Picked up by a friend coming through Miami duty free as a bit of a joke (I hope) for the princely sum of $14, it’s fair to say I held little hope for this bottle and yet it somehow still managed to limbo under that very low bar.
At 35% ABV this doesn't strictly qualify as rum, but given it doesn't qualify as drinkable we can let that minor quibble slide.
The bottle insists it was established in 1893 but I can find almost nothing out about this rum online other than the makers website which, after invoking the usual hackneyed and cliché ridden imagery of pirates and carnivals, tells the reader it's made with "Barbados virgin rum with spices and natural flavours". I'm taking that to mean it was aged as long as it took the distillate to come to room temperature.
Once you pop it open there’s the obligatory cheap vanilla smell and such an overwhelming cloying caramel sweetness that you’re left wondering if there’s such a thing as nasal diabetes.
Tasting is just more of the same, vanilla and so much sugar you can almost feel your molars
dissolving with every sip, the finish is a lingering vanilla that will be familiar to anyone who's had a 99p cupcake from a petrol station.
Coke does improve things a little, offsetting the worst of the sweetness but it’s still pretty terrible.
Not every rum can be, or needs to be, a premium sipper, there’s a place for volume brands in the
marketplace and I've mentioned elsewhere how impressed I am by Captain Morgan’s white rum but
this just comes off as a lazy, cynical drink, created on a spreadsheet somewhere with the cheapest
ingredients that could be found and a general “eh, it’ll do” attitude.
Good rum doesn't have to be expensive, you can pick up some cracking bottles of rum for under £20
in most supermarkets these days, so, if you find yourself in Duty Free looking at a remarkably cheap bottle you know nothing about, do yourself a favour and spend the extra and get something genuinely good. Unless you know someone with a masochistic taste for reviewing ropey rums that is..