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Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

Review: Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum  82/100
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on July 01,  2016 (Previously reviewed June 2012)

Sailor Jerry Ltd. was formed when Ed Hardy and Mike Malone partnered with a small Philadelphia clothing store to make running shoes, t-shirts and other assorted products featuring the tattoo artwork of Norman Collins (Aka Sailor Jerry). Collins, who was also a writer and a poet, as well as a radio show host, is best remembered today as one of the great pioneers of tattoo art and culture.

In fact, Larry Collins has become legendary in North America tattoo culture. He practiced his art in Chicago as a young man learning his craft from well-known tattoo artist Gib “Tatts” Thomas. Later, when working as a sailor aboard a steamer vessel, he went to Japan to study the techniques of the far east. When he settled in Honolulu, Hawaii in the 1930s, he opened his own shop, and word of his distinctive style was spread around the globe as the naval ships came and went, carrying upon them the sailors who has stopped by his shop for an original “‘Sailor Jerry” tattoo.

Sailor Jerry Spiced Navy Rum was created in 1991 as a logical extension of the Sailor Jerry brand. At 96 proof it is a relatively strong spiced rum, and like the tattoo artwork of its namesake, word of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum has slowly spread around the world. In fact, it is now one of the best-selling spiced rum brands in the world.

Sailor Jerry SAM_2686In the Bottle  4/5

The spiced rum arrives in a standard ‘bar room’ style bottle shown to the left. This is the kind of bottle you would expect to find at the seaside bars where the sailors from the various steamer vessels would go to drink rum when they received their shore leave. The label features a drawing of a Hawaiian girl playing on a ukulele and swinging her hips, which I believe is a replica of an original Larry Collins artwork. I like what I see, although I have my usual reservations concerning the metallic screw cap topper.

In the Glass 8/10

When I poured my Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum into my glen cairn glass to examine it, I saw that it laid a thin coating of rum on the inside of the glass. This persistent oily sheen gives up a few small droopy legs but otherwise remains clinging to the inside of the glass. The rum has a nice golden amber colour and the nose is a nice mixture of black cherry, caramel, baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon and cloves) and smidgens of fine spice and light tobacco. Several years ago I commented that the aroma reminds me a lot of Dr. Pepper soda, and it still does.

In the Mouth 50/60

As I sip on the Sailor Jerry Spiced Navy Rum, I cannot shake that impression of Dr. Pepper soda. What I taste is reminiscent of black cherry soda with accents of dark caramel, licorice, and vanilla. There is also a smattering of cinnamon and cloves, and some hints of nutmeg and allspice. This makes the flavour profile for Sailor Jerry quite different from most of the other vanilla enhance spiced rums currently in the marketplace. And in fact the black cherry-like flavour works very well in cocktails.

Sailor Jerry and Cola is a nice deck drink for warm summer afternoons (use lots of ice), however it is also possible to enjoy more ambitious creations with the spiced rum. One such creation is my Jerrycan cocktail shown below in the recipe section.

In the Throat 12/15

The exit is perhaps a touch cloying as the rum carries a lot of sweetness through the finish.  I taste lingering flavours of caramel, black cherry and vanilla, however I do not taste any evidence of oak aging which could have added a nice layer of complexity.

The Afterburn 8/10

I like Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum. The flavour is original, and the spirit is very easy-going especially considering it is bottled at 92 proof. The spirit is great for summer deck parties where the long tall drinks are flowing and it also has the versatility to work in shorter combinations. The only drawback is the lack of maturity within the spirit. Although it is pleasant, I think the spiced rum could be much improved if the spirit showed more signs of aging.

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


Suggested Recipe

Jerrycan SAM_2690The Jerrycan

1 1/2 oz Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
1/2 oz Bols Triple Sec
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
dash Sugar Syrup (to taste)
Orange peel

Add the first five ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a thin coil of orange peel and a small lump of ice

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

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)

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