Neptune, whose name draws its inspiration from the Roman God of the seas rather than the celestial object, was established in 2017 in Cheltenham, UK. Their first product was Neptune Rum Barbados Gold which is distilled in Barbados at the Foursquare Distillery and bottled in the UK. This blend of 3, 5 and 8 year old Barbadian rums was received quite well as an entry level versatile rum, especially as their ethos is to use just natural ingredients, without sugar of chemicals.
Worth mentioning that Neptune created the Guardians of the Ocean fund in order to aid to the effort to fight plastic pollution in waters. You can read more about this on their website.
Recently this month (November) Neptune launched a spiced version, the Neptune Rum Caribbean Spiced, something I knew it was on the way for a while. While I prefer my rums unflavoured, the launch of a spiced rum in the current climate it’s understandable given that the rum sales are driven by the spiced/flavoured category. And the fact that Neptune Spiced uses natural ingredients and has no sugar added peaks my interest.
The spices used according to their website are papaya, damiana, vanilla and cinnamon. I did a quick search on damiana as I never heard of it and here’s what I found out:
- it’s also known as Turnera diffusa and it’s a shrub native to subtropical climates.
- while it has many properties are attributed to it, a notable one is that it’s said to be an aphrodisiac – I mean why not…
- apparently in high doses can cause hallucinations – doubt I could consume enough Neptune Spiced to get that effect going before the alcohol does a decent number on me.
The base is molasses based Caribbean rums (mostly Barbadian) pot and column still distilled and aged for at least 3 years in ex-Bourbon casks. The rum is then infused, as mentioned earlier, with papaya, damiana, vanilla and cinnamon for an unspecified amount of time and bottled at 37.5% ABV (sad face) without any sugar added (smiley face).
On the nose the vanilla and cinnamon are predominant. Bubblegum, canned mango, candied banana and pineapple juice. Fanta Orange, green tea, maple syrup and a hint of smoked bacon. I know it doesn’t have sugar added but the vanilla makes it smell quite sweet.
On the palate the vanilla is again prominent. Melon, mango, candied banana and bright pear. The cinnamon gives it a nice woodiness and a pleasant touch of spice. The vanilla is present throughout the whole tasting experience. Blood orange, biscuits and cola. The finish is short with vanilla and tropical fruits.
It definitely has its own DNA and a lot of potential, but the vanilla is a bit too intense here overpowering the other ingredients and driving it more into the “commercial spiced rum” slot. Also I’ll always express disappointment in any spirit under 40% ABV.
That being said Neptune Spiced is still one of the better spiced rums out there and it makes a very decent rum and coke. It will definitely appeal to the flavoured rum drinkers as long as they don’t expect a sugar bomb. Priced at £30 I find it a bit overpriced, but given they went the natural-no-chemicals way makes up for it.
Neptune Rum Caribbean Spiced score:
Value for money: 14/15