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Tasty, but not quite great
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.
The perfect amount of flavor: it can always punch through in tiki drinks that call for "dark Jamaican rum," yet it never overpowers. It has a really interesting flavor: there is both that banana funk, and also a little bit of that smokiness that reminds me of a Demerara rum
Tiki tiki tiki.
Goslings is pretty good.
Blackwell is nice.
Merchants Reserve 100 proof Dark is the o my competition for this one though, when it comes to mixing up a nice planters punch or other tiki standby. Just a shame it’s so rarely stocked around my neck of the woods.
An easy drinking spirit that is my go to for recipes that call for a dark rum. It's not as funky as I was expecting/as the reviews make it out to be but the funk is definitely there albeit subtle. I wouldn't label this as a sipping rum but it adds an excellent depth to any tiki cocktail without being too overpowering or sweet. At an extremely affordable price point this should be a definite must for anyones home bar.
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.
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