29 Sep 2010
Last year, I elevated Cruzan Single Barrel to “regular” status in my rum rotation. It earned that spot due to its affordability, availability, and balanced, rounded taste.
I’ve never been disappointed by this high quality, complex spirit. So, when Cruzan announced they were expanding their light, dark, and flavored rum portfolio in July with a new spiced rum, my interest piqued. Called Cruzan 9, the blend is named for the nine spices which comprise its recipe: vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, mace, allspice, pepper, and juniper berry.
“Nine” also references St. Croix’s nine districts. The Cruzan name (pronounced kru-shun), after all, is derived from the island’s inhabitants—called “Crucians.” Cruzan began producing rum on St. Croix eight generations ago and, even though cane is no longer grown there, the island remains a naturally fitting locale for rum production.
“With its unique blend of nine all natural spices, Cruzan 9 is true to its heritage of premium craftsmanship, while confronting rum fans with a bolder, more dramatic spirit,” reads a press release from Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc., Cruzan’s distributor. “Spiced rum is one of the fastest growing distilled spirits, yet consumers didn’t really have an option if they were looking for higher quality. The industry is full of gimmicks and pirates when it comes to spiced rum, but Cruzan 9 offers a ‘real’ rum experience.”
It does so inexpensively. At only $13-16 per 750 ml. bottle, Cruzan 9 is priced to compete with the likes of Captain Morgan. Slightly lighter in appearance than its competitor, it has a bright amber hue and a nose of muted vanilla and herbs.
The back of the bottle says this spirit is “perfect neat, on the rocks, or quintessentially Cruzan—over ice with cola and a squeeze of lime.” While I enjoy this rum, it, like many spiced rums, doesn’t quite have the subtlety or depth to be sipped neat or on the rocks. But its smooth taste of vanilla, dried fruits, and cinnamon does work well in a mixed cocktail, with ginger beer, or with Diet Coke.
And that’s probably what the good folks at Cruzan intended when they dreamed up this new offering—an approachable mixing spirit that will capture some of the spiced rum market. In that regard, they succeeded. Cruzan 9 is better than Captain Morgan and worth a try the next time you want to relax with a libation and a cigar.
photo credit: Stogie Guys