Summertime is rum time. While I enjoy every spirit category, I really only drink rum during the warm-weather months. Something about rum transports me to the Caribbean, where I drink rum on lazy days and relax with friends. While there are a lot of different styles of rum, I divide rum into two personal categories: rums that I drink on their own and rums that I like to mix with. Of course, there is also a category of rums that I hate and don’t ever want to drink, but that is another piece altogether.
One of my preferred brands of rum is Cruzan. Made on the island of St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, Cruzan dates back to the 1760s when a sugar mill was built on the current distillery site. Cruzan also has the distinction of being the most honored rum distillery in the world, and oddly enough, the distillery is part of the American Whiskey Trail, which promotes the heritage of distilled spirits in the United States. (Note: Cruzan does not nor has it ever produced whiskey. It is included in the whiskey trail because the Virgin Islands are a U.S. territory and because apparently, there isn’t a rum trail.)
Cruzan makes a wide variety of rums from dark blackstrap rum to light mixing rums to flavored rums. My personal favorite of the Cruzan line is Cruzan Single Barrel. This outstanding sipping rum retails for approximately $29.99, making it one of the greatest values in rum on the market today.
Cruzan Single Barrel Rum is distilled five times through column stills, resulting in a clean flavor without the funkiness that some other rums can have. The rum is then put in barrels between 14 months and 12 years, which allows the rum to mature and to develop a variety of flavor components. After the initial maturing is completed, these rums are then blended together and aged a second time in new American oak barrels. This allows the flavors to blend and to get to know each other. After the second aging, each barrel is bottled and individually numbered one cask at a time. For instance, my review bottle of Cruzan Single Barrel is barrel 87510 and bottle 709608. While there will be broad commonalities with this rum, every barrel is unique, so each bottle bears the distinctive fingerprint of the barrel it was matured in. These slight differences are part of the fun in single-barrel spirits, and Cruzan Single Barrel is a rum that delivers.
This rum is an amber-colored spirit with streaks of red and gold when the light hits it. On the nose, oak, cinnamon, vanilla, and orange marmalade appear along with a soft, tropical flower note. As this rum hits the palate, brown sugar, bananas, and orange peel counterbalance warm oak tones. The finish is pleasing, not overwhelming the palate but leaving you wanting more.
With Cruzan Single Barrel, I like to add just one ice cube, slowly sip this rum, and enjoy its rich flavor. Ultimately, drink this rum however you’d like to. It would work well in cocktails that don’t cover up its flavors: think about an Old Fashioned or perhaps even a rum Sazerac. Whatever your choice, Cruzan Single Barrel is one of the finest sipping rums on the market at an incredible price point of $30. It’s an essential addition to a well-stocked bar, and it’s one you should see at better restaurants and bars.
Disclosure: I received a sample of this product from Cruzan for review. No other compensation from Cruzan was received.