rum arrives in the bottle pictured to the left. I notice that the label states the rum is bottled by Pusser’s Rum LTD. (British Virgin Islands), and that it is a product of Barbados. This is a departure from the previously reviewed Pusser’s Blue Label Rum which was a product of the British Virgin Islands, Trinidad, and Guyana. This of course means that the Pusser’s Spiced Rum does not necessarily share the same pedigree as the Pusser’s Blue Label which is advertised as the British Navy Original Admiralty Rum.
I like the bottle, I like the clear labeling, and I like the nice blue topped synthetic cork closure which is under the gold foil wrap at the top of the bottle. This is a solid presentation.
In the Glass 8.5/10
The rum displays a slightly darkened amber colour in the glass, and when I tilt and twirl that glass I see a lightly thickened oily sheen on the inside. The crest of that sheen gives up slightly thickened legs indicating to me that perhaps we have a little sweetness added with the spice, but not an untoward amount.
The nose reveals one of the main spices which is cinnamon, and that cinnamon when combined with the caramel flavours of the underlying rum reminds me of cinnamon buns baking in the oven. There are indications of other spices as well. I sense a pungent spiciness that reminds me of allspice and nutmeg, and indeed when I look at the producer’s tasting notes I see that both are mentioned. Ginger is also mentioned, and once I know that it is probably part of the rum’s make-up I can more readily notice it, although I think if I am honest with myself the impression I am identifying as ginger seems to me to be more reminiscent of a hotter spice like cayenne or chipolte pepper.
I cannot discern any amount of wood spice. My guess at this point would be that this rum has only been aged a short time. Despite the impression that we have a very young underlying rum, I like what I sense in the breezes above the glass and am urged to go on.
In the Mouth 50/60
When I sip, the spiced rum is perhaps just a little more heated than what I was expecting as both the cinnamon and the ginger seem to grab my attention. Despite the apparent heat, I can also easily discern other underlying pungent spices (reminiscent of allspice and nutmeg). Some sweet caramel-like flavours serve to soothe the palate making the spice easy to bear, and if you pay attention some mild tobacco and citrus notes play within the spice as well. Perhaps we have a little aging after all.
Of course, when I drink spiced rum, I almost always mix it with lots of cola and lots of ice. When I did so, the Pusser’s Spiced Rum and Cola I produced was pleasing with the rum’s spiciness pushing through the cocktail. I was hoping that the underlying rum itself would provide more expression in the bar drink; however on that score I was slightly disappointed. The base rum for the spirit (produced in Barbados) seemed to be lost when mixed with lots of cola. I mixed the bar drink again, this time putting in equal amounts of spiced rum and cola. I felt this ratio of spiced rum to cola was much more to my liking.
Having found a suitable ratio for my rum and cola, I next set out to make a more complicated bar drink. Using a brandy recipe which I favoured, I tweaked the ingredients and came up with a new cocktail I call, Bitter Blood and Spice. This mixed drink quickly became my preferred serving for the Pusser’s Spiced Rum. (See recipe below)
In the Throat 12.5/15
The exit although relatively short and lightly sweet; nonetheless does provide a nice ebbing spiciness which lingers just long enough to be satisfying. Although the spiced rum appears to be sweetened somewhat, this added sweetness plays nicely with the spice throughout the finish.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
Pusser’s Spiced Rum is a very nice indulgence. The balance between the sweetness and the spiciness is just about right, and the Spiced Rum and Cola I constructed (when I bumped the rum to cola ratio to 50:50) and my new cocktail (see below) were both very pleasing.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
Pusser’s Spiced Rum and Cola
2 1/2 oz Spiced Rum
2 1/2 oz Cola
Lots of Ice
Slice of Lime (optional)
Fill a bar glass full of ice
Add Pusser’s Spiced Rum
Fill with Cola
If desired garnish with a slice of lime.
Please consume responsibly as this spiced rum and cola is very tasty!
Bitter Blood and Spice
2 oz Pusser’s Spiced Rum
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Blood Orange Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Navel Orange Juice
Dash or two Angostura bitters
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1)
Strip of Orange Peel
Add the first five ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the sides frost
Strain into a chilled rocks glass with ice
Garnish with a strip of Orange Peel
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 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)