Screech Spiced 100 (Proof) Rum
Review: Screech Spiced 100 (Proof) Rum 85/100
A Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published June 30, 2013
(Re-tasted and Re-scored for my 2016 Spiced Rum Taste-off)
The Famous Newfoundland Screech is an amber rum which has become part of Canadian folklore. The tale I found upon the company website a few years ago goes like this:
“… the commanding officer of the (American) first detachment was taking advantage of Newfoundland hospitality for the first time and was offered a drop of rum as an after dinner drink. Seeing his host toss back the liquor with nary a quiver, the unsuspecting American adhered to local custom and downed the drink in one gulp.
The look of shock and the glorious shades of color on the American’s face were overshadowed by the bloodcurdling howl made by the poor fellow as he managed to regain his breath. Sympathetic persons from miles around rushed to the house to assist the poor man in such obvious agony and of course to satisfy their curiosity as to what was going on. Among the first to arrive was a garrulous old American sergeant who pounded on the door and demanded “What the cripes was that ungodly screech?”
The taciturn Newf who had answered the door replied simply, “The screech? Tis the rum, me son.”….”
Screech Spiced 100 (Proof) Rum is crafted from the same 4 separate marques of Jamaican rum which are used to produce the Famous Newfoundland Screech which are aged anywhere from 2 to 5 years. However, because this is a spiced rum which is bottled at 50 % alcohol by volume, the treatment of these marques will necessarily be slightly different.
In the Bottle 3.5/5
A bottle shot of the Screech Spiced 100 (Proof) Rum is shown to the left. The bottom of the new label features a graphic of fisherman fighting the waves of the North Atlantic Ocean as he is reeling in a large fish, (a codfish no doubt). I have to be honest here and say that I am underwhelmed. The label lacks ‘pop’ with a colour scheme that melds into rather than contrasts with the colour of the brown bottle. The bottle is kind of drab next to the other bottles on my rum shelf, and the metallic screw cap topper is as flimsy as ever. It would be a simple thing, but a dark black border around the label would improve the look dramatically.
I was undecided whether to score the presentation 4/5 meaning it was acceptable but not inspiring, or to actually lower the score to 3.5/5 to show my displeasure. So I tossed a coin, and let the Rum Gods decide the fate of the presentation score. It seems they were as unimpressed as I was.
In the Glass 8.5/10
The Screech Spiced 100 looks dark and rich in the glass with a colour which could easily be mistaken for cola.When I tilted my glass and gave it a slow twirl, I saw that the rum had a slightly thickened consistency and the legs which formed were moderately thick and slightly sluggish. The initial scents in the breezes are mildly sweet with indications of caramel and butterscotch combined with a firm accent of baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves).
As the glass sits those baking spices seem to take over giving the rum in the glass a rich scent similar to fresh cinnamon buns taken from the oven. There are also aromas of roasted pecans and walnuts, a touch of treacle as well as a meandering scent of marmalade. I cannot say for certain, but it seems to me that I also notice some evidence of oak in the air floating beside the baking spices. Everything is quite nice.
In the Glass 51.5/60
The entry across the palate is heated with both high alcohol strength and a spicy thrust of cloves, cinnamon and peppery wood spice. Wandering through that spicy thrust of heat are flavours of butterscotch, vanilla, orange peel and marmalade. I also notice a light bitterness suggesting flavours that remind me of roasted walnuts and dark treacle. I find the light bitterness is welcome within the spirit as it seems to provide a nice counterbalance to the sweet caramel and the hot spices. The rum is perhaps a bit more heated than I would prefer in a sipping rum: however, the concentrated flavour appeals to me, and I am looking forward to mixing a few cocktails to see how that flavour plays out in mixed drinks.
To the end, I mixed a nice spiced rum and cola, and found the result very satisfying. To test the spiced rum’s versatility, I mixed next with ginger-ale and was surprised at the tasty result. Finally I mixed a new short cocktail combining the Screech Spiced 100 (Proof) Rum with Southern Comfort, fresh juice and bitters (see recipes below). Once again I was well pleased.
In the Throat 13/15
Because of the obvious heat from the high-proof rum, (as well as from the spices) I cannot claim the spiced rum has a smooth lingering finish. It is in fact, more of a rough and tumble exit where perhaps a person should brace their tonsils before having a swallow of the spirit in its raw format. If you do brace your tonsils and have a nice firm swallow, the rum will surprise you. Although you might have to reach down your throat and pull your tonsils back up, you will also find that your palate has become lightly toasted by a nice yummy combination of cinnamon and vanilla. The cinnamon glows and the vanilla lingers for just a while, and after those flavours ebb, a touch of nutty bitterness will be all that remains.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
Screech Spiced 100 (Proof) Rum is a real winner. The decision tom produce a spiced rum with an aged amber rum as its base has given the spirit some added depth which shone through during my tasting sessions. The additional decision to go with a higher proof offering has produced a bold, heated flavour which is very appealing in a wide variety of mixed drinks and cocktails. This is definitely a spiced rum to be on the look out for.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
When I was in Miami a few years ago discussing rum with some of the industry’s major producers, I was told that 40 % of the rum sold in Canada and the USA is mixed with cola. However, in the Caribbean where most of this rum is made, you are more apt to see rum mixed with ginger ale. I follow that lead in making this suggestion.
Spiced Rum & Ginger on Ice
1 part Screech Spiced 100 (Proof) Rum
3 parts Ginger Ale
Pour the Spiced Rum over Ice in an Old Fashioned Glass
Complete with Ginger Ale
And of course, Please enjoy Responsibly!
Here is a refined cocktail which I constructed which uses a touch of Campari to further accent the spiced serving.
1 1/2 oz Screech Spiced 100 (Proof) Rum
3/4 oz fresh Lime Juice
3/4 oz fresh Orange juice
1/8 oz Campari
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
Add the first five ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the out side of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a thin strip of orange peel
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!
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)