Review: Roaring Dan Maple Rum

Rating: ★★★½☆

It’s just a fact – Wisconsin is known for cheese. You want to know two things Wisconsin isn’t known for? Rum and pirates. But surprising as it might be, Wisconsin now has both.

“Roaring” Dan Seavey was indeed the only person ever charged with piracy on the Great Lakes, and it’s for this reason that the Great Lakes Distillery opted to name their very first rum in his honor. A scalliwagg of the early 20th century, Roaring Dan was hardly your typical golden age swashbuckler – but he was mean and cantankerous enough to put even Blackbeard to shame. Indeed, Blackbeard never used his own ship as a floating whorehouse, nor did he dispatch an opponent in a bar brawl by dropping a piano on his head.

Like the seagoing miscreant whose name it bears, Roaring Dan Rum is far from typical. Continue reading

Review: Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva

Rating: ★★★½☆

I’ve stated many times that, for me, rum enjoyment begins not in the glass, but on the shelf. While you can’t judge a book by its cover, packaging matters. Rums like Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva clearly understand this truth – from its squat, frosted bottle to the montone, duty-stamp label this is a rum designed to convey a product that’s traveled a great distance, and a great exapanse of time, to find its way into your eager hands.

This initial impression is only slightly hindered by the plastic screw top and one-way diffuser, an understandable precaution to ensure the bottle hasn’t been refilled and resold by some miscreant, but I always feel robbed of the experience of working the cork for the first time. But let’s move on, as there’s rum to be poured… Continue reading

Review: RumChata

Rating: ★★★★★

Never, in all my years of reviewing rum, have I ever described a product as “thicker than milk, but thinner than a shake.” But then, I’ve never reviewed a rum cream before. Truth be told, there’s not that many of them on the market – only two or three to my knowledge. And of those I’d tried, they were good and all, but they were pretty much akin to Bailey’s Irish Cream, but made with rum.

Not so with RumChata – this is as different from Bailey’s as rum is from vodka. Yes it’s white, and yes it’s creamy. But RumChata boasts an assortment of smells and flavors that I’ve never before encountered in a rum (or booze-cream) product. The key here is the “chata,” being derived from Horchata. Horchata, for those that don’t know (I didn’t know) is a Mexican/Central American treat made from rice, and this connection is immediately apparent when you poor yourself a glass of RumChata. The smell of rice – think rice pudding, not that stuff you mix with Chinese takeout – is by far the most prominent flavor, both to the nose and the tongue alike. But there is more – rum, vanilla, and cinnamon are also apparent, as is a hint of coconut (which actually isn’t present at all, but it’s just a trick of the rice.) Continue reading

Review: Kraken Black Spiced Rum

Rating: ★★★★½

By and large I don’t give spiced rum much consideration these days. Sure, rum&cokes are fine things now and then, and the rare exception of Kilo Kai managed to tap into spiced rum’s more impressive potential, but mostly I prefer my rum untarnished (‘neat’, as landlubbers call it.) I do owe Captain Morgan’s Private Stock a debt of gratitude, as it ushered my early days of rum consumption, being rather more approachable than others available to me. But over time I found myself outgrowing Private Stock as its cheap alcohol undertones became more noticeable beneath a seeming increasingly thin veil of spiciness.

So yeah, the world of spiced rum largely remained outside of my field of vision – but then along came the Kraken (‘Along Came the Kraken,’ incidentally, sounds like the title of a smashing children’s book or romantic comedy, but I digress.) First off, you can’t mention Kraken Rum without mentioning their ad compaign – one minute spent at their website will tell you that this is a rum company that not only has great pride in their product, but a smashing sense of humor to boot. Whatever Kraken pays their ad guys, it’s not enough. But fun videos and goofy humor aside, ultimately the proof is always in the pudding, and I’ve been hurt before. So let’s examine the rum on its own terms…

Continue reading

‘Kraken’ is the BEST RUM EVER (and I haven’t even tasted it yet)

Brace yerselves, mates, for it’s the end of an era. For decades the spiced rum market has been dominated by one name – Captain Morgan (The REAL Morgan, by the way, was a poser pirate and a traitor to the cause. Plus he couldn’t sail for damn, so it’s fitting that sooner or later his namesake rum would be sunk.) Well, no longer – Kraken Rum is on the scene, and they stand ready to do some serious damage to their competitor’s market share. Why? Simple – Kraken Rum is the BEST RUM EVER.

Of course, I haven’t actually tried it yet. But check out the promotional package they sent me:

One bottle of Kraken Spiced Rum, one CD full of the Kraken’s tales, a hardbound book of stories, history, and recipes, genuine (likely fake) kraken ink and tooth, a wall chart showing the kraken’s enormous scale – even a personal letter addressed to their “Esteemed Colleague.” That’s right – *I’m* an esteemed colleague of Kraken Rum! I bet next Christmas they’ll even invite me over for dinner. And did I mention it was all in a custom Kraken box, sealed in wax? I mean, seriously, when’s the last time Captain Morgan, or any of those other wannabe spiced rums (I’m looking at you Sailor Jerry and Kilo Kai) ever sent me something this nice? The answer: NEVER.

Soon I’ll actually taste the rum. And then write a review. Until then, I remain confident in my statement that Kraken Rum is the best rum I ain’t never tasted. Oh, and don’t forget to check out their website.

Other Valuable Sources

History of Pirates
Pirates in Caribbean Waters
Caribbean Region
Caribbean vacation packages
Punta Cana all inclusive
Pirate Waters of Punta Cana

Review: Mount Gay 1703

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
mtgay1703Mount Gay used to be cool, but now it’s one of *them*.

I’m giving this rum zero stars. Is it really a zero star rum? No – probably a three and a half would be more fitting. Maybe even four. But I’m a longtime fan of Mount Gay Extra Old – a $30 rum that easily achieves 4.5 stars. And so when I try Mount Gay’s new, $100 bottle, I have high expectations. And sadly, these expectations came crashing down. Not because it’s bad, but because its sophistication has reached such a level that it no longer feels like a “rum” experience. Mount Gay 1703 has forgotten rum’s roguish past, and this is why I give it no stars whatsoever. Continue reading

Review: Vizcaya VXOP

Rating: ★★½☆☆
Click to buy!
from Internet Wines and Spirits

vizcaya_vxopOne of these days, I think I need to write an article on which I judge various rums based on nothing more than their packaging. It might sound laughable, but in truth packaging can tell you quite a lot about a rum (or at least, what the manufacturers think of their product – or rather, what they want you to *think* they think of their product.) And also, reviewing rums based on packaging alone would protect me from those embarrassing times when I nearly finish the rum before I’ve bothered to review it. Such is the case with Vizcaya VXOP – it’s been on my shelf for a terribly long time, and I’ve stolen a glass now and then to the point as to be nearly empty. And yet, I never reviewed the damned thing. Continue reading

Review: Pyrat Pistol

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Click to buy!
from Internet Wines and Spirits

I know it still has it’s fans, and I wouldn’t dream of trying to talk them out of their enjoyment. But to me, Pyrat rums seem a few years past their time. Somewhere a while back they changed their formula – the beloved Pyrat XO went from a fine rum to merely decent, the infamous Pyrat Cask 23 fell from extraordinary to – again – decent. And Pyrat Pistol? I never had the chance to try it before the change, but today it doesn’t strike me as something you need to seek out.

Pyrate Pistol tastes virtually identical to its sibling XO – plenty of citrus with a tiny touch of musk. But the finish is more bitter than is XO, and even while still on the tongue it carries just a bit of harshness. Basically a slightly inferior rum to XO, but without the significantly cheaper price tag to make it all add up. XO these days can be had in many markets for a song, so if lightweight citrusy rum is your cup of grog, that’s where I’d stick.

Review: Rogue Spirits White

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Click to buy!
from Internet Wines and Spirits

I don’t generally take to white rums – and why would I? Dark rums, at best with their heady musk, oaky molassesy kick, and all-round manliness are pretty much nature’s perfect drink. White rums, on the other hand, are quite often flavorless, astringent, and at most suitable as mixers. But once in a while a decent white rum comes along, such as Rogue Spirits’ White.

The second half of their two-part line, the first being the Blackbeard-labeled Rogue Dark, the white rum features its own pirate on its face, this time being none other than Jean Lafitte (perhaps the least piratey-looking of all pirates, but we’ll forgive him because he was otherwise pretty awesome.) In the bottle, this rum is what most any other white rum would be – clear as water and indistinguishable from vodka, gin, or rubbing alcohol. Continue reading

Review: Old New Orleans 3 Year Rum

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Back in 2006 I reviewed New Orleans Cane Amber Rum. Since that time, Cane Rum has been discontinued over apparent confusion between itself and 10 Cane Rum. In its place we now have Old New Orleans Rum, which I think is actually a much better label anyways as it not only highlights itself as being one of the few continental US rum distilleries, but in a pirate town ta boot 🙂

Now I would generally expect that in such cases, while the bottling has changed, the rum might not. My bottle of Cane Amber is long gone (I have a second, but refuse to break the seal for this review – sorry!), so I can’t really do a side-by-side comparison. I do recall Cane Amber as being rather more scotch-like than rummy, but this is really all that I have to go on.

In the bottle, Old New Orleans 3 Year Aged Rum is a nice, basic brownish amber. The bottle is clean and classy, and corked in the manner of all self-respecting rums (with a few exceptions.) To the nose, Old New Orleans smells of sweet sugar cane, vanilla, and just a hint of over-ripe fruit. It comes across as being light-bodied, and perhaps a little alcoholly. Continue reading