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I’m confused! Now, I know it really doesn’t take much to confuse and befuddle me, but these bottles of rum got me to thinking, and when I start thinking, the more I think, the more confused I become. The first bottle I looked at is the Cruzan Single Barrel aged rum. This is a mixture of 5 to 12 year old rums finally blended in a single American oak barrel. The color, as expected, is a beautiful dark amber. On the other hand, there is the Cruzan Estate Diamond Light Rum, which is a mixture of 5 to 12 year old rums aged in old oak barrels and it is nearly the color of water with just a touch of pale yellow. That’s when I started thinking, instead of continuing to read, shouldn’t these both be about the same color? That’s when I finally continued to read and discovered that the light rum is filtered to get that pale yellow color, while the single barrel rum is not filtered.

The Cruzan single barrel rum also confused me because normally a single barrel spirit will have the barrel number it came from affixed somewhere on the bottle. This bottle doesn’t have one of those. So I continued to read and discovered that before it became a single barrel rum all of those 5 to 12 year old rums initially came from different barrels and are finally blended into one barrel for the final ageing and consequently it becomes a “single barrel” rum. Well, after all this Sherlock Holmes snooping about, I have worked up a decent thirst, so let’s end the confusion and try these rums out.

Before I get started, let me also say that there are three rum’s in the Cruzan Distiller’s Rum Collection, the two I previously mentioned and an Estate Diamond Dark Rum to accompany their Estate Diamond Light Rum. I guess they just really wanted to confuse the heck out of my by not providing that dark rum for this tasting, so I will go with what I got.

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As mentioned previously, the Cruzan Estate Diamond Light Rum is a pale yellow in color and comes in a squat bottle with a long thick neck that would have made it very easy for a thirsty pirate, back in the day, to grasp firmly while quaffing a taste or three. The nose is very delicate and lightly floral and ever so slightly oaky, with a hint of vanilla yet no ethanol to speak of. The palate is sweet, with the vanilla and oak stepping forward. There is the faintest glow of spiciness; otherwise, this is a very smooth rum. The finish is also sweet and slightly oaky and lasts a decent amount of time. This is a rum that could be easily sipped over ice or even straight up. It is not at all what one would expect from a rum, which would be a darker deeper taste profile, and I do believe, I appreciate that difference. This rum would also make a nice mixer in lighter cocktails, as it would not over power the other flavors, and it also works very well in a rum and diet coke.

The Cruzan Single Barrel Rum is a dark amber and the nose is all rum with aromas of brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, vanilla and oak, with no ethanol to get in the way. The palate is thicker than the light rum and even pleasantly oily, with deep dark sugary overtones followed by the molasses and caramel and then the vanilla and oak that finely balances the sweet and tart aspects perfectly. The finish is smooth and dark and sweet and leaves just a bit of spice on the tongue for a fair amount of time. This is more like rums that I am used to, that have presence and body and leave you feeling like you’ve just had some damn fine rum. This rum can stand up to an ice cube quite nicely and will definitely not get lost in any mixed drink you might want to conjure up.

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Both of these rums are 40% ABV and sell for $35.00 per 750ML bottle on the Cruzan website but can also be found for around $21.99 elsewhere.

By George Brozowski

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