Pirate’s Choice Molasses Reef
Pirate’s Choice is an unusual rum. It bears special consideration in several respects. First, it was first distilled in a makeshift (and very illegal) contraption built on the second story of a scuba shop in Key Largo. This is highly braggable. Now created in a more professional (and legal) distillery, the rum is sold in classy squat bottles, complete with labels featuring a silhouette of a pirate ship at rest as a storm approaches. This is beautiful. And, most noteworthy of all, no rum since the golden age of piracy has gone through such effort to introduce, insert, and endear itself to the pirate community. And this, my friends, is remarkable and admirable. In fact, I first met the president of Pirate’s Choice at PyrateCon 2008 in New Orleans, where he was giving away t-shirts, stickers, temporary tattoos, and countless samples of his product to every rogue, wench, and scalliwagg he could find (and being PyrateCon, he found lots of them.) However, this wasn’t the first I’d tasted Pirate’s Choice – I’d had a sample some months prior – at Pirates in Paradise in Key West. As I write this review, Pirate’s Choice is currently promoting itself at the Hampton Blackbeard Festival, with plans to attend the Port Washington Pirate Festival in turn just one week later. In short – Pirate’s Choice Rum is busting its hump to be noticed by the pirate community, making it the first and only rum to look at modern day pirates and see a viable market worth persuing. I suppose this could be seen as a cold business strategy, but I actually view it as heartening. I mean, when’s the last time Captain Morgan gave a squat about us? And HE’s supposed to be a pirate!
OK, enough about Pirate’s Choice pro-piracy campaign – it’s brilliant, it’s awsome, so let’s talk about the rum.
In the bottle (which, as stated, is very pretty – and surprisingly solid feeling) Pirate’s Choice Molasses Reef is a deep, rich amber, with just enough red to imply some fire within. To the nose, however, this rum is immediately disarming. Strongly smelling of toffee and vanilla, I would venture to say this is indeed a flavored rum, as I can’t envision such prominent flavor coming from a “natural” aging process. In fact, very little “rum” makes it to the nose at all, leaving in its place a rich creaminess.
On the lips and tongue, Pirate’s Choice is a unique experience – I struggled to taste, well, anything really – my tongue literally sensed nothing by way of flavor. And yet, it also sensed a growing chill. As the rum reached the back of my mouth, I again began to pick up on strong vanilla, followed by a long, warm finish that crept down my throat and then jumped back out to my lips – a tiny roundhouse kick of sensation, really.
Pirate’s Choice is definitely noteworthy. What it lacks in traditional “ruminess” it more that makes up for in dueling sensations and toffee tastes and aromas. It can be enjoyed straight, but I think this rum likely shines best in carefully chosen mixers. It’s dark nature and rich taste set it apart from all the white flavored mixer rums, while its simplicity and lack of alcohol taste seperate it from so many spiced rums. This rum is liquid candy, true, but it’s candy made by a skilled confectioner rather than some Hershey’s hack. So I guess that makes Pirate’s Choice’s president the true Willy Wonka of the Pirate World. Sorry Johnny.