Sometimes you open your liquor cabinet to an array of all the best things – a beautiful collection for a beautiful home. Other times, you find yourself with bottles left after parties, bottles gifted to you by people, and bottles you found on sale at Total Wine with labels that say “88 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine.”
I hate those labels, because I’m pretty sure that’s how I ended up with this bottle of Largo Bay Silver Rum. But how did this other bottle come to be? One day this local (Phoenix, AZ) beer place (with an amazing dog patio) was just a beer place… then they opened a distillery (with another amazing dog patio). Then, somehow, what I thought was going to be an in-house-only liquor experiment became a bottling operation selling to the very same Total Wine the Largo Bay came from.
So it’s a battle of stuff I found at Total Wine that ended up in my liquor cabinet. Two complete unknowns in a clean daiquiri showdown.
To help, Matthew from the hood came for more tasting punishment.
In the red corner, we have Largo Bay from… the Caribbean. Per the bottle, it’s “carefully prepared using our island tradition.”. According to Total Wine, “Largo Bay rums are produced by the West Indies Rum Distillery Ltd. on the island of Barbados,” and that the distillery was established in 1893.
There’s no Largo Bay website though, so real information is tough to come by. The only online presence I can find is through “Distiller Sales Company,” which seems to mass produce brands for big box stores. Here’s their pitch – “Innovative product development is the key to increased sales. We anticipate our customer’s needs by providing product research and category analysis to bring new products to market that are equal to, or better than the national brands.”
So, yeah. Largo Bay, folks. Sitting in my liquor cabinet. Someone should take my credit card away.
In the blue corner is OHSO’s #Rum, sitting idly in a stark white bottle prominently displaying an oh-so-trendy # and the word “rum.” I can’t say I’m completely against the modern bottle trend (I got pretty excited when I saw my first Pub Beer), but it does look a little odd in large-bottle form… and it’ll definitely cause some eye rolls from anyone over a certain age.
According to OHSO, the rum was distilled at the OHSO Distillery and Eatery in Scottsdale, AZ from sugarcane and polished with coconut carbon. Sounds delicious!
2 oz rum
1/4 oz simple syrup
1/2 pressed lime
Notes: Shake the rum, simple syrup, and lime in ice. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a lime peel (or be lazy like me and have a lesser drink).
Like any good tasting, we spent the first minute or so with our noses. And our noses were pretty worthless because both smelled like fresh lime with a hint of alcohol. To me, #Rum brought out a little more of that sweet sugarcane rum smell, but the lime was still dominant.
Matthew jumped in first to take a sip of the Largo Bay. He didn’t have a lot of experience with daiquiris, so I don’t think he knew what to expect. And his initial taste didn’t give him a whole lot of hope (I could see the “Can’t we do another bourbon drink?” thought bubbling in his eyes). His exact quote was, “You know that bitter flavor rum drinks have sometimes? Yeah, it has that.”
The #Rum gave him more hope in the classic daiquiri. “It’s smooth,” he said. “The citrus flavor isn’t as strong as the aroma.”
His final statement, after examining the lime color of each for a moment was, “(Largo Bay) tastes like there’s more alcohol. In a not good way. I know which one I like better.”
I took my sips and mostly had the same thoughts. The Largo tastes fine at first (the lime is dominant), but then the rum takes over and funks up the joint. It goes down like fire, tastes bitter in the back of the throat, and gives me that chest warmth I remember from drinking Popov Vodka from plastic jugs in college.
Grabbing the other glass, I noticed even more of that pleasant rum smell coming in as the drink warmed a bit. Tasting the #Rum cocktail, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised. It was sweet and grassy, and had an actual flavor on the tongue as opposed to burn. I don’t have a lot of daiquiri experience, but this was a drink I’d be happy to drink again
I thought this would be a close BvsB, but in the end, #Rum was clearly the winner. It tasted nice and sweet, with all those sugarcaney flavors you hope for in a rum, while Largo Bay reminded me of a bad vacation.
We’re only one rum drink into these BvsBs, so I can’t confidently say that #Rum is a must buy yet, but I can tell you this without hesitation – don’t buy Largo Bay. Just don’t do it.