Think of spiced rum and a certain popular seafaring figure might spring to mind. But broaden your horizons like a buccaneer to discover a whole world of sophisticated spirits in the canon.
Spiced rum is essentially a flavoured rum. It’s distilled in the exact same way as any other molasses-based rum, but following that process and at some point during ageing, spices, aromatics and fruits can be added to impart additional flavours. The method may have been developed to mask some of the less refined notes of the drink in question, but distillation has since come on leaps and bounds. However, some distilleries continue to experiment with spiced expressions of their spirit – and to excellent results.
The best spiced rums often showcase some of the more traditional spices associated with the drink – including vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon – but some modern interpretations feature less common flavours. Just look to Samai Distillery’s Kampot Pepper Rum – awarded Gold at the IWSC 2023 – with its notes of green chilli oil and cracked black pepper. Or top-scoring Copalli Cacao Rum from Copal Tree Distillery, a rum made in Belize and infused with cacao nibs. Scratch Sloe Rum even uses British sloe berries to achieve its signature cherry bakewell flavour.
Read on for nine award-winning examples of spiced rum from this year’s IWSC – best enjoyed neat over ice and with a wedge of lime, mixed with your favourite tonics and sodas, or even in an especially warming hot toddy in the winter months.
HOW DO WE JUDGE THESE SPIRITS?
We run a tightly structured, rigorous spirits tasting process. That means that each spirit sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC spirit judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the drinks industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.
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