Admiral’s Old J Cherry Spiced

Admiral's Old J Cherry Spiced Rum Review by the fat rum pirateAdmiral’s Old J Cherry Spiced. Admiral’s Old J or simply Old J as it is more commonly known, is a brand of Spiced Rum popular in the UK. It was introduced initially to fill the “void”, when Sailor Jerry changed their popular UK “formula” to the one more widely available, to the US market and beyond. Hence the Old J – though they never mention a Jerry.

Instead they focus a little on Admiral Vernon or Old Grog as he is more widely known. Most famous for (in rum circles at least), in 1740 reducing the size of a sailors daily rum ration. Ensuring it was mixed with lime and spices to try to prevent scurvy and excessive drunkenness on board ship.

Initially we were only treated to an Original Spiced and a Tiki Overproof. In time, they introduced this Cherry variant alongside a Gold Spiced Rum. They now also have a White/Silver and Black Spiced Rum. In all they have 6 Spiced rums in their line up and I’ve been (un)lucky enough to try them all.

Admiral’s Old J is brought to us by Signature Brands who also have the likes of Birra Morena (never heard of it and no I haven’t mis-spelled Moretti), Cruzcampo and Agnes Arber Gin (notAdmiral's Old J Cherry Spiced Rum Review by the fat rum pirate familiar with that one either).

Old J are omnipresent at most of the Rum Festivals throughout the UK and they are hugely popular at such events.

A botte of this will set you back around £22 in the UK for a 70cl bar style bottle with a branded metallic screw cap. It is not a rum as such as it is bolted at 35% ABV. It is noted as being the same formula rum as the Old J Gold Spiced just with Cherry flavouring added. Quite what the base rum for the Old J rums remains a bit of mystery. I would imagine it will be fairly young Trinidad column distillate. The hydrometer shows a reading of 89 g/L of additives. I don’t really object to additives in Spiced Rum – kind of goes with the territory but this almost liqueur level.

In the glass it looks like a glass of rose wine – well a small glass anyway – I’m not that boozy. Nosed it is undoubtedly cherry. Cherry flavour though. The kind of cherry you will experience with the cherry on the stork shaped gummy sweets you get for your children and eat yourself. Further nosing reveals the burnt caramel and vanilla nose that seems to dominate the Old J offerings, their signature spices if you like or more like likely artificial essences.

This is pretty nasty stuff to be honest. It smells like an overload of E numbers. Sugary, sickly and synthetic. The longer in the glass the more the vanilla and caramel take over from the cherry. God this is sickly. It’s like a really shit tasting Slush Puppie. The frozen drink not the shoes. Though having said that………

Sipped this is typical Old J – huge amounts of sugar, artificial vanilla and toffee wrestle with the cherry flavouring, for a truly revolting concoction. This tastes pretty much like a multi coloured ice lolly left out to melt – all the flavours just muddling together into a sickly sweet, cloying mess of a drink.

It’s so “grainy” and artificial it really jars on the tastebuds. It has that nasty graininess in the cheap spirit that I find so disagreeable in certain supermarket white rums. In the end it doesn’t even taste like cherry.

Mix this, but don’t expect too much. It’s not a million miles away from the other Old J products. If you want a decent flavoured rum then try Aluna Coconut, Cane & Bean Cacao Infused Spirit Drink or if you want fruity then Plantation’s Stiggins’ Fancy is hard to beat.

There is nothing remotely rummy about this drink. It could be made with neutral spirit – I doubt the rum is aged in anyway whatsoever. If it is, all I can to the producers is save yourself the money and just use the cheapest white spirit you can get. It’ll be easier to colour as well.

Dreadful but ludicrously popular.

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