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Comparison: Dark Rum Smackdown!

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What is your favorite dark rum?
Gosling's Black Seal
 0%  [ 0 ]
Cruzan Black Strap Rum
 0%  [ 0 ]
Coruba Jamaican Rum
 100%  [ 2 ]
Myers's Original Dark Rum
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 2

Author Message
Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot

Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 3499
Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 7:21 am    Post subject: Comparison: Dark Rum Smackdown! Reply with quote

It hadda happen...

We owned the three major darks - Gosling, Cruzan and Myers. And Coruba to boot. We thought it would be great to do a real tasting with these in both sipping and mixing mode. We first tasted each neat, and in just that order - there are reviews for each in this section.

We then decided to make a classic drink - dark rum and ginger beer. This classic drink is simple for even me: one part rum to two parts ginger beer. For the ginger beer there was no better choice than authentic D&G imported from Jamaica. We decided to add juice of half a small lime. That's about as "Navy" as you're gonna get. It was an interesting comparison. For the first time, these reviews will be presented singly as we mutually agreed...

Gosling's Black Seal
: the standard. This one was perfectly balanced with neither the rum, nor the pungent D&G ginger beer dominating. Smooth and refreshing.

Cruzan Black Strap Rum: Holy Moly, er Molasses, Batman! This version was all bout molasses. You like molasses? You'll love it. You don't, ouch!

Coruba Jamaican Rum: The reviews of Coruba presented this rum's very tropical character which was pleasantly evident. Despite the fact that, when sipped, Coruba presented as the lightest of the dark rums, it managed to make its presence nicely known over the pungent D&G ginger beer. Notes of tropical fruit, particularly pineapple, came through, as well as a mild aftertaste of molasses.

Myers Original Dark Rum
: Myers was another contender, but the astringent, slightly bitter tobacco aftertaste is evident, adding some slight sourness.

Bottom line:

Most rum drinkers will never perform a smackdown with darks, never even considering that they may be sippers. At least two of these are (see the reviews) and one of those is a very nice special sipper. Since none of them are at all costly, you can afford to own and enjoy them all. We have learned that tasting and testing so-called mixers is worthwhile, as they can surprise you. Moreover, you will become a better mixologist as you begin understand the rums's flavors and how they are then expressed in a mixed drink.


Of the four, two really can be considered sippers: Coruba Jamaican Rum and surprisingly, Cruzan Black Strap Rum. The latter was especially interesting as both Sue Sea and I see Black Strap as a very interesting, robust but not overpowering dessert rum. Compare to Brinley's Coffee Rum.

"Dark Rum with Ginger Beer":

The Gosling's Black Seal version stands the test of time: it remains the perfectly balanced standard. Still, if you'd like a little tropical flair, Coruba Jamaican Rum is a close and interesting second. Neither of us could stand the Cruzan in this mixed drink, better to just add from a bottle of food grade molasses. Hoo-ahh!

About Premium Rums

Just for the fun of it we made a rum and ginger with the wonderul sipping Appleton Extra. To our pleasant surprise the complexities of Extra made themselves known! Trader Vic Bergeron one of modern history's great mixologists, believed that great drinks were made with great rums. He had no problem using premium rums in his wonderful drinks, indeed he insisted on using only the best ingredients.

And one of more frequent threads you'll run across usually has to do with "What's the best mixing rum?", as if there really was such a thing. The myth is that somehow mixed drinks don't require more expensive, more complex and balanced quality rums. That the other drink ingredients somehow mask the fine rum which is accordingly wasted. Ergo, the "mixing rum".

Combine this notion with the consideration of expense and the rest follows. It's actually funny to see the same rum drinkers who have no problems adding super premium after premium rum to their "collections" but resist using one to make a great drink. And that the "best mixing rums" they expouse are those that are actually pretty decent daily sippers in themselves (eg Flor de Cana 4 Year).

Think about it. Flor is chosen over cheaper, simple "mixing rums - why? Well because there's more and better flavor in the drink - why? Well, because Flor is a more complex, more balanced rum. Taking the next step - to an even better rum - is easy. I rest my case.

The point: do try using one of your favored sippers in a mixed drink. You may be amazed how a quality rum comes through and improves your drink.

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