Review: Santero Ron 21 Años

Rating: ★★★½☆
Santero Ron 21 Años

Since starting these rum reviews some three or so years ago, my love of rum has certainly evolved. I like to think that my skill at reviewing rum has evolved as well. Of late, I’ve taken great pride in digging into the rum experience and identifying subtleties and nuances that may not be immediately obvious. In my non-rum reviews, I’ve long struggled to avoid simply labeling any product as “good” or “bad”, instead seeking ways to identify the qualities of said product, and thereby letting the reader determine if it is suited to their own interests and tastes, and I hope to finally be doing the same in my rum reviews.

As such, it’s with some level of defeat that I hereby identify Santero 21 rum as being – simply put – very, very good. I explored this rum to the best of my ability, trying a glass here, a glass there – always seeking those unique characteristics that I might share with my readers to explain what sets this rum apart. And always I’ve failed. But don’t mistake my failure to identify this rum’s qualities as being a failure on the part of this rum’s creators – this is an awsome, noteworthy rum. Continue reading

Review: Empire of Blue Water

Rating: ★★★★½
Empire of Blue Water
by Stephan Talty

Come for the pirates, stay for the earthquake…

Captain Morgan – we’ve heard the name, drank the rum, but how much do we actually know about the guy? Actually, unlike with many pirates, quite a lot is known about Henry Morgan. His exploits are exceedingly well documented. And in Empire of Blue Water, author Stephan Talty does a splendid job of relaying Morgan’s adventures in a manner that’s both detailed and entertaining. Continue reading

Review: Old Monk XXX

Rating: ★★½☆☆
Old Monk XXX

Click to buy!
from Internet Wines and Spirits

What is it with eastern Indians and pornographic rum? Really, I have only two rums in my collection from India, and both are labeled as being XXX. Old Monk rum, I notice, is aged seven years, which is admirable. But seven years is hardly “old”, and certainly not old enough to participate in XXX endeavours. But I digress…

Old Monk Rum comes in a squat, rotund, uniquely textured bottle that makes it stand out from many of its contemporaries on the liquor shelves. The label features a smiling, rather european looking monk, and in big red letters features the aforementioned XXX. In the glass, Old Monk is a rich amber. To the nose it smells of the distant, candy sweetness common amongst sugarcane-juice frenchy rums, rather than the embracing, robust sweetness of molasses real rums. It lightly burns the back of the nasal cavity, and also carries hints of charred leather and cherry cordial (seriously.) Continue reading

Review: The Republic of Pirates

Rating: ★★★★½
The Republic of Pirates
by Colin Woodard

I’ve often stated my aversion to “general history of pirates” type books. They quite often cover the same turf as each other, and so many names and events tend to blur together in my wee brain. I’ve also lamented the inherit dryness often found in some historical texts – too many details and too little drama don’t bode well for a book unless I’m hoping to use to help me fall asleep. Fortunately The Republic of Pirates has me covered on all accounts – it’s well written and entertaining while remaining informative. And it doesn’t endeavor to be an all-encompassing “who’s who” of pirates. However, author Colin Woodard does take a unique approach by focusing on, not one pirate, nor all pirates, but instead a small batch of pirates – several household-name pirates who were in fact contemporaries, cohorts, and even friends. Continue reading

Review: El Dorado 25 Year

Rating: ★★★☆☆
El Dorado 25 Year Rum

Click to buy!
from Internet Wines and Spirits

El Dorado 25 year rum carries the distinction of being one of those few rums old enough to legally drink itself. As such, it’s auspiciously packaged in an elegant, understated glass decanter complete with a ship logo. The rum inside can be clearly viewed, and is a soft, deep amber color.

When poured in the glass, this rum smells very sweet, and is quite sharp on the nose, burning the sinuses in a way that is sure to grab some attention. And if it doesn’t, the first sip surely will. It burns – quite pleasantly, and quite lingerlingly. Flavor is rather beside the point at this stage, as the sensation overwhelms. Continue reading

Review: Everyone Loves Singing Pirates

Rating: ★★★½☆
The Seadogs

Buy the CD
Genre: Traditional and traditional-styled origninal pirate tunes.
Rating: PG-13
Target Audience: Late teens to early retirement

The Seadogs are very likely the largest pirate band in existence. “Everyone Loves Singing Pirates”, being their second shanty album, and their first actually dedicated to the noble subject of piracy, features the combined efforts of no fewer than 14 artists. Not many pirate bands boast enough manpower to crew a small galleon, but the Seadogs certainly come close. Continue reading

Review: Appleton Extra

Rating: ★★★½☆
Appleton Extra

Click to buy!
from Internet Wines and Spirits

During my earlier years as a partaker of rum, Appleton V/X remained an ongoing staple. Where some rums were nuanced or brought unique character to the game, V/X remained rum – plain and perfect. In time I grew out of V/X, my more refined (or perhaps robust) palette thirsting for greater challenges. Enter Appleton Extra.

Appleton Extra is everything that was V/X, only older and more sophisticated. It’s darker, heavier, oakier. It’s a bit more brutal, and a bit more rewarding. In short, it’s a definitive trade up from V/X, which I still maintain to be a fine entry-level sipper. Continue reading

Review: The Recruiter… Free Rum Ain’t Free

Rating: ★★★☆☆
The Whiskey Bards

Genre: A Capella traditional and faire-style pirate songs.
Rating: PG-13
Target Audience: Late teens to early retirement

How do you define courage? There are many ways – far more than I care to get into at this time. But if I were truly put to task to come up with a single, all-encompassing definition, it might include four gentlemen singling “Bell Bottom Trousers” in the first person. Hearing their manly voices belt out lyrics regarding “he layed me on the bed until my blue eyes turned to brown” is both amusing and off-setting. An odd, odd creative choice, and in this way, quite memorable and worthwhile. Continue reading

Review: Guano & Nitrates

Rating: ★★★★☆
The Valparaiso Men’s Chorus

Genre: Traditional sea songs performed with a jazzy New Orleans flavor.
Rating: R
Target Audience: Grownups that still know how to curse, drink, and party

A few times each year, it seems, an album comes out of left field and absolutely blindsides me. Generally it’s from an outsider band (read that, not established as a pirate band), and usually they do something so novel that it makes for an absolutely unique, must-have album. The Valparaiso Men’s Chorus album Guano & Nitrates only came into my possession through the most unlikely of circumstances – I likely never would have found them on my own. And such would be the tragedy. Continue reading