John Frum’s Cargo Cult Spiced Rum

Cargo Cult Spiced Rum Review by the fat rum pirateJohn Frum’s Cargo Cult Spiced Rum. This is a Spiced Rum which has been making a few waves in the UK. This is partly due to it being available in Marks and Spencer. It is also available at the travelling “The Rum Festival” events – where it is proving very popular with consumers.

A cargo cult is a millenarian movement first described in Melanesia which encompasses a range of practices and occurs in the wake of contact with more technologically advanced societies. The name derives from the belief which began among Melanesians in the late 19th and early 20th century that various ritualistic acts such as the building of an airplane runway will result in the appearance of material wealth, particularly highly desirable Western goods (i.e., “cargo”), via Western airplanes.

John Frum’s Cargo Cult Spiced Rum hails from Australia (Melenasia is a subregion of Oceania). The story behind it being called Cargo Cult is a little different to the information I found on Wikipedia – so if you want to read the story the website is here. It explains for a start who this John Frum fellow is.

On the website they also identify Cargo Cult as being a “dry Spiced Rum with no sugar added”. It’s always interesting when a Spiced Rum states no added sugar as they are generally sweet. Whether they are sweetened by actual sugar or by the combination of essences, spices etc used I’ve never really worried to much about. As a default I approach any spiced rum expecting a sweet take on rum.

In the UK a bottle of Cargo Cult rum will set you back just over £30. It is bottled at 38.5% ABV – so definitely qualifies as a genuine Spiced Rum as per EU rulings. The rum used is a blend from Fiji and Papau New Guinea. The spices used are not identified on their website. It is “Small Batch” (whatever that actually means).

Cargo Cult Spiced Rum Review by the fat rum piratePresentation wise we get a standard bar style tall bottle. The branding is good – with a typeface similar to those used on Cargo boxes etc. A synthetic cork stopper is also a nice touch along with the label used over the cork. It looks all very nice and I can see why M&S stock it.

So lets give it a run out. It’s been a while since I tried a new Spiced Rum and my expectations of this one are slightly higher than usual. I haven’t seen Vanilla used anywhere to describe this………..

In the glass the rum is a slightly uninspiring standard gold colour. It lacks any real sparkle and looks just a tiny bit cloudy or slightly muddy.

The nose is spicy but not as in hot and spicy. It genuinely smells a lot like when you are in a market surrounded by various spices. It’s very “exotic” and slightly floral.

Notes of Ginger, Cinnamon, a little Cardamon. There is a lot going on and a lot of the notes I’m not all that familiar with to be honest. Hints of lemon zest and peel. There is a slightly curried note to it but its balanced by some sweeter notes of (dare I say it) Vanilla.

It all smells very “genuine”, very clean and well “real”. I don’t think we are dealing with essences or artificial flavours with this. It is more of a true Spiced rum like say Foursquare’s effort (though this is less subtle). I stil think a less experienced rum drinker might think this is a regular rum. Especially if there experience is at the “sweetened” end of the spectrum.

Having said that, this isn’t an overly sweet rum – even by Spiced standards its pretty subtle. Sipping Cargo Cult is a real surprise. It’s quite peppery and spicy. You can taste the base rum though. You get quite a lot of oak and more regular rum notes. Initially it seems sweet but that quickly gets taken over by the spiced notes. It has a real ginger kick to it which I like. The finish is a little like an Indian Curry – there is a lot of all spice, ginger and maybe some fennel? I’m getting a little Garam Masala.

Mixed I fear it may fade a little with Ginger Beer – some of the rum does disappear as its to similar to the Ginger but the other notes really stand out and give an extra spicy kick to the drink. A lover of Spicy food will probably really enjoy Cargo Cult this way.

Cargo Cult Spiced Rum Review by the fat rum pirateMixed with cola it works pretty well and it does a good job with Lemonade as well. I would imagine it could be interesting for a bartender to use and work with cocktails with it.

I like the fact you can actually taste a half decent base rum a the bottom of this and it isn’t full of fake Vanilla Essence. Cargo Cult Spiced Rum is spicy though – a lot of ginger and pepper – it does have some sweeter notes of lemon, vanilla and a hint of chocolate. I think if I want a Spiced Rum I might actually want something sweeter. This is maybe like drinking Lucozade light rather than regular Lucozade. You know its not the real thing and it maybe just lacks the oomph you really need or want.

I like what the producers are trying to do though and it is a well put together product. It’s not quite at the top table for me though. An admirable effort though.



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