Today I made the rare journey to the liquor store to replenish the stocks. I’m somewhat of a sucker for novelty offerings when it comes to purchasing liquor, although I do have standards. The bottle and artwork of Kraken managed to reel me in, and its price of $17.95 didn’t break the bank, even with the previously mentioned budget cuts. From a certain perspective, it was a cost effective purchase, though weak kneed land lubbers should take note: the creature within is a healthy 94 proof.
I don’t look up reviews of liquor or beer before occasionally gambling on a particular purchase, unlike most of the wine snobs I know. I’m proud to say that’s part of what separates us beer and boozing types from that crowd. Consequently I am often sorely disappointed or very pleasantly surprised from these somewhat risky purchases. Today, I’m happy to say, was profitable.
A brief background first… I do have one friend who is a rum aficionado, but my own expertise is in the area of single malt whiskies for the most part, and I can say that I was once offered my own TV show segment to be called “Rob the Beer Snob” which I declined out of respect to my wife and dogs. There’s something about being able to walk into a local establishment and not be called out to as “Norm” or the nearest local equivalent in this case.
So knowing little to nothing about rum, I still believe my highly refined whiskey tasting palette can discern the difference between pirate rotgut and fresh water in the doldroms. So take what I have to say next with a grain of salt:
I liked it quite a bit. I was immediately struck by a taste of cocoa, and surprised at the strength of the stuff (this was before I looked more closely at the label to determine its proof). What’s this? It’s bottled in Indiana? Well, I’ll overlook that here. They make some fine moonshine in those parts, who am I to say that they couldn’t make a decent rum as well? Mind you it does give some pause. That’s pretty much it. You can always rely on the meat of this type of review here to last about a sentence or two.
Now following this first taste I suggested to my wife that she should really try some. Normally she would vigorously turn down such an offer, knowing that I favor rye and other whiskeys that make her face scrunch up and force her to consider the location of the nearest sink. In this case, I specifically pointed out beforehand that it was rum. Not only did she taste it, she took another hit from the bottle, which I distinctly heard glug more than once, and after which, she swallowed and planted a wet kiss upon my lucky lips. Especially lucky was the fact that she was wearing some kind of coconut scented lip balm, whose bouquet married the still rich aftertaste and fumes of the high-octane Kraken in a most delirium inducing fashion. Wonderful! After this I poured a bunch over ice and found that it was delectable this way too, although I wasn’t quite ready for its edge on an empty stomach. I did not find a host of subtle herbs and flavors though, mostly just a straight cocoa and coffee flavor with a slight bitterness that still held an appeal.
With anything other than vodka, I’m reluctant to mix the spirit in question with something that might mask its flavor. I am an art critic, not a drunk! So as to whether you might be able to decently make zombies or what have you from this rum is hard for me to say, but I will say this: It’s very good all on its own or on the rocks. Don’t wreck yourself though, it is strong stuff and might sneak up on you. For mixed drinks, I’d go to a lower shelf spirit. For myself, I can see it being occasionally sipped over ice and lasting longer in the bottle than my usual favorites.
Postscript: By the gods these folks know how to put out a media kit - like something you'd find on Propomicon. Not a bad website either.