Summer is just around the corner, and nothing says a summer cocktail like rum. So, as the season for tiki drinks and tiny umbrellas draws ever closer, I figured it was a good time to start looking into what new rum spirits the local liquor store had in stock… which brings us to this bottle of Siesta Key Spiced Rum.
Troy Roberts spent his early career in corporate America, working his day job while dreaming of being back on the beach of his hometown in Sarasota, Florida. After finding some success building and selling websites for car enthusiasts, Roberts returned to Sarasota in 2003 and shortly thereafter founded Drum Circle Distilling to try his hand at making the rums that he thoroughly enjoyed drinking.
He took on two business partners in 2010 and expanded the distillery, creating a line of rum that he branded as Siesta Key Rum and vowing to only use the finest ingredients in their production. Today, the distillery is known primarily for the Siesta Key line and produces a number of varieties of rum including white rum, aged rum, and spiced rum.
- Learn More: What Is Rum?
Siesta Key Rum starts with molasses as their raw material (for those who might not know, molasses is the leftover sludge of impurities and sugary sweetness that is the end result of the sugar refinement process). While molasses as-is might not be ideal for direct human consumption, it’s great for alcoholic fermentation since there’s still plenty of sugar for yeast to eat and the impurities in the substance turn into delicious flavors after being made into rum.
Siesta Key specifically use molasses that comes from sugar cane grown in Florida (and we always applaud a a locally-sourced ingredient whenever possible). That molasses is added to vats of water and fermented with yeast to create a mildly alcoholic mixture, which is then batch distilled in copper pot stills to create the raw white rum that they use for their various versions of spirits.
For this bottle of spiced rum, that raw spirit is then infused with honey and various other undisclosed spices to create the desired flavor profile before being bottled for sale.
Generally speaking, this bottle design is fairly standard for a liquor bottle these days. It has a cylindrical body that flares from the base to the rounded shoulder and a bulge in the medium length neck to make pouring a little bit easier. The one thing that sets this apart is the logo and the name of the distillery embossed into the glass, which is something that requires a custom mold to produce — meaning they actually put some time and effort into the design instead of just grabbing an off-the-shelf bottle. I appreciate the touch.
For the label, it hits my biggest pet peeve which is that the massive label takes up the entire surface area of the bottle for almost no reason. The main image on the label is a lifeguard station, which does set the scene for a Florida beach community… but it isn’t particularly impressive. Then again, since this is a spiced rum, the color of the contents doesn’t really matter, so I’ll give them a pass.
While it might look barrel aged, it seems like that’s a trick of the honey or the natural flavors — according to the information I found, this spirit hasn’t so much as touched an oak barrel. Still, it is a very nice deep gold color that is undoubtedly visually appealing.
Taking a sniff, you can definitely tell that there’s some honey in here. It smells like one of those over-sweetened liqueurs — specifically, its giving me some flashbacks to the Wild Turkey American Honey we reviewed ages ago. Around that sweetness there are a few notes of various spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as a bit of marshmallow like you’d expect from a rum.
While there’s definitely a viscosity to this rum that is unnatural and abnormal, it isn’t nearly as bad as I expected. I was braced for something like the cloying sweetness of a peanut butter whiskey and instead it’s something closer to the same level of sweetness you see in a can of regular Coca-Cola. Not quite the dry and biting mouthfeel of a normal rum, but instead something smoother and more enjoyable.
Around the edges of that honey flavor there are the baking spices we saw in the aroma, specifically cinnamon and nutmeg alongside some newly discovered vanilla. I don’t know what else they put in here, but those are the only components that stand out. If I really search, I might see a bit of clove and dark chocolate in the background, as well as some black pepper, but those flavors aren’t nearly prominent enough to be 100% identifiable.
We always expect some change to the flavor profile of the spirit when we add ice. Some flavors would become more prominent, others would drop away altogether.
But in this case, there surprisingly isn’t much change to the profile.
I’m still getting that same sweet honey flavor as the core feature presented by this spirit, with baking spices, vanilla, and some dark chocolate and clove hints in the background. It might not bode well for trying to sip this on the rocks, but that fidelity in flavor profile is usually a good sign for using it in cocktails.
Fizz (Dark & Stormy)
Well, this is surprisingly chaotic.
Usually, a spiced rum has a bit of a darker, richer, bolder flavor profile that lends itself well to cocktails –especially one like dark & stormy (which is pretty much a mule, with lime juice and ginger beer). Those darker flavor components help to balance out the brightness of the cocktail, making for something delicious.
In this case, though, the spiced rum flavors are simply refusing to mix with the ginger beer and lime juice. Instead, it seems like they are in opposition, trying to repel each other like two “north” sides of a magnet when put together… and your taste buds are in the middle of that struggle.
The result is a cocktail that tastes surprisingly sharp and bitter for something with this level of sweetness in it, and which really doesn’t leave me wanting a second helping.
The good news here is that this is a rum that tastes perfectly fine on its own. There’s nothing patently wrong with it and for those who want a sugary sweet spiced rum, this is your ticket.
The problem we run into is that, compared against all the other spiced rum we’ve tried, this really doesn’t stack up. A spiced rum should make delicious cocktails and provide interesting flavors… and while this does have interesting flavors, the fact that this spiced rum doesn’t seem to want to mix in cocktails is a bummer.
Given the price, I was hoping for something with a lot more character and potential… and this just isn’t that bottle.
|Siesta Key Spiced Rum
Produced By: Siesta KeyProduction Location: Florida, United States
Classification: Spiced Rum
Aging: No Age Statement (NAS)
Proof: 35% ABV
Price: $29.99 / 750 ml
Product Website: Product Website
Overall Rating: 2/5
An overly sweet spiced rum that does not seem to like cocktails.