Cockspur XO Master’s Select

Cockspur XO Master's Select Rum review by the fat rum pirateCockspur XO Master’s Select. Up until a couple of years ago, you would have been lucky to find a range of Cockspur branded rum in the UK. Aside from the gold Cockspur Fine Rum. Which was available quite readily in a couple of major supermarkets.

Before this the VSOR and/or 12 was quite readily available but this dried up considerably over the past 5 or so years.

In 2019 Cockspur was re-booted. Presumably to take advantage of the increase in interest in Barbados rum. You can now find the following expressions in the UK market – Platinum, Fine Rum, Old Gold, VSOR (very recently re-introuduced) and this XO Master’s Select.

Cockspur rum is produced at West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD) but it is a licensed brand that they produce for the domestic and export market.

Cockspur XO Master’s Select is a blend of the very best vintage rums available to the Master Blender at WIRD. These rums have been aged in ex-American Oak Barrels. Each batch is limited to 98 barrels. The rums are blended and matured in ex-Oloroso Sherry casks. My bottle is Batch Number 00013/001.

There are no age statements attributed to Cockspur XO Master’s Select. It is a blend of Pot and Column distilled rum. It has been bottled at 43% ABV.

As you can see the presentation is modern and understated. The Cockspur cockerel is present along with a little information on the front of the bottle. The rear label gives some tasting notes and serving suggestions.

The bottle is a 3/4 stubby style bottle with a short tapered neck. The rum is sealed with a tightly fitting synthetic stopper with a dark wooden topper. In the UK a bottle retails at around the £43-45 mark. It is available from Master of Malt amongst others.

Cockspur XO Master's Select Rum review by the fat rum pirateI would usually at this stage advise checking the companies website for further information but in the case of Cockspur Rum’s website. I really wouldn’t bother. It’s quite out of date.

So I don’t really have much else to say about this rum so lets move on and see how good it is.

In the glass we have quite a dark spirit. With a reddish/orange hue running through it. It came up nil for additives as per the Hydrometer but I think it may have a drop or two of caramel colouring. Which to be honest isn’t even in the top ten of problems in the rum world! It’s certainly not really something I concern myself with.

Nosing Cockspur XO Master’s Select it is quite woody to begin with. I’m getting a lot of barrel char on the nose. This is running alongside a sweet very sherry like note. This reminds me a little of sherried scotch whisky. Beyond this is an almost perfumed, floral note. Some redcurrants and a touch of caramel and toffee.

Further nosing reveals some lighter vanilla notes and some raisins. It does however have quite a large hit of what I can only really describe as alcohol. Which doesn’t seem all that well integrated and seems a little medicinal and overly chemical like.

Overall the nose isn’t bad but this note I am finding a touch odd.

Sipped, again it is quite woody, almost chewy with what tastes like oak staves and barrel char. It’s not as woody and bitter as it might sound but it feels like the ageing has been forced a little.

After a couple more sips the rum smooths out a little and seems less woody. Notes of orange marmalade, dark chocolate and a floral sweetness come through. With varying success to be honest. The floral note just makes it taste a little perfumed, which is throwing it off kilter for me.

Despite the woodiness of this spirit, it’s remarkably smooth in terms of mouthfeel. It doesn’t have a great deal of bite beyond the initial bitter woody notes. The oakiness of the rum rather than fade out nicely into the finish, seems to disappear rather abruptly.

Cockspur XO Master's Select Rum review by the fat rum pirateAs a result the mid palate and finish are a bit of disappointment. Short and not a great deal of development going on there I’m afraid. Whilst I wouldn’t say this is a bad rum it tastes a bit generic, a bit pedestrian. Almost like its a Jack of all Trades but sadly a Master of None.

It’s an average rum which might have stood out a little 10 years or so ago. Obviously in todays market, I think most people know which Barbados producers are currently pulling up trees.


To date WIRD is not currently one of those producers. This will rum will do little to convince anyone otherwise.




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