Cruzan Single Barrel

Cruzan Single Barrel rum

Product of:  St. Croix, USVI 
Age:  blend of rums aged up to 12 years
Price: $27
Alcohol: 40% ABV
Context: Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating: 8

Tasting Notes
Cruzan’s Single Barrel rum shows an attractive caramel color in your glass and shows well in it’s tall, clear, low-waisted, elephant’s-foot bottle.  A light sweet caramel bouquet with an alcohol zest greets your nose at first, followed by heavy oak wood, vanilla, then caramel, coconut, some tropical fruit like fermenting mango, banana, and possibly jackfruit, rounded out nicely with a hint of nutmeg spice.  Aside from the predominant vanilla, the aromas are actually quite soft.  Upon initial tasting, the vanilla is there for sure, and butterscotch too, but the sweetness of the aromas are tempered with an unexpectedly dry texture of tobacco leaf and coconut.  While the aromas and flavors are pleasant, they aren’t consistent from one stage to the next, which either confuses your senses or adds complexity, depending on your perspective.  In any event, what’s there is well supported by a medium weight body that delivers a very smooth, long finish of mild caramel and butterscotch.

Cruzan rum is distilled from a molasses wash (“beer”) in a massive five column still, and aged in used oak Kentucky bourbon barrels (reportedly with extra oak chips inside) for up to 12 years, then blended and allowed to rest in oak for up to one more year to marry the blended rums before bottling.  I’ve been told by knowledgeable sources at another distillery that Cruzan has a competitive price advantage because their molasses is subsidized by the US Federal Government.  Cruzan supposedly pays less than 10% of the price that its competitors pay for premium grade, high-sugar-content (55% sugar and higher) molasses. 

And about Cruzan’s “Single Barrel” moniker:  it’s okay in the world of rum, but it puts stretch marks on the definition used for Scotch whisky.  So what, we’re all about rum here, ya know, it’s the fun booze, the rule breaker, the spirit of Pirates and Brigands.  Those who want a highly individualized rum that is aged and bottled from one single 55 gallon oak barrel, look to St. Nicholas Abbey or Callwood’s 4 and 10 Year Old Arundel rums.  In the context of Premium Aged Rum, Cruzan Single Barrel is darn good stuff for sipping or mixing.  

For more information on Cruzan’s  distillery and its processes , see Ed Hamilton’s article at the Ministry of Rum, at: United States Virgin Islands - Cruzan Rum Distillery - Ministry of Rum

Packaging was updated in about 2009, using a more contemporary, easy handling statuesque bottle under a nice wooden cap and natural cork stopper.  They are individually numbered.  The rum Dave reviewed here came from out of bottle #680246, barrel 8P365. 

Cruzan Single Barrel is smooth, mildly flavorful and almost complex enough to keep you interested in sipping it neat.  Cruzan’s high volume five-column distillation produces a very clean spirit, but it also evaporates away some of the rum’s individual character.  Heavy oak aging is relied upon to restore flavor.  As a mixer, it fits well with many rum punches and cocktails that require a measure of sophistication without pretense from a not-quite-boastful rum.  It’s versatility makes it an excellent  choice for creating homemade spiced rum.  

Reviewed: February 2012 at the Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017