Overproof spirits have been gaining in popularity over the past few years. Barrel-proof bourbons, Navy-strength gins, even 110-proof tequila are entering the market with regularity. But high octane rums have long been a staple on the liquor store shelves — with Bacardi 151 being the most notorious example — and are regularly drunk by the Caribbean locals.
Now Barbados-based Cockspur has entered the American market with their own version: Cockspur 130 Overproof Rum. How does it match up?
This rum is crystal clear, bottled straight off the still with no aging. Not surprisingly, it smells like ethanol — 130 proof is 65% alcohol — but not overpoweringly so. You can still smell a lot of sweetness, along with tropical fruits like bananas.
When you sip it, you notice right away that it’s strong, but you also notice that it’s full of flavor. Sweet with just a little spice, and lots of marshmallow and banana. Unlike some overproof spirits, Cockspur 130 doesn’t blow you away with its potency.
Whether or not you want to drink this straight depends on how sensitive you are to the fire of alcohol on your tongue. But you certainly can drink it that way if you want, and enjoy the taste a lot. It also has a great deal of potential in cocktails that I look forward to exploring further.
The most obvious competitor to Cockspur 130 Overproof Rum is Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum. They’re comparable in most ways, and while I haven’t tasted them head-to-head, I’m inclined to give the nod to Cockspur. A very nice, very strong rum.