Review: Retribution Spiced Rum

Reitrbution Distilling Co is a company from Frome, Somerset, UK which started off as a brewing side-project and turned into a spirits producing company. They make pretty much anything, from gin to new make spirit soon-to-be-whisky and of course, rum.

I did review their unaged expression and I have to say I was very much impressed – I enjoyed it so much that I actually subscribed for their Cask 001 Rum Club. That’s basically a pre-order for a bottle of aged rum from their very first cask filled which I’ll get as soon as it reaches 2 years of maturation. It also provided me with some still strength unaged rum and cask strength 1 year old rum samples – I will use this opportunity to have a look at them as well and write down some bonus tasting notes.

But first the spiced rum! Retribution Spiced uses their unaged rum as a base which is infused with 4 different ingredients: orange peels, cinnamon, allspice berries and vanilla. To this they also add “a dash of cane sugar and natural caramel” – according to their website. On paper it looks like a pretty simple and straightforward for a spiced rum, pretty much a “Christmas in a bottle” as they describe it.

Retribution Spiced Rum is molasses based, pot still distilled and infused with 4 spices. Bottled at 40% ABV with sugar and caramel added.

On the nose it smells like… well, Christmas in a glass. Cinnamon, Oreos, maple syrup and cloves. Burnt orange zest, cayenne pepper and caramel. Yea, it feels like a standard spiced rum, but more layered. Cocoa ice cream, pink pepper and nutmeg.

On the palate it tastes like… Christmas in my mouth. Cinnamon, allspice, pink pepper and a touch of Solero ice cream. Cocoa filled biscuits and butterscotch. I enjoy the lack of cloying sweetness on this one – happens a lot with flavoured rums. It has a touch of hot spice going for it. Maple syrup and triple sec. The finish is long with Christmas spices and marmalade.

This is a good spiced rum, it has a classic warm spices profile and none of them is overpowering – I can barely feel any vanilla which is always a plus for me. Also the sweetness is pretty minimal – I would happily mix this with cola or ginger beer.

Can be bought for £36 (Master of Malt) which isn’t the cheapest for a flavoured rum, but it’s the same price as their unaged rum which is the base of this and it makes sense.

Retribution Still Strength Rum Sample

This is just their white rum that hasn’t been watered down.

Molasses based, pot still distilled and presented at still strength, so 79% ABV, without any additions.

On the nose it doesn’t feel as intense as I would expect. Raffaello pralines, freshly printed ink and almonds. White chocolate, white pepper and corriander. It smells pretty much the same as the unaged 40% ABV. Whole milk and vanilla.

On the palate is where the intensity of the ABV kicks in. Coconut milk, cappuccino and a hint of salted caramel. Toffee, juniper, white pepper and whipped cream. Once again, very similar tasting notes with their standard unaged, but dialled to 11. Cold hot chocolate and just a little touch of wasabi. The finish is long with toffee and some herbaceous layers.

It’s the first time I properly sat down with a still strength unaged English rum and I’m not regretting it. Its profile is not far from their Retribution White Rum, but that can’t be surprising. It’s just a lot more intense and I enjoyed every bit of it.

Retribution Cask 001 Rum Club Sample

This is a sample from their first rum cask laid down, also presented without any dilution.

Molasses based, pot still distilled, aged for 1 year in an ex-Bourbon barrel and bottled at cask strength, so 71.4% ABV, without any additions.

On the nose it seems considerable sweeter. Toffifee and Raffaello sweets, milk chocolate with peanuts and black pepper. Whipped cream, raw cacao nibs and smoked almonds. It has a slight Highland Scotch vibe to it. Toasted biscuits, banana foams and nutmeg. A touch of burnt lemon zest as well.

On the palate the Scotch aromas are coming back. Burnt biscuits, toffee, black pepper and banana foams. Coconut cream, toasted nuts and vanilla. The profile is a combination of sweet toffee notes and smokey, burnt oak. Wood spices and a touch of blackberries. The finish is long with toffee and smoke.

It has a lot of potential, but it definitely needs more time in oak – the flavours are not well integrated and it needs a bit more complexity. That being said I can see it becoming really good in the future.

Retribution Spiced Rum score:
Flavour/taste: 46/70
Value for money: 13/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 71/100


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