Review – Rebellion Spiced Rum
The Caribbean climate is just perfect for growing several things, among them sugar cane from which rum is produced and a whole bunch of exotic spices. Putting the two together was always going to be a bit of a no-brainer and sure enough spices have been used to flavour rum for as long as anyone cares to remember. With a name inspired by the story that the pirate Blackbeard marooned 15 of his men on an island following a rebellion with only a cutlass and a bottle of rum, Rebellion Spiced sources rum from across the Caribbean and spices it with eight exotic ingredients. Cloves, bitter orange, ginger, cardamon, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and pepper make up the recipe list with the rum itself being of unspecified origin.
Nose: Vanilla would like to think it is the boss here, and certainly it leads the aroma line-up, but a healthy dose of orange keeps things fresh whilst ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper are all evident but in a background capacity. Cloves and cardamom are remarkable by their absence given their ability to dominate but this just makes this rum all the more easy-sniffing. It is tricky to detect the characteristics of the underlying rum, but there are plenty of fruity notes going on here, with tropical mango and banana in particular dancing about. A complex and sweet aroma with more than a passing resemblance to that of popcorn-flavoured jelly beans.
Neat: Orange and vanilla are again prominent on the sweet entry, which rapidly develops a spicy note on account of the ginger in particular. The rest of the palate also mimics the nose except for the cloves and cardamon which are much more prominent. Oak, honey and nutmeg come through in particular in the mid-palate, but there is plenty of complexity to keep things interesting. A peppery and mildly sharp bite causes the finish to clash somewhat with the sweetness up until then, both of which mean this falls into the mixing rather than sipping category. For a spiced rum this is hardly a negative however, and certainly the combination of flavours promises much.
Mixing: It is in cocktails that this rum really shines and, whilst it’s not a successful choice in all (a Palmetto for example is a bad idea), when you get it right you’re in for a treat. A spiced Daiquiri for example was an absolute joy that very much falls into the realms of guilty pleasures. The combination of spices together with the sweet-sour balance create a drink with some delightful buttered popcorn notes. Equally a Flip in which the sugar syrup is replaced with cherry brandy is indulgently delicious and full of flavour. Such is my enjoyment of this rum that I’m even impressed with it’s performance in the simple but often unexciting Cuba Libre. The reason for this rums success is that the balanced but bold use of spicing which is not something all spiced rums get right, the result is complex and layered but without the dominance of a single flavour.
Rebellion Spiced Rum is an excellent full-flavoured spiced rum that shows just how good this spirit category can be. The harmonious blend of spices coupled with plenty of sweetness means that it mixes well in a range of cocktails and is well worth a bit of experimentation.
Rebellion Spiced Rum is available to buy from Master of Malt.
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.