Monday, April 18, 2011

Blackbeard Spiced Rum: A Review


Blackbeard's Ghost & Blackbeard Spiced Rum
Blackbeard Spiced Rum

Origin: Destilería Serrallés, Puerto Rico

Age: Blend of premium Puerto Rican rums aged 12-18 months in oak barrels (infused with a secret blend of Caribbean exotic fruits and spices)

Strength: 43% ABV (86 proof)

Size: 750ml

Cost: Not available in WA State


In the Bottle: Your eyes are instantly drawn to the intense side profile of Blackbeard's head encircled in red. Reported for his strikingly large black beard, the cartoon is representative. Just below the plastic screw cap opening, Blackbeard (a.k.a. Edward Teach) is depicted wielding two swords and dawning a long jacket and boots almost as if guarding access to the spirit. The red, white and black color scheme is attractive with a Caribbean map in the background. Fittingly, the map starts at the top with Carolina Del Norte, Blackbeard's last stand and extends down to this rum's place of origin, Puerto Rico.

In the Glass: This rum has a light golden brown honey color with glimmering 22K gold nugget highlights. Upon tilting the snifter, the residual legs of the liquid are slower moving with little definition.

In the Nose: Assertive vanilla and caramel aromas dominate at first amidst a mild alcohol background. Further exposure reveals an underlying oakiness with softer details of ground cinnamon and clove.

In the Mouth: First, vanilla and caramelized brown sugar grasp the palate. A soft oakiness is apparent with rolling notes of clove and cinnamon to round out its medium bodied character. Refined palates may detect guest appearances of an elusive burnt nutmeg on coconut cream pie filling.

The Finish: Upon swallowing, a vanilla laden sweetness lingers in the mouth for a several seconds evolving into a mild astringent sensation pointing to its slightly higher alcohol concentration. Hints of black cherry cola follow a marked warmth that is experienced in the lower throat and upper chest as if ginger was in the cast of spices.

Overall Impression: Blackbeard Spiced Rum may be characterized as a medium bodied rum with large vanilla and caramel overtones among oak and other exotic spices. It is best utilized as a mixer and not as a rum to be sipped neat. Its bottle depicts a dark and feared pirate of a previous time and a fun piece to prompt conversation among history buffs, rum drinkers and swashbucklers alike. Despite Blackbeard's legacy, the price is not scary at all, for example at Hi-Time Wine Cellars a 1.75L bottle is listed for $20.99! Overall, Blackbeard Spiced Rum is a good value with iconic appeal bringing a unique story to the spiced rum table.


Blackbeard's Ghost

Spiced rums work well in certain cocktails and given the remarkable history associated with this label, a representative cocktail is required. Legend has it that after Blackbeard's death, a judge in North Carolina during the 1930s used Blackbeard's skull as a chalice to drink rum. Wayne Curtis's book, And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails indicates his skull may have been made into a base for a punch bowl at the Raleigh Tavern, in Williamsburg, NC. Well laddy, ask yourself, are ye a pirate or fit for the plank? The idea was appealing for this review, but where does one go to find a human skull (model) fit to drink rum from? Gargoyle Statuary in Seattle's University District is just the place to look. Caution to readers, the skull I used is meant as an art display only and not meant to drink from. Caution is just that and throwing it to the wind in my blog sails, I went forward. I learned that the local artist who made this vessel used an actual human skull as a model for the resin replica. The top portion of the cranium is missing, its internal cavity lacks a foramen magnum and is sealed. Perfect for a Blackbeard cocktail! I adapted Blackbeard's Ghost, a cocktail from Grog Log, a book written by the authority on all things tiki, Jeff "Beachbum" Berry. This well researched and insightful book of tiki recipes documents each cocktail in a fun, readable format. Here is my adapted recipe:

1 oz orange juice (freshly squeezed)
0.5 oz Falernum (John D. Taylor's Falernum)
2 oz sweet & sour (homemade)
0.5 oz apricot brandy (Dekuyper)
1.5 oz Blackbeard Spiced Rum
0.5 oz Demerara Rum (El Dorado 5yr)


The website for Blackbeard Spiced Rum cautions drinkers "to take four shots, but don't lose your head". If in Seattle, have a go at Blackbeard's Ghost in skull mug in the shadow of our own Queen Anne, minus the revenge.

2 comments:

  1. Nice to see the cocktail in the skull... what great attention to historical legend!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is very good. I like it equally or even better than Captain Morgan's.

    ReplyDelete