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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Drinks and Food » » Does spiced rum get an unfair shake?
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Does spiced rum get an unfair shake?
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 08, 2004
Posts: 328
From: DC Metro Area (MD)
Posted: 2009-08-26 04:44 am   Permalink

The Seven Tiki version of the Mai Kai Barrel O'Rum has a distinct vanilla flavor to it. While it's not the same cocktail due to the infused flavors, it is tasty in its own right. I ended up buying a bottle of Seven Tiki while in Florida because I enjoyed it so much at the Mai Kai.

While there is an understandable bias in some realms toward spiced rum (especially bad spiced rum), occasionally somebody makes a good use out of it.

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Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Oct 05, 2008
Posts: 933
From: Agoura Hills, CA
Posted: 2009-08-26 7:49 pm   Permalink

Personally, the biggest knock on spiced rum for me is that I'd rather mix the flavors (whatever they may be) myself into my cocktail. And if I'm just going to drink rum neat, there are better options than a spiced rum; like a rum that tastes like rum (perhaps Appleton Estate Extra).

So it's not so much giving spiced rum a bad rap as it is that it just sits unused in my bar. If one enjoys it, they should drink it! And to the previous poster that mentioned the bottle design of Voodoo, yeah it does look nifty on the shelf.


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 27, 2009
Posts: 176
From: Clearwater, FL
Posted: 2009-09-29 8:22 pm   Permalink

I am in somewhat of agreement with Suffering Bastard of Stumptown, although not only do I like the Voo Doo bottle, I also enjoy the taste in certain mixes. Voo Doo would be my spiced rum of choice.

Sailor Jerry, is nothing special flavor wise, although 92 proof doesn't hurt (or does it?).

Other than those two, your bar really doesn't need any other spiced rum, but the experiment continues.

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Site Administrator

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 3434
From: Redondo Beach, CA
Posted: 2009-10-18 1:43 pm   Permalink


On 2009-08-26 00:57, conchchowder wrote:
With the release, and shameless promotion at the Mai Kai, of Seven Tiki Rum, I thought it is time to re-visit this thread.

People are now ordering Seven Tiki Barrels.

I didn't care for it.

Your thoughts?

I haven't tried Seven Tiki spiced rum as I generally avoid spiced rum unless it is homemade. However, I thought their artwork better than expected.
Artwork here:

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Tiki Centralite

Joined: Aug 07, 2011
Posts: 66
From: San Francisco Bay, CA
Posted: 2013-12-27 10:39 pm   Permalink

I came upon this article (old thread!) when looking for other opinions about spiced rum brands out there. I just blind tasted 22 different ones to see which I liked best (without being influenced by the bottles). It turns out Chairman's reserve Spiced from St. Lucia was my favorite, but there were a few others that were pretty darn good as well, including Brinley Gold from St. Kitts, and Koloa Kauai Spiced from (duh) Kauai! If you're inclined to read about such things, the article is here: http://inuakena.com/spirit-reviews/spiced-rum-challenge/


Well whaddayaknow, I've started a spirits and cocktail blog called Inu A Kena

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 16, 2013
Posts: 630
From: Wolverhampton, UK
Posted: 2013-12-28 2:07 pm   Permalink

I have beef with spiced rum!

Having tried several different brands (Lambs, Sailor Jerry, Kracken), I haven't found any that shines as an ingredient. They all have a little too much vanilla & not enough kick when compared to a basic mixing plain white mixing rum. Neat or over ice they fair a little better IMO but they aren't something I have returned to so cant have been that great.

The spiced rum I have is what I offer when a non rum drinker asks for a 'rum n coke'.

Credit to tofukulele for his endeavours, Im glad to see all I have tried falling outside his top 10. I have no doubt that good spiced rum exists & (because Im a sucker for trying new things) I will investigate the higher rated rums when I see them!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 23, 2006
Posts: 464
From: Stuart, Florida
Posted: 2013-12-29 10:48 am   Permalink

I've never been a big fan of spiced rums. However, every time I receive a bottle (usually from well-meaning friends), I'll sometimes throw it into a cocktail along with another rum just for the hell of it. Sometimes good/sometimes not.
I did however, just purchase my first bottle of Kracken but only because it offered $1 off per gallon of gas.

I bet you feel more like you do now now than you did when you came in.


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2013
Posts: 788
Posted: 2013-12-29 11:29 am   Permalink

After reading this thread and tofukulele's post, it really hit me that I sorta shun the spiced rum as well. Maybe its more the stereotypical Captain Morgan stuff, because I do mix with Seven Tiki occasionally and I even have a bottle of Kraken in my bar, but its my "every day" type of rum. As mentioned above, its really the only rum I use to mix for a rum and coke.

So for me, I say get a bottle or two (I also like Sailor Jerry's) for a simple rum and coke mixing, but for cocktails I can't think of too many that require or rely heavily on it. There's so much good stuff out there to use instead!
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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2013
Posts: 601
From: Melbourne, FL
Posted: 2013-12-29 12:41 pm   Permalink

Not a huge fan of spiced rum either and usually do not keep any on hand. The exception to the rule so far has been Old New Orleans Cajun Spice rum which I thought was fabulous and would love to acquire another bottle. It has more of a cinnamon and apple spice profile to it and not just the over the top vanilla of most spiced rums.
"If you keep on drinking rum, the world will soon be quit of a very dirty scoundrel."
Robert Louis Stevenson

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Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2395
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2013-12-30 07:33 am   Permalink

I have a couple spiced rums in my bar, and there are times where I question their presence. But having said that, I can share the following personal observations:

* I find that Kraken must be mixed. So far I have not enjoyed it straight or on the rocks. Surprisingly good in coke, though, and that's why I have it. Friends who want rum & coke really like it, and it's a quick-hit combo at any party I'm invited to.

* Seven Tiki is surprisingly smooth and tasty considering it is a Bacardi product. Good for them for stepping up their product offering! I live 20 minutes from their plant and have met several of their employees, and they always tell me the company puts quite a bit of time and money into R&D.

* Sailor Jerry is one spiced rum that I have not had much success with. I have only had one single bottle of it and it's all gone now. I'm not feeling moved to buy another bottle at the moment.

My challenge with spiced rums is that I'm kind of in a rut where I use syrups and other things for flavoring instead of the spiced rums for flavoring. This does not make the spiced rums bad in and of themselves, except for the fact that some spiced rums are low-end with cheap or artificial flavorings. They seem as if they are sold purely to cash in on the spiced rum craze. Quality spiced rums are harder to find and, as other taste testers have said here in this thread, are probably lightyears better than the old Capt. Morgan low-end stuff.

I'm sure that spiced rums are a worthwhile study, and I'm going back to re-read tofukulele's blog article
http://inuakena.com/spirit-reviews/spiced-rum-challenge/. Without more research, I won't be able to get myself inspired enough to invest the money and the time when there are so many other cocktail options open to me for experimenting behind the bar. Nevertheless, if someone here raves about a particular rum, I just may run out and get a bottle. TC guides a surprising number of my liquor purchase decisions and tofukulele's blog may cause that to happen.

Jeff Berry once said at a Hukilau seminar that, at a rum industry event, someone asked him how rums could be taken more seriously in the world of distilled spirits. His reply was to tell them to stop selling crappy flavored versions of their products. I often wonder if the same is true for spiced rums -- stop making so many crappy spiced rums and educate consumers about bitters, syrups, and other flavorings which pair well with various rums. In other words, return to the roots of what people did in "the old days" when they made the cocktails which many of us on TC have rediscovered today. Now *there* is some solid and actionable advice for rum cocktail drinkers!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 1517
From: Tampa Bay
Posted: 2013-12-30 11:49 am   Permalink

spiced rum sucks, so No, it doesnt get an unfair shake.

with one exception- makes a great eggnog, better than any whiskey/dark rum/ brandy combo for the nog.

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Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2395
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2013-12-30 11:55 am   Permalink

But you wouldn't be opposed to just using a good base rum and then adding appropriate spices to make a kick-ass eggnog?

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1319
Posted: 2013-12-30 12:52 pm   Permalink

At some point in the past I liked Kraken. Recently I made a Cuba Libre with it, and suddenly it tasted horrible to me, with a very chemical aftertaste. Did they change their recipe, or is it simply that my tastes have changed? Either way, it seems that most of the spiced rums I have tasted have been pretty digesting. I think the problem is that I've only tasted the lower end products, which likely use bargain-basement rum and a chemistry set for spices. It's probably not something I'd likely spend good money on, since I don't really have a need for it. Let's face it, the only reason most people buy Kraken is because A) It's cheap, and B) It's got nice branding.
"You can't eat real Polynesian food. It's the most horrible junk I've ever tasted." —Trader Vic Bergeron

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Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2395
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2013-12-30 2:06 pm   Permalink

Kraken, to me, has a very strong flavor profile. While good with cola, I do not enjoy it neat, and at this time, cannot really see it subbed in a classic cocktail. (I haven't looked into it, so these are superficial off-the-cuff newbie-to-Kraken comments.) So the Kraken formula may be the same, and your taste may have stayed the same. Kraken is just very dark and bold, and that's not necessarily saying it is "good" or "bad." It's just different. I think you're right, based on what some others have posted, that higher-end spiced rums may yield a better impression. And I do have an unopened bottle of Kraken waiting for me to mess around with it just because it is so unique and strong and I didn't care for it. But I don't think that the only reason most people buy Kraken is because it's cheap and has nice branding -- I did taste it with cola and was quite surprised how well it "cleaned up." I was surprised that such an unlikeable rum when neat (to me) was so different and much more positive when mixed with cola.

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Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2395
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2013-12-30 2:15 pm   Permalink

Oh, on the subject of "spiced rum love and hate" -- we can't let the Austrians and their inland Stroh spiced rum not be mentioned here. Stroh is oft-hated, but I had my first experiences with it this year when I started making the Frankie's Tiki Room recipes from their new book where this brand is prominently invoked. Stroh 80 was too strong to drink neat. But Stroh 60 was a shockingly pleasant surprise. It's not at all traditional, and it has an interesting spiced flavor character which I really enjoyed. I have seen many posts describing it as "the worst of all rums in the world," but I can tell you it was a pleasant and welcome addition to my bar.

I am seeing, as I try more and more new stuff, that each of our palates differ depending on many factors. Therefore I won't look down on you for liking spiced rum. I do plan on trying some of the higher-end recommendations from this thread in the future.

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