I’ll come clean here: My most fond rum-soaked memory involves setting a mouthful of Bacardi 151 on fire in some random dude’s front yard in college. I may or may not have started a small pine straw fire in the process. I’m not at liberty to say.
Beyond the pyrotechnics and obligatory rum and cokes, my experience with rum has been limited to the occasional sweet Caribbean-born rum, sipped on the beach while nursing a sun burn.
Privateer True American Amber is not that kind of rum. Made in Massachusetts, True American (named after a pirate ship that sailed during the American Revolution) starts with molasses and brown sugar, which is distilled and eventually aged in a mix of new oak barrels, then used oak bourbon, brandy, and sherry casks. All in, True American is aged for less than a year, so the oak doesn’t overwhelm the rum—it acts more as a compliment, providing a faint whiskey nose with hints of vanilla and caramel.
Sip it neat and the caramel is present again. Drop a hunk of ice in it and the rum opens up like a Bed Bath And Beyond on Black Friday. Vanilla hits you hard up front, followed by some oak. You wait for the heat on the backend, but it never really comes. Instead, there’s a lingering, faint sweetness that has you reaching for the glass again. The whole thing feels like melted butter on your tongue—rich and warm and comforting. Eventually I start to get notes of coconut, but that might just be because I keep pouring more “samples.”
Consider True American the utility player in your liquor cabinet. It’s incredibly pleasant neat or over ice. But feel free to drop this rum into whiskey centric cocktails, like the Manhattan. It’s also equally at home in something fruity, classing up a cocktail you’d typically only drink when half naked with your toes in the sand.