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Reviews Rum Rum Reviews

Rum Review: Cockspur 130 Overproof Rum

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.

Cockspur Overproof Rum Label

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Press Releases Rum

Plantation Rum Releases Its First White Rum

Great news from the rum blenders at Cognac Ferrand — they're making a new white rum.

Plantation_rumThe spirit masters at Cognac Ferrand, producers of the award-winning Plantation Rum portfolio, have their own special twist on rums: cherry picking the very best aged rums from around the Caribbean and Latin America and bringing them to Cognac to be refined for a second aging in their own Cognac barrels, a technique only performed by Ferrand.

Now, for the first time ever, Plantation Rum introduces its first white rum - Plantation 3 Stars, named in honor of the three rum-producing stars of the Caribbean from which Plantation 3 Stars is crafted: Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica. Launching across the country beginning this September, Plantation 3 Stars (41.2% ABV) will retail for approximately $24.99 for a 1 liter bottle.

Almost every rum company offers a white rum. But Cognac Ferrand proprietor Alexandre Gabriel wanted to make one that stood out from the rest using aged and un-aged rums and the company’s exceptional Cognac blending skills.

Gabriel says “Most white rums on the market today are either too neutral and too vodka-like or too rough and rustic. We wanted a rum that shows character, elegance, complexity and a great finish – the ideal rum for cocktails. Blending is not a science, it’s an art because you are working with a product of nature. In Cognac, to become a great cellar master and blender it takes 20 years of practice and training. This is the know-how we bring to Plantation 3 Stars.”

For Plantation 3 Stars, Gabriel decided to use a 3-year aged Trinidad rum, carbon filtered to maintain its white color and to remove the heavier tannins while preserving the aromatics developed and refined by aging. Un-aged rums from Barbados and Jamaica are blended, along with a 12 year aged rum from Jamaica. The Jamaican rum is an expensive ingredient but key to the taste of the overall blend. Each rum in the blend brings its own characteristics.

Says Gabriel, “This is the beauty of blending. You can capture the best of each – Trinidad brings elegance and refinement, Barbados brings character and aromatics with fruit notes without being too heavy and Jamaican brings the funk, the touch that makes it a complete product.”

Tweaking the rum was a delicate process. In the end, Gabriel decided on an ABV of 41.2 percent. Says Gabriel, “I was dreaming about this rum and could mentally taste it before it was even made. We wanted character and personality, but didn’t want it to be too heavy because it our goal was to make a balanced and elegant rum exceptional for cocktails," said Gabriel. "We found the perfect balance for Plantation 3 Stars at 41.2% alcohol by volume."

The white rum category is a competitive market cornered by huge corporations. Gabriel notes, “We are a small artisanal spirit producer so from a marketing perspective this product makes no sense. But on the other hand, we felt that we had it in us to create a hell of a white rum and could not resist the creative urge. We really worked long and hard at it and the process was exciting for everyone at Ferrand. We hope Plantation 3 Stars makes people’s taste buds dance! After all, the work we do is for great pleasure – that’s what we’re all about.”

TASTING NOTES: Plantation 3 Stars White Rum

Keenly vibrant and well-balanced, Plantation 3 Stars displays the finesse and style of Trinidad and Barbados well integrated with the character and fuller flavors of Jamaica. On the nose it has delicate notes of tropical fruits intertwined with brown sugar and ripe banana. On the palate it displays subtle spices and floral notes with a finish of sugar cane and vanilla.

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Rum Rum Reviews Spirits Reviews

Rum Review: Cockspur Fine Rum and Cockspur 12 Rum

Cockspur_rumCockspur Fine Rum
Bajan Rum
Final Grade: B+
Price: $18 (750ml)

Cockspur 12 Rum
Bajan Rum
Final Grade: C
Price: $30 (750ml)

Barbados is the original home of rum, and one of the better known Barbadian (or Bajan) producers of the spirit is Cockspur. They currently make two rum expressions that are distributed in the United States: Cockspur Fine Rum and Cockspur 12.

Both of these are gold or amber rums, distilled from fermented molasses. They are typical of the Bajan style: more dry than sweet, with a toasty, floral aroma.

Cockspur Fine Rum is the "entry-level" bottling. It is lighter in color than the Cockspur 12, and has a spicy, brown sugar smell. Its taste is smooth, with an initial burst of caramel, followed by a dryer flavor of oak. The finish lingers a bit on the tongue, with a nice, tingling presence, but not an overhwhelming amount of heat.

Although the Cockspur Fine is primarily intended as a mixing rum, it was still quite suitable for sipping neat. It would go well with a little Coke or ginger beer, if you'd like something on the sweet side. I mixed it in a Daiquiri and it was delicious. A very sold rum, especially for the price.

The Cockspur 12 Rum, however, did not accord itself so well. When compared to the Fine Rum, I found it lacking in most ways.

The Cockspur 12 starts off well. It is beautiful in the glass, a gorgeous dark amber color with medium body. Its smell is close to the Fine Rum: brown sugar and alcohol with a little oak. Once I took a sip, however, the disappointment set in.

This rum was very hot and rough for a blend of spirits aged so long. (Cockspur 12 is made from the oldest rums in the distillery. It is not technically a 12-year-old spirit, but some of the rums in it are that old.) The flavor is dry and oaky, with a touch of vanilla. There is almost no sweetness to this rum. It has a bitter, almost leathery flavor that I didn't care for.

Even after some time in the glass, I found it less than ideal for sipping. I did try mixing it in a cocktail — a Daiquiri, naturally — and it was very tasty like that. However, a rum like this has to rise or fall when drunk on its own.

The Cockspur 12 does have some things to recommend it. It has a lot of complexity to its flavor profile — there's a lot going on here — and a long finish. If you're used to drinking single malt Scotch, this is a rum you might like to try. For my taste, however, I'll be reaching for a different bottle.

Report Card: Cockspur Fine Rum

Quality Grade: B+
Value Grade: B+
Final Grade: B+

Report Card: Cockspur 12 Rum

Quality Grade: C-
Value Grade: C+
Final Grade: C