Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum
Review: Bacardi Oakheart Smooth Spiced Rum 85.5/100
A Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on October 20, 2011
On September 1rst, 2011 Bacardi launched their new Oakheart Smooth Spiced Rum. As the name suggests, the Oakheart is an aged rum. The rums in the blend have been aged in charred oak barrels to give the rum an added depth of character and perhaps a bit of whiskey-like smokiness. I met the Bacardi Area Sales Manager at the Sherbrooke “Drink Like a Pirate” Rum Festival, and he arranged for me to receive a bottle of the Oakheart Spiced Rum to review on my website. For this review, three friends and I performed a side by side tasting comparing Brinley Gold Shipwreck Spiced Rum with the Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum and the standard-bearer for the spiced rum category, Captain Morgan’s Original Spiced. Each of these rums is built on the foundation of aging in American oak barrels, and each of these rums seems to walk the path of a vanilla and caramel rum accented by fragrant spices which compliment the rum but do not to dominate it.
Here is the result of my review of the Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum:
In the Bottle 4.5/5
The photo to the left shows off the new Oakheart bottle presentation. I like the textured bottle which is easy to grip, and I like the bold label. About the only thing I do not like is the metallic topper. If you look at the threads you can see that there is only two of them. When I received my bottle for review from Bacardi, I checked the cap and it had already loosened. The fill line was not low, so I know I did not lose any liquid but I am always unsettled by a loose cap, and this seems to happen much more often with these pressed on metallic caps than with plastic caps or corks.
In the Glass 8.5/10
I began my examination of the Oakheart rum with a look at its colour and consistency. The rum displays a golden amber colour, and when I tilted my glass and gave it a slow twirl, I noticed a thin sheen of liquid left on the side. Small legs developed and ran down back into the rum.
The nose from the glass does indeed have a light oaky accent with butterscotch, caramel, and a strong indication of vanilla also rising up into the breezes. I sense some light baking spices as well as a very light indication of dried fruit. When I allowed the glass to breathe, the vanilla notes deepened. I also begin to sense some maple in those breezes above my glass and some richer baking spices with nutmeg and cinnamon.
In the Mouth 51/60
The initial mouth-feel to the rum is quite creamy, and this creaminess serves to coat the palate allowing the flavours to linger. I taste a lot of vanilla, some nice rummy butterscotch and a little dollop of maple syrup. The rum has a bit of spicy heat as well, with some orange peel, cinnamon and cloves heating the palate, but only just a little. The oak seems a little lost in the spice when you sip the rum neat. I suspect it is adding to that orange peel zest flavour I noted, but it is hard to decide where the light spice flavours end and the oak begins.
Spiced rums are usually meant as mixing rums and so I wanted to try a couple of cocktail/bar drinks just to see how things tasted. The first cocktail I mixed was the Island Sunset (see recipe below). The result was a pleasant, slightly spicy cocktail that I found quite nice to sip.
Next I mixed a standard Spiced Rum and Cola with lots of ice. I have to admit that this relatively simple bar drink really surprised me. The spice really ‘popped’ on my palate with flavours of cinnamon, and baking spices making a very positive impression in the cola. In fact, I found myself mixing my Oakheart and Cola quite frequently over the next several days, and each time I was more impressed than the last.
In the Throat 12.5/15
The Oakheart finishes with a spicy pop of cinnamon and baking spices (kind of like the flavour of nice sticky cinnamon buns). The throat is heated by the spices but I do not really sense any burn or discomfort, and the palate is left with lingering aftertaste of vanilla and cinnamon. (Yumm!)
The Afterburn 9/10
In my side by side comparison’s of the Bacardi Oakheart, the Brinley Gold Shipwreck, and the Captain Morgan’s Original, I was very surprised at how similar each of the rums tasted neat, and with ice. And in fact, the Oakheart was not the preferred rum of the three when sampled in this manner. My friends and I all preferred the Brinley’s Gold Shipwreck when served neat with Captain Morgan’s Original and the Bacardi Oakheart being essentially too close to call. However, when mixed in cocktails, the Bacardi Oakheart was clearly the favourite of the three, and for the rest of the afternoon, it was the Oakheart, not the Brinley, nor the Captain Morgan that everyone was indulging in.
Afterwards, every time I sampled the Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum in my tasting room I became more and more impressed. Some spiced rums quickly lose their allure with me, but this was definitely not the case with the Oakheart. In fact each time I tasted the Oakheart Spiced Rum, I found myself increasing the scores just a little. This rum has a lot of character, and it adds real depth to cocktails and bar drinks.
I think Bacardi has a real winner here!
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
1 oz Bacardi Spiced Rum
1 oz Peach Schnappes
1 oz Cranberry Juice
2/3 oz Lime Juice
1/3 oz Grenadine
Mix over ice in a cocktail shaker
and serve in a short glass
Oakheart and Cola
2 oz Oakheart Spiced Rum
4-6 oz Cola
Lots of Ice
Slice of Lime (optional)
Fill a bar glass full of ice
Add 2 ounce of Oakheart Spiced Rum
Fill with Cola
If desired garnish with a slice of lime.
Please consume responsibly as this spiced rum and cola is very addictive!
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)