What do you do if you look in the cabinet and find two bottles of cheap gold rum? Scoff and throw them down the drain? Hell no! Add some lime and sugar and call them daiquiris! (Is a gold rum daiquiri a daiquiri? I feel like there’s probably a better name for this.)
Where did these bottles come from though? I feel like I have a pretty good memory, but I have no recollection buying either of these bottles. Did a booze fairy leave them here? Do I buy cheap rum in my sleep? I guess it doesn’t matter… on with the drinking!
In the red corner, we have 896 5yr Rum, allegedly from Barbados. Once again, it’s a brand under the Distiller Sales Company umbrella (see: [Largo Bay]) who seem to distribute mostly to Total Wine stores. I’ll give you some content treasure from the [Distiller Sales Company website] (because there’s zero content about any of their brands):
As one of the nation’s leading developers of corporate brand distilled spirits programs, Distiller Sales Company has the capability of managing all facets of product development including production, distribution, and marketing to make certain the job gets done right.
I’ll try not to let the soulless brand copy cloud my taste buds.
In the blue corner, we have Bacardi Select – a favorite of college kids looking to A. get drunk, and B. get drunk on something a little nicer than plastic jug booze. It’s distilled in Puerto Rico by spirits mega-giant Bacardi and seems to be the reincarnation of the old Bacardi Black (according to the internet… Bacardi has no mention of Select on their website) (but it seems like they’re going in the Black direction again). Based on their Black and the other gold rums they make, my assumption is that it’s charcoal filtered and aged in oak barrels for a few (2-5) years.
2 oz rum
1/4 oz simple syrup
1/2 pressed lime
Notes: Shake the rum, simple syrup, and lime in ice. Pour into a coupe glass, and add a lime peel (although I didn’t here…ugh).
After drinking that clean OHSO Daiquiri for the last BvsB, I have to admit that I really just want to drink daiquiris until the last day of summer. But gold daiquiris? I guess I’m still not sold.
The smell test was a mixed bag I’d say. The 896 had more of that clean lime scent I got with the classic daiquiris, but there was a little toastiness in there. Not a lot, but I knew before sipping that it wasn’t going to be a printing sweet lime-and-sugar experience. Bacardi Select, on the other hand, reeked of medicine and burn – very little lime scent to be found.
The taste went about the same. 896 goes down with a bit of the bite you expect from budget rums… and then nothing. It’s just a touch woodsy on the tongue with maybe a hint of brown sugar, but besides some slight bitterness on the sides of the tongue, there’s really no rum note to speak of. I don’t know if that’s good or bad – I’d be a little disappointed if I got an 896 daiquiri at a bar because it’s not very interesting, but would be more than happy to get one at a place like Chili’s (assuming they’re using fresh limes).
Going from interesting to comparatively bad, the Bacardi has an almost burnt taste, and burns all the way down. I guess there’s some caramely taste in there, and maybe some kind of fruitiness, but for the most part it tastes like burn. And college. Burn, college, and a bad hangover.
I try to end these in a nice way, so I’ll concede that neither of these gold rums are meant for daiquiris, so I shouldn’t be too harsh on either. The 896 is the clear winner in this challenge though with a much smoother taste all around. It wasn’t anything to write home about (do people write home about anything anymore?), but it’s a solid, affordable option.
Perhaps a rematch in a Cuba Libre showdown would be more interesting. Just pontificating, my guess is that the 896 wouldn’t stand up to the cola at all, while the burn of the Bacardi would get eaten by bubbles, leaving the tasty flavors to shine through. Total guess though.