Tag Archives: Spiced Rum

Innis & Gunn Spiced Rum Finish

With the success of the Rum Cask and refined Rum Finish, Innis & Gunn had produced a limited release of this Spiced Rum Finish, with Caribbean rum meeting Scottish ale for likely the first time ever in a beer. What results is a complex mixing of spice and sweet in the palate that either entices the drinker or confuses them as to the nature of the beer. Aged 47 days and at 6.9% this beer was a talking point at our tasting so I hope those who’ve had it before jump in to give their opinions too!

-Tristan

*****

At the time, this was my least favourite Innis & Gunn beer.  I did enjoy it, but it came as a bit of a shock how little I liked it in comparison to the others.

While somewhat heavily spiced, the flavours are rather subtle. The beer is not nearly as vibrant, fresh, or punctual as I’d like it to be. There is some nutmeg and caramel, but other than that, the spices are barely noticeable. On top of this, the oak-infused flavours, such as toffee, vanilla, and butterscotch, are all but lost, depleted by the muddled spices. This is what puts me off the most. Furthermore, the lingering spice and malt is not a taste I enjoy sitting on my palate for too long. That said, it’s still Innis & Gunn; it’s still rather smooth and crisp; it’s still better than most beers out there.

Nose: 19.5
Body: 20.5
Taste: 19
Finish: 18

Kamran: 78 pts.

*****

This beer was my favourite from the Winter pack for 2011. This fact even surprises me to be honest, as I kind of stood alone from the other three at the tasting. Perhaps this beer has a “love it or hate it”  quality about it, but personally I found it fresh and an intriguing mix of ingredients that Innis & Gunn brought to the table.

The nose was light/mellow spice with  vanilla, toffee, and a fruity tone that remained underlying throughout. The body was bitter from citrus hops and a medium level of thickness. Texture was a big part of enjoying this beer for me. The taste was complex compared to other beers from this brewery with biscuit like malt, spices, oak, and rum. The finish was spices and oak, which was smooth and drinkable.

I found thisto be very nice since it was drinkable, reasonably complex on the palate without working too hard to determine what was what. Overall a relaxing beer to drink and worth it if you’ve had the Rum Finish.

Nose: 23
Body: 24.5
Taste: 24
Finish: 24.5

Tristan: 96 pts.

*****

Final Average: 87 pts.

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Innis & Gunn Original

You are all in for a little treat. Tristan and I have tasted and reviewed each and every Innis & Gunn product released in the last 1-2 years. Since we’ve already posted on the Highland Cask 21 year (2010), that will be omitted, but you are soon to find reviews on the Original, Rum Cask, Canada Day 2011, Highland Cask 18 Year (2011), Rum Finish, Spiced Rum, Winter Ale, Irish Stout and, finally, the Canada Day 2012 — tasted vertically with a 1 year aged 2011. With the exception of the last two, we tasted the beers one after the other, within a night, referring and relating them to one another. This is how we will review them: with reference to one another. So, if you’re like us, and think Innis & Gunn makes some of the best beer in the world, take a trip through their collection with us!

Brewed in Scotland, Innis & Gunn follow a unique avenue in beer craftsmanship: oak-aging! You heard correctly; this is beer that, like most whiskies, rums, and red wines, has sat in an oak barrel, slowly picking up the flavours — vanilla, toffee, caramel, oak, etc. — the wood has to offer. There are few breweries that perform this feat, and Innis & Gunn, the originators, are — put simply — the best.

Oak cask maturation not only gives the beer it’s colour, it transforms the flavour compounds in ways unlike anything else. The original Innis & Gunn is stored for 79 days, longer than any of the other Innis & Gunn beers, but they utilize a virginal oak cask. In fact, Innis & Gunn original was first utilized by whisky distillers to imbue whisky casks with some beer flavour. Thank God one of them realized the beer they were throwing out was delicious! You may find the original regularly in both government and private liquor stores. It comes in single 330 or single 750 ml bottles, at a relatively inexpensive price, making it a real ‘go-to’ beer.

– Kamran

*****

The Innis & Gunn Original, while not my favourite beer in the world — though pretty damn close — is probably the beer I drink the most. Though I love to expand my horizons and try different beers, I find myself constantly returning to the Innis & Gunn; If I am picking out beer for a night, I almost always grab at least one. It’s a near perfect beer that everyone must try at least once in their life!

Smooth, Creamy, Rich, Vanilla, Toffee, Butterscotch: These are the main terms to describe Innis and Gunn beer, particularly the original. It is a true sipping beer that gets better with age and aeration. So, pour it into a glass, let it sit, then slowly enjoy it over time. On the nose, the original is replete with notes of vanilla, toffee, caramel, and oak. On the palate, these flavour are not subdued. They are rather MORE pronounced. It’s truly amazing what this low carbonated beer is capable of. The finish is long and smooth, making you, at once, desire another bottle.

Nose: 24
Body: 23.5
Taste: 24.5
Finish: 23.5

Kamran: 95.5 pts.

*****

Well this is the start of something fun! Yes, indeedy folks, we have done some palate practice and tackled the recent collection of fine beer from Innis & Gunn. While some may not have heard of them before, or seen the bottles in stores but passed over it… you need to try this beer a couple of times to really appreciate it. Luckily it’s not too expensive, and if you’re looking to expand you beer palate this is a good way to start. I moved away from the typical beers when I got my first batch of Innis & Gunn due to sheer curiosity. Now it is still one of my favourite breweries.

The original is the first I tried, naturally… …while I wasn’t so used to the taste at age 19, it did grow on me the few times I revisited it a few months later! Aged for 77 days and at 6.6% alcohol/volume, it is not a light beer, but a happy medium.  On the nose it has a rich and light sweetness to it, as well as a toffee, vanilla, and oaken aroma. Very appealing in my books. The body was, again, rich and light with a sweetness from the malt, toffee and vanilla. It was also quite smooth leading to a high level of drinkability. The flavour was malty, with light vanilla and toffee under the oak tones. In terms of an aftertaste or finish, the malt lingers on the palate with the taste slowly fading away. Very unobtrusive finish, which leads to the ability to enjoy several in a night should you choose.

While not my favourite of the collection, it is a very consistent beer in delivery across the spectrum for which we score. The recent arrival of Innis & Gunn on tap in Vancouver has however reaffirmed my appreciation of this beer as the difference in taste due to freshness is noticeable. As previously stated, try this beer!

Nose: 22.5
Body: 22.5
Taste: 22.5
Finish: 22.5

Tristan: 90 pts.

*****

Final Average: 92.75 pts.

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Amrut Old Port Rum

In the past several years, Amrut distillery in India has become world famous. Known for producing some of the finest single malts in the world, including the Amrut Fusion, which uses a blend of (peated) Scottish and (unpeated) Indian barley. Ranked by Jim Murray, in his 2010 Whisky Bible, as the 3rd greatest whisky in the world, the Fusion brought Amrut worldwide recognition, which, as their market has expanded, has been growing ever since.

While their single malts are primarily developed for export, Amrut’s Old Port rum has been well received both beyond and within the borders of India, a nation of which Rum is the most widely consumed spirit. There is a good reason for this: vast quantities of sugarcane and spices may be found in the East Indies; therefore, delicious products may be produced cheaply.

– Kamran

*****

For both its whiskies and rums, Amrut have quickly become one of my favourite distilleries. The Amrut Sherry Intermediate and Amrut Fusion are amongst the finest whiskies I have had the pleasure of tasting, while the Amrut Old Port is one of my favourite rums. At $37 (Private Liquor Store price), it’s an incredible value; the rum is more delicious than many rums at twice the price. What is truly exceptional about this rum is the smell. Made from 100% pure Indian sugarcane, the Old Port boasts what is, quite honestly, one of the finest bouquets emitted by any distilled spirit. The sweet smell of sugarcane, molasses, caramel, vanilla, butterscotch and maple is quite indescribable; I could smell the rum all day

While it is a particularly smooth rum that you could take shots of quite easily, the Old Port is, without question, a sipping rum. It is one that you do not want to mix with anything, as any added flavours would ruin it. What you want to do is sip and savour the taste, while smelling deeply for that retronasal flavour. At its low price, only a few dollars more than your typical cheap rums — Bacardi, Captain Morgan’s, Appleton Estate etc. — the Old Port comes highly recommended; there is no reason for a rum drinker to miss out on this one!

Nose: 25
Body: 22
Taste: 23.5
Finish: 22.5

Kamran: 93 pts.

*****

Amrut’s Old Port Rum is certainly one of the more unique rums I have had the pleasure to taste. Its colour is that of a nice hardwood such as mahogany or stained maple as it sits neat in the glass. The aromatic smell is a wonderful blend of toffee, nutmeg and butterscotch wafting upwards to the nasal cavity… it truly smells excellent. While the rum does have a certain sharpness to it, the zest is eased by the butterscotch and vanilla that cover the palate. Being made from cane sugar it is certainly sweet but the combination of spices and a hint of smokiness are also good for balancing this, making it pleasant to sip on after adjusting to the initial sip. The finish is one that lingers on spice and a faint oak flavour cleansing the mouth and throat. We did not try this rum with and mix, but I am sure that it would go well with coke, ginger ale or eggnog; however, it’s just as good neat. A solid rum, and one that I would recommend to any spiced rum connoisseur.

Nose: 25
Body: 20
Flavour: 24
Taste: 25
Tristan: 94

*****

Immediately, one is greeted by a pleasantly spiced scent, with nutmeg predominating, that acts as a major factor in enticing you to try this very West Indian style rum. And when you do, you are definitely not disappointed. The texture is nothing amazing, reminiscent of many other more common rums, which goes down smooth yet offers a modest, pleasant warming sensation. Diving into the flavours, we find a very spicy mixture, that even in small amounts will create a definite buzz on your palate, and screams out to combined with eggnog at Christmas time. The fascinating thing is, the experience with this rum seems to be divided into two distinct stages. First, the spice creates a warming kick, which soon fades slightly, and allows the second stage to enter, which consists of the rich flavours of the rum itself. This partnership enhances the experience tremendously, making it thoroughly enjoyable. The nice thing is, the experience continues into the finish, allowing the drinker to enjoy the taste for several minutes. Recommended to those who aren’t afraid to try a unique blend of spice and rum which will leave you wanting more.

To put it simply, give me a jug of eggnog and a bottle of this and I’ll be happy.

Nose: 24
Body: 20
Taste: 25
Finish: 23

James: 92

*****

Final Average: 93 pts.

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Kraken Black Spiced Rum

Kraken Black Spiced Rum has a cool bottle!

Named after a mythical and legendary sea beast, the Kraken, a black spiced rum from the Caribbean boasts a high ABV (47%), rich and complex spices — caramel in particular — and a cool bottle to boot. It is blended with natural flavours (additives) and imported worldwide. It seems to be growing in popularity — perhaps for it’s taste, perhaps for the bottle and commercials, or perhaps a combination of both!

– Kamran

*****

The Kraken looks like it belongs on a pirate ship; it is certainly one of the sickest, and most novel bottles I’ve ever seen liquor distributed in, and is worth owning for just that reason. Besides this, the rum tastes quite good, and goes down smoothly, in spite of the high alcohol percentage.

However, while it is quite enjoyable in its own right to sip this rum, it is much more fun to play around with it. I have found that it goes best with Dr. Pepper — yes, better than Coke, Pepsi, Root Beer, etc.. I think it must have something to do with complementing flavours of vanilla and caramel that may be associated with each of these drinks independently. Of course, in the interest of reviewing it fairly, we enjoyed this rum neat — its scores reflect this. Frankly, as a mixed drink, I would rate this quite significantly higher.

While there are subtle notes of caramel, molasses, vanilla, and cinnamon on the nose, the relatively strong aroma of alcohol subdues these spices just a little too much. This continues on the palate, which is likely why it is best when mixed; it seems to need a little something to bring out the flavours. It is quite smooth, yet has a sharp bite; however, after this sharp bite, the sweetness remains on the palate while the strength of alcohol does not!

Nose: 20.5
Body: 19.5
Taste: 21.5
Finish: 23.5

Kamran: 85 pts.

*****

First off I have to compliment Kraken on their recent advertising, it seems to work as this rum has stormed the local market. Not only that, but the old time bottle and period artwork make the bottle alone a cool thing to have. The rum itself is as the name indicates, spiced and black. When one unleashes the Kraken, they unleash something more than a typical rum… a 47% ABV rum with 94 proof. This Caribbean rum is sweet to smell from the molasses and mildly spiced. I found the initial taste to pick up more on the molasses before the spices such as cinnamon and licorice  stuck to the back of my palate. That said, the sweetness and spice did mellow into a nice warm sensation in my mouth. The finish sat on the back of my palate for  a lengthy period, and despite being such a high volume rum, the smoothness of the spirit was surprising. Of note, when mixed with coca cola it tastes like Doctor Pepper. A good, versatile  rum to mix with.

Nose: 22
Body: 22
Taste: 23
Finish: 24

Tristan: 91

*****

Where’s the rum gone? Oh, there it is, the Kraken’s got it. Worth a purchase just for the novelty of having a product called The Kraken, this black spiced rum is a nice way to start off your evening. Greeted by a full caramel scent, that’s perfectly balance so as to not overpower your senses, this rum is very inviting. The tasting reveals a rum with a slight edge that indicates the correct blend of spices, combined with a certain smoothness that allows for easy drink-ability. The flavour does not disappoint either, with a hint of smokiness mixed with just the right amount of spice. The finish, however, is where this rum losses it’s footing. I found that I was left with a very sharp aftertaste, which was somewhat tort, most likely due to the high alcohol content. To miss this severely detracted from the experience, diminishing it’s overall score.

It is worth noting that this rum may be better served as the base for a cocktail, as this would balance out the sharpness of the finish. Stay tuned to future reviews to see just how well it fairs.

Nose: 22
Body: 22
Taste: 20
Finish: 15

James: 79

*****

Final Average: 85 pts.

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