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Apr 18, 2010 01:14 PM

Cruzan Blackstrap, Barbancourt 8 Year, Ron Abuelo, Wild Turkey Rye, and Soliciting Opionions on a 40 year old bottle of Cherry Heering?

Was at Martignetti's on Soldier's field road in Boston and they had some excellent prices on a few items. My local, the Cambridge Wine at Fresh Pond has been raising their prices rather mercilessly the last 6 months and they've worn me out.

Tasting notes:

Cruzan Blackstrap: not very subtle. In fact really a clunky product. Probably the strongest molasses note (duh) I've ever tasted in a rum. Might be a nice addition to rum punches or mixed with another lighter rum in a dark and stormy. Slightly dissappointed at the way Cruzan has gone in the last few years. Their white and amber used to both be aged 2 or 3 years and have some real rum character to them. Not anymore. Both are just sorta commodity rums now. They used to have a 5 year product (I think) that was really tasty, also gone. They added the blackstrap and some $30 product that is a bit reminiscent of Barrilito, eh. Some marketing jerk obviously decided to make changes market hard, and shave corners. It pretty much shows across the product line sadly. Might just e-mail the distillery.

Barbancourt 8 Year ($22) holey cow, delightful sipping rum, delicate, but interestingly a stronger hint of molasses here then I remember. A steal at this price, super rum.

Ron Abuelo from Panama. Never even heard of this before. Nice stuff, a bit like Brugal Anejo. Certainly decent as a sipping rum. I mixed it with fresh grapefruit juice and a splash of soda and it was AMAZING. Had to have a refresher after I finished the first. WOW.

Wild Turky Rye: Good stuff. Tried it neat and on the rocks. I see why folks like it as a mixer. Really good combo of smoothness and flavor. Look forward to trying a Manhattan and a sour.

They also had Old Overholt for $10.39. Cheapest I've seen it.

Finally, was at an Estate Sale and they had some gorgeous old Orrefors glassware for sale with the labels still on them. If I didn't have enough glasses already would have bot the whole 30 piece set. I think they got the Orrefors and a bottle of Cherry Heering together as a girst 40+ years ago and never used either. They sold me the Heering for $2. Look forward to seeing if it is totally shot, or has some life left in it... thoughts before I crack the bottle?

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  1. My prediction: very complex, oxidized, spicy, musty. Not muchy cherry flavor left. Use it more like Angostura or Allspice Dram or Nocino. At least, that's what old cassis tastes like to me. Now crack that baby open and tell me how wrong I am!

    And post a photo of the old bottle!

    1. Here ya go, pics, and per my typo above the orrefors and heering were "gifts" not "girsts".

      1. Awesome photo. I think those marketing older hootch with a history should consider reintroducing vintage labels like that. It is certainly more appealing than the current label.

        At the very least, you should pour the old stuff out and refill this bottle with fresh (assuming the old stuff is long past its prime).

        10 Replies
        1. re: EvergreenDan

          Totally agree, the authentic old school labels, before some marketing dork modernizes things and strips it of any personality, are great.

          1. re: EvergreenDan

            Very cool bottle. I'm jealous.
            Yes, I think that once that bottle is emptied, it should be refilled and become your new Cherry Heering decanter.

            1. re: jerryc123

              I feel your pain in regard to Cruzan. It was my go to rum and I stopped buying it last summer. They changed the label and what's in the bottle. Total disappointment.

              I would be surprised if you enjoyed the Heering.

              1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                I still like the Single Barrel, and unlike StriperGuy I am a fan of the Blackstrap, albeit only for certain drinks. It makes a very nice Corn n Oil when mixed with some Velvet Falernum. BTW, the 2 year old white is still available from certain stores, usually hugely discounted. I picked up a 1.5 L bottle for $12 a couple of months ago.

                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                  By way of background I have been going to St. Croix (home of Cruzan rum for quite a while.)

                  In all fairness I actually think the single barrel product is decent, I guess I am just sad that they phased out it's predecessor which I liked MUCH better It was subtler, more complex, just plain better, didn't hit you over the head, and when you finished one, you wanted another. The single barrel to my palate is just a Barrilito 3 Star wanna be, and is oaked nearly to death. Try drinking two on the rocks back to back, I can't, it's just too much; by the time I'm done with one my reaction is whew, I need a glass of water.

                  The old one is just gone, can't even remember the name. They no longer make the 2 year white or amber, so what you are buying are 3 year old bottles, not that there is anything wrong with that, but buy em while you can.

                  My feeling is that Cruzan's recent product moves, indicate they have completely given up 100+ years of family tradition. I actually wrote Gary Nelthropp, the President a letter today telling him how disappointed I am.

                  They stopped making all of their rum out of local cane a few years back, now they ship in molasses from S. America. More recently it's not even bottled in St. Croix, they ship rum to Florida for bottling (and I might guess flavoring too).

                  The blackstrap product I think is one of the clunkiest dark rums I've ever tasted. Tastes like they just poured blackstrap molasses into cheap industrial rum, which is, in fact, what I think they did. I really think that product is pretty crappy. Some marketing guy woke up and said: "we need a product that competes with Gosling's, three guys in a lab figured out how to do it as cheap as possible, and that's what we got.

                  So basically over a course of about 5 years they abandoned all of their old family proven recipes and came out with new "marketing-driven" product.

                  Davis Square Pro you can have all of them as far as I'm concerned.

                  I would WAY prefer to drink Coruba, Meyers, Goslings, Lemon Hart, or one of the other countless dark rums that has some genuine, un-manufactured flavor.

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    Just to clarify, when I was talking about Coruba et al, I was comparing to the Cruzan Blackstrap...

                    When it comes to rum in general, Cruzan across the board is basically at the bottom of my list going forward, except when I want a handle (1.75l) for small money to make a big bowl of punch on a hot summer day...

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      Completely agree on the Cruzan Blackstrap. I had the same experience --just an overpowering unpleasant molasses/maple syrup taste. Not suitable in any drink I've made with it. One salvation -- it is very good for braising a pot roast or pork shoulder.

                      The Wild Turkey Rye is one of my favorites. It makes a terrific Manhattan.

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        Found out what happened; in August 2008 they were bought by Beam Brands, woe is me:


                    2. re: davis_sq_pro

                      Alrighty, you and Yarm both suggested a corn and oil, so I tried it with my home made Falernum, and must admit it is tasty. Thank you. Saved me from chucking a bottle of rum. ;-)

              2. I'm a little surprised at the molasses notes from the Barbancourt 5 star. Barbancourt is produced from sugar cane juice and not molasses. Most be from the barrel aging. Barbancourt can be considered a rhum agricole. I know some say no because it's not from Martinique but by strict definition it's an agricole.


                I like Barbancourt a lot. Drier than some other rums but an excellent rum to be sure

                The Ron Abuelo is a fine rum and well priced, The 7 is better than the anejo