Thanks so much for submitting a report. It has been emailed to the Rum Captain and will be actioned shortly.
First off, I admit up front I'm a bit confused...the label says this is an "imported 100% Jamaica rum" and the neck label reads "The Rum Co. of Jamaica" but their website has a New Zealand address and from what I have read online via multiple sources Coruba is a very popular source of rum in New Zealand and it is produced by J. Wray and Nephew. So it's kind of all over the map.
It's color is a dark, rich mahogany and it has a strong yet satisfying aroma. One point needs to be made at this time: according to some online sources, their website says caramel was added for color and flavor however as of the time of this review I do not see that indicated on their website. In fact, I don't see any mention of the Coruba Dark rum anywhere on their website. Could it be that this is a discontinued rum? If it is then it's a shame...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Rums from Jamaica tend to be fuller in flavor and not sweet. This rum is no exception. It is a rum with character and punch. It is a blended rum that has been aged for a few years in American oak barrels (not sure if charred, toasted, or plain -- or whether bourbon, whisky, rye, or what was initially aged in the barrels). There is evidence initially of molasses in the flavor rapidly overtaken by the oak tannins. So there is a bit of initial sweetness and a little vanilla/toffee undertone but then the oak nature becomes apparent. There is a decent burn with this rum but it does not last. The finish is a bit drier than expected with a little metallic aftertaste.
Definitely not a sipping rum but a very usable mixing rum. Admittedly my current favorite dark rum is Cayman Reef Double Black but that's more of a sweeter/spicier dark rum. This one is more pungent and full-flavor. Both are good mixing rums worth adding to one's rum cabinet. And it's quite inexpensive as well.
Coruba has a longstanding history with Tiki. After Trader Vic used up the world’s supply of the 17-year-old J. Wray & Nephew, he reformulated his Mai Tai recipe with the 15-year-old J. Wray & Nephew and Coruba.
That said, Coruba is one of the best (after Kohala Bay) dark Jamaican mixing rums - that is, in terms of the money and for what you get in terms of a quality, funky, and versatile product who's history goes all the way back to our Tiki forefathers. Coruba is not a rum to be sipped and contemplated; it is solely a mixer where a heavily-bodied and slightly funky dark Jamaican rum is called for.
As a testament to many Tiki historians, rum connoisseurs, bar owners, and mixologists, many will tell you that Coruba is the preemptive dark Jamaican mixing rum. Other popular choices are Myers's dark, and Appleton Estate, although the latter two are considerably more expensive.
NOTE: Coruba is colored for extra depth and sweetness and is heavily charred in small American oak barrels for at least two years before high quality molasses is added to it. In New Zealand, Coruba dark is marketed as 'Coruba Original Blend,' with the proof slightly lower at an odd 37.2%. Coruba is distilled and imported from Jamaica by J. Wray & Nephew, but is not distributed commercially in Jamaica.
This rum smells of molasses, which is kind of nice, but it's also very dry. Has a fair amount of oakiness to it as well.
Though it's good, I had it alongside a Myers Dark, and I definitely preferred the Myers because the Myers was a little sweeter and had a touch of spice.
But if you prefer dryer rums, you might appreciate this for the money.
Molasses molasses molasses! I really do appreciate the unique flavor of this rum. Mixes fantastic with Mexican coke and a lime. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea but it is my favorite dark.
Works in a many cocktails, but outside a mai tai it's a bit behind.
Rather sharp alcohol taste and lacking some sweetness. A strong oak taste, but no complexity.
It was time to head to a well stocked rum bar with a list of rums that I wanted to sample before buying. I will start with the worst of five trials, which is this one. I knew in advance that this should not be sipped neat and is only used as a Tiki mixer mainly in New Zealand. My initial response was , "Yuck!" and I could not even finish my half ounce pour. Stick with Meyer's Dark to serve the purpose of this bitter mixer.
Made for a great rum and coke, bob Marley and other mixed drinks at the all inclusive resort in Jamaica. Good flavor but didn’t drink neat so now sure how that would go.
A no-doubt interesting take on Jamaican rum. The hogo is very much muted in exchange for a toasty, full bodied character (though I would argue that the distillate is probably mild to begin with). Very dark in color, though not overly thick or cloying on the palate in any way. Definite oak influence, which is rather nice, bringing some spice and caramel character to the spirit. There isn't exceptional depth, so I would primarily use this as a mixer in tiki drinks, or with cola.
I've always found Gosling's to be an uninteresting choice in tiki drinks that call for a dark rum; while it starts of nicely on its own or in a Dark and Stormy, it doesn't provide any character to other mixed drinks I've tried it in.
I picked up a bottle of Coruba after seeing it used by several tiki bars and did a side-by-side comparison with the Gosling's. Compared to the Gosling's the Coruba has a brighter nose with considerably more funkiness. While it still has a light sweetness to it similar to the Gosling's (maybe due to the addition of molasses), its overall character is closer to something like an Appleton rum. You get a much longer aftertaste, which holds up well in multi-rum tiki drinks.
Since I can't get my hands on the venerable Kohala bay I'll be using this as my go-to dark rum for mixed drinks for the time being.
Dark Jamaican rum. Great in a Mai Tai. Full bodied with a hint of spice. Funky!
More funk and easier on the budget than Appleton 12 Year. This is an absolutely essential bottle in your home tiki bar. Make no mistake, this is not a sipper. I save my Appleton 12 year for that task. Not quite as funky as Doctor Bird, but blends with citrus beautifully to make a well balanced tiki drink.
Seems to fill the roll for a jamacian dark that otherwise would be served by meyers (just not nearly as easy to find). Not overly sweet for a dark jamacian with very little funk / inspiration. It seems to serve its role in a cocktail but not much more. .
This rum is dark, smooth, and caramelly sweet with just enough funk. Highly drinkable, it's no wonder this is widely regarded as the best "dark/Jamaican" mixing rum. If you mix tropical drinks, don't pass this bottle up if you're fortunate enough to spot it!
A dark Jamaican rum that is fantastic as a mixer. A great addition to any tiki bar.
Great inexpensive dark Jamaican rum. Perfect for a Mai Tai.
80 proof. Sip test, no ice
Dark nose, strong ethanol burn, lingering dark aftertaste. Good mixing rum where dark flavor and color is desired. Not too sweet.
Medium empty glass nose linger. If a dark essence is desired, this can be used. For smoke, use El Dorado. Good mixing rum for price point.