Brand: Cruzan, Distiller's Collection series
Origin: Cruzan Rum, Frederiksted, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
Age: 5 years
While tasting through and reviewing higher-end rum is a lot of fun, I think many people– especially those that are not yet all-in on rum– still benefit from reviews of rum that are readily available on the shelves. It took us 16 reviews, but this is the first real budget-friendly, regularly-released bottle that we'll review, but it won't be the last!
Hailing from the US Virgin Island of St. Croix, Cruzan (pronounced KROO-zhən) is a brand that many will likely already be familiar with, given their availability on liquor store shelves across the country; it was founded in 1760 and is currently owned by spirits multinational Beam Suntory. Their distillery, the Cruzan Rum Distillery– formerly known as Estate Diamond, has been managed by the Nelthropp family since 1950, and since 1940 has been solely producing column still-based rum.
Cruzan could be characterized by low-proof, light bodied rum that is often a bartender favorite for well drinks. According to wikipedia, Cruzan is the largest supplier of American private and distributor label rums; they feature several first-party product lines, including their "core", their "flavored" line, and then a collection of "premium" rums.
The bottle we're reviewing today, the Cruzan Single Barrel, is a member of the premium line. I initially picked this bottle up while visiting family in Alabama, after listening to episode #36 of the Rumcast (13:15 mark) and hearing co-host John Gulla talk about how this rum changed his perception about Cruzan. It certainly doesn't carry what most would call a "premium" price tag, coming in at around $30, and also has some slightly confusing terminology about the nature of its single barrel status.
I'm excited to explore this rum and see how much I agree or disagree with John.
Gold, high clarity, low viscosity
Vanilla cream, caramel
Vanilla, ethanol, light butterscotch
Medium length; sweet, warming, lightly tannic
If you listened to that Rumcast segment, you will have heard John talk about why he chose Cruzan Single Barrel: it's a rum that's OK, that's heading more into the direction where rum enthusiasts may appreciate the project. I definitely agree, and find that this rum is just okay. It doesn't have anything special going for it, but is also a solid pour that won't let you down in a pinch.
In the glass, Cruzan Single Barrel is a nice, "rummy" gold color, with high clarity and low viscosity.
Its bouquet is a bit sparse, offering only a vanilla cream note, along with a hint of caramel. The palate is equally thin, revisiting with some notes of vanilla, light butterscotch, and a decent amount of ethanol. The medium-length finish is sweet, warming, and lightly tannic, before it fades into a generic alcoholic burn.
According to thefatrumpirate's hydrometer tests, the rum is not sweetened at any detectable level, which lends credibility to the quality of the rum, even if it is a little lighter in character than some may desire.
In further agreement with John, this Cruzan bottle indeed changed my mind about the brand, as far as acknowledging their capabilities in crafting some decent rum. There is certainly potential in this project, and could eventually lead to some higher-strength, dual matured, and/or more complex releases in the future.
For now, this is a decent bottle if you want to introduce your friends to a dry, non-challenging rum, and could serve as a great choice for cocktail recipes that call for an aged column still rum.
Where to Buy
- Buster's Liquors & Wines (Memphis, TN)