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Cockspur Rum

Cockspur Fine Rum


By Robert Plotkin

The Bajan people are justifiably proud of their indigenous spirits. The truth is that the island of Barbados—measuring all of 14 miles wide by 21 miles long—is a picture perfect place to cultivate sugar cane and distill rum. The climate is temperate and the air is invariably laden with humidity. Its gentling rolling terrain and porous, mineral-rich soil are tailor-made for agriculture and the island's water comes from deep underground aquifers.

One of the most renowned distillers on Barbados and all of the Caribbean is the West Indies Rum Distillery. Located in Spring Garden just north of Bridgetown, the distillery sits atop a coral filtered spring, which ensures an endless supply of pure spring water. Since 1884, the firm's flagship brand has been inimitable Cockspur Fine Rum.

The historic beachfront distillery makes Cockspur with sugar cane molasses. A proprietary molasses-cultured yeast is used to precipitate fermentation, a slow process that requires about 48 hours. The distillery is equipped with both alembic stills and a sophisticated four-column continuous still. As a result, it produces both light-bodied rums, as well as fuller-bodied, pot still spirits.

The rums are aged in modified American oak bourbon barrels, the staves of which are scraped by hand to remove the charred wood from the inside surface. After having reached optimum maturation, both light-bodied and full-bodied rums of varying ages are combined to make the famed Cockspur blends. They are bottled at 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof).

The best known of the range is Cockspur Fine Rum, a marvelous spirit with a remarkably modest price tag. The rum has a shimmery golden/amber hue, a satiny medium-weight body and a generous bouquet of caramel, dried fruit, cinnamon and vanilla. Upon entry, the rum fills the mouth with warmth and the flavors of marshmallows, spice and candied ginger. The lingering finish is semisweet, slightly spicy and thoroughly enjoyable. It's ideally suited for drink making.

Cockspur 12 Bajan Crafted Rum is the company's luxury marque, which is quite a fitting description of the rum. Its blend is comprised of the oldest barrel-aged rums kept in the distillery's extensive reserves. The rum has a deep copper/amber appearance and a greenish tint around the edges derived from extended aging. The bouquet fills the glass with an alluring offering of spice, caramelized molasses, dried fruit and honey. On the palate, the rum presents an array of warm, toasty flavors that slowly build in intensity before gracefully tapering off into a sublime spicy, oaky finish with cocoa and caramel notes.

To best appreciate this delectable Bajan rum, sip it neat or on the rocks before featuring it in a cocktail. It's a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Salud!