Captain Bligh XO Special Reserve Rum

Captain Bligh XO Reserve RumA new Caribbean Island for me with this particular rum (not that I’ve visited any yet!).  St Vincent Distillers Limited produce Captain Bligh XO Reserve Rum amongst others such as Sparrow’s and Sunset Light Rum.

For those who are unfamiliar Captain (William) Bligh was the in charge of HMS Bounty at the time of the infamous mutiny.  He also led a battle against a corrupt rum trade when governor of New South Wales, Australia.  His voyages helped establish St Vincent’s botanical gardens also.

How much Captain Bligh’s endeavour’s inspired this rum is questionable.  It’s far more likely that just like SVDL’s other rum (Sparrow’s) they were just looking for an appropriate pirate/naval name.   There is no mention whatsoever of Captain Bligh on the attractive purple sleeve the rum is housed in.

If you do visit the link to Sunset Rum below, then you will be faced with a screen proclaiming Captain Bligh XO to be the best rum in the world.  By no lesser a body than the World Rum Awards.  I shall let you all read the attached links and draw your own conclusions.  Needless to say I have my opinion and it is doing little to convince me regarding this rum!

sunsetrum world rum awards

So here I am with a bottle of the best rum in the world.  Captain Bligh XO Reserve does indeed look impressive.  It comes with a very sturdy purple and gold sleeve which is nice and not to common amongst sub £30 rum.  The bottle itself is a standard bar bottle.  There is a round gold information sheet on the neck of the bottle (no doubt trying to look like a gold doubloon).  In addition to winning the Best Rum in the World in 2014 it has won a gold medal at the Caribbean Rum Festival in 2000 and 2001,  As well as The International Rum Festival Gold Award in 2002.  Oh and look here’s the information about Captain Bligh!  It mentions the mutiny and his amazing bravery.

Captain Bligh XO Reserve RumAll in all the rum is nicely presented and the cardboard sleeve is a bonus, however it takes a turn for the worst when you remove the purple wrapping from what I had assumed was the corked enclosure.  It’s a metallic screw top and to be honest its a pretty cheap one at that.  Up to now most of my displeasure at the Captain Bligh was aimed at the fact it had been named the best rum in the world in some very questionable competition.  Now I’m kind of annoyed that I researched the internet for Captain Bligh when I had the information in front of me and I’ve been tricked into thinking I was getting a nice cork.  There is something to be said for the pop of a cork and the beautiful aroma that follows.  Something I might make SVDL aware of!

Still on with the positives, (I’ve paid good money for this after all) Captain Bligh XO Reserve Rum isn’t a hugely expensive offering, around £30 in the UK and you get a 75cl/750ml bottle which is slightly larger than the standard 70cl/700ml UK bottle.  You’re getting a double for free!  It’s bottled at 40% ABV.

Okay that’s all that out-of-the-way let’s get on with reviewing the liquid inside.  As I purchase all my products myself I am always consistent in my approach to a new rum.  I’ve been disappointed far more times than I have been surprised.

Hold on, before we go on there was one more thing which was puzzling me about the presentation of the Captain Bligh XO.  I am familiar with the ACR (Authentic Caribbean Rum Marque) but I am not so familiar with the marking on this bottle of rum.

Captain Bligh XO Reserve RumAs I hope you can see from the photograph (I know it’s not hugely clear) this ACR mark has the word Matured below it.  I have to say I haven’t come across it before.  The ACR marque’s are becoming more commonplace, so maybe I’ll see a lot more in the future.  For the sake of rum I certainly hope so!

A quick look on the ACR website reveals this means the rum has been aged for a minimum of one year and blended with other older rums.  So the question I am left asking myself is how old is Captain Bligh XO Reserve Rum?  After all it’s Extra Old.

The answer well, isn’t very clear. Some sources say it is a blend of rums aged up to 10 years others say 8, the problem with rum is the blend changes over time so who really knows? The rum is marketed as an XO and costs £30 so I’m going to review it with the expectation it is at least a 5-year-old rum and more likely much older.

So finally on with the tasting.  How did I find the Captain Bligh XO?  Well after the disappointment of the screw top I was caught off guard by the aroma of the rum.  Despite not being a pungent Jamaican style rum the aroma is very instant, very scented and very nice!.  To be honest as far as a nose goes it is about the best I have smelled.  It is even up there with the more aged El Dorado’s in terms of richness and fruity intensity.  It smell’s absolutely fantastic.  I had watched a Rum Review on Youtube by a very amusing Scottish fellow who goes by the name of Ralfy.ralfy  He raved about the nose of this rum.  I confess I did at the time find it a little over the top.  How wrong was I to scorn!

I agree a lot with Ralfy’s notes on the nose.  Straight away upon nosing I get that beautiful balanced Bajan aroma of tropical fruit and spicy herbs.  I also felt that the rum however had more going onto than Bajan rum.  It is more intense in terms of aroma than even Rum Sixty Six or Doorly’s.  There is more sugar and sweetness to the nose.  Caramel and brown sugar. In spite of all these sweet aroma’s Captain Bligh still has a nose that it is a true and proper rum.  It isn’t an overdone sugarbomb of a rum.  It is authentic and true.

So on with the tasting and if this rum is anything like its nose it is going to be pretty incredible!

The aroma’s on the nose transfer wonderfully when sipped.  Sultana’s and ginger combine wonderfully to give you a sweet yet spicy tingle on the tongue.  The rum is not at all rough.  It is quite spirit-ey and rummy but it is isn’t in any way harsh or rough.  It has a sweet almost honey-ed warming profile.  It is very smooth.  Ralfy notes Spearmint and Irn Bru in the mix, there is so much going on that is difficult to pin down the exact flavours.  It is sweet, spicy, light yet full of full of rich fruit flavour.  Banana and vanilla fade in and out of the mix as does the spice which really stays with you on the finish.  Whilst the fruit flavours don’t linger too long in the finish the spice ginger and a little black pepper do.  I am not a huge sipper of rum but this is really excellent as a sipping rum.  Easily one of the best I have had to date.  .

Even for me mixing this rum seems a bit of a nonsense but needless to say it makes an excellent rum and cola. You don’t even need to add lime such is the complex nature of this rum.

Stylistically this rum is probably around 90% Bajan but the remaining 10% seems to be a mix of Demerara and Angostura like smoothness.  This is an Excellent rum which is getting very close to the Superb in terms of my scoring!  A rum this good really should have a cork………..

4.5 stars













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5 comments on “Captain Bligh XO Special Reserve Rum

  1. Before it was Captain Bligh, it was St. Vincent Sunset. When SVDL took over the operation, there were quite a few old, really old barrels in the warehouse, that produced unreal rum. Kentucky Bourbon barrels. Well, due to lack of care before they bought the distillery, many of the barrels were practically empty. But what was in them was delightful. I was offered Sunset with ginger ale and also with fresh coconut water out of a gallon jug. Some of the finest rum I’ve had the opportunity to sample. Back in the good old days, I brought 13 bottles home in my carry on.

  2. Got to agree with you we really like this rum too!

    • As the importers I would sincerely hope you do! Please feel free to link the review on your website and Social Media. Ralfy over on Youtube also has a nice video review of this rum.

  3. I’m a huge fan of this rum and I agree with you that it’s very similar to Bajan rums in it’s profile. On the screw cap, looks can be deceiving…….one needs to go no further than the Barbancourt 15!

    • Its a shame it has a screw cap but the rum itself is as good as anything around

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