Final Grade: A-
Price: $14 (750ml)
Denizen Rum is something of a paradox. It's a Caribbean rum, but it is blended in Europe. It's an aged rum, but it is crystal clear. It's a quality rum, but it is sold at a very affordable price. One thing is no mystery, however: this rum is a winner.
Denizen begins with aged Trinidadian rum from the Angostura distillery, which is charcoal filtered to remove all color. It is then blended in the Netherlands with small amounts of 15 different pot-distilled Jamaican rums, giving it much more flavor and body than is typically found in clear rum.
And clear it is. Denizen has a bright, clean appearance, accompanied by a subtle floral, sugar cane aroma. It has a silky, medium-bodied mouthfeel -- it's immediately apparent that this rum hasn't been distilled to death. There's still a lot of character here.
The flavor is spicy and dry, only slightly sweet, with a medium-long finish. It definitely has some heat to it that reminds you you're drinking rum. You can also taste the vanilla and oak that indicate it spent some time in wood.
Denizen is certainly a rum you can sip neat, especially with a couple ice cubes to cool its fire a bit. But it really shines in cocktails. Almost any drink that calls for a white rum, from a Daiquiri to a Mojito to a Piña Colada, will be improved by the use of Denizen rum. Its versatility means you can use it virtually anywhere with good results.
Best of all, this rum won't break the bank. You can buy a bottle from DrinkUpNY for only $13. Most of the time you can't even find Bacardi for that cheap, and this rum runs circles around that better-known brand.
Currently, Denizen is only available in New York State, but hopefully they'll be getting wider distribution soon. This is a rum that's too good to pass by.
Quality Grade: B+
Value Grade: A
Final Grade: A-