Rum made from blackstrape molasses has gained popularity in recent years, mainly due to effective marketing. Blackstrape means molasses, which has been heated three times, so the sugar has already been removed twice, leaving a thick, dark syrup with a sugar content of about 60%. It is said to be much stronger, bitterer and more spicy than virgin molasses made from sugar cane juice after the first heating. However, how much blackstrap molasses is used to make black rum is questionable. Captain Morgan Black Spiced is said to have been made from blackstrape molasses. But in practice it may have used regular molasses and blackstrap only so much it can be added to the bottle label as an ingredient.
Black rums are usually very young (matured for 1-2 years) column-distilled rums, dyed dark in sugar color and seasoned with various spices. In Captain Morgan’s they are cloves, cassia cinnamon, and a fair dose of vanilla or vanillin. Heavily roasted oak barrels may be used for aging the rum, which gives the distillate its own dose of dark flavor. Captain Morgan Spiced Black was originally stronger than normal (47.3% ABV) but is currently seen in stores at normal 40% strength. A 70 cl bottle costs about € 17 in Estonia.
The rather sweet nose is dominated by vanilla and has a hint of molasses, dark sugar and spices in the background. The taste is very sweet and caramelly at the beginning, but slowly turns spicy and slightly bitter. The taste is smooth and although the alcohol burns a little, after a couple of sips it is hardly felt at all. The aroma of vanilla is at the top, the aromas of clove and cinnamon clearly remain in the background as very subtle nuances. There are also shades of dark chocolate and dark roasted coffee on the palate. The aftertaste again comes from the toasty aroma of caramel and dark sugar. Black Spiced is not as spicy as one might expect, moreover it is a traditional and fairly light dark rum boosted with vanilla and lightly topped with cinnamon and cloves. In my opinion, Captain Morgan’s Jamaican Dark was a much more strongly flavored and more original rum.
Black Spiced is not very special spiced liquor. It is much like the Original Spiced, where the strong aroma of vanilla was also strongly present. Black Spiced has more of a toasted aroma of dark sugar and molasses and when sipped neat, it has more nuances. However, Black Spiced is not a very interesting rum for neat sipping, it is quite straightforward and has a strong vanilla aroma and one-sided spiciness will soon start to saturate. It is clearly rum for cocktails. In drinks, the aroma of vanilla comes out best, but the other spiciness hardly tastes at all.