Kraken Black Spiced Rum
Review: The Kraken Black Spiced Rum 78/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (aka Arctic Wolf)
May 31, 2016
The Kraken Black Spiced Rum is a Caribbean black spiced rum brand owned and distributed in the United States by Proximo Spirits. For those who are confused by the term ‘Black Rum’, it is a style of rum which relies more upon caramel and molasses for its colour and flavour than it does upon barrel aging. Often black strap molasses is used as the ‘flavouring’ agent which accounts for its rich molasses filled flavour and dark colour.
The Kraken is a rum which follows this path as it is produced from a young (1 to 2-year-old) blended Caribbean rum. Whether it is actually black strap molasses used to flavour and colour the spirit is not revealed by the producers, but it is a good guess. Several years ago when I reviewed the spirit for the first time, the information presented to me indicated that the black rum was infused with 11 secret spices; however, I note that the Kraken Website indicated that the number of spiced used is now 13. However, the bottle proof has remained the same at 47 % alcohol by volume.
In the Bottle 4.5/5
Initially, I was not fond of the bottle style for the Kraken Rum. However, I have to be able to admit when I am wrong. The Victorian style bottle with the double rings for handling is a favourite amongst my friends. The illustration of the giant octopod (the Kraken) might look a little “cartoonish”; however it is also in the Victorian style and fits the them of the rum very well. Most importantly, this rum stands out on the barshelf separating itself from the other rums sitting there. My only quibble is the metallic screw cap which is prone to stripping.
In the Glass 7.5/10
Poured into the glass, the black spiced rum displays a very dark plum brown colour. When I tilt the glass and give it a slow twirl, I see that the spirit imparts a light sheen of rum on the inside of the glass the crest of which drops a multitude of slender leglets. The merry little breezes above the glass tell me a story of peppery spice and licorice. Cinnamon is revealed along with wiffs of cloves, plum preserves, and black cherries. The black spiced rum has an almost medicinal quality as there is also more than a hint of menthol in those breezes which as it combines with the fruity smells of black cherries and plums makes me think of cough medicine and Jagermeister.
In the Mouth 47/60
The higher bottling proof of the Kraken has concentrated flavours of spice and black strap molasses. My sense is that the crafters of this rum are going for a taste profile which I would describe as a “kinder and gentler” Goslings Black Seal. In fact there is a lot of similarity to Goslings including a definite impression of Jagermeister upon the palate. However the Goslings Black Seal has a deeper, darker, more foreboding flavour profile which works well. The Kraken which has a lighter and sweeter taste profile just seems to never find its own place. The combination of main flavours, molasses, licorice, cinnamon, and black cherry almost works; but something within the mix is off. Perhaps we have too many flavours happening all at once. I tried sipping the rum, but was quickly dissuaded.
So I tried a few cocktails, using the mixed drinks upon the Kraken website as my guide, the Kraken and Cola, the Kraken and Ginger Beer, and the Kraken and Root Beer. My feelings remained mixed although my suggestion would be that the Kraken and Ginger Beer recipe (see below) had the most to offer.
As an aside, I want to point out that some of my friends were much more enamoured with the flavour of the Kraken than I was. For them, Kraken and Cola wa the favourite, and because they seemed to like it so much I did bump the score up just a little.
In the Throat 11.5/15
I am impressed that a 47 per cent alcohol by volume spirit has such a smooth finish. Being a rum which is flavoured with both dark molasses and spice, the finish is longer than we would normally suspect from a youngish rum. However, it is also true that the flavours clash in the exit just as they had in the delivery. There is also an odd bitterness which crashes the landing.
The Afterburn 7.5/10
It has been seven years since my first review of the Kraken, and although my score is bumped up just a little from my previous scores, I must be honest and say that I just don’t seem to be able to warm up to the spirit. Although there is plenty of flavour, the rum just doesn’t seem to have any depth or character beyond the spice and molasses. I suspect a few more years of aging would have pleased me much more.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
The Perfect Storm
1 oz Kraken Black Spiced Rum
3 oz Ginger Beer (or Q Ginger)
Wedge of Lime
Pour the Kraken into an old-fashioned glass over ice.
Add the Ginger Beer over it.
Drop in a wedge of Lime
Stir and Enjoy!
Note: 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!
You may (loosely) interpret the scores 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)