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. Correction, Roaring Dan Maple Flavored Rum is far from typical. Aye, maple. I’ve seen rum in an assortment of flavors in my time, but never maple. More on that soon.

In the bottle, Roaring Dan is a very light amber, but still maintains a hint of vibrancy. To the nose, it carries some of rum’s gentler qualites, including a smooth, creamy dose of cane juice and vanilla, topped off by the added maple.

Despite its gentle aroma, Roaring Dan does have a bit of bite as it travels across the tongue – not unpleasantly, but enough to wake you up and remind you you’re drinking something a mite stronger than liquid candy. The flavors naturally echo the aromas – cane juice, vanilla, maple, although they’re somewhat dodgy, and seem to linger most on the outskirts of the mouth (back of tongue, back of cheeks…)

Roaring Dan’s flavors might be tricky when left on their own, but as a mixer this rum truly shines. The creamy, maple nature of it allows for all sorts of drink combinations you might not normally associate with rum, and none is a more perfect match (or easier mix) than a simple Roaring Dan and cream soda. Rarely would I ever conceive to mix cream soda with rum, but in this case I tell ya, it’s magic!

Roaring Dan Rum might seem a rather gentle concoction to name after such a dastardly soul as Dan Seavey – until you learn that Dan himself was actually rather soft-spoken, and had a soft spot for children. In this way the rum suddenly seems all too fitting for this man of the Great Lakes. Like a maply version of 10 Cane it maintains that approachable sweetness of sugar cane rather than straying into the more firey turf of most rum. As such, it can make for an excellent addition to many coctails, and remain approachable to rum-drinker and pedestrian alike.

6 thoughts on “Review: Roaring Dan Maple Rum

  1. Not to put a damper on things, but piracy is defined by theft of goods on the high seas. Theft of goods on a river or lake is theft or grand larceny. No matter how cruel, crazy or just plain mean one is, if the water ain’t salty, it ain’t piracy.

  2. If the likes of us – many of which have never even been to sea (although *I* have – 4 of the 7 seas. And even committed theft when I snuck an extra helping of desert while under deployment – I’m hardcore, yo), then I think Roaring Dan can get a free pass on that technicality, T.

    Besides, the courts indeed charged him with piracy. Do we hold it against Dan if the courts couldn’t get their lingo straight?

  3. Maple rum!?!?!

    Cursed Wisconsin! I’ve been a Cheesehead since birth, went to college in your borders, and lived next door to you for the first 25 years of my life. I move to the SW desert and this is how you thank me?!?!? By making delicious maple rum not available to me?

    I feel so betrayed.

    I’m hoping that they add this to the online ordering very soon. I’m eager to get my hands on a bottle or two.

    Great review – I never knew about Roaring Dan Seavey before, so it was a pleasant surprise.

    As for the piracy definition – salt is not necessarily the defining component of what constitutes a sea. In most dictionaries present and past, a large lake or landlocked body of water also applies. The more you know [cue shooting star…]

    In my eyes, Roaring Dan counts!

  4. My dear Bilge…

    As you know I love minutia, busting myths and exploring tradition. I also like outspoken and honest reviews, such as yours.

    Let’s squelch a myth in development right now – the notion (above) that “…because piracy must occur on the ‘high seas”, that this rum (and location) are misnamed.


    The hasty poster correctly affiliates “piracy” with the “high seas”, but like many hip shooting googlers he quits there. Had he pursued his research he’d have learned that “high seas” refers to maritime crimes that occur “…the part of the sea or ocean within which transactions are subject to court of admiralty jurisdiction”.

    Now any rum drinking admiralty lawyer will tell you that current law interprets “sea” as navigable water, with “admiralty jurisdiction” being the defining element.

    The Great Lakes fall under admiralty law, and piracy upon them long accepted. Simple enough. BTW, give me enough rum and I can disprove everything I just said.

    For more incredible, wacko and entertaining tidbits such as this, I urge all to immediate click on my name above and learn amazing things about rum, rum politic, etc., not to mention over 120 deadly honest reviews.

    You’re my hero…

  5. If a 35 foot wave isn’t a “High Sea” and water stained with the tears of the griving widows and cryin’ children missing their Lake Sailin’ Bread Winner…What is????

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.