Bobby “Mo” Momorella of M/V Certifiable wrote asking us to compare his favorite Kraken Black Spiced Rum to Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum. Challenge accepted.
So… Which is Better for Sipping? Which is better mixed?
Kraken Black Spiced Rum is made in Trinidad and Tobago distilled from naturally sweet molasses, aged one to two years then blended with eleven spices. It is unknown what type of barrels the rum is aged in. Captain Black states right on the label “Double Charred Blackened Oak” providing the rich black color. Cloves and vanilla top the flavors of the rum which many speculate was created to compete directly with the popular marketing campaign feature, the Kraken sea creature.
What is Stronger?
In the proof war, Captain Morgan edges out Kraken just slightly at 94.6 proof.
For our test we began neat followed by rum and Cokes, carefully measuring both ingredients creating a fair test. There is no He Said/She Said to report for this test. For once our palettes actually agreed.
What tastes better neat?
Kraken has a powerful caramel and molasses nose with just a hint of spice. Almost too sweet for Clint’s liking. On the other hand, Captain leads with spice with undertones of caramel and vanilla. Cloves and cinnamon are the prominent spice in both rums.
Expecting a sweet taste from Kraken we were shocked by the explosion of spice in the mouth. So much spice in fact that it tickled Terry’s nose. Once the taste settles the caramel kicks in giving the rum a smooth finish. Captain is what-you-smell-is-what-you-get. Subtle cloves, cinnamon, and slight licorice complimenting the caramel and vanilla. The taste leads right into the finish with no surprises.
What tastes Better as a Cocktail
As previously reported, Terry is definitely not a rum and Coke fan however after one sip of Kraken and Coke, Clint could not get the glass away from her. The explosion of spice when sampled straight up balances out the sweetness of the Coke making this a refreshing cocktail.
Captain was surely a disappointment as a mixer. This spiced rum has nothing to cut the sweetness of the Coke. The entire drink fell flat leaving you wondering if there was any alcohol used.
Overall is Kraken or Captain Better?
While we were so hoping to have a common bond with our reader “Mo,” we learned there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to rum. Just simply enjoy.
We call this a draw.
Kraken: 1.5 sipping, 3.5 mixer
Captain: 3.5 sipping, 1.5 mixer
Kraken is Better as a MIXER. Captain Morgan is better for SIPPING! Just get them both…
Mixing Rum Scale
1 – Is there rum in this drink?
2 – Could use some cherries
3 – Great Happy Hour mixer
4 – Worthy of an umbrella
5 – Fine mixer. No umbrella required
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
Recent Update: In Response to a recent Comment, we amended the article…
He writes, “May I suggest a Dark and Stormy. Get rid of the Coke and find you a ginger beer of your liken. Then compare the two rums. I have only tried Kraken and so I cannot tell you which is best for a cocktail.”
Well Ken, since we are still quarantined let’s break out our favorite ginger beers and give this a try.
Let’s begin with a bit of housekeeping.
We all know a true Dark ‘n’ Stormy begins with Gosling’s Black Seal rum. The company holds two certificates at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office specifying exactly how to make the drink.
How do you make a Dark and Stormy when you don’t have Gosling’s on board?
As Ken suggests, maybe substitute Kraken or Captain Morgan Spiced rums for the “dark” combining with your favorite ginger beer (and don’t forget the wedge of lime.) Just be mindful not to call it a Dark & Stormy. We wouldn’t want anyone to get in trouble with the patent office.
Barritt’s has been our ginger beer of choice for many moons but we use Bundaberg from Australia, on occasion, for a creamier cocktail. For this test, we began as testers should, drinking the rum neat to get a baseline, then creating the cocktails using an ounce and a half of rum, four ounces of ginger beer and a wedge of lime.
Looking back at our 2015 review we enjoyed the Captain over the Kraken because it led with the cloves and cinnamon a spiced rum should have. This time we found the Kraken to be far more enjoyable neat with a creamy vanilla palate, then a satisfying spice that lingered while the creamy vanilla hit the throat followed by a warming spice finish. The Captain, on the other hand, leads with a strong coffee note before an overwhelming cloves finish. Funny how things changed.
The vanilla notes of the Kraken pair well with the Barritt’s, the subtle hints of spice from the rum and ginger beer keeping the vanilla in check. In contrast, the Captain smells and tastes like a rum and Coke. It’s very sweet with no evidence of ginger or spice. Even the lime can’t break through the sweetness.
Clearly, Captain Morgan and Bundaberg belong together. The coffee pairs well with the ginger beer; the lime completes the drink. Not quite that patented drink but could pass as a “Dark and Stormy” version. On the other hand Kraken with Bundaberg creates a flavorless drink. The sweet notes of both cancel each other out while the spices from both
So Ken, we can safely say we enjoyed your challenge and gave a slight edge to the Captain Morgan Black Spiced with Bundaberg ginger beer though the Kraken and Barritt’s weren’t too far behind.
Do you have a suggestion for Clint and Terry. Send to [email protected]
Also Check out: Rum Review: Captain Morgan’s White Rum
Rum Review: Captain Morgan Private Stock
May I suggest a Stormy. Get rid of the coke and find you a ginger beer of your liken. Then compare the two rums. I have only tried Kraken and so I cannot tell you which is best for a cocktail, But you said the Captain had no effect on the Captain. Just try try the ginger beer, let me know what you found.
A question: you said “Cloves and vanilla top the flavors of the rum which many speculate was created to compete directly with the popular marketing campaign feature, the Kraken sea creature.“
This implies Captain Morgan was imitating Kraken, but CM has 60+ more years of history than Kraken. Did the Captain change it’s recipe to fight the squid? I’m thinking you meant something different than what’s crossing my so called mind. Thanks for the article. As a fan of dark and stormies, I really appreciated the update! My wife and I honeymooned in Bermuda, and became devotees of Gosling at that time! Cheers!