Spirit of the Age – Bacardi Oakheart
Review by: Martin Pilkington
Spiced rum seems to be the spirit du jour, to use a vile but apposite expression given what is evidently a fashion. Of late I have reviewed Sailor Jerry and The Kraken Black Spiced Rum, and now the good people at Bacardi are promoting their version, Oakheart.
I’m a big fan of rum and have no problems with the (very traditional anyway) idea of spicing it up a bit, so welcome this trend – I’m all for complexity in the spirit world. Oakheart has a lower alcohol level than the two rivals mentioned, at 35 per cent compared with their 40, but it doesn’t lack in flavour, the overwhelming impression on both nose and palate being of Angostura bitters. There is a tiny edge of smokiness, some pudding spice too, but the centre-ground is all vanilla – maybe partly from the oak barrels in which it has spent time. As you’d expect of a well-made rum it has a buttery-toffee finish, though that too has to elbow its way past all that vanilla.
As this surge of spiced rums is doubtless aimed at the 20 – 35 age bracket there is a fashionable thing going on with the packaging. Sailor Jerry, named for a seminal tattoo artist, has the most dazzling, indeed rather beautiful, based on his work; Kraken follows the Pirates of the Caribbean route with a bottle Joshamee Gibbs could swig from; and Oakheart bigs up the Bacardi bat connection with some slightly spooky lettering – think early Barbossa rather than Sparrow. It all adds to the gaiety of the nation.
Until winter sets in I won’t be making hot-buttered rum, but spiced rums are perfect for that cold-weather indulgence and I have the feeling that Bacardi’s with all that vanilla will make a particularly fine version.