There once was a time, in glorious pirate days, when men - real men, knew and viscerally understood the power and the grandeur that lay within the demon Rum.
Then, for a long pretentious spell, as Vodka was groomed by ad-agency marketing wonks to rule the roost, Rum was seemingly demoted to being the little brother of every other type of hard liquor. Suddenly mediocre vodka was being hyped to yuppies as the most refined, tasteful, and exquisite means of damaging one's cellular structure. This was mostly because they were packaged in bottles that looked like NYC hair salon products, contained Faberge-egg-like peek-through windows, and/or were named after famous artists and composers.
And yet, I'd bet the farm that most of those punters couldn't tell bottom-shelf from top-shelf vodka in a blind taste test. Despite all the exaggerated gravitas we give high-falutin' vodka (I do it too), there's no getting around its inherent lack of flavor. Like Pure Grain, vodka is really just a means to get you where you wanna go, no matter what crap you mix it with.
Not so with Rum. The flavor palette of Rum is wide-ranging and varied, and so is its buzz factor. In recent months I've come to realize that the ultimate Rum walks among us and its name is 10 Cane. It's such a powerhouse and cosmic juggernaut, Jack Kirby should have drawn it. It packs such a clean but intense wallop that I frequently switch it out for my beloved Cachaca in caipirinhas at home. Now THAT's some serious Rum.
What 10 Cane and Cachaca have in common is that they're both pure-cane concoctions, as opposed to the nasty molasses-based formula of many a common man's Rum.
Oh yeah, it's expensive as hell. But hey, so is vodka packaged in a faux antique Swedish medicine bottle. I think I'm worth it though.
- - JSH