Let’s get this out of the way first, before we go any further. If you have stumbled upon this review from a search engine result you need to be aware that whilst this is a rum blog, it’s one focused towards actual rum (generally higher end stuff that is made to be drunk neat and appreciated) and not your Sailor Jerry or Kraken, but there times when I review other stuff and I’ve reviewed several other “spiced rums” before. Just bear that in mind when you are reading this review and if Kraken is your thing, that’s fine, you just need to know the direction I’m coming at this from.
I happened upon this in my local Aldi, and it “accidentally” fell into my trolley. Being autistic I am quite literally the least impulsive person you’ll meet, my purchases are planned well in advance and meet certain criteria (mainly not duplicating regions or styles in the same order and ensuring that mixes of prices match to the budget I allow myself each month, for example) – all very boring and anal. For some reason I saw this and thought I’d give it a go, and I have no idea why. Imagine my surprise when I searched online for it and discovered it’s won a Gold Medal at some awards thing (The Spirits Business Rum and Cachaca Masters 2019), result I thought! I’ve scored a beaut here. Well you have to remember that companies have to specifically enter these awards and that the panel can only score what has been put in front of them, so they are far, far, from definitive awards. They also give out medals like a primary school sports day; everyone gets one for taking part……so let’s ignore that shall we.
So, The Olde Sea Dog Black Spiced (rum?)…..
What is it? It’s an Aldi own brand drink and it’s not a rum. There. Done. Credit to Aldi where it’s due, they have not labelled this as a rum either; it’s been labelled as a Spirit Drink, “A premium black spiced rum based spirit drink” to be more specific, so at least they are not trying to pass it off as something it’s not, unlike some other more well known producers….it seems to be based on their Old Hopking Rum brand.
The bottle says “Limited Release” – no details on how limited, but it’s April 2019 and I’ve seen it in the shops since the start of December 2018. It says “Premium Quality”, which just means it’s either got better ingredients in it, or is just more expensive than their “Standard” offering – want some good views on the word “Premium” when it comes to rum, read this from Wes at The Fat Rum Pirate: Premium Rum The Impossible Task? Part 3.
So we’ll go with molasses based rum, from somewhere, from some type of still and most likely not aged. Added flavourings and sugar.
Coloured, chill filtered and bottled at a respectable 40% abv, for a spirit drink.
Sugar? Why did I even ask. Yes. I’ve dipped my hydrometer in this and it’s around 50g/l sugar showing, but as it’s got other stuff added this reading my not be very accurate. Let’s just go with, lots.
Nose: Vanilla, masses of the stuff, muscavado sugar, molasses, cloves and milky coffee. There is some lime in here too but it’s like a lime cream or lime butter, and some vanilla. Tinned pineapples, chocolate oranges, some vanilla and a touch of coconut. And some vanilla. Can’t smell any rum in this I’m afraid, just flavourings.
Palate: Very sweet, but actually not that sticky and cloying, more of a medium mouth feel, which is surprising – and quite welcome. Vanilla, limes, rum and raisin ice-cream, fudge, vanilla and some limes. There is some soft brown sugar again, sweet black coffee, some more vanilla and a little bit of coconutty lime. Almost no heat whatsoever (caveat: when you drink full proof spirits a lot, like I do, pretty much anything at 40% tastes like water anyway!), but this has literally, no heat from the alcohol at all.
Finish: Short. Sweet. Gone. Faintest bite from the booze just to remind you that it’s young spirit, and a little bit bitter.
Thoughts? To be fair I’ll do this in 2 parts, firstly as a spiced rum based spirit drink (or general beverage) and secondly as a rum (don’t laugh). If you’re looking at this as a casual drinker of spiced rums, read Part 1, and I apologise for Part 2. If you’re looking at this as a real rum enthusiast, then you’re reading the wrong thing! (Sorry about this!) – Part 2 is for you.
Part 1. As a “drink”: Yum. Lovely tasting, sweet, easy and good value for money. You can mix it with coke, lemonade, coffee, other spirits, fruit juice and it’ll give you a really nice long drink with lots of ice. Great for summer. You could put it in a punch, or mulled wine, or hot toddy and it’d be great for winter. You can sip it neat with ice (or not) and it’d make a nice tasty way to get alcohol into you. There is virtually no alcoholic taste and it’s not spiced too strongly, unlike some “spiced” rums, I’m looking at you Rumbullion. Is it a good spiced rum/spirit drink thing? Yes. Is it worth £16.99? Yes. Is it better than other spiced rums that are out there? On the whole, yes. In my opinion it’s better than Sailor Jerry Spiced, it’s better than Captain Morgan Spiced, it’s better than Kraken and it’s better than Rumbullion. If that’s the sort of thing you like then get a bottle of this, it’s cheaper and better than most out there.
Part 2. As a Rum: Utter shite. Rum based my arse. You’d get the exact same thing if you swapped rum for vodka. It’s basically a 40% abv alcopop. I literally don’t know what I was thinking when I bought this – what part of my brain read the labels and thought “What could possibly go wrong here, sounds good”, I bought it knowing what it was so I’ve only got myself to blame. These things happen to us all, I guess it helps us realise what else you’ve got on the shelf. I got a bottle of Havana Club 7 anos for £19 last year and that’s a proper rum, if you want a real spiced rum then up your budget and grab a bottle of Bristol Black Spiced. I want my £16.99 back.
…..still, I’m going to drink it, because I’ve bought it and I’m tight. I’ll just have it after a spicy meal, or if I have a cold or something.
Thank god someone who actually knows rum. I thought I was in the twighlight zone after leaving a very similar review on the Lidl or possibly Aldi website amidst masses of reviews giving 5 stars.
I will disagree with you on it being better than Morgan’s spiced lol. If you’re saving the good stuff and having a barbecue with friends and want something cheap I would personally much rather have a bottle of Morgan’s or kraken for my money.
No way in the world Seadog competes with a bottle of actual premium rum.
I am relieved that one of your other reviews regarding the Crossbones premium dark is better as someone got me a bottle for Christmas and I haven’t tried it yet.
Have you reviewed a rum called Burning Barn yet?
Hi Dan. I’ve not tried Burning Barn yet, spiced rum isn’t really my “go to” although the Smoked Rum does sound interesting and is one I’ll probably be trying. The Crossbones Dark Rum is actually very good for it’s price point, you still need to bear in mind it’s an Aldi blend so it’s not going to compete with stuff from Foursquare or distillery official bottlings from Jamaica, but I was very pleasantly surprised when I sat down with it for a review. Hopefully you’ll find it decent enough too!
These concoctions are what they are. At they don’t pretend to be pure spirit made to exacting standards – unlike a lot of South American rums which are also flavoured, sugared and otherwise doctored but never admit to it, and even have the cheek to make up spurious age ratings….and some are considered “premium” rums into the bargain.
So taking all that into account, it all comes down to what really matters: do you like the taste of it and are you being ripped off. Well, you’re definitely not being ripped off at the current price of £14.99 and no claims made, so that’s OK. Does it taste nice? Well yeah it does, if you’re into that sort of thing.
They also do a Treacle Old Fashioned Spirit Drink which is possibly even sweeter. It’s like a Crunchie bar with some orange flavouring. I keep a bottle in the office in case I’m in the mood.
I tried this seadog and I thought it was awesome. I went back to Aldi next day to get more and all gone. I have tried 3 other Aldi and no supply. If I could buy a carton I would. I hope they get more in stock
It tastes good cause it’s loaded with sugar and flavors essentially it’s not a real rum…. If yiu like this try a real one that tastes similar but a lot better…
Pussers gun powder proof
Or A more complex Black Tot …. note Black Tot ages nicely in the bottle longer yiu keep it the better it gets
Happy drinking 🙂