Pros: Tastes good, great price
Cons: Maybe hard to find, you might not want to drink another rum
Let's face it, most of us that take the time to write liquor reviews like the good stuff. Perhaps we don't always drink it, but they call it the good stuff for a reason. By the same token, most of us aren't wild about spending thirty or forty dollars every time we want a bottle. Luckily, there are a few good values in the world of spirits, where you get a spirit that won't break the bank. Two I've already reviewed are Ezra Brooks bourbon, and Gordon's gin. A third is Whaler's dark rum, which sells for twelve dollars a bottle in my area, and is one of the finest, smoothest dark rums I've tried.
This rum is about average, color wise. It's a dark coffee colored rum, not as black as some, but much darker than a spiced rum. In the nose, it has notes of sugar, molasses, caramel, and just a little bit of woodiness from aging. Considering it is a Heaven Hill product, which makes a number of bourbons, I'd expect that it is aged in oak casks, though I have no information to back that up.
In tasting, the rum has a pleasantly heavy mouth feel, not overly syrupy. It tastes predominantly forward in the palate, and is mostly sweet flavors. Just a hint of astringent alcohol taste in the very back of the mouth. No bitterness what so ever. It lingers pretty well for a rum, too--there is a sweet suggestion of molasses in your mouth long after you take a drink of this rum. It is relatively simple, but quit good. It has a smooth, velvety taste quality to the taste--for me the molasses flavor predominates, but there is a notable suggestion of sugar cane and caramel as well. Just a hint of oak in the back of the mouth. Overall, I like this rum a lot, and I'd happily pay twice the shelf price of it for a spirit of this quality.
I can't really comment on the drinks you can make with this rum, because I haven't made hardly any! Most of the time I prefer to sip it neat, a little on the warm side. Goes down nice on a warm evening. It does do fine in a rum and coke--there is even a recipe, if such a thing is ever needed, on the back of the bottle for a Whaler's and cola cocktail. I like in a dark and stormy as well--that's rum and ginger beer--NOT rum and ginger ale. Beyond that, I suppose a float of this would go well on top of any sort of tropical drink you want to make. Feel free to experiment--I'm just lazy and enjoy it so much by itself that I haven't taken the time to really work any mixology with it. A friend of mine who seldom drinks, and then when he does usually sticks to mixed cocktails, tried this rum straight up and found it pleasant to sip.
Overall, this rum goes on my list of "best buys" in spirits. If you like rum, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. At around twelve bucks a bottle, you can't really lose.