When we first heard that Captain Morgan was going to be releasing a sherry oak finish version of their popular spiced rum, we thought the idea was pretty ridiculous. Although Captain Morgan made significant strides toward being a crossover spiced rum with an appeal to whiskey drinkers last year with their Captain Morgan Black, finishing a spiced rum in sherry seemed a bit much. How far down the whiskey road could Captain Morgan really go? To our great surprise, the answer is quite far. Captain Morgan’s Limited Edition Sherry Oak Finish Spiced Rum is a great example of just how far how the lines between spirit categories can and will blur.
Captain Morgan Limited Edition Sherry Oak Finish Spiced Rum (35% ABV/ 70 Proof, $19.99) – dark amber in color, this spiced rum clearly has contact with sherry oak. Captain Morgan’s press materials are very clear to state that this spiced rum is “finished with Sherry Oak” which does not mean that it was finished IN sherry oak casks, and since it’s a flavored/spiced rum, it is possible that sherry oak chips have been soaked and or some sherry has been added. Either way, the sherry impact is clear in the color of this rum. The nose is decidedly fruity with cherry, vanilla, and light oak all well integrated. The nose is more fruity than spicy with the oak as more of an undertone than a top note.
The entry of the Captain Morgan Limited Edition is soft and sweet with the cherry notes from the nose leading the pack. Captain Morgan Limited Edition first presents like it’s going to be thin and singular, but solid oak quickly enters the equation and builds in the midpalate, giving it some nice complexity. While the oak does intensify, it never really throws the rum out of balance or becomes too assertive. In addition to the oak, the midpalate takes on a clear vanilla note which, combined with the cherry note at the entry, is a nice foundation of sweet to balance out the spicy oak. Towards the end of the midpalate the oak takes on a much more charred-oak-like quality, an unexpected and welcome addition to the mix of flavors. In the finish, the spicy oak flavors subside letting the more charred oak note shine though. The finish of Captain Morgan Limited Edition is fairly dry but not overly so, and combines the cherry from the opening with the charred oak which sticks around lightly on the palate long after the spirit has gone.
Captain Morgan Limited Edition is very easy drinking – there’s no alcohol spike or intense flavors when you knock it back, with its only real strength coming from the charred oak notes. If anything, Captain Morgan Limited Edition is a little under-proofed. At 35% the flavors, while nice, are all pretty toned down. Releasing this Limited Edition at 40% or 80 proof would amp things up across the board and make Captain Morgan Limited Edition much better for mixing. While you can make a solid Old Fashioned from Captain Morgan Limited Edition, it’s not nearly as flavorful or complex a drink as with Captain Morgan Black. The limited edition does mix well with ginger beer and lime in a variation of the Dark ‘n’ Stormy but it can quickly suffer from over dilution. We found Captain Morgan Limited Edition is really best neat or with a single big ice cube.
Captain Morgan Limited Edition Sherry Oak Finish Spiced Rum is a great example of how the lines between aged rum and whiskey can blur. Done right, the same barrel finishing techniques used with many whiskeys can also successfully be used with rum. Captain Morgan’s integration of the sherry flavors and charred oak come off very well, so our only gripe is that it needs more alcohol to really shine and really should have been released at 80 proof.