Review: Pyrat Pistol

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

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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: English Harbour 5 Year

Rating: ★★★☆☆
English Harbour 5 Year rum boasts all the shelf qualities I enjoy – a short, squat bottle with a rustic label, nicely foiled cork, and general appearance that would like right at home in the hands of a pirate.

To the nose, English Harbour is light and fruity – I detected a distinct note of apples (something I’d not experienced since Old Havana Cuban rum.)  To the taste, it retains this fruitiness but also carries some warmth with just a slight tingle. The finish is soothing, relatively gentle, and sweet.

You might notice all the things I haven’t said about this rum – it’s not dark, not heavy, there is no brown sugarry musk or oak kick in the face to let you know your alive. It is in fact a very delicate rum. Meaning it lacks most all the qualities that I personally look for in rum. That said, it’s also rather decent. Continue reading

Review: 10 Cane Rum

Rating: ★★★½☆

Though certainly the most enjoyable, rum reviews are also one of the toughest subjects I tackle. This isn’t always the case, but now and then I’m confronted with a factor that is unique to rum alone amongst all my reviews – it changes.

Actually, that’s not wholly accurate. True, being an agricultural product, one bottle of rum (despite sharing the same label) is not always identical to the next. This poses a challenge. But what’s more, *I* change as well. Whether it’s my ever-developing appreciation for the product, or simply alterations in the weather, the fact is I don’t always remain consistent in my opinions. What’s fantastic one day might fall a little flat the next. And so on.

Continue reading

Review: Mount Gay Sugar Cane

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Mount Gay Sugar Cane Rum

No, you didn’t misread. The above title claims this review is for Mount Gay Sugar Cane Rum, but the label calls it brandy. I just learned the hard way that they’re one and the same. It seems that in some states Mount Gay is required by law to label their brandy as rum – either way, it ain’t rum, and it certainly ain’t good. I used it to remove a nasty clog from my drain, and it didn’t even do a very good job of that. The flavor was vaguely reminiscent of shoe leather soaked in vinegar. If you think that sounds appealing, give it a shot. Otherwise, I’d stay clear.

Important Update! I almost let the hideousness of this “rum” scare me off Mount Gay forever – don’t make the same mistake! If you try only one new rum this year, make it Mount Gay Extra Old.

UPDATE: I’m killing comments on this post. It was written back in 2004 and it’s getting quite tedious to respond to every Sugar Cane Brandy fan that wishes to air their disagreements. So instead, here’s a generic comment and response copies from my FAQ:

Q. Are you a total dolt? (insert rum name here) is my very favorite, and yet you call it wretch – was your tongue burned by acid when you were young?

A. Rum is a very subjective subject, and while I welcome opinions that disagree with my own, I do get tired of belligerent posts that choose to question my tastes entirely – especially regarding reviews that were posted several years ago. My rum reviews can be quite opinionated – I freely admit that. I have a strong preference for what I consider to be “heritage” and “naval style” rums – meaning the dark, oaky, molassesy sorts like you often find out of Barbados or Jamaica, and the peppery, bold sorts that reflect the mixes favored by the British navy. I don’t give a flat fig what rums won awards, and if I wanted my rum to taste like cognac, sherry, or port, then I’d pour myself a cognac, sherry, or port. A high end rum that tastes like any of the above might be very pleasant on the palette, but to a swab of my preferences they taste like fail.