Malibu Red is the latest product from Malibu Rum, whose flavored rum portfolio includes the original coconut, plus line extensions like mango, pineapple and banana. But rather than another flavor, Malibu Red adds silver tequila to the rum and coconut mix. And like last year’s Malibu Black, Malibu Red clocks in at 70 proof.
Malibu Red was created in partnership with singer/songwriter Ne-Yo. It’s becoming increasingly popular for an entertainer to back a spirits brand. Take Ludacris’ Conjure Cognac, for instance, or Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Tequila. Then of course, there’s Toby Keith’s terrible Wild Shot Mezcal. The good ones can exist independently of their celebrity endorser, while the bad ones (looking at you, Wild Shot) stick a worm in the bottle and set the category back twenty years. But back to Malibu Red…
Combining tequila with Barbados Rum and coconut extract is, theoretically, a difficult idea to grasp. Obviously, the market hasn’t demanded such a product. But when you’re backed by a celebrity – and muddling flavored rum with tequila – you’re clearly pushing the lifestyle angle more than what’s inside the bottle. So it’s with some trepidation that we cracked open our bottle of Malibu Red.
On the nose, there’s sweet coconut with a hint of pepper and agave. Take a sip and taste more of the tequila, which stands apart from the sugary coconut, almost like two drinks in one. The mouthfeel is viscous, and there’s an off-putting medicinal note that creeps out toward the finish. Overall, it’s a muddy mess of flavors, with neither the rum nor the tequila standing out.
That said, its sweetness, mixed with a mild tequila bite, might prove popular as a chilled shot or blended with simple mixers, and the website features a bevy of Malibu Red recipes you can try. Clearly the brand is targeting the nightclub space rather than the tequila or rum connoisseur. Malibu’s brand cache, plus the collaboration with Ne-Yo, has already resulted in lots of buzz, so we’ll see if Malibu Red catches hold and thrives.
Aside from the celebrity endorsement, Malibu Red has another thing going for it: zero competition in the rum/tequila/coconut space.
– 35% Alcohol by Volume
CE Rating: ★★