Review: Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum (Black Gold Special Reserve) (MSRP: $29.99/750ML; paid $14.99/750ML)
Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum is an 80-proof, gold, Jamaican rum created by Island Records Chief Chris Blackwell. From their website:
Chris Blackwell, the inspiration behind Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum, hails from one of Jamaica’s oldest merchant families. Although Blackwell was born in London, he spent his childhood in Jamaica and after attending school back in England, returned to the country. In 1959, Chris Blackwell created Island Records, bringing Reggae music to the attention of international audiences – one of his most noted achievements was gaining recognition for Bob Marley & The Wailers.
Created from a traditional family recipe, Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum is a rich, fragrant spirit that has been barrel aged for one year and infused with tropical flavors. A bold molasses note on both the nose and palate is complemented by hints of coffee, clove and spice which lead to toasted coconut on the finish.
Blackwell’s dark, old-world styled bottle is wrapped (off-center) with a faded yellow map of Jamaica; think pirate map. The label (map) is sealed with a nifty black-wax seal demarking it as “Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum”. The bottles cap is surrounded by a large, black ‘B’.
Like most Jamaican rums, Blackwell’s packs a bold aroma. It’s molasses body jumps out at you with your first whiff. On further inspection of it’s nose you find hints of coffee, clove, herbs and spice. I really enjoy sniffing this rum. Too many rums overwhelm you with sugary, sweet aromas.
With only a slight burn, Blackwell’s reminds me a little bit of British Naval rum. Unique in flavor and palette design. Blackwell’s is only aged for a single year and it’s lack of aging is quite evident. It’s flavors tasted as if they were infused or added rather than being derived through aging.
It tastes fairly raw; not mellow at all. It’s kick would make you think that it is an over-proof rum. The clove and spice are strong with a linger of slightly burnt coffee and herbal tones.
On the rocks:
A little bit of water, helps Blackwell be more acceptable straight. The water does wash away most of its flavor but helps masks the burn and it’s harshest flavors. Tastes a bit like deep brewed clove tea.
With Coke Zero:
For the first time you can taste this rum’s sweetness. It really brings a smoothness and rounded flavor. The clove really pops here.
Like most Jamaican rums, Blackwell Fine Jamaican is quite bold. It is a strong, forceful rum. With it’s minimal ageing (one year), Blackwell lacks maturity and therefore isn’t much of a sipper. Its uniquely bold flavor can enhance a variety of mixed drinks.
Unfortunately, Blackwell finds itself with some tough competition at the $30 price point (Cruzan Single Barrel, Appleton XO, Mt. Gay Eclipse, Flor de Cana 7 Year, etc.). If Blackwell Fine Jamaican MSRP dropped to around $20/bottle it would be a much more worthy purchase.
Review Score: 7.5 of 10