Black Tears Spiced Rum

Black Tears Spiced Rum review by the fat rum pirateBlack Tears Spiced Rum. This is quite a unique spirit. It notes that this is the first Dry Cuban Spiced rum on the market. Now currently in Cuba the legislation around rum production allows for 20g/L of sugar. Any rum which exceeds that amount is noted as an Elixir – such as Legendario Elixir de Cuba.

As a result “Spiced Rum” in name at least, is not really a thing in Cuba. However this Spiced Rum adds a further twist in that it contains less than 20g/L of sugar. So it is being labelled as a Dry Spiced Rum.

Black Tears Spiced Rum starts with a base of column distilled rum aged for a minimum of 2 years as per Cuban Law. Any younger and it is Aguardente de Cana.

This base rum is noted on the bottom of the label as being Ron Vigia, which is produced at the same distillery as Ron Mulata. Namely Heriberto Duquesne, which is located in the central region of Cuba at Villa Clara. It is owned by the Cuban Ministry of Sugar. Black Tears Spiced Rum has been over 10 years in development. The Cubans have very tight controls over export of their rums and persuading them to allow a Dry Spiced Rum to be produced took time. The rum has also been re-formulated numerous times to get it just right.

Black Tears Spiced Rum takes its name from a traditional Cuban song “Lagrimas Negras” (Black Tears) which was written by Miguel Matamoras way back in 1929. It is still very popular in Cuba.

The spices in this rum are provided via an infusion of Cocoa, Coffee and Aji Dulce (a Sweet Chilli Pepper used in Cuban Cuisine). There is no additional sugar or other additives. The entire contents of this bottling is produced in Cuba. The rear label indicates some Caramel Colouring.

Black Tears Spiced Rum is exported from Cuba via the Island Rum Company. If you look at the companies website then you will see this has quite extensive distribution around the world. In the UK distribution is handled by Skylark Spirits. They have deployed Peter Thornton formerly of Cellar Trends and Pusser’s Rum as their UK Brand Ambassador. I  asked Peter for some more information on The Island Rum Co. and he kindly provided the following

“The Island Rum Co. (TIRC) is made up of 2 parties. 1 half is a Cuban called Enrique who comes fromBlack Tears Spiced Rum review by the fat rum pirate a strong lineage of rum producers. His family lost everything post revolution and he has worked to rebuild what they had. He is partnered by two Norwegian Entrepreneurs. The 2nd half is the Cuban Government. The official partnership is the

first of its kind since that of Havana Club. This is a proper 50/50 partnership NOT just a distribution deal. TIRC own a sugar mill, a distillery and two ageing houses plus over 7,300 barrels of aged/ ageing rum! The parent brand is Vigia one of Cuba’s most respected rum brands.”

In the UK Black Tears Spiced Rum retails at around £35 which is pretty much the going rate now for “Premium” Spiced Rum. Currently you can find it for £30 at Drinks Supermarket and on Amazon direct from Skylark Spirits. It is also stocked by most other drinks retailers but these are the best in terms of price at the moment.

The Island Rum Co. (TIRC) is made up of 2 parties. 1 half is a Cuban called Enrique who comes from a strong lineage of rum producers. His family lost everything post revolution and he has worked to rebuild what they had. He is partnered by two Norwegian Entrepreneurs. The 2nd half is the Cuban Government. The official partnership is the first of its kind since that of Havana Club. This is a proper 50/50 partnership NOT just a distribution deal. TIRC own a sugar mill, a distillery and two ageing houses plus over 7,300 barrels of aged/ ageing rum! The parent brand is Vigia one of Cuba’s most respected rum brands.

Presentation wise Black Tears Spiced Rum come in a tall bar style bottle. It is squared off though rather than rounded. Towards the top of the neck the Black Tears logo has been embossed into the bottle. It also has Island Rum Co. and Lagrimas Negras down alternate sides of the bottle.

It’s sleek and modern and very eye catching. It is sure to catch the eye of any Kraken “enthusiast”. It is bottled also at 40% ABV. Many Spiced Rums are now labelled as Spirit Drink as they fail to even reach the 37.5% ABV required by EU law to be labelled as a rum.

I don’t think there is much else to add so we may as well take a look at this rum. Firstly I’m going to see how “Dry” this rum is via a Hydrometer Test. Sugar and additives etc are not usually something I worry about in Spiced Rum. It’s kind of likeBlack Tears Spiced Rum review by the fat rum pirate worrying about calories in a Donner Kebab. You know they are there! You’re not eating it to be healthy.

The Hydrometer bobbed between 37-38% ABV so I’ve taken a reading of 10g/L. This is pretty low for a Spiced Rum.

In the glass Black Tears Spiced Rum is slightly lighter than in the bottle. It is a dark brown colour with a slightly reddish hue running through it. Chestnut some might describe it as.

Nosed you intially get a slightly unusual sweet peppery aroma. This is backed up by wafts of dark chocolate and some slightly bitter cocoa. It certainly delivers the promised spices immediately on the nose.

Further nosing reveals some of the base rums character. You do actually get a good weight of booze and some mineral like aromas. Aromas, which remind me a little of young Cuban white rums. In particular Ron Varadero white rum. Sweet slightly young alcohol.

Sipped, this is a lot better than most Spiced Rums. It does however still hold quite a lot of the heat from the rum though. I quite like this. If you are going to drink this neat then I would suggest taking it with some ice. This will temper the alcohol a little and allow you to appreciate the spices.

Like this it works really nicely. It’s a great dessert rum (and has a lot less additives than the likes of Diplomatico Reserva and Zacapa XO) a nice glass of this after a meal or after a few Cask Strength sips is a very pleasant way to experience Black Tears Spiced Rum. If you’ve been on the Cask Strength stuff you probably won’t need the ice.

If you can get used to this as a sipper on it’s own then you will be pleasantly surprised by the finish which is long and the spicy sweet pepper really stands out with the coffee and cocoa taking a back seat. For a Spiced Rum it has a fair amount of complexity.

On the rear label of Black Tears Spiced Rum it notes that the rum can be enjoyed in a Dark ‘N Stormy (Gosling’s might come a calling for that one) or a Cuba Libre. As a simple Cuba Libre Black Tears offers something very different. If you like spicy food, dark chocolate and coffee – then this is the spiced rum for you.

Black Tears Spiced Rum review by the fat rum pirateAll the spices cut through the cola giving a really nice flavour profile. No one spice dominates with all of them playing their part in the drink. Likewise with a Dark and Stormy Black Tears stands up to the Ginger Beer to give a really flavourful twist to the drink. I really like the taste of cocoa nibs and the lovely coffee flavour and aroma. The kick of sweet chilli is really nice and warming as well.

This spiced rum is a million miles from your Captain Morgan’s Spiced and Old J Spiced Rum

It is much more of a flavoured or infused rum than the artificial vanilla and ginger nonsense that proliferates the market. Even if you are a raging Cask Strength enthusiast this makes for a nice light change of pace from that.

 

 

 

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