Review: Cruzan Single Barrel Estate Rum

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Count Silvio
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Tue Jan 08, 2008 9:24 pm

Read the entire Cruzan Single Barrel review on the frontpage!
Cruzan Single Barrel Estate Rum (U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix)

Cruzan Single Barrel Estate Rum has been produced on the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix, since 1760. Cruzan Rum is also the only distillery operating in St. Croix today.

Cruzan Single Barrel is decanted in a tall bottle that has a frosted glass effect and a wooden cork. Around the long neck there is a small label, where the number of the bottle and the number of the barrel has been written. Little details like this are important to me as it allows me to find rum from a different barrel for taste comparisons.

Despite the name, Cruzan Single Barrel is actually a blend of different aged rums up to 12 years old. After blending the blend is then put into a new charred oak barrel to continue aging for approximately 1 more year.

Appearance

Cruzan Single Barrel rum looks delicious in the glass, with sparkling gold highlights and a deep brown core. This golden brown rum has a notable clarity and long runny legs that keep forming for a while after their predecessors have run their course...
When I was doing my research on this rum I found out that Cruzan Rum use pure rainwater in their rums. This was an interesting fact and I wonder if many other distilleries use rainwater?

I can also recommend this rum, dare I say it, to be mixed with coke. Maybe I will dare say it, it is good but it is not that fancy a rum. It still gets a silver award in my opinion.

Let the conversation begin and comments flow free.
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Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:17 am

Very good review Count in my opinion. May I be so bold as to say I see an evolution in the quality and substance of your review here. Well done Chap!

Two minor points, If I may. Whilst Cruzan Single barrel is a blend.. It is bottled Cask by Cask... So variations in the bottlings are inevitable. Secondly, The 'Virgin Rainwater" reference on the Cruzan site leaves me scratching my head. Rainwater collected off a nickel tin roof into some storage facility will not be "Virgin" very long. I know for a fact that the USVI requires testing of the water holding facilties to determine that it is potable..and that means some treatment of some kind. Water is always an issue on all the "rocks" down here. We either have too much, or not enough. I find it hard to believe that Cruzan is collecting all it's virginal needs and then not treating it in some way before using it. Some of the more artinsanal producers on other Islands may be using lightly treated rainwater for their product. Methinks Cruzan has employed a very savy marketing approach here.
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Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:52 pm

Thank you. I hope my future reviews will continue to please the readers.
Rum Runner wrote:Two minor points, If I may. Whilst Cruzan Single barrel is a blend.. It is bottled Cask by Cask... So variations in the bottlings are inevitable.
I still don't think it is a "real" single barrel though, if you know what I mean.
Rum Runner wrote:The 'Virgin Rainwater" reference on the Cruzan site leaves me scratching my head. Rainwater collected off a nickel tin roof into some storage facility will not be "Virgin" very long. I know for a fact that the USVI requires testing of the water holding facilties to determine that it is potable..and that means some treatment of some kind.
I wouldn't expect them not to treat it in any way. Perhaps they use the term "virgin" loosely letting people assume what they will? "Virgin rain water" could also mean the Virgin Island rain water. Or am I being too analytic here now...
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Thu Jan 10, 2008 3:25 pm

By the way, outstanding review Silvio.

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Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:50 pm

Count Silvio wrote:Thank you. I hope my future reviews will continue to please the readers.
Rum Runner wrote:Two minor points, If I may. Whilst Cruzan Single barrel is a blend.. It is bottled Cask by Cask... So variations in the bottlings are inevitable.
I still don't think it is a "real" single barrel though, if you know what I mean.
Rum Runner wrote:The 'Virgin Rainwater" reference on the Cruzan site leaves me scratching my head. Rainwater collected off a nickel tin roof into some storage facility will not be "Virgin" very long. I know for a fact that the USVI requires testing of the water holding facilties to determine that it is potable..and that means some treatment of some kind.
I wouldn't expect them not to treat it in any way. Perhaps they use the term "virgin" loosely letting people assume what they will? "Virgin rain water" could also mean the Virgin Island rain water. Or am I being too analytic here now...

Dear Count, What leads you to believe that it is not bottled cask by cask?

I think you may be "cutting then some slack" when you observe that they may use the term "virgin" loosely in regards the water source. It seems to me like a woman describing herself as as a "little bit pregnant".

The very slick multimedia website showing water pouring off a roof into a container whilst they describe "virgin rainwater" would lead an unknowing consumer to an inevitable conclusion in my honest opinion.
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Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:22 pm

Rum Runner wrote:The very slick multimedia website showing water pouring off a roof into a container whilst they describe "virgin rainwater" would lead an unknowing consumer to an inevitable conclusion in my honest opinion.
Of course it would. It could be a cunning marketing ploy :p. But since I do not know the truth I'll leave it be.
Rum Runner wrote:Dear Count, What leads you to believe that it is not bottled cask by cask?
I don't consider it a real single barrel because the blend is put into a single cask to mature for a year and then bottled from that single cask. Aren't "single barrels" usually only ever in that one particular barrel?
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Fri Jan 11, 2008 4:30 pm

I don't consider it a real single barrel because the blend is put into a single cask to mature for a year and then bottled from that single cask. Aren't "single barrels" usually only ever in that one particular barrel?

I know understand your point Count. Well taken. I suppose a more accurate description would be "Bottled from individual casks"
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Fri Sep 17, 2010 5:29 am

Cruzan rum will be at the Sydney Barshow next week, perhaps I can dig out some more answers regarding "Virgin Rainwater."
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Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:11 am

Look forward to what you find out Count, but really, isn't this much ado about very little? So called "rainwater harvesting" is not really new and is done by a number of wineries already. It is well to reflect on the fact that rainwater is close to the purest water available with no real minerals or other components as even found in the best spring water.

The trick, of course, is capturing or harvesting. It's really pretty simply - usually a metal roof is used that is coated with protective and non-contaminating coatings. Prior to actual harvesting a certain amount of water is wasted simply to remove dust, twigs and the like. Then the remainder is guided through a simple filtering system and delivered to a non-reacting tank in such a way as to preserve the anaerobic nature of the storage.

This is actually cleaner than the water that flows through the piping to your kitchen faucet. Of course all water is tested before final use, but that is no big deal and the harvested water should remain pure enough, long enough for its intended use in distillation and blending.

Relax, please. There is no cause for doubt or unfair criticism. Seriously.
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Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:23 pm

Hello, LT here.
Just a few thoughts.

Marketing indeed, as everything seems to come down to marketing and perception these days.
Often, distilleries rely old world methods to insure that the flavor profiles that their customers have grown accustomed to do not change (think New Coke).

Techniques used before major technical advancements were (and still are) often a result of economics. The ability,,,,,,,or the inability to aquire fresh clean potable water can be,,,and certainly was very difficult for island dwellers.
The use of dunder and repurposing rain water surely was part of the economics of the day. The use of spent barrels for aging the silver. On an island, resources are surely finite.

Well today that frugal attitude has evolved into a flavor profile that customers have come to expect.

BTW, the rain water may also assist in a more speedy ferment time.That further allows the distillers to project more accurate production cycles.
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Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:39 pm

"Marketing indeed, as everything seems to come down to marketing and perception these days. Often, distilleries rely old world methods to insure that the flavor profiles that their customers have grown accustomed to do not change (think New Coke)."

Let's not think New Coke, ugh. I'd agree that although marketing is the preeminent last step to sales, even more important is the takeover of so many formerly independent, small companies by the biggies, the conglomerates for whom "profit" and "volume" are the key words. These companies could care less about established and even successful profiles (think Cruzan Estate Diamond) but focus on reducing costs and increasing sales.

This is exactly why (unlike the single malts) the rum shelves are being taken over by droves of new flavored, and now spiced products. And I mean taken over. At Total Wine, even the top shelves are now displaying some spices, and formerly expensive, non-flavored sipping rums moved lower, and just plain disappearing. So much for old world methods and preserving profiles. Just isn't so.

"Techniques used before major technical advancements were (and still are) often a result of economics. The ability... or the inability to aquire fresh clean potable water can be... and certainly was very difficult for island dwellers.
The use of dunder and repurposing rain water surely was part of the economics of the day. The use of spent barrels for aging the silver. On an island, resources are surely finite."


Although the use of dunder is common in Jamaica, that is not generally true elsewhere. And I'd prefer the descriptor of "redirecting" rather than "repurposing". Cisterns were commonplace, but so were wells and handy streams. Indeed, distilleries were often sited near streams. Barbados is a case in point, being one of the few coral islands in the area. The water that was filtered through the coral was exceptionally pure. Interesting bit of history, but really has little to do with modern, industrialized distilling operations.

"Well today that frugal attitude has evolved into a flavor profile that customers have come to expect."

Frugal and rainwater are antonyms. Today, a rainwater system requires added costs, operating expenses, etc. They require, uh, rain too. Those who use rainwater are seeking purity, not savings.

"BTW, the rain water may also assist in a more speedy ferment time.That further allows the distillers to project more accurate production cycles."

I'd guess you are assuming rainwater is less pure and contains local native yeasts. But let's say you are right - to risk your product on unknown and/or uncontrolled yeasts is highly risky. Most distillers go to great lengths to minimize or eliminate native yeasts, and have spent years finding and buying special yeasts that produce their preferred profiles. In sum, I disagree with this premise entirely. Rainwater, properly harvested and stored should be extremely pure - and will not shorten fermentation times.

Fermentation is just too important to relegate to chance.
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Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:13 am

Capn Jimbo wrote:I'd guess you are assuming rainwater is less pure and contains local native yeasts
Not really thinking quite like that. My thinking and results from rain water ferments are much more anecdotally driven rather than by (big boy) commercial fermenting practices.

Yes, I would continue to say that rain water can reduce ferment times and or get the ferment closer to a lower FG. I assume rain water is really really well aerated too. Very helpful before the yeasty beasties go anerobic.

As an aside, my garden (s) also responds significantly better from rain water rather than being watered from the municipal source or from the well. I'm unqualified to explain this phenomena also.

No matter. I am out of my element.

I certainly do appreciate your point of view regarding the spiced flavored beverage. My pallet is ever so steadily moving toward a more purist point of view.
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Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:26 pm

Yes, I would continue to say that rain water can reduce ferment times and or get the ferment closer to a lower FG. I assume rain water is really really well aerated too. Very helpful before the yeasty beasties go anerobic.
Actually the rainwater harvesting systems used commercially take steps to minimize aeration during transport and storage in the cisterns, with the notion of protecting purity. But if you do have some citations otherwise, would love to see them. The current trends in rogue rum are really pretty sad.

As more and more (artificially) created spiced and flavored rums take over the shelves, as long as truly pure rums are not identified and promoted (and grow ever fewer in number), rum doesn't stand a chance to become "noble". The current state of affairs is that few afficianados recognize the basic styles of rum, nor can they identify a typical rum profile. There are few books written about rum, and there is not even a rum tasting wheel.

Compare to fine wine, single malt whisky or even bourbon. I honestly believe that this and other free and independent, non-commercial websites have a duty to promote honesty and purity in product "rum". But I digress. At The Rum Project, Sue Sea and I appreciate the Cruzan Single Barrel and the sadly discontinued Cruzan Estate Diamond - a terrific pure and young rum (that I used to call Mount Gay XO Light).
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Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:27 am

Capn Jimbo wrote:Actually the rainwater harvesting systems used commercially take steps to minimize aeration during transport and storage in the cisterns, with the notion of protecting purity
Yes and I can see why they would prefer to minimize the likelyhood of their precious (and top secret no doubt) yeasty beasties having to compete within the same space as another unwanted carbon based competitor. No need for unwanted esters. Specially when production cycles (thats code for: profit margine) and profile consistantcy are to be maintained.

Unfortunatly, any findings that I may be privy to are strictly anecdotal.

None the less,,, yeasts will perform better with a well aerated wash..........and a drop of nitrogen.

Been to your site....Nice work. Love your word smithing.

Cheers
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