Review: Maui Dark

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Maui Dark Rum
www.haleakaladistillers.com

Many words can be applied to Maui Dark Rum, but “timid” it is not. From the moment the bottle is opened, a broadside of sensations is unleashed. Oak and burnt leather, and a heavy sweet musk with hints of nutmeg and pepper. This rum can be brutal and merciless, and that’s before you’ve even taken a first sip.

Maui Dark tastes much as it smells, with the same musky earthiness, toffee, and a bit of char. It isn’t subtle, and it certainly isn’t gentle. Strangely, as this rum journeys through your mouth, it leaves the majority of the tongue untouched, instead focusing its attentions on the back of the mouth – the rear roof, the base of the tongue, and the back of the throat. It’s in these areas that Maui works its mojo, for good and for il.

And therein lies the crux. Upon my first taste of Maui, I found it overpowering, bitter, and somewhat an assault. As someone that generally gravitates towards the stronger, more brutal rums, I nonetheless found Maui Dark just too much for me. Indeed, my face contorted. The second and third tries (on seperate nights) were equally difficult, and I worried this just might be one rum I couldn’t appreciate.

I write this review on my fourth small glass of Maui (the first of tonight – I’m writing quite sober, thank you), and I’m more than a little surprised. This rum is still a challenge, but for the first time I also find intrigue buried within. This rum embodies so many rich sensations, but rather than being a delicate dance of flavor, it’s an all-out brawl. At first this can prove jarring and off-putting, but once more accustomed it can spur curiosity, and be worthy of further investigation.

I still don’t know whether I “like” Maui Dark Rum. I could never pour myself a double and casually sip it throughout an evening, as I can so many of its brethren. But a splash in a snifter can make for a truly singular experience – one worthy of exploration. Quite possibly an aquired taste amongst aquired tastes, I do not recommend this for the novice – or anyone more comfortable with light, friendly rums. But those of us who enjoy a little “yargh” in our rum may find this a uniquely worthy undertaking.

Note: The makers of Maui Dark Rum have informed me that they never actually intended this rum to be enjoyed straight-up, and that they feel it’s best suited to Mai Tais, Rum Baba’s and Dark and Stormy’s. This would be my error, as they sent me a variety of bottles and I assumed the darkest would be the most appropriate sipper. Despite their claim that this is NOT a sipper, I still contend that Maui Dark Rum can make for a uniquely complex, if not exactly approachable, experience for the seasoned rum drinker.

Comment (1)

  1. Chef Theo

    I first purchased this rum in Maui back in 2003, at first I was not a fan and have left in in the rum locker for some time. Recently tasted and…WOW! It has benefitted from the time in the bottle. Get a couple and lay them down for future enjoyment.
    Ho-Ho-Ho and a bottle of Rum!

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