Over the past few months, we’ve reviewed some really excellent, mid- to high-priced rums, but there’s another end of the spectrum that we haven’t investigated yet: cheap, presumably terrible rums. Classic Club is probably the least expensive rum available at my local shop, so it was naturally where I decided to start my adventure.
Classic Club is a brand of generic spirits that are produced and distributed by Sazerac.
The early 1900s was the height of popularity for the “gentleman’s club” (a drinking establishment for high class individuals) in the United States, and many whiskey companies capitalized on this trend and named blends of whiskey after various clubs (or even just designated some as a “club whiskey”), and typically reserved that distinction for their better varieties. Over the years, the “Club” distinction remained but has gradually shifted to become primarily used by spirits of lower quality trying to elevate their prestige with a classy name.
The Sazerac Company was founded in 1869, named after a bar they acquired in New Orleans, the Sazerac Coffee House. Following the establishment of the company, they started marketing and distributing brands of liquor under their name.
Sazerac maintains its headquarters in New Orleans, but has distilleries in other locations (including Kentucky). They produce liquor under various brand names, despite the lack of the Sazerac name anywhere on the bottle.
- Learn More: What Is Rum?
There’s no back label on this bottle, which isn’t a good sign. Usually, you get at least a little sliver of information about what’s in the bottle and how it was made, even if it is all marketing puffery. But here, we have nothing.
As a rum, this is legally required to start with some form of sugar cane product. Typically, that’s the cheap compound known as “backstrap molasses” which has a ton of impurities and is the waste product from sugar production. That molasses is then added to water and fermented to create the alcoholic liquid.
From there, the alcohol is distilled somehow (traditionally with pot stills to preserve flavor, but here, who knows?) and then optionally matured in oak casks. For this spirit, I’m betting that this is watered down a little from what comes off the still, but pretty much no other post processing happening. There’s probably also a little added sugar in here.
You know, at this point, I really wish they had gone super minimalist on the labeling. If you’re going to produce something this boring, why waste the ink on superfluous designs?
The bottle is the same glass bottle we’ve seen time and again, a traditional style of spirits bottle that seems strangely similar to Ancient Age. Like a wine bottle with some ridges at the top and bottom of the body, a gently rounding shoulder, and a long neck that is capped off with a plastic screw-on cap.
The label is a big white sheet of paper with some blue accents and golden metallic inked lettering. The brand name is in big block letters up top, and there’s a band at the bottom with the designation of the spirit (“Silver Rum”). In the middle is an odd shield-based crest with two curly Cs in it.
It’s not aggressively terrible, but it feels like something that would be proudly displayed on the back shelf of a dive bar.
The very first thing I get on the aroma here is nail polish remover. It’s a lot of solvent up front, which nearly covers up some of the more traditional notes that are also in there: marshmallow, burned sugar, and a touch of vanilla. It’s harsher smelling than the comparable Bacardi Superior White Rum (and significantly less saturated with the aroma components).
There’s an unpleasant component in here in the taste. It’s a bit off — there’s some bitterness that, while generally light, is persistent throughout the entire flavor experience from start to finish, and only builds when you take that second sip. At first, you can taste the vanilla, burned sugar, and marshmallow… but, after a bit, that bitterness is pretty much all I get.
With any other spirit, normally a little bit of added ice takes care of the bitterness problem. This is one of the primary reasons why you add ice to an otherwise sub-par spirit. But in this case, sadly, I don’t think it helps.
To be fair, the bitterness is significantly reduced. Not eliminated… just reduced. But at the same time, the flavors are also pretty much wiped out here. There’s a hint of vanilla and toasted marshmallow left, but it is so washed out that it is barely recognizable. And, adding insult to injury, the bitterness just continues to build.
Fizz (Dark and Stormy)
This is neither dark nor stormy. And what makes this even worse is that the bold flavors in the mixers (lime juice and ginger beer) still aren’t enough to overpower all that bitterness.
There’s nothing interesting that this spirit adds to the cocktail, aside from the bitterness — which is something I’d rather would not have been there in the first place. Vodka (aka a plain old Moscow Mule) would have been a better choice here.
This tastes like the cheapest, laziest version of rum that someone could possibly make. There’s barely any of the usual rum flavors that you’d expect in this kind of spirit, and the only flavor you do get (bitterness) tastes like they scorched the distillate due to inattention and then just shipped it out the door.
I do not recommend anyone give this a try.
|Classic Club Silver Rum|
Produced By: Classic ClubProduction Location: Kentucky, United States
Aging: No Age Statement (NAS)
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $5.49 / 750 ml
Overall Rating: 1/5
It isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever tasted, but it is the worst rum I’ve tasted to date.