The Kraken has been Released: Three Reviews

On January 16, 2010, in Things Octopod, by CaptRR

Clash of the Titans:  The 1981 fantasy adventure based on the Greek myth of Perseus has been remade and will be released on March 26, 2010. The movie features Perseus’s quest to defeat the Kraken, the gargantuan octopus-like sea monster.

Enter the Kraken

Monkey Fist of Casco Bay Boaters and editor of gCapatin’s Maritime Monday, introduced me to “The Kraken” art work this past fall.  The parent company has gone to great lengths to (with an excellent campaign) to market this new product.  Because of the Octopus logo I went on a search for the product and found the closest place it was available was California.

Tim Flanagan of Navagear and Puget Sound Maritime also received a bottle; his review is below.  Longtime online bud and sailor Maya Cohen, of Portland Maine has also released the beast.

Maya Cohen’s review:

Maya Cohen

Color: Dark amber

Aroma: Heavy chocolate up front

Taste: dark chocolate notes on the front, smooth finish, light. Surprisingly, this rum has very subtle and soft molasses notes.

I tasted my Kraken, in a double highball glass with a few rocks. Initially, I was very surprised at the heavy dark chocolate notes of this rum of which were not unpleasant. Once the rum had a few minutes to breathe, the chocolate notes became more subtle and overall the rum became much smoother and light tasting.

I also tried the rum with a twist of Meyer Lemon and 2 shaves of nutmeg. The lemon did not overpower the rum, nor the nutmeg, but added a little acid to balance some of the sweetness.

I would certainly continue drinking this rum although I would not use it as a mixer (Rum and tonics, Rum and coke, Pain Killers) as I enjoy it simply – on the rocks.

The cost of this rum in Maine is not exorbitant at only 20 dollars for 750ml.

Tim Flanagan’s review:

Timothy Russell Rudden Flanagan

First, a confession: I have a sweet tooth. This is important for readers to know, because I almost always drink rum with a mixer; usually a carbonated one. Sure, rum and cola is a “kid’s drink”, but I like it. My default drink when cocktails are ordered is rum and tonic. If I feel like something lighter, it’s rum and soda.

Second, my favorite rums, up to this point, have been Mount Gay (a consistent medium-light rum that goes with everything), Sailor Jerry’s (my favorite spiced rum), and Cruzan Blackstrap (very dark, very smokey, which I discovered thanks to Captain Rodriguez). Mount Gay and Sailor Jerry are both excellent with tonic water, ice, and a slice of lime. Cruzan Blackstrap’s rich, smokey flavor mixes extremely well with cola; particularly higher-quality, sugar-sweetened (not high-fructose corn syrup) cola, if you can find it.

So with all that as background, what about The Kraken? I have just completed a head-to-head tasting session comparing Mount Gay, Cruzan Blackstrap, and the Kraken. I’m out of Sailor Jerry’s at the moment. For mixers, I used run-of-the-mill HFCS-sweetened cola and tonic. Forgive me if my typing goes astray; I don’t usually have this much to drink at 10:00 in the morning!

Kraken, straight up: I seldom sip rum the way I would single-malt Scotch, but Kraken is a very pleasant sipping rum. Mount Gay, by comparison, is fine, but unexceptional. Cruzan Blackstrap is also excellent, sipped. Kraken and the Blackstrap have complex flavors that continue to develop as you hold them in your mouth.

Kraken and cola: Wow! This is really great. As good as Cruzan Blackstrap and cola, but in a completely different way. The Blackstrap’s smooth smokiness combines with the cola to produce a rich, sweet flavor somewhat reminiscent of molasses. The Kraken combines in a different way, the seasonings in the rum combining with the cola to produce a rich, sweet flavor reminiscent of…high quality root beer?!? Yup! Imagine a “hard” version of exceptionally good root beer or sarsaparilla. In fact, I was inspired to mix the Kraken with root beer, and I was very impressed with the result. It may sound nuts, but give it a try: Kraken and root beer produces an aromatic combination of complementary seasonings. What a surprise that was.

Kraken and tonic: Another success. but somewhat less noteworthy. Sailor Jerry’s and tonic is my default drink after a day of running the boat. So it’s no surprise that the Kraken, another spiced rum, goes well with tonic. I wasn’t sure it would, however, because it’s such a dark rum. Cruzan Blackstrap and tonic is, in my opinion, undrinkable; I’ve actually dumped out a glass to start fresh, it was so bad. The rum’s smokey flavor and the quinine in the tonic clash terribly, somehow. But the Kraken mixes pretty well with the tonic. Given a bottle of tonic water, a lime, and a choice between the Kraken and Sailor Jerry’s or Mount Gay, it would be a toss-up, depending on my mood at the moment; crisp and clear (Mount Gay), crisp and spicey (Sailor Jerry’s), or thick and rich (Kraken).

The conclusion: I like the Kraken a lot, but not enough to replace any of my other three favorites. I’ll enthusiastically add it to my repertoire, but it’s so different from any of the others that it deserves its own spot in the liquor compartment.

My review:

Richard Rodriguez

OK – I’m a bit Otopod obsessed and was intrigued with the bottle.  FaceBook friends Lynne Watanabe and Casey Cox of Krill Systems (Vessel Systems Monitoring) picked up a bottle of “The Kraken,” in San Francisco a few weeks ago.  Casey was kind enough to make the pass off in Burlingon on Tuesday.

For sometime Trish and I have been aficionados of dark rum: Lambs Navy Rum (available in Canada) and more recently Cruzan Blackstrap Rum. First, we prefer our dark rum on the rocks, with out a mixer.  We keep it in the freezer.

A hint of chocolate and well round nutty flavor surprised my pallet. A bit sweeter than I anticipated, the 94 proof Kraken does not sting as it is savored.   Allowing the rum to breathe for a few minutes enhances the flavor.  We actually prefer The Kraken served sans ice, as it brings out the subtle flavors a bit more.

I have found my new poison of choice.

More on The Kraken can be found here.


6 Responses to “The Kraken has been Released: Three Reviews”

  1. CaptRR says:

    Email from a former student:

    If I had known you were a rum drinker, I would have confided in you that we’ve been drinking “rum-manhattans” for about 30 years; a bartender at the City Hotel in the historic gold rush town and state park of Columbia, CA introduced us to them.

    Either 2, 2-1/2 or 3 parts light-bodied (not necessarily light-colored) rum to 1 part sweet (red) vermouth, dash of Angostura Bitters and a maraschino cherry. Can be served either on-the-rocks or “up;” we usually order “up” when at a restaurant as the drink then comes in a large manhattan glass, which occassionally draws some attention.

    Obviously, Bacardi or Ronrico are fine, but the secondary light rums work extremely well — Ron Castillo for example, or some of the house brands at major supermarkets and drug stores, in states where liquor is reasonably priced (this does not include Washington). Obviously in Washington State, if you have to pay $22.60 for a 1.75L of “Old Panther Piss,” you might as well spend $2.00 more and buy Ronrico.

    For vermouth we use Gallo red; the other major brands are too sweet, although there is one from California with a slightly smoky taste which is very good, and about the same price as Gallo

  2. JDavidson says:

    So many Rums, so little time…

    Thanks for the reviews, I know it must have been exhausting work. So, how do we get it here in WA Richard?

    • CaptRR says:

      Sorry John, It’s not available here. Friends brought it from San Francisco. You can get it online for about $35 including shipping.

  3. Bruce says:

    Appreciate the three perspectives, and can’t wait to find some. Hopefully they’ll distribute in WA soon. Saw some in Kauai last week, and they don’t distribute there yet, either. An enterprising bar manager had special ordered.

    Another rum to put on your collective watch lists: Ron Anejo Aniversario Pampero from Venezuela (comes in a hand-laced suede bag) – sipping, rocks, tonic, or with grapefruit juice at brunch (or on the beach).

  4. CaptRR says:

    Coverage of this review: via: The Rum Connection

  5. M. Dacey says:

    You people haven’t mentioned Gosling’s Black Seal rum…a terrible omission. But this Kraken sounds interesting, although with a name like that, I’d fear waking up in Davy Jones’s Locker.

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