Spiced Rum Round 2 – Captain Morgan (Champ) VS Devil’s Triangle (Challenger)

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Welcome to Round 2! Tonight we have the previous champ Captain Morgan which I liked because of its mixability, up against Devil’s triangle which brings a whole different set of spices to the Rum arena. This time it’s an equal battle of 35%’ers. Check out Round 1 here.

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1) Original Spiced Rum – Captain Morgain (Diageo),35% ABV – 750ml, (Global), $29 CAD @ BC Liquor Stores

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  • blend of Caribbean and Canadian rum
  • lighter in colour, aged in oak barrels for up to 1 year. Caribbean spices used (wiki)

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2) Devil’s Triangle Spiced Rum – Independent Liquor (NZ), 35% ABV – 750ml, (Product of Fiji), ~$23 CAD @ liquor stores in Edmonton, AB

  • …a fiery blend of vanilla, butterscotch, cinnamon and secret spices unlike any other. (on the back label)
  • No product information; A Google search of “Independent Liquor Ltd.” points to their website but the rum is absent from their portfolio

Criteria

Nose:

  • Captain Morgan (CM) has a very clean vanilla extract nosing intermixed with bearable but apparent alcohol detection.
  • Devil’s Triangle (DT) comes out swinging with huge butterscotch but somewhat plasticky, in an off-putting way. Barely any nasal burn in there though, good job.
  • CM = vanilla+caramel, DT = plastic butterscotch. CM because DT’s plastic is giving me a headache.

Taste & Texture:

  • CM starts of watery thin, just like from what I tasted in Round 1. Flavour delivery comes in the midpalate with vanilla, cola caramel, nutmeg. It finishes with a medium top-of-mouth to the back of throat numbness. Too thin-bodied to be a sipper.
  • Devil’s Triangle, BAM! Instant sugar cane (6/10)-sweetness, even thinner mouthfeel, quick transition to the mids with a spicy heat tingliness, butterscotch backbone, caramel, cinnamon, nutmeg, tongue numbness, wet woodiness. It ends with a butterscotch exhale, light heat caramel finish.
  • CM = thin-bodied vanilla+cola, BM = bursting sweet spicy butterscotch

In a Rum & Coke

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  • Captain & Coke, super smooth, lots of caramel, lime peel bitterness, lime oils = clean and light.
  • Devil’s Triangle & Coke is immediate butterscotch, plasticky, caramel cola, cloying = has more flavour, but possibly offensive.

Final Notes:

  • Captain Morgan is smooth as usual, though safe and not groundbreaking.
  • Devil’s Triangle, decent as a sipper, too overpowering as a mixer.

WINNER = Captain Morgan, since I primarily buy inexpensive spiced rums as mixers, not sippers. DT isn’t good enough to be a standalone sipper IMO.

Spiced Rum Round 1 – Captain Morgan Original Spiced VS Sailor Jerry Spiced Navy

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The first bottle-vs-bottle this year, let’s get more in that we did last year! Here’s one that I’ve been curious about, spiced rums. Because every distillery has their own secret blend of spices, I’d like to find out which brand I prefer in addition to evaluating their base product.

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1) Original Spiced Rum – Captain Morgain (Diagio),35% ABV – 750ml, (Global), $29 CAD @ BCLiquor Stores

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  • lower ABV at 35%
  • blend of Caribbean and Canadian rum
  • lighter in colour, aged in oak barrels for up to 1 year. Caribbean spices used (wiki)

2) Spiced Navy Rum – Sailor Jerry Ltd., 46% ABV – 750ml, (Edison, New Jersey, USA), $31 CAD @ BCLiquor Stores

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  • company founded by Ed Hardy and Mike Malone, protégés of tattoo artist Norman Keith Collins, whom is also known as Sailor Jerry
  • Caribbean rum with spice, caramel, and other natural flavours

Criteria

Nose:

  • Captain Morgan (CM) consists primarily of vanilla and augmented by caramel’d cola/root beer notes. Low-med alcohol detection.
  • Sailor Jerry (SJ) has a much meatier molasses-caramel character but much more aggressive nasal burn alcohol detection, no doubt due to its higher ABV.
  • CM = mellow vanilla BM = nasal burn thick caramel. CM for ease of mixing due to less alcohol detection.

Taste & Texture:

  • CM is very thin on the palate, just slightly thicker than water and with a bit of oil. The Captain brings forth a lot of vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and light caramel backbone. Alcoholic heat is on the high end and goes down to the throat, leaving the top and sides of the tongue medium numb.
  • The Sailor is definitely thicker. Almost immediate tongue numbness after the initial few seconds, caramel, nutmeg, sharp alcoholic heat, intense throat numbness, vanilla-caramel exhale.
  • CM = light-bodied vanilla smooth, BM = alcoholic heat/throat burn, big caramel+vanilla

In a Rum & Coke

  • Captain & Coke is very smooth with mildly enhanced sweetness, cane sugar, lime juice profile.
  • Jerry & Coke is not quite a smooth but with more malty caramel, lime peel bitterness, and light alcohol hit in the finish.

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Final Notes:

  • Captain Morgan for a smoother, sweeter, stealthier cocktail.
  • Sailor Jerry for a richer, caramel, alcoholic beverage.
  • Neither as sippers. CM too light. SJ too rough.

WINNER = Captain Morgan (based on Rum & Coke mixability)

Malibu Sundae and Berrylicious flavoured Rums (ON, Canada)

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Malibu flavoured Rum – Hiram Walker (Ontario, Canada)

  1. Sundae – Chocolate Ice Cream (and the base coconut): Rating: C
  2. Berrylicious – Strawberries & Whipped Cream (and coconut): Rating: D+

1.) Sundae – Chocolate Ice Cream (LEFT), 21% ABV, 750ml

Ingredients: rum, sugar/glucose-fructose, water, VODKA, IMITATION CHOCOLATE FLAVOUR, IMITATION CREAM FLAVOUR, coconut flavour, sodium citrate, citric acid, WINE, colour, gum arabic.

  • Taste Profile: rum sweetness -> nutty chocolate/cacao -> alcohol warmth/cloying/cacao exhale finish.
  • Where I got it: Port Moody Liq Store
  • How much: $30, August 2013
  • Do I love this enough to buy it again: nope
  • Would I recommend this to mixologists: maybe as a substitute for creme de cacao

Visual: Rum+vodka+wine?? plus 2 imitation flavours… Also, really crap quality screw cap. Pours clear light brown, not really chocolate colour at all.

Nose: Very nutty (peanut-coconut), sugary sweet. Subsequent nosings detect waffle cone and creme de cacao, in an artificial way.

Attack: watery viscosity, 9/10-rum sweetness

Mid-palate: half-bitter almost chocolate, fake (thin-bodied) cacao with coconut, hints of sourness

Finish: alcohol warmth, artificial cacao exhale, light-medium cloying finish with medium length.

Summary: It’s all artificial but not necessarily bad. There’s some shades of chocolate there but not a whole lot of ice cream. It’s not offensive by any means and is quite drinkable by itself. It’ll probably work okay as a mixer too, but don’t expect top tier cocktails. I find it tastes similar to a creme de cacao but not as sweet.

2.) Berrylicious – Strawberries & Whipped Cream (RIGHT), 21% ABV, 750ml

Ingredients: rum, sugar/glucose-fructose, water, VODKA, IMITATION CREAM FLAVOUR, NATURAL STRAWBERRY FLAVOUR, coconut flavour, sodium citrate, citric acid, WINE, malic acid, colour.

  • Taste Profile: sweet cherry -> fake strawberry/nasal tingly -> coconut nuttiness/warmth/long warm finish.
  • Where I got it: Port Moody Liq Store
  • How much: $30, August 2013
  • Do I love this enough to buy it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to mixologists: no

Visual: Same deal but “natural” instead of imitation strawberry flavour, plus malic acid and no gum arabic. Pours candy reddish-orange, more appealing than the chocolate.

Nose: strawberry candy, same nutty coconut, but with some astringent alcohol + minor nasal burn in there

Attack: 9/10-candied sweetness, CHERRY

Mid-palate: gets progressively sweeter, fake candied strawberry, nasal tingliness

Finish: coconut nuttiness, deepthroat alcohol warmth, PLASTIC, long warm finish.

Summary: The flavours here are all over the place. There is fake strawberry, ZERO whipped cream, and some coconut. It’s okay as a shot, and possibly as a mixer if you are okay with artificial flavours.

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Flor de Cana Extra Dry White Rum (Nicaragua)

Flor de Cana Extra Dry, 40% ABV – 750ml, (Nicaragua)

  • Style: White Rum (slow-aged 4 years)
  • Best in Class 2009 Int’l Wine & Spirits London
  • My Rating: C
  • Taste Profile: Caramel/plastic -> vanilla/coconut -> alcohol burn/funk -> spiciness
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores (no longer available since 2012)
  • How much: $22, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: only if cocktail specific
  • Would I recommend this to rum aficionados: not quite

Tasting notes: pours clear as water. Cane sugar mixed with a medium heavy ethyl alcohol burning presence. Medium sweetness (5/10) with a caramel yet somewhat unpleasant plasticky taste, traces of vanilla and coconut (as advertised) with a hint of spiciness at the finish. Lots of alcohol burn and funk in the mids and finish. Medium complexity, averaqe smoothness, average sippability. Not exactly smooth but does have interesting flavours.

Appleton Estate White Rum (Jamaica)

Appleton Estate White Rum, 40% ABV – 1.14L, (Jamaica)

  • Style: White Rum (aged in SS or plain oak casks for a short while)
  • My Rating: B-
  • Taste Profile:
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $36, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: maybe/mixer
  • Would I recommend this to rum aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours crystal clear. Brown sugar, sugar cane and light molasses on the nose. Burst of caramel sweetness (6/10), hints of chocolate & cinnamon, transitioning into a burst of warmth, and medium tingly alcohol burn. Medium complexity, good smoothness, good sippability. Quite nice for their cheapest rum.