Review: Cockspur 12 Bajan Crafted Rum 89/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted January 10, 2012
Barbados is generally considered the birthplace of rum dating back to 1651 where the first recorded written usage of the word Rum Bullion appears. More than two hundred years later in 1884 a Dane, Valdemar Hanschell, founded a business in Barbados, supplying visiting ships with ropes, sails, salt, fresh fruit, meat and of course Barbados rum. Through the years, business thrived and so too did the popularity of his Cockspur Rum.
The Cockspur 12 Rum is the most premium rum brand produced by the company. Both column still and pot still rums are used in its production, and it is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume. The name, Cockspur 12, does not refer to the specific age of the rum, rather it refers to the blended taste profile. The ages of the rum in the blend may be as young as 4 years and as old as 17, but the overall flavour is blended to have a taste profile similar to a 12-year-old rum. That is why the label makes no specific age statement of 12 Years. It merely says Cockspur 12.
This rum has undergone an important change recently which I think is worthy to speak of. The rum is of course, still produced from molasses and aged in American Oak at the Cockspur facilities in Barbados. However, unlike before, all of the Cockspur Rum is now brought to bottling strength with Barbados’ own coral filtered water. Previously the Cockspur 12 Rum sold in Canada (and parts of the U.S.) was shipped in bulk at cask strength to Hood River Distillers in Oregon and brought to bottling strength using water from the Hood River. This difference in water source was immediately apparent to me last spring when I sampled the new Cockspur 12 Rum in Miami at a luncheon sponsored by Cockspur. The rum tasted sweeter and smoother than I remembered from my previous review and much more to my liking. I decided that it was time to revisit the Cockspur 12 and provide a review based upon the current bottling made with 100 % Bajan coral filtered water. (My original review has been left at the bottom of the page.)
In the Bottle 4/5
Although the water has changed, the bottle and labeling style have not.
Cockspur 12 is packaged in a clear corked bottle with little to no frills. The label is simple and understated. I prefer my premium rums to be in sleeved packages to protect my collectible spirit from the deleterious effects of light and UV rays. Of course if you drink the contents within a normal period of time, then this is not a problem. If like myself you collect spirits and drink their contents slowly over time then such packaging is more important.
In the Glass 9/10
The rum looks just as dark and rich as before with the enticing scents and smells of deep brown molasses, rich baking spices, and again roasted pecans immediately rising into the air. This time around with my glass I am also getting a strong indication of vanilla, charred coconut and a little soft bourbon whiskey. As I let the glass breathe, an enticing scent of cigar tobacco rises from deep within the glass, and I sense perhaps a bit of a copper-like scent as well similar to the scent of a freshly minted penny.
The Cockspur rum seems very complex and inviting in the glass.
In the Mouth 54/60
As I indicated in my preamble, the Cockspur 12 Rum tastes a little bit sweeter and smoother this time around. Dark cocoa and rich caramel lead out with a delicate nuance of bourbon riding in the coattails. Rich pipe smoking tobacco and toasted walnuts lie underneath, and the flavour is very inviting with little of the bitterness which I had noticed in my initial review (see below). As the glass decants, the flavours become deeper and more inviting as tasty baking spices assemble reminding me of sticky cinnamon buns sprinkled with toasted pecans.
This new Cockspur 12 is very much to my liking.
In the Throat 13/15
Caramel, molasses and cocoa fill the throat in an exit which feels wonderful. I taste tobacco, vanilla and roasted walnuts well after my glass is consumed. The finish is rather lengthy although perhaps a bit drier than I normally prefer, however I am very well pleased by the lack of bitter notes which haunted my first tasting two years ago.
The Afterburn 9/10
All I can say is that in the case of Cockspur 12, the decision to use only Bajan coral filtered water in the production of the Cockspur 12 has made a world of difference to my palate. I no longer taste the lurking bitterness within the spirit which I had noticed before. While the old Cockspur 12 was more of a mixer for me two years ago, this new Cockspur 12 most definitely serves as a sipper.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)
Note: My Original review for the Cockspur 12 Bajan Crafted Rum has been preserved below including a nice cocktail which works even better with the new blend.
Review: Cockspur 12 Bajan Crafted Rum 85/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted February 2, 2010
In the Bottle 4.0/5
Cockspur 12 is packaged in a clear corked bottle with little to no frills. The label is simple and understated. I prefer my premium rums to be in sleeved packages to protect the spirit from the deleterious effects of light and UV rays. Of course if you drink the contents within a normal period of time, then this is not a problem. If like myself you collect spirits and drink their contents slowly over time then such packaging is more important.
In the Glass 9/10
The rum looks dark and rich and smells of deep brown molasses, baked cinnamon buns, and roasted pecans. A faint tobacco (cigar like) aroma is deep in the glass. There is also a touch of light oil on the sides of my glass.
In my Mouth 51/60
Several flavours jumped out at me on first tasting. Toasted vanilla and charred molasses grabbed my taste buds first, and then I was subdued by a lurking tobacco richness that swelled up and filled my mouth. However, old oak also made its presence felt leaving a bitter tannin tinge in the mouth. Hot spicy cinnamon and roasted pecans nestled in the background. As I let the drink settle in my mouth the oak and tobacco swelled to overtake the palate leaving a slightly dry bitter sensation.
In the Throat 13/15
The finish is all bittersweet chocolate and cigar smoke. A buttery feel in the throat contradicts the dryness in the mouth. (I believe the oak and tobacco flavours fooled my palate into sensing a dryness that my throat denies.)
The Afterburn 8/10
Somewhere there exists an Altar of Oak that all distillers of rum and whisky worship. They set their spirits within this Altar and pray that it will impart its goodness into the distillate. But with this Cockspur 12 rum, I believe, the rich taste of the spirit was to a point sacrificed in the name of the oak aging. The spirit was given unto the altar for too long. We have a myriad of wonderful flavours, but in the end tobacco and bitter oak tannin have taken more from the rum than they have given. I truly believe this rum would have benefited from an earlier removal from the Oak barrels.
In choosing a cocktail for this rum I needed to find a good flavour combination for the oak and tobacco flavour I taste in the Cockspur 12. I chose to mix with pineapple and orange juice as I thought they provide a nice fruity base.
Arctic Wolf’s Dark Rum Cocktail
1 1/2 oz Cockspur 12
1 1/2 ounce Pineapple Juice
1 1/2 ounce Orange Juice
1 teaspoon of simple syrup
1 squeeze of fresh Lime Juice
Fill a Collins glass with chipped Ice. Add the first four ingredients one at a time pouring slowly over the ice. Cut a Lime in quarters and squeeze one-quarter of the lime over the cocktail into the drink. Stir and serve. Garnish with a left over quarter of Lime, and pin with an umbrella if desired.