Yes, Virginia, you can have your cake and eat it, too! Okay, okay, so I might be mixing a few metaphors in that previous sentence, but it all rings true. Right around the holidays (yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus) the good folks down at Bayou Rum sent me a bottle of Bayou Satsuma rum liqueur and a bottle of Bayou spiced rum. But that was just the half of it; they also included a Bayou spiced rum cake and a chocolate Satsuma rum cake to accompany those bottles, hence having my cake and eating it, too!
Let me explain what’s going on here. Back in 2011 the brothers Litel, along with their friend Skip Cortese, founded Louisiana Spirits and started producing Bayou Rums in Lacassine, Louisiana. They finally launched their products in 2013 and in the 2 short years since have been recognized 72 times in tasting competitions for their rums which are handcrafted in copper pot stills using Louisiana sugarcane and molasses. But that wasn’t enough for these good old boys. Just recently they hooked up with world renowned Louisiana Chef John Folse who incorporates their rums into his cakes. Spoiler alert: since these cakes arrived over the holidays I had a few friends over, and we all sampled the rum cakes and popular consensus concluded they are utterly magnificent, totally tasty, simply divine and completely decadent, but more about that later.
Let’s get to the business at hand and try these rums. They both come in four sided bottles with alligators dominating the labels and the word “Bayou” prominently displayed. The Satsuma comes in a frosted bottle while the spiced rum comes in a clear bottle. Let’s try the spiced rum first. The nose is filled with chocolaty goodness and vanilla and citrus, and of course, a hint of rum and sugar and a touch of oak. The palate presents the chocolate and rum first followed by vanilla and citrus and just a bit less oak, and yes, Virginia, it is quite smooth. The finish is warm and sweet and citrusy and goes down almost like eggnog and the flavors last a medium amount of time. For a straight from the bottle spiced rum, this Bayou brand is very flavorful and well balanced and just sweet enough to be pleasant but not overpowering.
The Bayou Spiced Rum cake has the appearance of classic yellow cake but that’s where the similarity ends. It mostly has the nose of yellow cake with its accompanying vanilla pudding aroma, but you can immediately smell the rum, which lets you know this ain’t your grandmother’s plain old cake. On the palate, it is super moist, pleasantly dense with sugar and pudding and definitely rummy. The rum gives it another layer of complexity that a cake without that rum would be totally missing. I cheated and poured some of the spiced rum directly on it and it worked wonders as well, intensifying the rum and spice flavors while moistening it even further. I served this cake and spiced rum to a few friends and garnered rave reviews all around. Marie Antoinette was completely correct when she said “let them eat cake” if she was referring to this rummy delight.
Next up is the Bayou Satsuma rum liqueur; through the frosted glass you can see the orange colored spirit that has a couple of telltale oranges on the label. You see, Satsuma is a type of orange that originated in China and Japan and eventually took root in Louisiana and is one of the sweetest citrus varieties. The nose is completely dominated by the orange aroma, which is itself dominated by the smell of the orange zest. I know there’s rum in there somewhere but it just doesn’t come across in the nose. The palate follows the nose and is so orangey all I can discern besides orange is the flavor of sugar and just the barest hint of rum. The finish features the rum a bit more, but it is still quite orangey yet smooth, and of course, sweet and the finish lasts a medium amount of time. This isn’t my idea of a straight up sipper, as it is just too sweet to stand alone, but the good thing is it will not get lost in mixed cocktails.
The chocolate Satsuma rum cake is simply to die for. Again, we tasted this in a group and everyone loved it. It has the aroma of a thick chocolate brownie and the consistency of fudge. The taste is filled with chocolaty goodness accompanied by a distinct orange flavor that combines into a total taste treat. At the back of my palate, I finally get a taste of the rum and it combines beautifully with the chocolate and orange flavors. This just became my favorite chocolate cake ever! Again, I poured some of the Bayou Satsuma rum liqueur on it and WOW that’s one hell of a combination. They complement each other perfectly.
The Bayou Spiced Rum (40% ABV) and Bayou Satsuma Rum Liqueur (30% ABV) are both available at $19.99 to $21.99 per 750ml bottle and the cakes are both $21.99 each.
By George Brozowski