£15.00 - 1L
£11.00 - 70cl
£5.75 - 35cl
Having recently run out of Kraken Black Rum, I ventured to Tesco and bought a small bottle of their dark rum. I had no idea how good this would be so opted to play it safe and buy the smallest bottle. That turned out to be a good decision as I was far from impressed with this rum.
It was maybe unfair to replace Kraken with this as they're not remotely in the same league. Kraken has a beautiful, distinct and deep flavour and this Tesco offering was the opposite. The low end branded product this may be more comparable with is Captain Morgan Dark Rum, but this is still vastly inferior.
Some people like to sip dark rum on its own, particularly Kraken, but for me the only great use of this type of rum is with ginger beer in the classic Dark N Stormy cocktail. Kraken is a bit overkill for this as the complexity and depth of the rum gets lost in the strong ginger beer flavour and it's also priced a little high for mixing. Captain Morgan's though is perfect. In a Dark N Stormy, this Tesco rum was a very poor substitute. The weakness led to a real lack of rum flavour in the drink and I found myself being forced to use twice the amount of this Tesco version than I normally use with Captain Morgan's.
The alcohol percentage of the Tesco rum is slightly lower than Captain Morgan's at 37.5% (CM is 40%), but it tastes like the compromise is far higher. Even on it's own, this rum lacks flavour and is notably lighter in colour than its rivals. Price wise, it's competitive, but Captain Morgan's can often be found for £13 per bottle and was even £11.50 in Sainsbury's just after Christmas as they tried to clear excess stock. With the far better branded rival only a couple of pounds more expensive, I can't recommend this rum at all.
£9.99 - 70cl
A few weekends ago we invited some friends over with the plan being to cook some Caribbean food. Needing some drinks to go with that, I ventured into Aldi to pick up ingredients to make Pina Coladas and Strawberry Daiquiris - a good white rum being essential for both, I purchased this bottle of Aldi's own brand.
The rum is clearly taking aim at Bacardi Carta Blanca, a rum with a rich history and few real rivals. I always have Bacardi in stock which made direct comparisons with this Aldi rum very easy to do. On opening the bottle, the smell was less distinct than Bacardi, and that theme ran throughout everything we did with this rum. Two side by side Pina Coladas made with the rival products produced a clear, distinct winner. The unmistakable flavour of Bacardi wasn't present when using the Aldi rum. This could be remedied by using slightly more of the Aldi rum, but that negates the fact that it is cheaper, and also got us tipsy faster as the alcohol percentage is the same at 37.5%!
Strawberry Daiquiris and rum and cokes followed and each time we had the same issue - We needed to pretty much double the measure of rum each time. Suffice to say, the bottle didn't last long! With the quantities increased, this is a decent rum with a nice flavour and none of the drinks we made that night went unfinished.
As far as price goes, this rum is fairly good value at under £10. A bottle of Bacardi of the same size retails for £16 but is regularly on offer for £13, so a small saving can be made by buying this.
If you love the unique favour of Bacardi then this rum is not for you at all. As a cheap and more subtle alternative though, this is a reasonable product. Cocktails will be more understated and a rum and coke made with this will be adequate enough. The only time I could see myself buying this again would be for a party to batch make a large number of something, I think on balance though, it's probably worth paying the few pounds extra for Bacardi in almost all circumstances.
£11.87 - 70cl
Asda's Caribbean spiced rum was recommended by a work colleague, and she was kind enough to bring a bottle when we invited her over for dinner. Spiced rum has never been a spirit I've been hugley keen on, and there have been times where I've not had one in stock at all. The issue for me is that there is such a variety of products in the market with very different flavour profiles. Because of this, it's hard to pinpoint exactly which product this Asda variety is trying to target. It's certainly very different to the spiced rums which I have bought before such as Bacardi Oakheart or Sailor Jerry.
After enjoying this bottle very much (evidenced by the fact that it barely lasted a fortnight), I have to say, it comes highly recommended as a mixer. Whilst it doesn't have the subtle smoothness of Sailor Jerry, or the aged cask taste of Oakheart, this cheap rum is fantastic with coke, and I actually prefer it as a coke mixer to the more expensive brand names. The favour is very full on, with strong vanilla and caramel flavourings. On it's own, this would be way too heavy, and even in a more rum-fronted cocktail such as a Mai Tai, this rum is too strong and overpowers the other flavours.
On New Year's Eve, we had several friends over and a bottle of this rum was bought. It was a huge hit, and didn't last the night, with several friends commenting that they would be picking up a bottle in the near future. There's no better compliment than that. If top quality, refined spiced rums are your thing, then this may be too full-on for you, but as a mixer with coke, this is a definite winner and well worth trying for under £12 a bottle.
*EDIT* - Since reviewing this product, it's been pointed out to me that no where on the bottle is it actually labelled as "rum". A careful reading of the label shows that it is actually a neutral spirit infused with spiced rum style flavours. Bad form Asda... Marks off for this, despite it tasting pretty decent.