Review: Pirate’s Choice Molasses Reef

Rating: ★★★☆☆
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.

10 thoughts on “Review: Pirate’s Choice Molasses Reef

  1. I had the pleasure of drinking Pirate’s choice rum while on vacation on the island of Grand Turk. All I can say about it is “Awesome”. The only question is where can I buy it or order it from here in the states.

  2. i found it at my local ABC store in Virginia….I’m sure if you talk to somebody at a liquor store they can order it for you.

  3. Drank Pirate’s in Key Largo. Loved it–so I bought a bottle. Still haven’t opened it because I can’t find it anywhere! When I do-I’ll crack this one! ARRRGh Pirate Pat

  4. Just needle-hitched an empty Pirate’s bottle. Keepin’ a weather-eye open for a full one!

  5. The original Molasses Reef Rum was aged in charred oak barrels once used for burbon and it was fantastic, distilled by Phil Prichard in TN. I should know, I came up with the idea and never got a cent from Cay Clubs. It was made by pirates, that’s for certain and they weren’t 200 years too late. I make Captain Petes Banana Pepper Mustard now and learned from my mistakes.
    Capt. Pete Lacombe
    Key Largo, FL

  6. Proud to say I saw this in the making while being distilled above the Dive shop 🙂 Dive In dive shop to be specific. Good stuff Dad!

  7. Where the heck can I buy this stuff I’m out of Wisconsin close to Milwaukee but looking for this Molasses Reef for quite some time can anybody help me

  8. I’m not sure if Pirate’s Choice is still in business, but I know some of the folks behind it are now releasing a new line of rum called The Code. Doubt you’ll find it in Milwaukee yet, though.

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