Review: Pirate Frock Coat

Rating: ★★★★½

The internet is swarming with folks seeking to emulate their favorite Pirates of the Caribbean character – almost daily, droves of Jack Sparrow look-alikes swarm our good ranks. Think of that what you will, but the sad fact is that bloody few of these Sparrow clones look much like him at all. Some of this is due to the simple truth that so few of us look anything like Johnny Depp, but more of it is due to the difficulties of capturing “the look.” For wearing a fairly basic pirate ensemble, it would seem that Captain Jack is actually quite difficult to recreate from a needle-and-thread perspective.

Perfect Pirate is one of the few businesses to get it right, and may well be the pinnacle of their craft. I’ve reviewed their shirt and vest previously, and found them to be exceptional in every respect. But now it’s time to check out the big dog itself – Perfect Pirate’s recreation of Jack Sparrow’s frock coat. Continue reading

Review: Santa Teresa 1796

Rating: ★★★★☆
Santa Teresa 1796

Santa Teresa 1796 is a truly glorious rum out of Venezuela. Some rums require time to get to know them, but Santa Teresa was love at first site. When first I saw it, the dignified wine-like bottle hidden beneath a rugged cardboard tube, complete with ribbon and wax seal, I expected I was in for a treat. And upon uncorking the bottle and taking a sniff of the amber rum inside, my expectations were instantly confirmed. To the nose, Santa Teresa is cool and spicy – and ultra, ultra smooth. It carries an extraordinarily soft aroma of oak, with underlying subtleties of banana and vanilla.

On the tongue, Santa Teresa is surprisingly unimposing, tasting richly of what I can only call “almost-fruit.” As it warms in the mouth it seems to thicken and cool. And yet when swallowed, it leaves behind a wonderfully penetrating heat along the roof of the mouth.

Incredibly gentle yet maddeningly seductive, this is a rum well worth experiencing.

Review: And a Bottle of Rum

Rating: ★★★☆☆
And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails
by Wayne Curtis

By the author’s own claim, “And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails” is not an effort to claim that the history of America was defined by rum, so much as it’s an effort to share just what that history was, and to do so through the prism of rum as it reflected the times. From the early days of grog and flip, to the more recent history of Mai Tais and Mojitos, rum has always been a product of the current culture, and methods of its consumption changed accordingly. Continue reading

Review: Ron Zacapa Centenario

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Ron Zacapa Centenario

Click to buy!
from Internet Wines and Spirits

Ron Zacapa Centenario is a legend amongst rums. According to many sources, it’s won so many tasting competitions that it’s actually been retired as a contender, and is instead used by the judges to calibrate their palettes as to what a truly fine aged rum can achieve. With such a lofty reputation, I was quite excited to finally try a bottle.

Centenario stands out on the shelves. The bottle is entirely wrapped in palm leaves – intriguing, but it does conceal the rum within. Upon opening the bottle, I was disappointed to note it was a plastic screwcap. And even worse, it had a non-removable plastic diffuser that one may expect from mixers, but certainly not from a 23 year aged rum with such a sterling reputation. (new bottles of Centenario seem to have a new, more sophisticated packaging.) Continue reading

Review: Cockspur 12 year

Rating: ★★½☆☆
Cockspur 12 year

In the glass, Cockspur 12 year is remarkably cool across the nose, and smells of ripe bananas and caramel. These factors, combined with its light amber color, make for an inviting, un intimidating first sip. On the tongue you’re instantly met with a surprisingly light yet peppery kick. Almost a pulled punch, it’s just enough to get your attention, but not enough to hurt anyone. The flavor is light and alcoholly, but not mediciny. It holds just enough musk to be interesting, yet remains crisp and smooth. Subsequent sips continue in this vein, and go down all too easily. Even when consumed at a measured pace, this rum goes quickly to your head. Combine this with its extreme sipability and it’s a clear recipe for trouble.

A decent rum, and a relatively gentle one. Somewhat on the shallow end, but – like many shallow things – good for an occasional fling when you’re feeling frisky yet noncommittal.

Review: Pirate Soul

Rating: ★★★½☆
Pirate Soul: A Swashbuckling Journey Through the Golden Age of Pirates
by Pat Croce

The bookstores are swarming with “general history of piracy” books. There are quite literally dozens of them. Styles range from large-scale textbooks with lots of graphs and pictures to text-based novels to numerous children’s books. Yes, the shelves are swarming with pirate history books. So why should Pat Croce’s new book, Pirate Soul, be anything special? Simply put, it isn’t a book – it’s a pirate activity center tucked between two covers. Continue reading

Review: In the Time of Worms

Rating: ★★★★☆

In the Time of Worms
by Kenelm Winslow Harris

This will be a difficult book to review. This is because most book reviews have roughly two primary elements – the first where you talk about what the book is about, and the second where you say whether it’s any good or not. It’s the first element – effectively summarizing what the book is about – that proves problematic.

If I summarize In the Time of Worms, it will sound like a simplistic fairy tale. You’ll probably roll your eyes as I talk about this story of a psychiatrist who learns there’s a band of pirates living in his closet. See? It sounds silly. But that’s only because within this review I lack the space or the talent to recreate this tale with the same compelling artistry of Ken Harris, the book’s author. But I’ll give it a shot, just the same. Continue reading