Gosling’s Black Seal Rum

Gosling's Black Seal Rum Review by the fat rum pirateSo Gosling’s famous Black Seal Rum. Named due to the Black Seal on the front of the black bottle? Wrong.  Oh and the bottle is clear not black – the liquid held within is black.  This is Goslings Black Seal Bermuda Black Rum.  So that must be why it is called Black Seal.? I’m afraid you’re wrong again.

Gosling’s Black Seal Rum is actually named as a result of the black wax used to seal the original bottles. (old champagne bottles no less)  A black seal.  The Family Reserve Gosling’s actually uses a black wax seal to recreate that oldey world charm.  Personally, I’ve only experienced a wax seal on one bottle – Foursquare Spiced and I found it to be a bit of a pain in the arse to be honest!

The current Black Seal gets away with this and is sealed with a plastic screw cap. The Black Seal comes in a standard bar/wine bottle.  The front gives all the information you would require and the overall design is decent enough.  The rear label gives some background and on the neck and rear their is a note that the rum gained Platinum status at the World Spirits Championship (scoring 96 out of 100 and being noted as best buy).

Gosling's Black Seal Rum ReviewThe Black Seal I am reviewing is bottled at 40% ABV and comes in a 70cl bottle.  The rum retails at the £20-25 mark.

I’ve tried this rum a few times but I’d never went out and bought a bottle until fairly recently.  I was buying a bottle of the Gosling’s Gold (which was discounted) and it just seemed foolish not to buy it’s older brother at the same time.  Gosling’s Black Seal is one of the most easily available rum’s on the market in the UK particularly online.  The rum has quite a high profile (the producers have trademarked their Dark N’ Stormy cocktail) but is strangely absent from UK supermarkets.

I bought a miniature bottle of the Black Seal 151 (75.5%).  I think overproofs are great and no doubt useful in mixology but for my drinking purposes it wasn’t a hugely enjoyable experience.  I’d tried the Goslings Black Seal on numerous occasions in the Las Iguanas chain of restaurants (a restaurant chain with a better than average stock of rums) but in Dark N’ Stormy’s mixed with Idris Fiery Ginger Beer.  Fiery Ginger Beer and spicy Mexican/Brazilian cuisine doesn’t really leave much rum for a considered assessment of a rum.  I’ve also had the odd shot or two of Black Seal mixed with cola on nights out. However, up until now I hadn’t ever had a bottle and hadn’t really formed a reliable opinion on the drink.  Unlike some reviewers I do not believe in “reviewing” rum’s based on free miniatures or 20cl bottles.

So on with the rum.  As the first picture shows the rum presents itself as an almost black dark brown with reddish tones.  It’s very much like a port or red wine in colour.  From viewing the rum from the rear of the bottle you can easily mistake it for a port or red wine.  In some ways it is a little reminiscent of a fortified wine (fortified rum anyone?) but anyway more of that when we get to the taste of this rum.

When poured in the glass the rum retains its dark reddish brown hue.  As you can see from my second picture the bottle is clear and it was the rum making the bottle appear black.Gosling's Black Seal Rum Review  Despite my numerous tastings of this rum I have little idea what to expect from such a dark rum.  My pre-conceptions of such rum’s have been shaken a little by my recent experience of the very strange Bacardi Black (a sheep in wolf’s clothing!).

The nose is very pungent.  Heavy thick treacly molasses and sweet caramel.  It immediately reminds me of the kind of Jamaican/Guyanan blend of Pussers Navy Rum.  I found the Goslings Gold to be quite “strong” in terms of flavour, for such a light looking (almost straw in colour) gold rum.  It’s older brother certainly cranks that up a notch or two.

The Black Seal is frequently mixed so I went into this review expecting quite a rough and ready experience when sipped.  The Black Seal sip’s remarkably well.  Despite its pungent aroma it is nowhere near as rough and ready (or as strong) as Pussers Blue Label (the ABV is 54.5% after all).  It’s initially sweet like liquorice, there is a little heat and spice in the mix and the finish is long and slightly bitter.  Black Seal is quite one dimensional in terms of flavour and is reminds me a little of Woods 100 Navy Rum.  However,  I find it less bitter, sweeter and overall much better balanced.

The very fact I am comparing the Black Seal with Overproof Navy Rum’s tells you a lot about the make up of this rum.  I’ve no doubt that unlike its Bajan cousin’s it probably has some additives in the rum. The rear label states a “recipe” which is closely guarded.  Well it’s a good recipe!

As a sipper Goslings Black Rum is quite a nice (if slightly one dimensional as mentioned) experience.  In short its a sweet liquorice hit with a slightly bitter and spicy exit.  Having said that its a damn sight better than some supposed sipping rums!

As a mixing rum, I feel is where Black Seal really comes into its own.  With cola it makes a fantastic long drink with ice and lime.  The Black Seal is like Black Treacle (a very English experience).  Black Treacle Syrup is a very dark sweet liquorice like affair.  Gosling’s isn’t viscous like black treacle but it is every bit as tasty.  One of the joys of pouring a true Dark N’ Stormy is watching how the Black Seal swirls into the Ginger Beer and ice.  Often leading to a top layer of rum (more so with the 151 I’ve found).

As a dark mixing rum I rate this above Woods, Skipper, OVD and Bacardi Black (such a strange rum).  I personally find that this kind of rum goes brilliantly with Cola and Ginger Beer.  It’s a must in a Dark N’ Stormy.  I’ve seen it said that there is no such thing as a sipping rum or a mixing rum – just good rum.  Well my star system suggests that this is a indeed a Good rum!

3 stars




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One comment on “Gosling’s Black Seal Rum

  1. My favorite sweet sipper. Easy to drink, and goes well in tiki-style drinks.

    The overproof version is my favorite “float” on top of a drink. Actually not bad with some brown sugar, orange bitters, and plenty of ice.

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