Cruzan Black Strap Rum
Review: Cruzan Black Strap Rum 82.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on October 24, 2010
The Cruzan Rum Company is located on the Island of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. The Island of St. Croix is the largest of the US Virgin islands, being approximately 28 miles long and 7 miles wide. Along with the tourism industry and one of the largest oil refineries in the Caribbean, the St. Croix economy is dependent to a large extent upon the Rum Industry as a major engine of their economic growth.
All of the Cruzan Rums are produced using a modern five column distillation method which produces a light bodied rum, the quality of which can be tightly controlled by the five column distillation. The rum is then aged in once used American oak bourbon barrels. The Cruzan Black Strap Rum is a ‘navy style’ rum which is full of molasses flavour but which is perhaps a lighter bodied rum than one would find in a typical navy rum.
The sample bottle of Cruzan Blackstrap Rum for this review was given to me by Simon Mooney, the local Brand Ambassador for Beam Global and is pictured below and to the right. It is bottled at 40 per cent alcohol by volume and is, I believe, aged for two years in the aforementioned American Oak.
In the Bottle 4/5
The Cruzan Black Strap Rum has a new bottle design. In fact, this is the new design which The Cruzan Rum Company has began to implement for their full range of light and dark rums. It includes a simple and uncluttered minimalist label. I personally would prefer a little more information on the label such as the designated age of the rum and perhaps a little tidbit regarding the rich history of rum production on the Island of St. Croix.
I also have my normal reservations regarding the metal screw cap which seals the bottle. I have already accidentally stripped the threads on this bottle as I tried to seal it after my tasting sessions.
On the positive side, I like the overall bottle shape which is to my mind somewhat more masculine than before, and I like that the word “Cruzan” has been embossed on the sides of the bottle which makes it easier to grip when I am pouring.
In the Glass 8.5/10
Cruzan Black Strap Rum is an aromatic bombshell. When I opened my bottle for the very first time, my nostrils were immediately aware of the rich molasses filled aroma in the air which contained strong accents of black coffee and dark licorice. In the glass, the coffee aroma fades quickly but in its place the inviting scent of the maple syrup begins to build making me imagine I smell home-made flapjacks covered in maple syrup and butter. Vanilla and cinnamon make an appearance in the breezes resting snugly within the heavy molasses and maple.
In the Mouth 49/60
The Cruzan Rum website indicates that the particular molasses used to make their rums is a light-bodied molasses which carries a distinct licorice flavour. The website goes on to explain that the Black Strap Rum is a rum made in the Navy Rum tradition of full flavour and can almost be considered a molasses flavoured rum. In this case I agree 100 per cent. Indeed, a strong molasses flavour (tainted with licorice) seems to have been imparted quite thoroughly into this particular distilled spirit. I can also taste vanilla, as well as wisps of cinnamon and nutmeg which seem to be almost buried in the overriding molasses flavour.
What is really delightful, is that wrapped up in the molasses flavour as well is the wonderful additional flavour of maple syrup. This maple flavour is so obvious that I can actually imagine pouring the rum directly over my morning pancakes. ( If you are laughing I should add that I have read rumours of persons actually doing this.)
I do not taste any appreciable amount of oak or wood tannin, although my research indicates the Black Strap Rum was aged for two years in American oak. I suspect that the vanilla and wisps of cinnamon I taste are remnants of that aging spell in wood; but it could be equally true that they are instead merely part of the molasses flavour which dominates the rum.
In the throat 12.5/15
The strong molasses flavour continues to dominate during the exit. I do not feel any appreciable burn in the throat, but I do feel hot spices build in my mouth and the top of my throat after I swallow the rum. This is a decent sipper; but, I do get the sense that all this rich flavour will become cloying if not restrained.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
The Cruzan Black Strap rum was very surprising to me. The flavor and aroma of black strap molasses dominates; but the firm presence of licorice and maple give the rum an alluring character.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
This is an extremely interesting rum. I have never encountered maple flavour so strongly in a rum before. As well the rich molasses with the accents of dark licorice seems to combine very well with the aforementioned maple. I think this rum will work very well in many styles of cocktails. I chose a modified ‘Spanish Coffee‘ recipe, perhaps because it is getting colder where I am and the thought of a hot coffee and rum drink really appeals to me.
3/4 oz Cruzan Black Strap Rum
3/4 oz Tia Maria Coffee liqueur
Hot Black Coffee
Build in a large coffee mug
Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon or grated chocolate
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)