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Malkavian

Rum, rum....

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This is the one I got:

http://cocktailhacker.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/BlackStrap.jpg

Cripes, I hope Absolut didn't screw it up, because it's exquisite. I've not seen the "Navy" bottle before, but Pittsburgh also doesn't get fun booze like Blackstrap unless I go to the trouble of special ordering it from the state-run liquor store.

Of course, if mine's the new one as you're suggesting, I can't tell you whether it's an inferior product, since it's superior to not having blackstrap rum.


Edited by turkoftheplains (log)

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Yes that would be the new one, or so I think.

My "old" one looks something like this.

EDIT: Turns out my news is a few years outdated. Absolut has since sold it to Fortune Brands (i.e. Beam Global). It was Beam that chose the new labeling. I still cant seem to find out whether or not the taste is different.


Edited by Boilerfood (log)

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Either label, its a fine and very useful product.

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I've definitely noticed some variability in the Cruzan line: a lot with the light and dark, less so with the blackstrap. I'll try to remember to compare the older bottle I have at home with the new one at work.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I just got a bottle of Cruzan Black Strap. God damn.

It's not one of the gorgeous sipping añejos everyone else seems to be talking about, nor one of those oh-so-rare legitimate overproofs, but it is officially my favorite new toy. I am subbing it for every brown base spirit in every place imaginable and it is doing wonderful things for me.

That stuff makes a kick-ass Dark and Stormy. Just be sure to use a good Ginger Beer. I like The Ginger People or Gosling's. Turkoftheplains, if you're in Pittsburgh, have you had Jamaica's Finest Ginger Beer? It's made by Natrona Bottling. It's the "hottest" ginger beer I've ever tasted.

ETA: Cruzan's 9 Spiced Rum is really good, too. It blows away Captain Morgan or just about any other so-called spiced rum around (although Kraken's not bad).


Edited by brinza (log)

Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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Boy, choosing between the El Dorado 15 and Zacapa 23 year, that's a tough one!

First, because they are so different!

Zacapa 23 being a heavy, sweet rum and the ElD 15 being a bit lighter in character.

Both are fantastic examples of their styles, incredibly complex cane spirits.

As much as I love both, I think I would probably say the ElD 15 is the more useful all around rum, though I would be sad not to have a bottle of Zacapa 23 around for occasional sipping.

I was a big Zacapa drinker but El Dorado has become a go to rum. The 12 and 15 are both excellent and in my neck of the woods a bargain as well. Not as sticky sweet as the Zacapa 23 and way better priced. Another rum that has not gotten any attention here is the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva.

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So far my rum shelf includes Appleton V/X, Appleton White, Flor de Cana 7 year, Mount Gay Extra Old, Pusser's Navy, Gosling's Black Seal, El Dorado 12 year, Havana Club Anejo Blanco, Havana Club Anejo Reserva, Havana Club Anejo 7, Wray and Nephew Overproof and a bottle of Appleton V/X that I house-spiced just to have a spiced rum on the shelf. I realize this doesn't include any high-end expensive or really old rums and what the LCBO carries limits what it's possible to get (for example, the only 151 available is Bacardi and the only whites available besides the ones I already have are Bacardi and Captain Morgan). I'm wondering if this covers things pretty well for a start-up home cocktail bar. Are there some blatant omissions? Are there some blatant redundancies? I'm not concerned with $300 25 year olds and things of that nature and I know there are personal preferences that are going to differ from what I have I just want to have a decent range for mixing various drinks.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Are there some blatant omissions?

Agricole

Haven't found an option for one of those through the LCBO.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Tri2Cook, you should take a bow, given the limitations.

Thank you sir. That's encouraging to hear.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Recently, I discovered a wonderful British website which came up with the idea of selling "samples" online, so that you can try before you buy. Geneva being about as sophisticated about spirits as a Dubai housewife about Karajan's post-BPO recordings with Decca, I jumped at the occasion and rock-bottom prices (thank you New Labour for killing the GBP), ordered 10 scotch samples, and rapidly consumed them to my satisfaction (discovering that I prefered the easily available Buffalo Trace bourbon to the supposedly "finest bourbon" (Washingtonian says so) that is Rock Hill Farm.

My second order contained 19 samples (what, a French guy's gotta live) whose average age, if applied to a person, would grant them entry to an American bar (you guys have ridiculous age limits!). Of those, three were rums; after discovering the Ministry of Rum, my curiosity was piqued, and I decided to order two "interesting" ones and a classic. Please bear in mind the following review is done by a complete philistine to the world of spirits (as becomes abundantly obvious from what I write), and after just one tasting late at night in dry and cold Switzerland (as opposed to a warm Caribbean beach).

Ron Zacapa 23 year old. This is supposed to be the classic against which all other rums must be measured. I think that's just good branding - it's a bit like saying you can rate a Highland Park 20 year old versus a Lagavulin 16 distiller's edition or a PC8. Those spirits try to do completely different things!

Ron Zacapa comes from Guatemala, and has had a fair bit of marketing done to it. It's made from the Solera method of producing sherry, which means adding younger spirits to the barrels as they age to replace the "angel's share". It's a good idea, in my view, you get both the full body and presence of a teenager with the maturity, complexity and interesting potential of the older stuff. Bear in mind that Ron Zacapa has changed substantially over the years, and changes from bottle to bottle (so I hear/read/have been told).

My impression of the RZ 23 was fairly disappointing. This is an incredibly sweet spirit. Whilst the nose is wonderful after dinner (so long as your dessert was not too sweet and rich), I felt like I was drinking one of those sweetened rums handed out at parties. Yes, crucify me. For me this is not worth the price tag it reaches at least in Europe, nor the hype on rum forums and reviews. Perhaps my taste buds are just not there yet. In large part I think this is because I am used to the dryness and clean flavour profile of scotch, but I loved Angostura 1919 and Havana Club (international, not US) Anejo Especial (or was it the 8 year old?). By the way, those last two, or at least the first for you US residents, are great intros to rum (I have read that Bacardi has recently launched a competing Havana Club brand within US borders, which is markedly different, sweeter and aimed more at the mass market).

Now for the interesting stuff.

When I saw the bottle picture for the offerings by the Renegade Rum Company, I knew this was going to be fun. This is Bruichladdich-style new design, with care but without the flash that marks out certain other spirits as club-fodder.

I love special bottlings that have something extra to offer, and generally, any spirit that has the balls to stand out. After all, Diageo etc.'s main product lines are very good at the balanced and boring style. Why have a Glenwhatever when you can have a Port Charlotte or other Bruichladdich madness? (loved Octomore II, by the way, although it took me a while to finish) My drinking "account" is limited, I can only have so much scotch in a working week, and I sure will try cool stuff whenever possible.

I ordered two. One crazy one and one subtler, more complex and interesting sounding one.

1. Renegade Barbados Black Rock 9 Year Old 2000 - Château Pétrus Finish

Incredible. Simply incredible. This overpowers every single of your senses. The nose, the taste, the char, the afterburn, everything is just powerful but in a nice, balanced way. It's tasty, it's a challenge, it excited my brain, I'll buy a bottle, or would if they hadn't run out. Incredibly dry for a rum, similar to those I had from Havana Club. The Petrus is there, oh yes. Very, very there. This is berries, pepper, some hints of sherry, char, and a whole load of other things, but mostly excitement and a sense of amazement that someone out there cared enough to make this, and knew enough too.

This to me is like

. Powerful, rich, complex, well crafted, incredibly tasteful yet absolutely overpowering, pure pleasure to sit down, close your eyes and enjoy. Look how excited I am to talk about it. Try this rum!

2. Renegade Grenada Westerhall 12 Year Old 1996 - Château Margaux Finish

I should have had that one first. It was good, very good, well balanced (unlike the RZ 23), sweeter than the first. The story was in the nose and in the finish. This was a perfect after dinner tipple. I must admit I bought it because of Margaux. There's not much in the way of Margaux in that glass (unlike the Petrus overload of 1.), maybe hints if you smell carefully; but I do not mind, it works well. This, to me, is Schumann's piano quintet op. 44. Good, and interesting in occasions, but I generally prefer the

. I'll stick to trying Laddie's various experiments, which do the same job at 2/3 of the cost.

I'll be trying some more from Renegade. Anybody else experienced this brand?

I also had a Goslings, but it was as part of the Widder Bar's excellent "Nelson's Blood" cocktail. I do not usually go for cocktails which are shaken (the alcohol account thing; I'll have a clear cocktail like a sazerac with Van Winkle Special Reserve 13 year old over a daiquiri any day), but this one stayed in my mind. Grapefruit juice, lime and simple syrup, and something strong and powerful in the nose like Goslings. Give it a shot instead of your next Dark and Stormy!

Next on my list: Diplomatico, Renegade's rest of the collection, Angostura 1824, Cruzan...

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I, for one, agree with you on Zacapa 23. Nice enough, but too sweet for me to really enjoy.

If your website has them, do yourself a favor and try Santa Teresa and Barrilito.

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Are there some blatant omissions?

Agricole

Haven't found an option for one of those through the LCBO.

Hey Tri2Cook,

How close are you the the Quebec border?

Though the selection is a little thin at the moment, the SAQ's got La Favourite.

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Nurse indeed. WHile I have only had the 12 It is a wonderful spirit to spend time with. The taste and the aroma are head and shoulders above all others I have tried. And for just $25.00?!!

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I have the 12. It's available locally and the 15 isn't so I went with the 12 in the interest of ease of replacing when empty. Not $25 here though, closer to $35.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Actually, I was surprised by how tasty the El Dorado 5 is!

I'm not a huge fan of their white rum and I've heard the 151 is not very good, but other than those it's a very respectable company.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Hey Tri2Cook,

How close are you the the Quebec border?

Though the selection is a little thin at the moment, the SAQ's got La Favourite.

Somehow missed this. Thanks for the heads-up but I'm almost as far from Quebec as it's possible to get without leaving Ontario. I could probably walk to Manitoba faster than I could drive to Quebec.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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A friend is supposed to be taking a trip to Cuba in the relatively near future. Keeping in mind that I can get Havana Club blanco, reserva, 7 year and barrel proof through the LCBO, is there anything I should ask her to bring back for me? She offered but I really don't know if there's anything worth adding to what I already have or can get.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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How good of a friend?

running off limited personal experience and a bevy of Iberian internet shops:

For older fare:

- Havana Club 15 (though even for good friends, that might be pushing it) or Santiago de Cuba 20 if they can find it and price is no object.

- Santiago 11yr, Edmundo Dantes 15, Varadero Gran Reserva 15 & Ron Vigia Gran Reserva (18yr) are pricey but interesting buys (unclear on the local availability in Cuba).

- Legendario Anejo (9yr) can be found more easily, and is quite nice while being moderately priced.

Alternatively, I've had friends come back with an assortment of "cuban proof" (38%) rums that were inexpensive and delightful, though some were a little rough.

The folks over at the ministry of rum would probably be better equipped to comment on the relative merits of the spirits than I am.

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Thanks for the suggestions. I'm not going to say price is of no concern but it's of no concern to the friend. I'm paying for it, she's just the means of transportation. :biggrin:


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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At The Rum Project we have reviewed over 120 rums and I can tell you this: the best really don't have to be expensive. The following are all very fine rums and very low prices:

Cane juice style: Barbancourt 5 Star: $20 (one of the top rated rums in the world).

Cuban style: Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 15: $24. One of the best in its style class.

Jamaican style: Try Appleton V/X ($20) or especially the Appleton Extra ($32). The Extra is at the top of both Pacult's and Broom's rating. Ours as well.

Navy: Pussers Blue Label (about $20-25). The British Royal Navy standard and a wonderful classic blend of Jamaican and Guyana rums (and others). A true classic, very well respected. Sea Wynde is even better, and being closed out. Buy all you can.

Barbadian: Doorlys XO can be had for about $19 and is very well respected, pure and unadulterated.

Some special bargains:

Santa Teresa Anejo - $15 and hard to beat.

Rum San Pablo - cuban style, about $10, very well rated, great light rum.

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