In my own personal world of rum fandango, spiced and flavored blends tend to occupy a sordid sub-category – certainly below desirable, though not too far above tolerable either. It’s not that I don’t like any of ‘em, of course. Cruzan 9 remains a favorite, while the Tradition Specially Spiced I reviewed last week is fantastic! Most of the others, though, I’d just as soon live without.
Many of my more celebrated rum expert friends agree, as evidenced by the protracted groans, deep sighs, and rolled eyes when it comes time to sample and judge these generally overdone concoctions at events like the annual Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival.
I don’t know about anyone else, but my general dislike of these rums has less to do with any supposed bastardization of the rum-maker’s art than the simple fact that to me most spiced and flavored rums just taste bad.
So, what about Brinley Shipwreck Vanilla Rum..?
I must admit to chuckling at seeing the word “shipwreck” in the name, thinking along my prejudicial lines that this was certainly another “wreck” of a spiced rum. Still, I was compelled to try…
Was it was the dark and sultry color that drew me in? The attractive clean and lean bottle? The allure of St Kitts?
All contributed for sure, but the bottom line was that I was in the mood for something new, and I was in a Philadelphia liquor store offering very few alternative options.
The verdict: if you like Kraken Black Spiced Rum, but wish it was several notches sweeter and more flavor-packed, then you’ll love this stuff.
Hard to imagine Kraken any more revved up than it already is, but Brinley Vanilla actually pulls it off pretty nicely.
On the nose it’s like candy, the vanilla sweetly combining with caramel and rum to get your taste buds watering.
On the tongue, Brinley Vanilla is thick and supple; almost creamy – the kind of liquid that seems to fill your whole mouth no matter how small the sip. The vanilla really dominates the flavor experience, and no wonder – Brinley gets their vanilla from Madagascar, and we’ve already shown how magically those exotic flavor pods can impact a fine rum.
There might be a tad too much caramel for me, but if you like your rum super-sweet, Brinley Shipwreck Vanilla Rum cannot be beat!