captain morgan black spiced rumCaptain Morgan Black Spiced Rum launched in April 2012 with a lot of fanfare. In addition to the very visible advertising campaign, the “darker, bolder” rum sports a higher proof and a more sophisticated package for an overall grownup feel. The price point is a few dollars more than the original, and the brand is targeting mature drinkers looking for a solid, well-rounded rum, rather than a sugary-spicy mixer for Coke. This is even hinted at on the bottle, which lists a handful of ingredients —  blackstrap rum, cloves and cassia bark — and champions the double charred blackened oak barrels used to age the rum. Those words evoke feelings of “discerning drinker,” rather than “shots!”

That said, let’s see how they did.

On the nose, Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum is full of vanilla, buttercream and molasses, and is surprisingly light on the nose considering its higher proof. The spice notes are mostly muted here, as the sweeter elements really come through. The entry starts off sweet, with spice notes building toward the mid-palate. The sweetness quickly fades as cloves, cinnamon and dry oak trump the vanilla. It finishes very smooth, coaxing out the vanilla from hiding, plus some more spices and a slight bitterness, presumably from the cassia bark. It remains easy drinking from start to finish, with enough heat to remind you you’re drinking 94.6 proof rum, but never enough to overwhelm the flavors. And the interplay between sweet and spice is balanced without being overdone.

With more nuanced flavors and a higher proof, Captain Morgan Black is clearly positioning itself as a sipping rum, or one to be used in legitimate cocktails. Whether whiskey drinkers will find this rum a suitable substitute in Old Fashioneds is yet to be seen. But with a more mature flavor and better packaging, Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum is certainly increasing its brand cache outside of the frat houses.

– 47.3% Alcohol by Volume
– $22

CE Rating: ★★★


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