Posted by: Matt Browner Hamlin | October 6, 2010

BlackBeard Spiced Rum

BlackBeard Spiced RumRecently arrived to the US is BlackBeard Spiced Rum, made by Destilería Serrallés, the producers of DonQ rum. DonQ is the most popular Puerto Rican rum on Puerto Rico and I’ve enjoyed a lot of the DonQ bottlings in my visits to Puerto Rico in the last two years. I was excited to get to try BlackBeard, as I’m always looking for more and better spiced rums.

For starters, BlackBeard’s bottle meets just about every standard spiced rum packaging stereotype, as the label includes not one but two pirates, a map and a tall ship. Obviously you can’t hold this against them, as these are pretty much industry standards for marketing. It’s actually impressive to fit all of this nautical, rum-inspiring regalia on one bottle.

The rum has a surprisingly light golden amber color, though I’ve been reaching for Black Strap a lot lately when using rum in cocktails, so my sense of vision may be skewed. BlackBeard’s nose is dominated by vanilla extract and caramel.

The front part of the first sip of BlackBeard Spiced Rum is fairly thin and singularly vanilla. The mid range flavors bring a lot of spice, noticeably cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. There’s also fairly prominent orange and other citrus notes. There’s very little burn on the finish. BlackBeard is sweet, with some classic dark rum richness, but it’s not dominant nor immediately apparent.

My go-to drink with any non-white, non-sipping rum is a Dark & Stormy. BlackBeard provided me with a number of recipes featuring the rum, including a variation on this.

Black & Stormy
2 oz. BlackBeard Spiced Rum
3/4 oz. lime juice
1⁄2 oz. ginger juice
1⁄2 oz. simple syrup*
Ginger beer
*Simple syrup: dissolve equal parts sugar in hot water.

In a cocktail shaker, combine the first 4 ingredients, fill with ice and shake vigorously until well chilled. Strain into an
ice filled highball glass and fill to top with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge and candied ginger.

I didn’t have any fresh ginger nor ginger juice, so I didn’t end up making this recipe. Instead I used my more standard variation of a Dark & Stormy, but increased the lime juice.

Dark & Stormy w/o Goslings
2.5 oz BlackBeard Spiced Rum
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
Ginger beer (Barritt’s)

Build in an ice-filled Collins glass

As I mentioned above, BlackBeard isn’t, in fact, black or even very dark. The resulting drink is light – only a shade darker than a glass of ginger beer. Now, part of what follows is likely because I used Barritt’s Ginger Beer, which is not one of my preferred brands as it is both sweeter and less spicy than I like. But this variation with BlackBeard didn’t have as much spice as I like in a Dark & Stormy variation. There wasn’t much bite to either the rum or ginger beer. It was light and tart, with the lime juice playing a more dominant role than usual. I’m just not sure that BlackBeard has enough natural spice to be enough without the extra ginger kick in the company’s promotional recipe.

BlackBeard’s flavors, at least to my palate, were more oriented towards vanilla and caramel than cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and other spices traditionally found in spiced rums. While it has an above-average 86 proof, it is more sweet than strong. By comparison, the two spiced rums I use most frequently are both stronger and richer. Sailor Jerry is pretty boozy and has a strong backbone of spice to it. Kraken is much richer and has a dominant molasses flavor to it. In the end, BlackBeard just doesn’t seem as well defined with core spice flavors and intensity.

The caveat that I always make in reviews is that this is how I taste things and doesn’t really mean other people won’t like it. I like using spiced rums as depth-creating ingredients for multiple rum Tiki cocktails. I also like adding spiced rums with another dark rum for Dark & Stormy alternatives (different from the one I used in this review). My girlfriend, whose favorite cocktail is the Dark & Stormy, liked the BlackBeard substitution I made, though didn’t  think of it as being similar to a Dark & Stormy at all. I can certainly see BlackBeard being a strong competitor for people who drink Captain Morgan’s and given the choice between the two, I’d definitely take BlackBeard. But I don’t think it brings the punch I’m looking for when I use spiced rum in Tiki drinks.

I’ll be curious to see how BlackBeard is marketed. Destilería Serrallés is big enough and reputable enough to make me think it could successfully reach a lot of markets nationwide and target consumers who are used to Captain Morgan’s or some of the prominent Bacardi bottlings.

For readers, have you tried BlackBeard Spiced Rum? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Disclosure: This post was made possible because I received a free bottle of BlackBeard Spiced Rum for the purposes of sample and review.



  1. I wouldn’t worry about the color of dark rums. Amber rums are from the wood aging. A lot after that has to do with artificial color in most cases (Zacapa, Zaya, and Diplomatico perhaps not).

    We got sent a bottle of BlackBeard. It wasn’t bad and worked well in the Tiki drink we made (it called for a Puerto Rico rum that was no longer made so it was a good excuse to use this rum from PR as a substitute). Tastewise, I prefer Kraken as it has a better balance and greater richness. We haven’t played around with it much since then though.

  2. I can tell you try Blackbeard I enjoyed like to make a Pentlalla I use BlackBerry to me about black Beatus it’s not the sweet captain Morgan but I can tell you it is delicious. Have a nice day

    • Okay Siri dictate this message for me when I make a peanut colada I like to use Blackbeard smooth silky and Rich is so undertones of Carmel and vanilla mixed with overtones of sweetness and deliciousness skews me at me

  3. Okay Siri I need to do a perfect job listening to me and making these words come out onto the paper the computer when I say them into this phone let’s talk a little bit about Blackbeard route very rich very case it’s a great make sure I wouldn’t suggest sip of that because you might just have a problem but perhaps you like to make it into something and not be too sweet well that’s what it does for you it’s not too soon

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