Bumbu The Original

Bumbu The Original Rum Review by the fat rum pirateBumbu The Original. Bumbu is an Indonesian word for a blend of spices. I’m sure I have also seen terms such as Bombo and Bumbu, used to describe mixed drinks made by Pirates and other historical figures. These drinks have been composed of rum, water and varying spices.

This rum has proved to be very popular over the past couple of years. It has also proved to be very controversial. Bumbu The Original titles itself as The Craft Rum. They note that their rum, which is “hand crafted” using 8 different sugar cane varieties is aged for up to 15 years.

Bumbu The Original is based on the “original recipe” created by 16th and 17th century sailors of the West Indies, who blended native Caribbean ingredients into their rum and called it “Bumbu”. Making it to their marketing says “truly the original craft spirit”.

They also state “Using the same all-natural native spices and no artificial colors or flavors, our rum is an authentic revival of this piece of Caribbean history, distilled in small batches and blended by hand. We’re pretty sure our great-great-grandfathers would approve”

Quite what comprises a small batch today I am not entirely sure. Much like “craft” it is a term which doesn’t really have any specified definition that has to be adhered to. It can be plonked on pretty much anything and its meaning is rarely quantified. It certainly isn’t with Bumbu. The rum in the blend comes from WIRD (West Indies Rum Distillery). If information on Diffords Guide is correct, then WIRD currently operates two Pot Stills. Which may or may not be the source of the “small batch” rum they use in this. I’m not convinced to be honest.

On the Bumbu website, they also make a big fuss about the presentation. Particularly the weight of the bottle and the oversized “real” cork used. Presentation is pretty much what I would expect from a Rum Brand like Bumbu to be honest. Very Pirate-ey.

Bumbu is widely available in the UK for around £35 for a 70cl bottle. Although it is noted as being a rum, it is only 35% ABV so is really a rum based spirit drink. Once again the EU countries are extremely lax about the classification of this “rum”. So it is easily passed off as being a rum. Even if EU law defines it isn’t.

Bumbu The Original Rum Review by the fat rum pirateSo what we have here is really a Spiced Rum type drink, which is trying to pass of an air of authenticity and heritage. I think it’s all just a load of bollocks, to be honest. Yes in the 16th and 17th century sailors, pirates, plunderers and admirality might well have “spiced” their rum. But they weren’t adding spices to 15 year old rum! Rum back then will have been as rough as a badgers arse and probably tasted like one as well.

So lets see what joys this has in store for us.

When poured Bumbu The Original is a dark brown with orange tinges. It leaves legs on the glass. Which is no surprise as it measured at 40 g/L of additives. If this was marketed as the Spiced Rum Based Drink it is, instead of as you can see from the advert above it is noted as being “The Craft Rum” I wouldn’t have much of an issue with this. Whilst they do admit it’s flavoured and spiced they are also quite happy to keep up the illusion this is a “real rum”. This irritates me. Prior to reviewing Bumbu I had tried it at a couple of rum festivals. So we may as well see exactly what we have in this bottle.

The nose smells very sweet. Llashings of caramel and toffee. It reminds me of Banoffee Pie, as it has a lot of sweet confected bananas. Think cheap bottled Banana milkshake. Foam banana sweets even Candy Rock. Beneath this is further saccharin like sweetness, which smells like cheap strawberry flavoured boiled sweets.

I’ve never really seen spirits as being drinks I would associate with underage drinking. Vodka aside, most children won’t find any appeal from the likes of Scotch Whisky or Gin. Spiced Rum I guess can appeal to a younger palate. Even with Spiced Rum (or Spiced Spirit Drinks) there is usually a “bite” of alcohol which might turn the “youth” off. Not so with this concoction. It barely even tastes like alcohol in any way shape or form. It hardly tastes like you are drinking an alcoholic drink at all. If you served this in a cocktail I would assume you had given me a mocktail,

The 35% ABV makes it very thin and the sheer amount of artificial tasting banana, toffee and the huge onslaught of saccharin sweetener makes this have no burn or rum taste whatsoever. It is pretty much like imbibing sugary sweet water. Even someone with zero experience of knocking back spirits could drink “shots” of this. Which is pretty much what it tastes like. Those cheap holiday shots you buy because a pretty girl (or hunky bloke for the ladies, or indeed men, should they be inclined that way) is selling them.

So, what do we have as a sipper? Well we have a virtually neutral alcohol based spirit which is hugely dosed with cheap banana and toffee flavouring. 15 Year Old rum? If there is a 15-year-old rum in this blend its like giving someone a 10p Harrod’s Gift Voucher. Pointless.

Bumbu The Original Rum Review by the fat rum pirateAs with most rums like this, after the initial burst of confected over the top sweetness it just disappears to nothing. No mid palate and definitely no finish not even the slightest hint of alcohol burn. Maybe a little bit of woodiness as it goes down. I wouldn’t go as far as saying oak though, more like its had a wood stave dipped in it briefly.

Mixed this works, if you want a cloying Rum and Cola or Rum and Ginger Beer. The website suggests cocktails but I really don’t want to waste much more time and expense on this shit.

A work of pure fiction and one of the worst flavoured/Spiced rums out there. It’s absolute rubbish. Cheap flavoured alcohol. What appalls me the most is that some Rum Reviewers have given this reviews, which suggest it is worth your time as a rum.

Now that really is a joke.

This is about as Bajan as Jellied Eels. And just as nauseating. At £35 you could get yourself some absolutely outstanding Bajan rum. Do yourself a favour and do exactly that.




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6 comments on “Bumbu The Original

  1. Interesting that it does so badly amongst Rum aficionados but very well with other drink groups like whisky or gin…

  2. […] Bumbu XO Rum. Probably the most criticised “rum” over the past couple of years amongst more “serious” rum enthusiasts, has been Bumbu The Original. […]

  3. Everything bad about rum is happening with Bumbu. The degree of brand misrepresentation would be shocking if it weren’t so commonplace. To me it tastes like banana bread flavoured liqueur, dumped into a pretty nice bottle.

  4. Bless you for telling it like it is. Even mixing with coke is a waste of coke.

  5. I saw the email notification for this review come in at work and just had to read it straight away. Am not dissapointed, in the review that is. Let’s not even talk about this “rum”… I smelled it once but could not get nysemy to try it.

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