Many a young adult has been introduced to the drinking life via Captain Morgan. Many more continue to enjoy the range of spiced rums The Captain is known for throughout their lives, content with a simple Captain-and-Coke as their go-to drink. But for those seeking to stay brand-loyal while expanding their liquid horizons, Diageo (Captain Morgan's parent company) announced last week that it was adding a new White Rum to the Captain Morgan portfolio.
White rum is essentially just un-aged or lightly aged rum (also called silver or sometimes, "rum"). The stuff that many other brands (Bacardi, for example) are already known for. So why would a brand best associated with its various spiced products want to move into more traditional territory when so many rums (and whiskies) are moving into flavors?
"It's a superior, quality rum that possesses a much smoother taste," said Tom Herbst, vice president of marketing of rums for Diageo in a press release. "We aim to stake our claim in the category in an explosive way."
The fact is, classic versions of Mojitos, Piña Coladas and Daiquiris are best made with an unflavored classic rum, and Captain Morgan White Rum gives fans of the brand an option.
About that "unflavored" bit. After sipping it, and comparing it to a few labels in our closet (including Blue Chair, Denizen and Cockspur), we're not wholly convinced there isn't at least a little something extra in the White Rum.
On the nose, it's hugely aromatic, with sweet notes of coconut, cane sugar and even toffee. On the mouth, it also runs "sweet" in the open, with a mild, round and viscous mid-weight mouthfeel. On the finish: Coconut, menthol and papaya.
In contrast, Blue Chair is aromatically milder and and earthier, with mineral notes, and tastes of clean cane sugar and woodspice notes. Denizen (which sits in oak for two years and is filtered clear) is funky and earthy on the nose, with a brasher, spicier character up front, and rich with wood notes. Cockspur 130 Overproof is (of course) a stronger beast, but the aromatic notes up front are banana, herbs and cheese. On the palate, besides the alcohol blast, it is citrus, wood, funk and grass driven.
Since Captain Morgan doesn't provide any information about White Rum's production except that it's distilled five times, there's no way of knowing what else goes on with the distillation, rectification, aging (if any) or bottling process. We're also not familiar enough with rum rules to guess what's inside (in the U.S., vodka can contain a bit of ascorbic acid/citrus and glycerin to tweak the finished product yet not declare its presence). But it almost seems as if the rum spends time inside a coconut before it's bottled.
What does this all mean for the casual drinker? It's a flavorful, rich and smooth product. Fans of Captain Morgan shouldn't be disappointed, because it's still got the social character and approachability the brand is best known for. Using it in a Piña Colada is probably brilliant, given its coconuttyness. It's also easygoing as a shot or sipper on its own. Is it a complex rum? Not really. But that's okay.
Captain Morgan White Rum begins appearing on store shelves throughout the country in February and March. 40% ABV, $16
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FTC Disclaimer: The author sometimes receives product samples for review, which carry no cash value and cannot be re-sold, and sometimes attends press events such as lunches or cocktail parties, designed to promote a given product. The author is not paid by any alcohol manufacturer, retailer or distributor, or provided compensation apart from revenue from an assigning publishing company for editorial publication. Opinions are the author's own. By the way, you should be 21 or older to read this page. Author received a sample of Captain Morgan White Rum for review, and instantly began exclaiming "Arrrghhh" all 'round the office and closing one eye.