Red Bonny Dark Rum a rum which has been on my rader for quite some time. I did expect to pick it up at a bit of discount at some point but that just never materialised.
Costing around £23 for a 70cl bottle with an ABV of 40% this is not a terribly expensive rum. It has surprisingly held a very rigid price online. I fully expected one of the larger supermarkets to stock this rum at some point but this doesn’t look like it is going to happen either!
The 70cl bottle is both ordinary and distinctive at the same time. The large stylised typeface is consistent throughout and is also used on their website. However more familiar is the standard bar bottle and the red screw cap. Which seems very popular amongst cheaper spirits here in the UK.
These dark mixing rums are very popular in the UK especially in the North and Scotland. Brands such as Lambs, OVD, Woods and Watson’s are all familiar very dark Demerara/Navy style rums.
Like Woods with their re-design the producers behind Red Bonny “When We Are Giants Spirit Co.” have attempted to “premiumise” their offering. Out of interest does anyone else remember “Birdhouse in Your Soul” By They Might Be Giants? If you do apologies for letting that little earworm in your head again.
Red Bonny is the name given to legendary pirate Anne Bonny. She is an actual “real” figure and recently featured in one of the Assasssins Creed video games Black Flag (which was all about pirates and pretty damn good). Despite my name I’m not really here to talk about Pirates, so if you want to k now more do a quick google.
Moving back to the rum. It is a Demerara and the front label tells me that it has been produced and aged in Guyana. Scraps of information indicate that this rum blend is at least 3 years old. So the “dark” is more down to E150 than tropical ageing. Which to be fair for a £24 rum is not surprising, unexpected or anything to grumble about. Not for me anyway.
For those not too familiar with younger Demerara or Navy style rums they are (despite what anyone else might say) made primarily for mixing. They are most popular imbibed with ice, cola and a squeeze of lime. Inexpensive yet capable of making a sweet, tasty and uncomplicated drink.
As such competition is quite stiff and very price conscious. Such brands are regularly discounted and are usually priced under £20. So straight up Red Bonny has a bit of a fight on its hands.
So what makes Red Bonny stand out from the crowd and why should I pay a few quid extra? Lets try and find out.
In the glass Red Bonny is an almost mahogany like dark reddish brown. It’s not as dark as other Demerara’s such as Woods or Watson’s but it is as it says on the label Dark Rum.
The nose isn’t bad at all. Familiar notes of thick black treacle (molasses) dominate with hints of dark chocolate and a very slight sweet liquorice note. All quite familiar and to be honest nothing remarkable.
As a sipper it shows its youth. It’s quite sweet initially but it soon becomes bitter and the heat from the younger alcohol just obscures any real taste or flavour in the rum. A chunk of ice helps and a squeeze of lime but really you’re not going to enjoy a rum such as this as a sipper.
Mixing it with diet cola (I find regular cola is too sweet and covers upto many flavours) is where I feel Red Bonny should be judged. I can’t help feeling its aiming at the weekend mixer market. A few pints of rum and coke after a hard week at work on a Friday and Saturday night.
It’s pretty nice this way. The fruitiness of what I suspect are the younger Coffey Still rums in the blend shine through. Nice familiar fruity raisins and rich tarry treacly molasses. There is a little twist of liquorice again in the finish and after taste.
As you can see from my nosing and tasting notes its not a hugely complex rum. It doesn’t have oaky notes or anything medicinal going on. It’s quite straight forward.
I like the fact that the rum is quite straightforward. Their website recommends making a Red & Bonny by mixing the rum with Ginger Beer and a squeeze of lime. That too works quite well and makes a decent drink.
Red Bonny offers a very solid mixing experience. It is better than Skipper Rum but I feel price wise Woods 100 would always be a better purchase.
It’s slightly above average and pretty tasty. Sadly its price makes it slightly less appealing in the wake of the competition.