It' s been a while since the last post, but rest assured that during that interval I was not idle. In fact, I was furiously crisscrossing the globe via my custom-designed jetpack. Why was I doing this? To scrounge up several more spiced rums to sample and evaluate, just like I did in part one and part two.
But enough chatter. On with the booze...
- Blackheart Spiced Rum -
Pirate, Boat, Map or Scroll on the Label?: Yes (pirate, scroll)
Overall Packaging Coolness: Medium/High. Ordinary clear glass bottle with a very cool parchment-type label depicting a sexy lady pirate painted in a retro pin-up style. It's a nice, fun design that puts a cheeky twist on the pirate theme that has become the standard for many spiced rums.
Spice-itude: Low/Medium. Mostly vanilla with a bit of caramel and an odd artificial taste that is hard to identify.
Coke Compatibility: Medium. Works somewhat well with Coke, and mixing it takes some of the edge off. The overall impression is that it's tasty initially, but the drink ends up being a tad too sweet and artificial-tasting.
Flamboyant Badass Quotient: Low/Medium. The label gets cred for the vintage pin-up, but the rum itself is lacking.
Another Round Likelihood: Medium. (But only with Coke or another mixer)
Overall Assessment: Aside from the label it's not terribly noteworthy, but you could do worse. Comparable to a mid-level rum dosed with vanilla extract. If you happen to trip across some, throw a splash in some Coke and call it even.
- RedRum VooDoo Spiced Rum -
Pirate, Boat, Map or Scroll on the Label?: No
Overall Packaging Coolness: Medium. Wide-shouldered, vaguely coffin-shaped clear bottle with label bearing a bamboo motif and stylized tiki in gold foil (And as we've established, gold foil equals class) Setting aside the fact that there isn't a direct relationship between tiki and Voodoo (as far as I can tell), the general impression is one of nonthreatening exotica, so it follows suit with most other spiced rums' packaging.
Spice-itude: Low. Faint hints of vanilla, butterscotch and cherry, but not much spice bite to speak of. It's borderline over-sweet but startlingly smooth and can be easily sipped on its own.
Coke Compatibility: Low. Much like some other spiced rums, VooDoo seems to make the Coke simply taste like a flavored variety (in this case, cherry/butterscotch) when mixed. It also leaves a stubborn aftertaste.
Flamboyant Badass Quotient: Low. The "party time!" bottle design plus the lack of edge and flavor would make it more at home in a frat guy's backpack than in the grimy mitts of a flamboyant badass.
Another Round Likelihood: Low/Medium. If I was specifically in the mood for a rum without an aggressive alcohol OR spice zing AND on the sweeter end of the spectrum, then I might opt for a second round.
Overall Assessment: A rum with training wheels? The perfect brand for someone who doesn't like rum? A good choice for those who find Captain Morgan too demanding? All are probably true.
Speaking of the good captain...
- Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum -
Pirate, Boat, Map or Scroll on the Label?: Sure. This is the iconic label design that launched the whole idea that pirates = spiced rum. It also launched a whole slew of imitators. I guess if a mischievous-looking, brightly-attired pirate can sell one rum, it can sell a bunch of other ones too.
Overall Packaging Coolness: Medium. Standard clear bottle with a label showing a jolly pirate standin- oh, screw it. You all know what it looks like.
Spice-itude: Low/Medium. For being arguably the best-known example of the category, it's surprisingly mild spice-wise. Not bad...just not remarkable in any way. The Budweiser of spiced rum.
Coke Compatibility: Since there are approximately 18,000,000 Rum & Cokes made with Captain Morgan every day, I think we can all agree that it works and move on.
Flamboyant Badass Quotient: I don't know why this didn't occur to me sooner, but I'm wondering if a flamboyant badass presented with his/her likeness on a bottle of booze would think it to be the Ultimate Expression of Badassery or merely a corny, pitiful transgression. I'll get back to you after I've given this some more thought.
Another Round Likelihood: Okay, why not? (But only with Coke)
Overall Assessment: Honestly, it really doesn't matter what I write here. If you currently buy the Captain, you'll keep buying it. If you don't currently buy it, you're probably not gonna start.
- Barbarossa Spiced Rum -
(I should note here that this product is identical to "Calico Jack's Bonney's Best Spiced Rum" except for a minor change to the label and a lower proof.)
Pirate, Boat, Map or Scroll on the Label?: Yes (scroll, boat)
Overall Packaging Coolness: Same as the "Bonney's Best" (reviewed here.).
Spice-itude: Same as Bonney's, but even less so (if that's possible)
Coke Compatability: Making a Rum & Coke with this is not so much, "I'm having a Rum & Coke" as it is, "My glass of Coke tastes funny."
Flamboyant Badass Quotient: You've gotta be kidding.
Another Round Likelihood: Nope.
Overall Assessment: I'm not sure which is the case, but either Anne Bonney found some weak-ass rum and beefed it up, or this Barbarossa guy watered down an already underpowered product.
- Whaler's Spiced Rum -
Pirate, Boat, Map or Scroll on the Label?: Yes (boat)
Overall Packaging Coolness: Low. Squat, clear bottle with minimal label showing an old-time sailing ship (presumably a whaling vessel). Combined with the bright orange neck wrapper, the overall effect is akin to a glass bowling pin on a hunting trip.
Spice-itude: Low. Difficult to pick out any specific spice flavors, but there is an unsettling taste I would describe as "buttery plastic" that tends to linger.
Coke Compatibility: Medium. Works surprisingly well in a Rum & Coke, but I wish it would cut through a bit more...it tends to get lost. Also, it imparts a strange, vaguely orange flavor, which is a plus if you like orange in your Rum & Cokes.
Flamboyant Badass Quotient: Low. Although the bottle shape makes it ideal to grab in a bar fight and break over someone's head.
Another Round Likelihood: Medium (But only mixed. And I'd want a heckuva lot of lime juice.)
Overall Assessment: Not the worst rum I've had, but I doubt I'd make a point of seeking it out.
Bonus item: There is a recipe on the back of the bottle for a drink called "Whale's Breath." I'm still undecided as to whether including a drink with that name will help or hinder sales.