Monday, December 27, 2010

Informal Spiced RUM tasting

With my family in town for the holidays, I invited my two brother-in-laws to join me in a RUM tasting. Since I had been drinking Kraken and Ginger Ale with dinner I thought I'd pull a number of Spiced RUMs out for us to sample.

I pulled out six Spiced RUMs: Seven Tiki Spiced RUM, Ron Diaz Gran Reserva Spiced RUM, Whaler's Spiced RUM, Kraken Black Spiced RUM, Tropic Isle Palms Spiced Cask RUM and Voodoo Spiced RUM.

Because my brothers are not regular drinkers I decided to keep the tasting informal. As we tried each RUM we talked about eachs appearance, aroma, taste and linger.

We were surprised by the lack of Spicyness with most of the samples. Only Seven Tiki and Kraken really showed traditional Spicy flavors while the Whaler's and Tropic Isle Palms were much sweeter than expected. All of the RUMs were good but none were truly great. We ranked them as follows:

1. Seven Tiki
2. Kraken
3. Whaler's
4. Voodoo
5. Ron Diaz Gran Reserva
6. Tropic Isle Palms

We all had a good time, got a little tipsy and I think my brothers have a better appreciation of RUM and eachs unique flavor.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Rum Of The Week

Okay, I am going to try and improve my posting rate here. Since I broke my ankle and leg back in May my RUM tasting and enjoyment was forced to dropped off substantially.

Well, those days are over and its time to get back on the horse. It is my goal to blog about a new RUM each week for the forseeable future. Many of my friends brought me new, wonderful looking RUMs from their overseas travels (16 at last count) and its time to start drinking.

I also would like to start a "Cocktail of the Week" here and I've even toyed with running through some bartenders guides ala "Julie and Julia". We'll see what I can come up with and have some fun.

For now, in my friend Bryan Dold's immortal phrase from hight school..."Later days!"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pirates, Privateers and Buccaneers

The South Carolina State Museum is currently hosting a traveling exhibit "Pirates, Privateers and Buccaneers". The exhibit includes a pretty cool "Rum Bar" display with a few large RUM barrels; nice!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rumrunners, Moonshiners and Bootleggers

Currently watching "Rumrunners, Moonshiners and Bootleggers" on History Channel. Enjoy seeing Gary Regan telling stories. My favorite part is when they cover Capt. Bill McCoy ("The Real McCoy") and his off-shore "Rum Row". It was a floatilla of ships hauling massive amounts of Bahamian RUM that offloaded onto "contact boats" to run the spirits to shore. McCoy, and others, efforts forced the rapid expansion of the US Coast Guard. Fun!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Celebrate National RUM Day Today!!!!

Today, August 16th, is National RUM Day and The Rum Trader hopes everyone will join him in celebrating the world's greatest spirit, RUM.

Break out the good stuff! Light RUM, Dark RUM, Gold RUM, Spiced RUM, Enfused doesn't matter. Mix up a batch of Mai Tais, Zombies, Hurricanes, Navy Grog, Planters Punch, Cuba Libre...heck, I suggest you have one of EVERYTHING!. Neat or on the rocks, sip some Mt. Gay XO, Angustura 1919, Appleton Rum 21, Pyrat, Brugal, Flor de Cana, Goslings, Barbancourt, Lemon Hart...the list is endless.

So much RUM for one glorious day! I hope each of you, from this day forward, will join The Rum Trader by celebrating this "nectar of the gods" every single day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Montanya RUM

Per my usual routine I did a Google news search on RUM and came across an article about Colorado based Montanya RUM. I've never heard of this stuff but it sounds very interesting as it is mountain aged and is a domestic rum. I need to find a bottle of Montanya for research purposes. Montanya markets two RUMs and encourage people to use their RUMs in more exotic cocktails.

- Montanya Platino Light Rum
- Montanya Oro Dark Rum

Monday, August 9, 2010

Cruzan 9 Spiced RUM launched

I missed this story a few weeks ago but I thought I would mention it here.

Cruzan 9's Blend of Aged Rum Infused With Nine Spices Offers Consumers a Premium Option

DEERFIELD, IL--(Marketwire - July 12, 2010) - Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc. [Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE: FO)], the leading American spirits company, and Cruzan® Rum, the legendary rum of St. Croix, today announced the newest addition to the Cruzan portfolio, a new spiced rum called Cruzan 9. With its unique blend of nine all natural spices, Cruzan 9 remains true to its heritage of premium craftsmanship, while confronting rum fans with a bolder, more dramatic spirit. The recipe is handcrafted by the Nelthropp family, who has been making rum on the island of St. Croix for generations. Made with Cruzan's award-winning aged rum, the result is a higher quality -- and more authentic -- spiced rum. Cruzan 9 will begin shipping to distributors in July and available to consumers at retail in August.

"Beam Global Spirits & Wine has a reputation for developing higher quality brands that shake up a category," said Amy Weisenbach, brand director, Cruzan Rum. "Spiced rum is one of the fastest growing distilled spirits, yet consumers didn't really have an option if they were looking for higher quality. The industry is full of gimmicks and pirates when it comes to spiced rum, but Cruzan 9 offers a 'real' rum experience."

Tasting Notes, Aroma and How to Enjoy Cruzan 9

80-proof Cruzan 9 has a bold and smooth taste and a rich amber color.
Nine spice blend includes vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, mace, allspice, pepper and juniper berry.

Taste -- involves complex layers of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, warm spice and toasted woodnotes with an intense finish that is slightly dry.

Aroma -- a robust blend of vanilla, sweet caramel and dried spices.
Cruzan 9 is best enjoyed with cola or by itself over ice.

In addition to representing the blend of nine spices, the name Cruzan 9 is a nod to the island, referencing its nine districts. Named for the people of St. Croix (Crucians), Cruzan Rum is synonymous with the spirit of St. Croix and the unpretentious and authentic rum life. The Nelthropp family, who has called St. Croix home for eight generations and runs the distillery to this day, handcrafts each of its rums with all natural ingredients and a five-column distillation process. Cruzan touts one of the cleanest rums in the industry with its low levels of fusel oils, a by-product of the distillation process which, if not removed, can taint the smell and taste of the spirit. Its quality is also linked to the aging process, with most Cruzan rum varieties being aged a minimum of 14 months and up to 12 years.

"Cruzan 9 embodies the spirit of St. Croix," said Gary Nelthropp, Cruzan master distiller. "We've balanced the blend of spices to create something that will be new to many spiced rum drinkers, but will feel very familiar to the people of St. Croix, who enjoy the bold flavor and kick of classic spiced rums."

Cruzan 9 Recipes

1.5 parts Cruzan 9
6 parts cola
1 lime wedge
Add Cruzan 9 and cola in an ice-filled pint glass. Garnish with lime wedge.

(based on the classic Bossa Nova cocktail)
1 part Cruzan Light
1 part Cruzan 9
.5 part DeKuyper Apricot Brandy
1 part fresh lemon sour
3 parts pineapple juice
Shake all ingredients with ice and pour into a hurricane glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a dusting of fresh ground nutmeg.

Pricing and Availability
Cruzan 9 is available at the SRP of $15.99 for a 750 ml bottle.

In addition to Cruzan 9, the Cruzan portfolio also consists of Cruzan® Aged Light Rum, Cruzan® Aged Dark Rum, Cruzan® Single Barrel Estate Rum, Cruzan® Black Strap Rum, Cruzan® 151 Proof Rum and 10 flavored rums infused with extracts, such as vanilla, coconut, guava and black cherry. For more information about Cruzan Rum, and for additional cocktail recipes created with the full line of rums, visit

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bacardi Test Marketing Seven Tiki Rum in Myrtle Beach, SC

Not many cool things come to South Carolina (where I live) so I'll admit that I was excited to see Ben Arnold Distributors selected to test market Seven Tiki RUM in Myrtle Beach, SC.

A friend of mine spoke to a MB liquor store owner about his store's huge Seven Tiki display and how the spirit was selling. He said it was flying off the shelf so I hope that means good things for new RUMs coming to my backwards state.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Malibu Cocktails - No Shaker Needed

Pernod Ricard has launched a new line of Malibu RUM ready-to-serve cocktails in a pouch. They're trying to create a viral campaign that is funny and pathetic at the same time. Hopefully the drinks are better than the campaign.

First up is the Porta Party Pro.

Next they've got the Shaker Shaper.

The videos show ridiculous cocktail mixing inventions that are supposed to demonstrate the utility of Malibu's three pre-mixed drinks: Caribbean Cosmo, Rum Punch, Tropical Mojito.

The RTS drinks come in "Convient eco-friendly 1.75L pouch with leak-proof nozzle" and are 15% alcohol.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Black Tot Rum - $1000/bottle

So today is the 40th anniversary of the British Navy stopping sailor's daily RUM rations. It is known as ""Black Tot Day". Apparently, Speciality Drinks Ltd. bought the remaining RUM supply from Navy surplus and has launched it for sale under the name "Black Tot".

Only 6,000 bottles are available which explains the ridiculously high price tag. You do get a black walnut box, sleek black bottle of RUM, a nifty history book and a "half gill copper cup".

It's a high proof RUM (108 proof) and could be tasty but I cannot comprehend such a high price. I'll stick with a good Mt. Gay Extra Old, Pyrat or Angostura 1919; all about $30-40 dollars.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Seven Tiki Spiced RUM

A couple of weeks prior to breaking my leg/ankle, a good friend brought me a bottle of Seven Tiki Spiced Rum back from his trip to Key West. Being that Seven Tiki is only available in California and Florida, I thought it was quite a nice gift for a RUM and tiki fanatic.

A month in the hospital and my new medication has prevented me from opening my gift. With my friend visiting last weekend I thought it would be good to pop the Seven Tiki open and have a sip.

While this isn't a formal review I will say I liked the Seven Tiki's vanilla, butterscoth smoothness with just a touch of fruit flavor (cherry, peach, maybe banana). Throw in the company of a good friend and it made for a nice evening. I promise to do a formal review soon.

Friday, June 25, 2010

TheRumTrader is down but not out

I wanted to post a quick note apologizing to everyone for my lack of postings over the last two months. In early May I broke my ankle and leg and have spent nearly a month in the hospital.

My doctors have advised me against consuming alcohol while taking my current medications so my RUM reviews will be slow going for awhile.

Luckily I've got some great friends who continue to bring me some great RUMs back on their vacations. I know of bottles already brought from Belize, St. Thomas, St. Martin, etc. I am a luck man to have such great friends.

I'll keep some updates coming on some RUM news including the on going battle about Diageo's move to USVI.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Four Square Spice Rum

I have to admit that I've had my bottle of Four Square Spiced RUM (Barbados) for a long time, perhaps two years. So I am not entirely sure if this RUM is simply light and delicate with only the slightest spicey tones or if my bottle has severly mellowed over time. I think the former is true because I want to remember noting, upon opening, that it's spice was minimal. That said, I liked this RUM.

The Four Square comes in an cool square bottle (see it's name) with a wax seal. The RUM has a appealing golden orange tone with strong, clingy legs. It's nose revealed a nice butterscotch fragrance with hints of nutmeg, vanilla and orange.

Without Ice: Four Square only had the slightest of burns with a sparingly light, dry aftertaste. While not very noticable in the taste, I did note a bit of spicey tingle on the tounge and palete; perhaps cinnimon?

With Ice: Yum. Adding a slight chill to the RUM defintely brings out more of the spicey flavor. Hints of light vanilla and complex herbals was unexpected.

With Coke Zero: Yikes, this is a disaster. Four Square is simply too delicate to mixed with something like Coke Zero; this killed all of the RUM flavor I was enjoying when it was on ice. No spice flavor and only the slightest vanilla notes. The RUM almost inhances the "Diet" flavor of the Coke Zero.
I would give Four Square Spiced RUM a 6.5 of 10.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bizarre Bounty RUM Story

Here's an interesting story: Nearly a year ago a couple, traveling from St. Lucia to London, befriend a fellow traveler who explains that he is over the liquor limit and requests that the couple take one of his bottles of RUM. "No problem", they say as they depart the plane and get into a taxi driven by another friend.

On their way home, in lieu of payment for the taxi ride, they offer the driver their newly found bottle of RUM; he accepts. The very, next day the taxi driver tragically dies of a heart attack.

Nearly a year after the cab driver's death, his nephew and his nephew's friend discover the bottle of RUM and decide to toast the dead man. Immediately after drinking their dedicated shot the two men fall over in near death. They are rushed to the hospital where they nearly die from cocaine poisoning. As it turns out, the bottle of "RUM" turned out to be LIQUID COCAINE.

After testing, it is discovered that the bottle contains almost 9oz. of cocaine dissolved into the RUM. Prosecutors quickly realize that the cab driver's death a year ago was also caused by drinking the "RUM". There is no way to prove that anyone knew of the cocaine or whom is responsible for it being dissolved into the RUM.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Coruba Dark and Spiced RUM

I ran by my local liquor warehouse last night looking for the Margaritaville RUM but they are not yet stocking it. I did make a couple of discoveries however. My best guess is that they were selling a few "sample" bottles of RUM they had in the back so I was able to pick up a bottle of Coruba Dark, Coruba Spiced and Horne Spiced RUM.

At $9.99/each, I thought it was a really good haul. I look forward to taste-testing these three soon. I need to go by again tonight to see if they still have the two "Rum Jumbie" bottles (Pineapple & Mango) that were also marked down. I don't know why I didn't grab those yesterday too?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Margaritaville RUM website updated

After nearly two years of rumors and an empty website, Margaritaville RUM has finally launched their website. While still minimal in content, they have added RUM descriptions, a few recipes and a distributor list.

Their RUM line consists of Dark, Silver, Spiced and Coconut. I promise to taste test them as soon as they become available in my area. I certainly hope they are better than the Margaritaville Tequila.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bacardi launches new "Rum History" videos

Bacardi has launched a new web campaign called Bacardi Rum and Family. Set as a series of video vinneats that explain Bacardi's Cuban history and the history of classic cocktails inspired by their RUM (Daiquiri, Mojito, Cuba Libre).

All of the videos are quite short, most around 30 seconds, but are done fairly well. My favorites are the one's that kitchily recreate the past "Prohibition", "The Original Daiquiri" and "The Cocktail Revolution". They don't make me want to run out and drink Bacardi RUMs but they are something different.

Unfortunetly, the videos leave the viewer with the impression that Bacardi is still distilled in Cuba with no mention of their move to Puerto Rico.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Cuban Special #2

Late last night while watching a moview I paused long enough to make a “Cuban Special #2” from Trader Vic’s 1947 Bartender’s Guide. It was pretty good. It had:

1.5 oz. Puerto Rican Rum (Bacardi Gold)
.5 tsp Grenadine (Fee Brothers)
.5 tsp Cherry syrup (my substitution for Maraschino Liqueur)
2 drops lemon juice
1 dash orange bitters (Regan's Orange Bitters #5)

Shaken over ice and strained. Not bad.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Caribbean RUM wars continue

Puerto Rico Must Open Books on Secret Rum Subsidies, Says Letter From Black Chamber of Commerce to Gov. Fortuno
- Governor Must Address Rumored Puerto Rico Payments to Rum Companies by Releasing Contracts, Financial Information

Alleged Hidden Payments Mislead Citizens and Lawmakers; Payments from General Fund Exceed Self-Imposed Cap

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a letter to Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno, National Black Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Harry Alford today called upon him to disclose his territory's direct and indirect payments and subsidies to its rum companies....

Monday, February 15, 2010

Admiral Nelson Premium Spiced RUM

Shopping for RUM, or any spirit, is the same as ordering a drink in a bar...lower on the shelf, typically means lower the quality. When I bought my bottle of Admiral Nelson's Premium Spiced RUM, I found it on the bottom shelf at the very end of the RUM aisle. Not a good sign for any distiller but a preview of what to expect from this RUM.

I won't spend long on this RUM because it is simply not worth it. It has a light tea color, smells like of mixture of chemical, leather, light vanilla and oak.

Drinking this straight was not a good idea. The initial chemical flavor lead to a slight burn and left me with the slightest spiced vanilla flavor. Adding ice removed the burn but seemed to enhance the "skunky" flavor. Adding Coke Zero did kill the chemical taste but it somehow managed to remove all of the Coke taste too.

Generously, I give it a 2 of 10. This "spiced rum" made me long for Captain Morgan's...never a good sign.

NOTE: I have decided to re-taste Admiral Nelson's because this tasting was done off the last drops of my bottle; not the first. I am concerned that the age of the opened spirit might have effected my review. So, I will be retasting this Spiced RUM in the near future.

Folly Cove RUM

I just read an interesting article about a new, small-batch RUM producer in Glouchester, MA...Folly Cove RUM.

"Produced from molasses, Folly Cove is fermented and distilled in Ryan and Wood’s alembic custom copper pot still. Once distilled, the rum ages in white oak barrels which adds a distinctive flavor. The rum is then bottled and labeled by hand.

The still, or the component that actually distills the rum, was custom built in Germany and its style has been appreciated for hundreds of years by manufacturers interested in hand crafted or small batch products."
- North Shore

Friday, February 5, 2010

Follow up to RUM bars - La Descarga (Los Angeles)

The LA Times blog covered the opening of La Descarga, a new RUM bar in Los Angeles. Sounds like the opening was to be appreciated...just look at the title "Opening night at La Descarga: Rum, rum and more rum"

Rum war threatens the Carribbean

I found this article quite interesting. The US Virgin Islands have used $2.4 billion in direct subsidies and other incentives to convince Diageo, LLC (Captain Morgan) to move production from Puerto Rico to USVI. USVI also firmed up their relations with USVI-based Fortune Brands (Cruzan) convincing them to stay in USVI long-term. Needless to say, Puerto Rico is not very happy with this turn of events.

The quote that jumped out at me. "The Puerto Rican delegate said that the Virgin Island’s subsidies are so large that, in the case of Diageo, the rum producer could manufacture a gallon of rum free of cost." Diageo is the 2nd largest RUM distiller in the world and now it can manufacture its RUM for FREE! Yikes!

The article gets kinda complicated from there but it's still worth the read.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Rum Bars

Here in South Carolina, the closest thing to a RUM bar that we've got would be Voodoo Tiki Bar in Charleston, SC. However, more and more RUM bars seem to be popping up around the rest of the country. I thought I would take a second to mention some of the great RUM bars out there.

I have been to Pat Croce's RUM Barrel, in Key West, FL. With Johnny Depp proportedly being a part-owner, this RUM bar is themed completely in Pirate's of the Caribbean. Ask to see the 120+ RUM book to choose your spirit or flight. Lastly, checkout the Pirate Soul Museum next door.

Cuba Libre is about to open their fourth RUM bar, this one in Washington, DC. You can also find them in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, and Orlando. Themed like Old Havana throughout, this RUM bar is a cultural party every day. Be sure to try their own "Cuba Libre" brand RUMs, distilled by Demerara Distillers.

Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grill on Sanibel Island, FL is another fun RUM bar that I've visited. Owned by author Randy Wayne White, the place is named after MARION "DOC" FORD, who is the hero and main character in several of White's best-selling novels. Huh, it looks like they've also opened a new location on Ft. Myer's Beach, FL too.

RUM Bar in Philadelphia looks to be a great spot to bring out the pirate in you. Their RUM list is extensive (200+) and they run nightly specials.

Other RUM bars I found:

Smuggler's Cove (San Francisco, CA)
Woody's Rum Bar and Island Grill (Baltimore, MD)
Mojitos Restaurant and Rum Bar (Los Angeles, CA)
The Volcano Room & Rum Bar at Bottom Lounge (Chicago, IL)
Rum Bar at Panama Hattie's (North Palm Beach, FL)
Cruzan RUM bar (North Palm Beach, FL)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ron Cubaney Anejo Reserva 5yr.

I actually bought this RUM a couple of years ago while in Key West, FL. I've held onto the last two drinks of this one longer than I should have, much to the shagrin of Mrs. The Rum Trader.

There are a number of things I love about this RUM: The bottle is tall and thin, they've included a "bottled" date, the RUM has a nice amber color and the label shows a turn-of-the-century photo of Cuba.

Like I mentioned above, this RUM has a nice shaded, amber tone with fairly nice legs. Pouring into my glass I notice the RUM has a nice smokey, slightly sugary aroma with no noticable alcohol smell; which is nice for a relatively young, five-year-old RUM. I also detected notes of toffee, orange cream and a light vanilla.

Without ice: This was a nice sipper. With a slight burn, you'll immediately notice the smokey, oakey, peppery notes. Yum! The finish is uniquely good with a slight citrus taste mixed with a mossy burberry hint. With ice: The burn disappears and the smokey, peppery flavor takes over nearly completely. Good!

With Coke Zero: I really enjoyed this RUM with Coke. I wrote down "silky smooth" and that about captures it. I taste the smoked barrel, the pepper, the carmel, the spice, etc. The linger here is most enjoyable with a mixture of carmel, toffee and herbal spice. Delectable: 8.5 of 10

Monday, January 4, 2010

Margaritaville RUMs coming soon! Finally!?!?

The Margaritaville RUM site has added additional details and descriptions concerning their RUM line to their website. Originally they had announced a launch date of Summer 2009 but until now we've heard nothing. I look forward to trying their four types: Dark, Silver, Spiced and Coconut. My expectations are very low based on the abhorent taste of the Margaritaville Tequila so I hope to find myself at least some what surprised by one of the flavors.

Bermudez Don Armando (Ron Anejo 10 Anos)

This is a fun RUM that my bestest friend Dee Sanders brought back from Dominican Republic for me about a year ago. I'm not sure if you can get any of the Bermudez RUM line in the USA; if you cannot then that is a real shame. The only information online I found for its distribution in the USA was over a year old and the distributor listed has closed its website.

This Bermudez Don Armando RUM was good but not great. I'll admit to having higher expectations for a 10-year-old RUM. It has a slightly spicey and smokey aroma but it also holds a fairly strong alcohol smell that came with those first sniffs; surprising for an aged RUM. I also noticed hints of carmel apple and a near Scotch smell.

My 2nd surprise from this aged RUM was that its not very good at room temerature. It only improved once I put it over ice and then again over Coke Zero.

At room temerature, Don Armando has a nice iced-tea color and has no noticable legs. The first sip starts with a light alcohol burn which is followed by an even strong burn. I was glad to taste that subsequent sips found the burn to be less noticable and the carmel, cinnemon and citrus flavor to be more noticeble. With a couple of ice cubes mixed in the true flavor of this RUM was finally unearthed. Here's where the Scotch flavor returned again with a stronger carmel but true Autumn leaf flavor on show. While of much lesser notes, I also caught waves of a spicy orange flavor which made for a very nice finish.

My last tasting found me pouring a couple of ounces of Don Armando over about four ounces of Coke Zero on ice. While I found this mixture appealing from its balanced sweetness and slightly dry flavor, I now could no long distiguish the RUM from the mixture and was only able to slightly detect the aromatic remnants of light moss. A middle of the road RUM; I give it 6 of 10.