Yes, We Cane
Rum having a bit of a renaissance at the moment, especially dark rums made for sipping. Not only are there more brands (from more countries) making their way to the shelves, but their distillers are taking more care with their flavor profiles. We must admit, our experience with rums made in Barbados has been limited. We were excited, then, when Bajan brand, Cockspur sent us a couple of bottles for review— The Old Gold and VSOR 12.
Cockspur was founded in 1884 by Valdemar Hanschel. It was later passed to the Stade brothers, who were able to create a consistent flavor profile by introducing the first continuous column still to Barbados. They now produce a Fine Rum, Old Gold, VSOR 12, Rum Punch, Spiced Rum, Falernum, Overproof, Pineapple Coconu Splash and Green Apple Splash (most of these are only available in the Caribbean and Bermuda). First, we tasted the Old Gold, an 80 proof blend of light-bodied rum and old, full-bodied pot still rum.
On the Nose:Cockspur's website says it presents notes of vanilla, cream and honey. We agree, but we'd also add caramel, light oak and maybe a hint of orange peel.
On the Tongue:The flavor is smooth deep and sweet with a spicy finish as it reaches the back of the tongue. There are also some grassy notes at the throat. It has a long finish, with a pleasant spice eventually coating the tongue. In laywoman's terms, it's tasty enough to sip on the rocks with (maybe) an orange peel garnish and would taste great in a cocktail or with a simple splash of ginger beer.
Moving on to the VSOR 12, the 80 proof Very Special Old Reserve—a premium rum blend of the oldest rums kept on reserve at Cockspur's distillery in Barbados.
On the Nose:The website mentions notes of toffee, vanilla and oak. We also noticed aromas of apricot or peach and orange. Point blank... it's scent is smooth and sexy.
On the Tongue:There's definitely a creamy mouthfeel and (which basically means the flavor smoothly coats your entire mouth and disperses smoothly, like cream). The flavor is reminiscent of a good bourbon with strong vanilla, oak and spiced fruit notes. This is definitely a rum for solo sipping or creating cocktails that usually contain bourbon. Also, when it gets cold out, this'll be perfect for hot buttered rum.
Overall thoughts:These are pretty darn good rums. Both are smooth and flavorful with just the right amount of bite. While we enjoy the VSOR 12, we found the Old Gold a little more pleasant because of its lightness (but maybe blame that on the weather in the NY area finally warming up a bit). Would we keep it in our home bar? Yes! Would we bring it to a house party proudly? Totally! We hope you'll try it and let us know your thoughts.
As always, Indulge wisely and responsibly.