Spiced rum is a very popular segment of the rum category in the United States with Captain Morgan leading the pack. Bacardi never seemed interested in the space, opting instead to promote the overall general rum category without a spiced rum entry. For much of its history Captain Morgan was produced in Puerto Rico, the same US island where Bacardi produces its rum. Diageo moved Captain Morgan’s out of Puerto Rico to St. Croix in an effort to get stronger tax breaks. This seemed to open the door for Bacardi to produce a Puerto Rican spiced rum that is decidedly different from Captain Morgan.
Bacardi Oakheart Smooth Spiced Rum ($15.99, 35% / 70 proof) – it’s clear from the nose that Oakheart is more sweet than spicy. Creamy vanilla dominates the nose, which only has a very slight and subtle undercurrent of oak and cinnamon spice. The nose has a slight waxy quality to it, reminiscent of a vanilla scented candle, but it isn’t offensive or off-putting. The vanilla from the nose is the opening note in Oakheart which then, true to its name, transitions into a soft oak spice and light cinnamon. The transition is a smooth one and the oak spice is well balanced with the sweet vanilla. The finish is fairly short, soft, and easy with vanilla lingering on the palate with only a suggestion of cinnamon underneath.
Bacardi Oakheart is labeled as a “smooth” spiced rum, and true to its name it’s a lot softer, smoother, and tamer than most of the other spiced rums we’ve tried. As with many of Bacardi’s rums, Oakheart feels like it was born with Coca-Cola in mind. It works fantastically in a Coke with just enough vanilla and spice to be noticeable but not too much to be overpowering. Oakheart is also exceptionally clean for 70 proof – you can stick your nose deep in the glass without any fumes, and there’s no burn or bite with this rum.
Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum falls neatly in line with Bacardi’s other products. While it’s a spiced rum, the spice is a role player to the other soft and slightly sweet flavors in the rum. For a Rum and Coke or Cuba Libre, we still prefer using Bacardi Gold, but for imbibers who want a hint of spice in their Coke, Oakheart does the trick nicely.
Check out our Behind The Scenes of Bacardi Rum.