Captain Bligh XO Rum shows a medium amber color, and transparent, giving little clue to its age. The aroma is gentle, with a slight brown sugar sweetness, alcohol is evident but not rough, and doesn’t bite or obscure the subtle and balanced scents of oak, vanilla, and caramel. A medium body shows nice maturity of flavor and aging in oak, with a slight vanilla, which finishes dry – another nice surprise.
I’ve sampled my share of Sunset’s other rums ever since I ventured into the eastern Caribbean seventeen years ago, but most often used their Very Strong rum (169 proof) as a foundation for rum punches and other highly flavored mixed drinks. I was a little skeptical that their premium product would delver, but just like the famously accomplished marine navigator it is named for, Captain Bligh finds its way into your palate and your list of trustworthy favorites. Fermented from molasses imported from Guyana and distilled in a two-column still, then aged for up to ten years in once-used Kentucky bourbon oak barrels, Captain Bligh is a subtle, smooth rum well regarded as the finest produced on St Vincent.
Sunset rebranded Captain Bligh rum early in 2009. The distiller appended XO to the famous navigator’s name adding “Special Reserve” to the label. It’s still the same good sipping rum as when we simply called it "Gold".
Captain William Bligh is revered among mariners for his incredible feat of navigation after being put off his ship HMS Bounty and set to sea with several crew in a long boat. Mutineers led by Fletcher Christian had enough abuse from the stern captain. But he's revered by Caribbean and Bahamian islanders for bringing breadfruit, the starchy staple of their diet, to the islands. A sign commemorating his delivering living food stock for the slaves is mounted to a wall under a breadfruit tree at Elbow Cay in the Abacos, Bahamas (click the photo below right).
Captain Bligh is quite versatile – enjoy it neat, on the rocks, or mixed. Don’t let its simple, clear glass bottle and screw cap put you off. Captain Bligh is the highest end of Sunset’s rum line, and yet is an incredible bargain. (Wow - fifteen bucks for a bottle of good ten year old rum!) Purchase some Captain Bligh while you’re in St. Vincent and the Grenadines – it is smooth, aromatic, tasty, and inexpensive – all of the characteristics that made us fall in love with the islands.
Reviewed: January, 2008 at the Rum Gallery, USA, and again in October 2009 while at anchor in Wallilabou, St. Vincent (where much of the “Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl” movie set is still intact.)