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Satsuma Rum Liqueur

Review: Satsuma Rum Liqueur   77/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on June 10, 2015

Louisiana Spirits was formed in 2011 with the stated aim to produce a world-class rum in Lacassine, Louisiana from Louisiana sugarcane.  By 2013 their distillery located a few miles east of Lake Charles, Louisiana, was producing a craft rum in what they call the largest privately owned rum distillery in the USA. Currently three rums are produced (a spiced, a flavoured, and a white rum) which have made their way into the Alberta market via Lifford Wines who distribute and market the spirit here in my home Province of Alberta.

Their Satsuma Rum Liqueur is flavored with Satsuma juice. For those who do not know, the Satsuma orange is a Mandarin-style orange imported into the United States originally from the former Satsuma Province in Japan. According to the website information, the folks at Louisiana Spirits started mixing this Satsuma juice with their Bayou Rum during the last Satsuma harvest in Louisiana. Apparently the taste was so good that they decided to produce a Rum liqueur based upon the Satsuma Orange.

Incidentally, Bayou Rum is distilled upon a traditional copper pot still using 100% locally (Louisiana) produced cane sugar and molasses. Satsuma Rum Liqueur is bottled at 30 % alcohol by volume and is intended as a cocktail mixer or to be enjoyed over ice.

satsumaIn the Bottle 4.5/5

The Satsuma Rum Liqueur arrives in the tall rectangular bottle shown to the left. The label features an iconic image of a Louisianan gator which helps to identify the product as an authentic Louisiana Rum Liqueur. To further aid us in identifying the rum as from the gator state, the bottle features a small embossing of the State of Louisiana just below the neck on the front of the bottle. The rum is sealed with a solid plastic cork which gives me that satisfying ‘pop’ when I open it. the bottle also features a colour scheme which helps to identify the spirit as an orange flavoured liqueur complete with an orange wrap around the neck of the bottle and two small Satsuma oranges pictured at the bottom of the label.

I like the presentation, and I love how the owners of the rum are proud of the State where it is produced.

In the Glass 7.5/10

When I poured the Satsuma Liqueur into my glass I saw that it had an even more brilliant orange colour than I had at first supposed. (The frosted bottle the spirit arrives in had masks the brilliant colour to some degree.) When I tilted the glass and gave it a slow twirl, I saw a thickened sheen of rum liqueur on the inside of the glass which seemed to have a duplicitous character. Some of the spirit ran quite quickly back down into the rum, but left behind was a thick crest which wavered and finally dropped fat legs back down.

When I bring the rum liqueur to my nose, the aroma drifting into the breezes reminds me of a mixture of fresh tangerines and orange Kool-aid. Those scents rise alongside a sweetness which is quite intense and I understand why the producers decided to call their spirit a ‘liqueur’ which implies more sweetness than a ‘flavoured rum’. There is also a light warning in the breezes of a slightly rough spirit sitting underneath all of this. I guess, I will have to taste the spirit to find out if I am right.

In the Mouth 46/60

When I bring the spirit to my mouth and take my first sip, my first thought is that I really want to like this. The orange flavour is unique. It is noticeably different from the more typical orange liqueurs like Curacao and Triple Sec, and I think this liqueur offers me something new and perhaps exciting for mixolgy. Unfortunately, the liqueur disappoints me in terms of balance and character. It is perhaps overly sweet, and the spirit under that sweet flavour is thin and rough.

Having said that, I do think that given the proper treatment, this spirit may offer a new twist of flavour in some of our favourite cocktails. Swapping out your normal orange liqueur in a standard cocktails which use Triple Sec or Curacao should give that cocktail a new twist so to speak.

In the spirit of that kind of exploration, I decided to build an Orange Daiquiri twisting it up by mixing Satsuma Rum Liqueur and using a mandarin garnish (see below). The result was an interesting twist on the original and this gives me hope that bartenders with more skill than I could do even better.

In the Throat 11.5/15

When sipped, the rum liqueur is thin and rough with perhaps too much sweetness such that the exit is cloying rather than satisfying. Taking a cue from the producer, I added ice to my glass and the result was much better.

The Afterburn 7.5/10

I sense promise in the direction this spirit is traveling; however I suspect that both the recipe for producing this flavoured spirit, and for producing the underlying Bayou Rum may be subject to a few tweaks over time as the quality improves. It must of course, be taken into consideration that Louisiana Spirits is a relatively new producer that was formed less than five years ago, and given this, I think that they have done quite well so far. As well, I am sure that improvement in all things is part of their ongoing strategy.

I wish them nothing but success going forward, and hopefully we will see more innovative products in their future.

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


Suggested Recipe:

Satsuma Daiquiri SAM_1624Bayou Satsuma Daiquiri
(Recipe by Arctic Wolf)

2 oz  Bayou Silver Rum
1/2 oz  Satsuma Rum Liqueur
1/2 oz  Fresh (Cara Cara) Orange Juice
3/8 oz  Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 oz  Sugar Syrup

Mandarin Orange Slice

Add the first 5 ingredients into a Metal Shaker with ice
Shake vigorously until the outside of your shaker frosts.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a slice of Mandarin Orange
Enjoy Responsibly

Note: If  you are interested in more of my 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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