Thursday, January 7, 2010

Rum Reviews: The First Installment

I've neglected this nook of my blog long enough. In point of fact, this is my first visit. I am here now to remedy that situation. In the following series I will give you the skinny on the good, the wretched, and the divine concerning what you should be drinking: rum.

It was currency in the Caribbean in the old days, George Washington demanded it be served at his inauguration, Ernest Hemingway lived off a diet of rum and shark flesh during his stint in Cuba, and now I'm here to help you navigate the top, the bottom, and all shelves in between concerning one of the world's greatest treasures.

Nothing fruity here, no flavored spirits to hide terrible production, or inept craftsmanship, just the booze. Feel free to suggest what you will for future installments and liquor representatives are more than welcome to provide me with your product concerning tasting and review.

The Rum Reviews I

Depaz Blue Cane Rhum Argicole

This rum immediately comes off as a bad French liquor: cognac, armagnac, or some manner of brandy gone terribly wrong. I’m well versed in the ways bottle tipping and so I don’t write these words casually but there is little redeeming quality here. It’s thin and fiery. Third world peasants would do well to acquire as much as they can in an effort to keep warm in the winter because I’m not sure the burn is good for anything else. The aroma is pleasant enough to make you think there is some substantial flavor but sharp and painful are the only words that come to mind.

It’s hard to recommend Depaz as sipping the ninety proof booze is nearly toxic and the top-shelf price (about $35) is too high to justify keeping your coke company considering other, cheaper, less napalm-esque tasting options. It comes in a pretty bottle, with a nice label and an enticing scent but the truth remains: ya can’t polish a turd. Like a cheap Vegas whore; your money is better spent elsewhere.

Verdict: Avoid at all cost.

Mount Gay Original Reserve Barbados Rum

Mount Gay claims to be the oldest distillery of rum in existence: 1708. I’m inclined to believe them as they seemed to have perfected the craft and turned it into an art. The odd color is perhaps the most striking thing about this rum; not a perfectly clear nor a true brown or amber. The lack of wood is also apparent in the nose, where there is virtually no scent outside of a standard alcohol smell. But the taste more than delivers for any of these perceived short comings.

This bottle is what standard rum everywhere should taste like. Mount Gay Original Reserve should be the bar. Like the Depaz it is thin and slightly fiery but with a wonderful soft flavor--highlighted by a gentle sweetness--that can be enjoyed and appreciated all by itself. A mixed drink here wouldn’t be out of line but perhaps a bit decadent. Assuming you get the rest of the drink right, this rum will make the cleanest most refreshing Mojito ever. This rum is to be enjoyed by those who can appreciate life’s simple things done to near perfection.

Verdict: Well worth more than the price of admission.

Pyrat Rum XO Reserve

Pyrat Rum is brought to us by the Patron Spirits Company and while it is more than solely good marketing (if only a little more) it is difficult to decide what to do with this one. While it maintains the standard 40% volume alcohol this is a rum for those who like Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum without sacrificing any of the alcohol. Initially there is a lot of flavor going on for Pyrat, but about a half second after swallowing it dissipates into nothingness. There is a gentle lingering on the palette but not enough to call true ‘aftertaste.’ The most standout feature of this one is the perceived sweetness--diabetics beware! A 750ml bottle will set you back twenty bucks making the price right for the overall product. Drinking it straight is a little like taking a straw to molasses and enjoying the sugar rush, but if you're gonna party with fruity mixed drinks it blends well, taste great, and the bottle stands out on your counter top to give you a free conversation with any inquisitive females in attendance.

Verdict: I’d have to grade this one a favorable, “D+,” if such a mark were possible in school. As long as you know how to use it (mixed with sweet flavored fruit juice or any saccharine drink in general) things will go well, but woe betide any who go on a bender armed only with Pyrat, you may fall overboard.

Be sure to check back next month as I will bring you more of the best, worst, and the in between concerning rum: what you should be drinking.


Steph said...

Well, well... Even though I was genetically programmed to be much more into wine than into rum, like saint Thomas I only believe what I see with my own eyes, or in this case what I taste with my own mouth. In other words this post sounds like a challenge to verify your assertions by myself, otherwise how can I decide if I agree or not? Which only makes the whole being pregnant thing suck even bigger time than it does on any other given day. Thanks a lot.

Nile said...

Can you do a guide for Vodka PLEASE. I'm do want to sample all this Rum now but the bar where I'm "working" is 2 for 1 on red wine and beer so sorry. . . more wine for me.

Sorry I'm a child and mount gay makes me laugh every time. . .

Chad Hull said...

Steph, I'm sorry for your pain, literally and metaphorically; present and yet to come. However, I'm sure you see more than I that the day you give birth will be a liberation of sorts. "D-Day," if you will...

Until then I shall imbibe in your place. I seem to have a thing with inciting, a challenge, within your family.

Anonymous said...


@parridhlantern said...

Not a great fan of rum, though haven't tried beyond the generics, so am willing to learn as I did & now adore single malt whisky