Have you tasted your rum lately?

We all have our favorite spirits, but when’s the last time you tasted your favorite spirit? Not in a cocktail, but unadulterated, neat at room temperature. Even if you don’t normally drink spirits neat you might be surprised how the taste of spirits change. On the other hand, if you can’t stand to drink your favorite libation neat, maybe you should widen your horizons.

I’ve been a fan of Cruzan rums ever since I first discovered these molasses-based rums in St Thomas a couple of decades ago. The first thing I noticed was that even their cheapest rum was significantly better than those from the 800 pound gorilla distiller a hundred miles to the west. Then towards the end of the last decade Cruzan launched their Single Barrel Rum which was a little too dry for my tastes. Up until that time, Cruzan Estate Diamond Rum was on my short list of favorites, but the Single Barrel Rum lacked some of the body of this new addition to the St Croix distiller’s lineup. About the same time, Cruzan was blending some of the best flavored rums in the Caribbean.

Over the last five or six years, I tried Cruzan’s Single Barrel Rum at various tastings and events and noticed that the blend had changed and had gained some of the body that had been lacking in the original blend. In August of this year, I tasted the Single Barrel again and following the taste of Ron Zacapa Centenario, Cruzan’s flagship rum had become sweeter and actually mimicked the award winning rum from Guatemala.

I’m not suggesting that change isn’t good, but don’t think that distillers aren’t working to make their products more attractive to consumers. In the 1980s Mount Gay Refined Eclipse had lost much of what had made that rum so popular. Fortunately, that blend has improved and is now much better (it lacks the raw, sharp bite typically found in young rums).

Considering rum is aged in used barrels and the raw material source also varies, it’s not surprising that my favorite distilled spirit changes. Distillers typically blend many barrels in an attempt to maintain consistency, but changes are part of any industry. And like many other products, distillers have been known to bottle different blends for sale in different market areas. But every distiller bottles its best rums at the distillery for the local market.

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3 Responses to Have you tasted your rum lately?

  1. LynchMOB says:

    QUOTE:
    In August of this year, I tasted the Single Barrel again and following the taste of Ron Zacapa Centenario, Cruzan’s flagship rum had become sweeter and actually mimicked the award winning rum from Guatemala.

    I find this very interesting…. Zacapa is one of my all time favorite rums. Many times I have picked up the Single Barrel and looked at it. Thanks!

  2. Linda Force says:

    How do I get One Barrel Rum in Worcester, MA?
    thanks
    Linda

  3. Dan Carey says:

    It’s normal for rum blends to evolve over time. The blenders may attempt to keep a mark consistant, but their tastes will change over time. They retire ever now and then, or move to different distilleries. The ingredients used in distilling the rum will vary over time. The barrels used to age the rum change, too. What’s really impressive is that the consistancy remains as close as it does, year after year.

    One Barrel doesn’t have a wholesaler in Mass yet. I’m trying, but it’s going to take time. Until then, you can get One Barrel and many other fine rums from K&L Wines in California. http://www.klwines.com/product.asp?sku=1028839

    Dan

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