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Rum Review: Cruzan Single Barrel Rum

 
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How do you rate Cruzan Single Barrel Rum (5 is best)?
5
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
4
40%
 40%  [ 2 ]
3
40%
 40%  [ 2 ]
2
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
1
20%
 20%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 5

Author Message
Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot


Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 3474
Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 8:26 am    Post subject: Rum Review: Cruzan Single Barrel Rum Reply with quote

Cruzan Single Barrel Rum: "Sunday Morning Vanilla Pancakes"

I'd been avoiding buying CSB for some time as it is getting toward the upper end of my preferred $20-30 price zone. But the many reviews finally wore me down, I simply loved Cruzan's Estate Diamond (perhaps now discontinued, shit!), and yup, I bought one. And I'm glad I did.

I do like a nice sip of rum on certain mornings while Sue Sea sleeps in. I get a chance to watch the news, put my feet up and relax before the business of the day. On this particular day Sue Sea stumbled out, making her usual beeline for the coffeepot and exclaimed "So you're having pancakes this morning?". "What?", I replied "heck, no". Turns out she had smelled the wonderful aroma of vanilla throughout the house, and figured I was making my famous vanilla pancakes. Wrong.

It was Cruzan Estate Single Barrel. With no further ado...

Sue Sea

Quote:
Single Barrel comes in yet another attractive, pebble grained bottle and label with a nice sailing ship logo. The aroma was wonderful - an orange/apricot butter-cream vanilla-icing. Like baked brown sugar. Also a bit of pepper, butterscotch and toffee, and a hint of cherrywood or oak. Single Barrel tastes like its aroma - like an apricot vanilla cream icing, spicy, peppery and clovey. Its finish is nicely lingering, which I like, smooth and peppery.


Me:

Through their Estate Diamond (5 year) and Single Barrel, I have come to appreciate and respect Cruzan. Single Barrel is a fine rum. I found the aroma to be a pleasant deep and sweet apricot-vanilla, with a hint of leather and oak. Its taste is consistent and balanced with developing oak, pepper and an ending astringency. The finish is mixed, with early short pepper leading to a slightly sweet leathery aftertaste.

I can see this rum with a nice medium cigar, lit by a Chica with attitude (and back), lol. A good buy.

Rating (10 is best): 8.


Update!

This was a very early review, upon revisiting it (and the newer style bottle, a 6 or 7 at best, see here:

http://rumproject.com/rumforum//viewtopic.php?t=1014
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Last edited by Capn Jimbo on Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:23 am; edited 4 times in total
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot


Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 3474
Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:49 am    Post subject: A smoldering question... Reply with quote

A Smoldering Question...



Smoky taste reported by reader?

After tasting perhaps 60 or so rums, Sue Sea and I have come to have a certain confidence in our experiences. We work hard to provide accurate and accessible reviews. To be sure I went to my go to sources: BTI, Bilgemonkey, RnD, El Machete, Scotte's, Vices, and Dood - and even some of my secondaries: the Minisnobbery, Spirits Review and e-Opinions (occasionally some great reviews here). The result:

No smoke, not even a whiff.

One good resource (Scotte) did mention he found Single Barrel did vary occasionally. But still, no smoke. And it's very, very hard to attribute your experience from heavy charring of the barrels. Actually most rums are finished and aged in heavily charred oak barrels. This is truly an art, with different woods, different levels of charring and/or toasting, different seasoning methods and materials, different fills (first, second, third, etc.), et al.

There is a TON of research on especially oak (and the levels of charring) and the contribution to taste. I have long considered that charring is done not to produce smokey flavor, but has two primary functions. First, to remove some unwanted components (esp. sulfur) and like all charcoal, to clarify. Heavy charring tends to create the most surface area for this. And second, to reduce access to the oak (to avoid too much oak effect).

There is some indication that charring MAY impart some mild smoky undertones, but this is not generally accepted information. To be sure I went to the mountain...

One special resource I've used is the master blender of a fine Barbadian rum (you would know the name) with whom I have a bit of relationship. You can trust he knows his oak. When queried about this he confirmed my research and understanding (above) and stated:

Quote:
Most spirits are done in charred (generally heavy) barrels. The principle reason is the remarkable ability of the char to absorb undesirable compounds in the spirit, principally organic sulphur compounds. You are also correct that the "wood" will be "less aggressive" the more charred the barrel.

Yes, you are correct the charring does not give a smokey flavour. The barrels so seasoned should not get a smokey flavour directly from the barrel. In fact, much of the smokey flavour in a rum comes from being seasoned in bourbon which has a characteristic smokey flavour.


This is only a small part of his extensive answer (which I will publish later). It has become clear to me just how complex and studied the subject of barrel aging in oak is. Tremendous amount of science, yet still an art to a large degree. So many variations and combinations possible. The blenders who get it right are worth their weight in gold.

Last is this notion: blenders are fanatical about their barrels and product. There are such things as "bad barrels" and these, and the rum they carried are destroyed. It is not very likely that a bad rum would slip through. But of course this is not impossible, just very, very rare. I've looked at thousands of bottles and did find two with notable color differences.

So it can happen.

The rum you tasted and noted is so far different from the general consensus that I really have to wonder what really did happen? It reduces to:

1. counterfeit
2. palate
3. choice of tasting descriptors
4. master blender was on vacation and the clean up crew missed one.

In any case, this tasting would appear to be an aberration. I wouldn't give up on CSB just yet - perhaps you should try a fresh bottle...
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Last edited by Capn Jimbo on Tue May 14, 2013 5:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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RT
Quartermaster


Joined: 08 Dec 2008
Posts: 113
Location: Erie PA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just a bit confused here.

You have a review of the Cruzan Estate Diamond 5 year aged in the Cuban style rum section. And you have a review of the Cruzan Single Barrel here in the Jamaican style rum section.

Now I agree wholeheartedly with your review and assessment of the ED5, and enjoy it very much. In fact, when I heard it was being discontinued, I ran out and grabbed the last 5 bottles of it at my local store.

I'm not so much a fan of the SB. Perhaps I am biased because the price nearly doubled, for what I see to be a very similar product. Even in a blind tasting, I detect a lighter body and less intense rum flavors with the SB, which my guess is a result of the purported 3 year aging (vs. 5 on the ED5).

Anyway, if the ED5 product is Cuban style and the SB is newer and lighter, what is it that in your opinion causes it to be more representative of Jamaican style rum?

Or do I have it backwards? Should they both be Jamaican style? They do both seem substantially fuller flavored than my Havana Club 7 Cuban reference rum.
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot


Joined: 11 Dec 2006
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Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:52 pm    Post subject: Good eyes, er, tongue... Reply with quote

Good eyes, er, tongue...

RT, I appreciate the observation. I gotta admit that a number of rums may well be miscategorized. These may be some of our earliest assignments, or just plain mistakes. Keep in mind that I am The Compleat Idiot, and as such am permitted horrendous deviations.

Sue Sea and I will revisit the Cruzans, thanks very much. BTW, the Single Barrel is reported to be a blend of 4 to 12 year rums and is an older, heavier, fuller bodied product than the ESD. Dave Broom considers the Single Barrel the "spiciest of the (Cruzan) range". He felt it was fuller and more complex.

Thanks for your observation, it may well be this rum may actually fit much better in the Demeraran style. As for the discontinued Estate Diamond, this too will be revisited and moved. My apologies.
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Last edited by Capn Jimbo on Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:43 am; edited 3 times in total
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RT
Quartermaster


Joined: 08 Dec 2008
Posts: 113
Location: Erie PA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting.

Perhaps I got a bottle from another of those off barrels, like Mr. Myers.

My bottle of SB is definitely lighter in color and taste than my ED5.

Guess I'll have to get another one (after I finish drowning this one in diet coke).

And if the SB is indeed darker and richer than the ED5, that could explain your Cuban / Jamaican distinction.
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot


Joined: 11 Dec 2006
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Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is really quite interesting. I'm beginning to wonder whether our bottle is an abberation (a good one). I know that Scotte (linked at the main site) said he'd noticed some bottle-to-bottle differences.

Sue Sea and I will retaste our current bottle soon, any minute now, lol. After we retaste the Barbancourt Estate Reserve against the 3/5 stars. After we...

Too much rum, too little time. Darn the flu!
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sleepy
King of Koffee


Joined: 13 Nov 2012
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Location: Atlanta and points south

PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although I am quite fond of this rum, it's been quite a while since I tasted it (and a good while longer given the subsidy situation). IIRC, I did note a certain very mild smokiness in an otherwise light, almost gentle rum.

Just a thought on smoke flavor - in malts, the smoky flavor Islays comes from the slow oasting of the grain (think SC BBQ) behind peat fires. In mescal and tequila, it's from the smoke roasting of the agave root balls behind tropical oak fires. Is it feasible to smoke roast cane in the process of extracting cane juice/ molasses?
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot


Joined: 11 Dec 2006
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Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smokiness...


An excellent question. Like you we adore peaty and smoky whiskies, particularly (but not exclusively) of the Islays. Although the smoking of molasses is extremely rare (I recall a small distiller who smoked his molasses), some smokiness may be attributed to the charring of barrels.

Still, the basis of all rum is sugar cane whose harvest still includes the burning of the fields to prepare the fields for harvest by machetes. The burning is intended to remove the leaves, and to get rid of poisonous snakes.

(Credit: http://factsanddetails.com/world.php?itemid=1569)

I have also seen the reference to the "steaming and smoking" of molasses to create brown sugar. Although large scale sugar cane harvest is more and more being done by huge harvesting machines, a Cuban resource (2012) states that hand harvesting (preceeded by burning the fields) still accounts for half of all production.

(Credit: http://knowaboutcuba.com/2012/01/a-look-at-the-sugar-cane-and-rum-industry/)


A minor point?

Ask yourself this: Is it the smoking or what you smoke it with?

Answer: both. Chef Kevin would have hastened to point out that liquid smoke is made from a variety of woods for a variety of effects. Those who grill can tell you the differences between mesquite and say hickory or cherry. Big differences! The Islays malted grains are dried over peat smoke and I have no doubt that it is the peat that makes the difference.

Homedistillers has suggested adding a bit of liquid smoke to new make or young whiskies and rums, something we all could try...
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