Over the Thanksgiving holiday we had a great spinnaker run south in Hawks Channel heading for Key West. Terry had never been to Key West and couldn’t wait to sample the island flavors. While off the beaten path we came across Key West Distilling. After sampling their Rumbunctious Gold and Spiced rums we decided to purchase a bottle of the spiced. You see, just a month prior our friends told us about Siesta Key Spiced rum made in Sarasota, FL so we thought why not set up a Florida Showdown. It’s Key West vs. Siesta Key.
Key West Distilling has been making artisan rum, vodka and whisky since 2013. The spiced rum begins life as a silver before adding a secret blend of natural spices and Madagascar vanilla beans. Siesta Key rums are produced by Drum Circle Distilling and have been around since 2007. The rums are distilled in a custom artisanal still which has a lot of copper, making for a smoother rum. The spiced rum uses freshly ground spices and honey giving the rum a more natural taste.
He Said – There’s a potpourri of baking spice and not a single one I can name. I do identify raisin and vanilla. On the palate, there’s a strong hit of molasses before the spices start to kick in. Anise seed and fig also begin to shine. The sharp spices prickle my tongue.
She Said – The nose reminds me of hot apple cider on a crisp fall day. On the palate though, cloves overpower any hint of apple. There is a bite to this rum on the palate, however it is warming and enjoyable going down. It does leave the mouth very dry.
He Said – The nose is that of German pfeffernusse cookies with a little smoky and charcoal note. As the rum breathes the alcohol note goes away. Cloves and pepper dominate the slightly sweet taste. Star anise and nutmeg come through the longer you leave them on the palate. The finish is very smooth.
She Said – Now this reminds me of spiked eggnog with fresh nutmeg grated on the top. It has a rich, sweet, almost creamy note and texture which softens the blast of cinnamon and nutmeg as it enters the sinus cavity. The spices don’t last through the finish but the silky texture does.
Identifying the spices were definitely a fun challenge. Siesta Key was smoother and can stand alone as a sipping rum. Key West has a bolder spice which needs something to balance it out. We suggest trying a Local Sunset Adult Milkshake Salty Angler in Key West with orange rum cream and vanilla ice cream. Yum! The win goes to Siesta Key since it can stand alone.
Siesta Key – 3.25 out of 5
Key West – 2.75 out of 5
Sipping Rum Scale
1 – An expensive mixer
2 – A quick celebratory shot
3 – Wouldn’t be embarrassed to share with friends
4 – Are my friends worthy of a sip
5 – Special moments rum
About Clint and Terry: We have sampled many a dram over our 33 years of marriage and quite often we don’t fully agree. Could be the difference is male/female taste buds. Or, somebody is just wrong.