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Siesta Key Spiced Rum

Review: Siesta Key Spiced Rum  83/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Revised and re-published on July 5, 2016

Drum Circle Distilling is a small artisan distillery located in Sarasota, Florida. Their distillation system was crafted for the distillery by Christian Carl a German company which has been producing distillation systems for over 150 years. Working directly with Christian Carl, Drum Circle Distilling was able to custom design a small-batch copper still (which can be run as a simple pot still or with a side column) which they believe is perfect for making great tasting rum.

This distillation system operates in a 6400 square foot work space which also includes barrel racks for aging, as well as labeling and bottling stations. At this Florida distillery the spirits are hand-crafted from beginning to end in a batch style production cycle from Florida grown sugar cane.

The subject of this review, Siesta Key Spiced Rum is an interesting spirit. Founder (and Distiller) of Drum Circle Distilling, Troy Roberts, begins with his Silver Rum. Then he adds a bit of his Siesta Gold Rum (reviewed here) to the mix. Finally, he spices the resulting blend using real spices. Troy literally weighs each of the spices and tosses them into a tank of rum to infuse. He uses no corn syrup or other industrial sweetener, instead Mr. Roberts uses honey to add sweetness (and flavor). The spices he uses are primarily autumn cooking spices with a few exotic twists thrown in. Troy has told me that he is a strong believer that high quality real ingredients lead to a better spiced rum. (Hear Hear!)

In the Bottle 4.5/5

A tall slender bottle houses the Siesta Key Spiced Rum. The label for the spiced rum is pleasing to me, and both this label and the synthetic cork closure are of a higher standard than I would have suspected from a new distillery. I like the attention to detail.

In the Glass 8.5/10

When I opened my bottle of Siesta Key Spiced Rum for the first time, I had a few friends over for the initial tasting. The first thing we all noticed was an obvious impression of pumpkin spices drifting into the air above the glass. For those who do not make their pumpkin pie from scratch, the spices most commonly used are cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. A nice gentle sweetness accompanies these spices, and it is almost as if a real pumpkin pie was baking in the oven. Taking a deeper wiff of the glass, I decided that a few scattered cloves had joined in and perhaps just a little vanilla as well.

In the Mouth  50/60

What a refreshing change!

Here is a spiced rum that refuses to knock me over with vanilla. The sweetness which normally accompanies spiced rum is diminished as well. Instead it is those pumpkin spices which lead out onto my palate. The flavour is just aggressive enough to let you know that you are drinking a spiced rum, but not so aggressive that anything is uncomfortable. I am very pleased with my initial impression.

Of course, most of us mix our spiced rums into one style of cocktail or another, and I quickly decide to make a few cocktails. The standard Spiced Rum and Cola tastes swell, especially as I am not being killed by vanilla. However, where this spiced rum really shines is in fruitier combinations, like a Spiced Rum Punch or in a familiar recipe like the Orange Push-up (see recipes below). The  quality of those cocktails makes the Siesta Key Spiced Rum a nice addition to my spiced rum cabinet.

In the Throat 12/15

The pumpkin spices provide a little heat in the finish, but this heat seems to be moderated by a gentle sweetness, and a touch of pungency. I do detect a light astringency in the exit which prevents me from scoring the finish higher; but I am pleased nonetheless. I am very happy to notice only a moderate touch of vanilla helps to soften the landing.

The Afterburn 8/10

I am impressed! This is only the fourth batch of spiced rum produced by Circle Drum Distilling, and the quality that I taste is well beyond many other spiced rums in the market place. I suspect two factors are at work here. First is the reliance upon real spices and honey for flavouring which perhaps is a direction which other more established rum companies could follow, and the second factor, is the quality of the base rum. I think perhaps all those awards which the Siesta Key Silver Rum has garnered, were well deserved.

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


Suggested Recipe

Spiced Punch

1 1/2 oz Siesta Key Spiced Rum
4 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Cranberry Juice
!/2 oz sugar syrup

Fruit wedge

Build in an ice filled Collins glass
Layer the cocktail pouring the cranberry and rum first
Then complete with orange juice
Garnish with a citrus fruit slice


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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