Cruzan Single Barrel Estate Rum

Cruzan Single Barrel Estate RumCruzan are a very popular bottler of low to medium price rum in the USA.  Sales of Cruzan in the US are high and you will frequently see articles relating to Cruzan’s Diamond and Blackstrap rums.  These rums are used mainly in the mixology and are popular with bartenders.

Cruzan’s Single Barrel Estate rum is (to my knowledge) their high end product.  Cruzan are based on the US Virgin Isles and as a result the firm benefit from subsidies from the US government.  These subsidies are a massive bone of contention amongst other rum producers in the Caribbean.  Rightly so.

Possibly in part due to the subsidies available to Cruzan I was able to obtain this 750ml bottle of Single Barrel for just under £30 in the UK from Master of Malt.  The rum at the time was imported into Europe by V&S group Stockholm, Sweden.  The rum is bottled at 40%.

I like the presentation of the Cruzan the front label is clear and uncluttered and has a fairly simple picture of a brig sailing near a Caribbean Island.  The rum has an uneven texture to help handling in hot climates and the neck has another sailing boat embossed into the neck along with 1760 which is when Cruzan began.  The rear has a small label which gives details of the importer and the address of Cruzan.

On the neck of the bottle sticker which denotes the batch and cask number of the rum in the bottle.  The authentic cork stopper was sealed down strip of green and white patterned paper which ran down both sides of the neck.  I quite liked the presentation but apparently since this bottle was produced they have changed the presentation at least twice!Cruzan Single Barrel Estate Rum

Along with changes to the presentation there are also the usual rumours that a change in the blend/quality has taken place.  These issues seem to arise every time a company updates their presentation.  It often surprises me what little things some people can pick up (or claim to at least…..)

Firstly I will dispel one the myths surrounding Cruzans Single Barrel Estate Rum.  The rum contained within the bottle is actually a blend of rums aged between 5 and 12 years.  Which is then re-barrelled in new oak barrels for additional ageing.  So it isn’t strictly a one barrel/cask job.  Now if this was a £60-100 bottling (like many Single Barrel offering are) I might have a big issue with it.  As it stands the Cruzan strikes me as a blend of rum which is probably more comparable to Mount Gay XO or Doorlys XO.  It also fits roughly in that price range as well.

To be honest I was hoping to pick up a bottle of Cruzan Blackstrap, unfortunately so far I have been unable to get a bottle.  I was going to opt for the 5 year old Cruzan Diamond but in the end for only a few pounds more I thought I would go for the top of the range as my starter.  If anyone does see the Blackstrap available from a UK online retailer – let me know please.  Thanks.

I decided to try and review Cruzan as a lot of my traffic is from the US.  Reviewing a few rums which are readily available to our friends across the pond seemed fairly logical.  Whether I will be able to get my hands on offerings such as Brinleys, Trader Vic’s and Whalers is another matter but I’ll keep trying.

So on with this review.  Up to now the only rum I have tried (to my knowledge) with any links to the US Virgin Isles is Pussers.  However, I’m aware that the blend in that rum is not from the US Virgin Isles.  Cruzan’s rums are produced in St Croix.  So I have little idea quite what to expect.

Cruzan Single Barrel Estate RumThe Single Barrel Estate offers a very Bajan like nose.  It’s very little and slightly floral with hints of fruit.  It’s very light, pleasant and well balanced.  When I pour the rum in the glass it is clear that the shiny surface of the bottle has been lighting the rum up to appear more “shiny” than when in the glass.  There is a little note on the rear label denoting that the colour of the rum is adjusted with caramel.  I get that as the rum is much darker than the nose would suggest.

Upon tasting the rum it is very much like the nose.  It has a Bajan feel and if you were told this rum had been distilled on Barbados you would not be at all surprised.  As a result Cruzan are offering you a very pure and clean rum.  I doubt very little by way of additives and sugar are present in this rum.  I’m not sure how much a bottle of this is readily available for Stateside but I fancy despite it being aimed as a sipper it has found its way into a good few mixed drinks.

Sipping Cruzan offers a pleasant but not outstanding experience.  The rum is nice, it is well balanced with a nice mouthfeel.  It offers little by way of alcohol burn and has a relatively long but inoffensive finish.  Unlike R L Seale’s it does not offer a dry or oaked finish, unlike Doorly’s XO and Cockspur 12 it lacks that extra little hit of fruit flavour and unlike Captain Bligh XO and Mount Gay XO it doesn’t offer and extra layer of spice and fruit.  There is a little vanilla and some very light spicing when sipped.  The rum is nicely aged around about the 8 year old mark I would say.  The barrel ageing is evident and the rum does have a nice slightly oaked profile.  It’s all pretty well balanced and it offer a very easy going sipping experience.

The biggest problem Cruzan Single Barrel has is its competiton.  To come up against the might island of Barbados (and Grenada’s Captain Bligh) and win you really need to be producing something pretty amazing.

I’m not sure how the current Cruzan Single Barrel stands up to this.  However, I will note that Henrik over at Rum Corner also had similar observations on this.   He reviewed a very similar bottling.

This is a good, well balanced and honestly produced rum which I enjoyed.  However, I feel that the extra ageing should have perhaps been done in something a little more exciting than new oak barrels.  As it may have offered a different experience to a number of rums already available.

As it stands this is a good if not slightly undwhelming sipping rum.  It does a lot of things right but sadly it lacks that little extra spark which make a truly great rum.  Good but not quite great.

3 stars

 

 

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