Many of the finest rums come from the islands of the Caribbean where tropical climates help develop the sugar cane and family recipes and traditions go back hundreds of years. Curious to see how a rum produced in the United States paled in comparison, we picked up Tapping House Grand Reserve Dark Rum at our local Total Wine & More. What we quickly discovered was island tradition trumps technology every day of the week.
The label states Tapping House is produced and bottled by TerrePURE Spirits in North Charleston, S.C. However upon further investigation, we learned the rum is really produced by Terressentia Corporation using their TerrePURE technology. Terressentia created a process to refine spirits faster, cleaner, and using less energy-intensive versus traditional methods. This technology allows companies like Total Wine & more to create a custom-branded spirit to build brand loyalty, expand their offerings, and let’s be realistic, increase profit margins.
At $17 a bottle, this private label product is very enticing, but can a high-tech process truly produce a rum that followers are seeking?
The nose is very unrefined, strong, and smelling of cheap liquor. But once on the tongue the taste is actually surprising. Fairly smooth with an extremely subtle sweetness. Reminds me of the Karo syrup my grandmother would thin with water to put on pancakes.You can definitely tell this rum is not extensively aged.
Oh my. You want me to drink this? The nose reminds me of fingernail polish remover. Strong, toxic, uninviting. There is a strong bite on the tip of my tongue but the finish is not unpleasant. It doesn’t have the sweetness we are used to in a rum. Strangely enough, I’m almost thinking this is a blended whiskey instead of rum.
As a sipping rum this does not measure up. However, we would not discount it as a quick shot when just any spirit will do. Tapping House would best be used in drinks calling for gold rum or when you want to add an extra dimension to standard mixed cocktails.
This is a clear example where technology is not always a good thing. Rums need the time to sit, relax and absorb to create the complexities especially expected in a fine sipping rum.
Overall rating: 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 31 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.