Review: Sovereignty

Rating: ★★★☆☆
The Ben Gunn Society

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Genre: Artsy, coffee-house songs of a piratey nature
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Teens ta Twenties

Having achieved such a creative marvel with their first album, The Ben Gunn Society, it’s difficult to imagine what the band of the same name would follow up with. After all, the entire album was indeed about Ben Gunn – that cheese-hankerin’ castaway from Treasure Island. So to make a second album that had nothing to do with the old man whatsoever… well, it’s difficult to fathom. Continue reading

Review: Coyopa

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Coyopa Rum

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from Internet Wines and Spirits

The packaging of Coyopa Rum is a classy mix of old and new. The square bottle and large, wood-handled cork reminiscent of rum’s fine heritage, as does paper seal, complete with handwritten batch numbers and distiller’s initials. But on closer inspection, the busy background of the colorful label is actually various images of a dancing couple, which gives a slight hint of modernism and trendiness. Personally, I enjoy the old-style found in many rum bottles, but in this case the blend seems to work rather well.

The rum inside is a rich, clear amber, and to the nose it smells cool and uncomplicated. Brown sugar is dominant beneath the chill, and little else makes itself immediately known. Continue reading

Review: Cartavio 12 Year

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Cartavio 12 Year Rum

It’s always a pleasant surprise to see something new sitting on the store shelves – and even moreso when it boasts being aged 12 years. Cartavio 1929 was a new face in these parts, and being relatively affordable as well, I couldn’t wait to give it a try. Cartavio 1929 comes in a classy cardboard tube. The bottle inside is relatively understated, but quite presentable with a wood capped cork and a classic brown-toned label. The rum inside is a rich, inviting amber.

To the nose, Cartavio 1929 smells of cinnamon, oak, musk, and ripe fruit. The familiar smell of alcohol is of course present as well, but this is a rum that smells complex and enticing, with none of the astringence present in some rums. Continue reading

Review: Down Among the Dead Men

Rating: ★★★½☆
The Pirates of New Providence

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

Down Among the Dead Men – the first album by Pirates of New Providence – hits the ground running with its initial track, Fire Maringo. Being a traditional song, I’ve heard it performed before, and have never really given it much thought. But the Pirates of New Providence make it a tough song to dismiss. Strong, clear vocals are complimented by solid drums to immediately command attention. Soon the backup vocals and what I believe to be a tamborine also join in to play with the softer and higher notes. All told, it’s a commanding opener, and one that illustrates the truth that sometimes an old song can be made new again through sheer strength of the performance. Continue reading

Review: Bottell

Rating: ★★★★★
Leather Lore

Let’s face it – by and large, most of our pirate gear and garb is just for show. True, some of us look to acquire higher quality, functional clothing that will stand up to the elements and spaniards alike, while others opt for strictly “fashionable” items that serve no purpose except to look awsome and piratey. And this is what makes a Leather Lore Bottell stand apart – it’s virtually a practical necessity.

Bottells are basically leather canteens. They’re available in either pitch or wax lining (pitch allows for more colors, while wax restricts you to black or brown. Wax, however, is safer for use with hard liquors, i.e. RUM!) and in 16 or 32 oz capaicities. The cork is turned wood held in place with a leather cord – not one item of modern material is present. They’re solid and rigid, and though the manufacturer does warn that it’s possible to crush and ruin them, they seem very sturdy and well-built. Continue reading

Review: Pirateology

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Pirateology certainly isn’t the only explore/activity book on pirates, and to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure if it’s even the first. But it’s most certainly one of most involved. Far from a simple history of pirates, each page takes on the feeling of a pirate-hunter’s scrapbook, complete with journal entries, pictures and keepsakes, and hidden secrets. Readers can find bags of gold dust, scraps of pirate flags, and – if they’re very, very thorough – even the secret location of Arabella Drummond’s treasure. Continue reading

Review: The Pirate of Panther Bay

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
The Pirate of Panther Bay
by S.R. Staley

The Pirate of Panther Bay is a story that begins midstream, dropping the reader in the middle of events already well underway, and leaving you to play catchup even as additional events transpire. In some ways, this adds a sense of life and urgency, but in others it’s just plain confusing.

The book follows the exploits of Isabella, a novice pirate captain that recently inherited her position upon the death of her boyfriend (himself being the previous captain.) A former slave turned free rogue, Isabella is headstrong and skilled with the blade, but also full of self-doubt. She’s also of dubious leadership abililty – a fact to which she often seems painfully aware, and yet somehow she still expects – scratch that – she demands devoted loyalty from her inherited crew. Continue reading