A rum named Punk Croc that is made on the Isle of Man and has a Spider-Verse-y label? If I wrote reviews based on style alone then this bottling would already be winning – but what’s the fun in that? After all I need some rum in my glass… in the name of research, of course!
The Outlier Distilling Company is a small distillery on the Isle of Man (in the middle of the Irish Sea) ran by Rick Dacey and Ian Warborn-Jones, two very approachable and fun fellas. I’m already pretty familiar with their continuous releases – I have previously reviewed and praised their Hurricane Overproof offering.
It looks like I’m not the only one who enjoys their rum, Dave Marsland, the owner of the Manchester Rum Festival, is also a fan of their juice and has visited the distillery on multiple occasions. He likes it so much he offered them the opportunity to make this year’s Manchester Rum Festival (MRF) rum bottling and, to quote the guys, they “bit his hand off”. And so they made Punk Croc, a limited edition blend with only 200 bottles available. It premiered at the MRF 2023 and now it’s available to buy from their website, although I don’t think it will last long.
About the blend, this is mostly their unaged distillate (basically their Hoolie expression) with only 2% of the blend being aged in a collection of casks. The 2% component it’s a blend of three rums in itself – a 1 year old aged in virgin American oak barrels, a 2 year old aged in former Sauternes barrels and a 3 year old aged in an Ardbeg cask. So this is basically an unaged rum with a dash of various wood flavours – they use a similar format for the Hurricane Overproof, just without the Sauternes component.
Punk Croc is molasses based, pot still distilled with 98% of the blend being unaged and 2% aged between 1 and 3 years in former Sauternes barrels, ex-Scotch cask, and virgin American oak. Bottled at 43% ABV without any additives.
On the nose it smells quite fruity. Apricots, white grapes, mulberries and ripe pears. Vine leaves in brine, cardamom and toffee. It does remind me their Hurricane, but more rounded and layered. Feijoa, blueberries and aromatised wine. Some green olives as well.
On the palate it’s very aromatic. Guavas, apricots, black olives and blackberries. Ripe pineapple, white wine and dried figs. It has a medicinal mezcal-ish layer to it alongside an oily mouthfeel. Grapefruit zest, yellow apples, cardamom and mothballs. A hint of liquorice as well. The finish is medium to long with apricots and aromatised wine.
I’ve recently done an event for Outlier where people got to try all 3 of their rums and everyone, experienced or inexperienced drinkers, could taste how different they are even if on paper they seem very similar. It’s so interesting to see how just practically a dash of aged components can alter the profile of an unaged rum. While this is not groundbreaking practice, this is the clearest example of how cane spirits that are made with the same base can taste different and more complex with just 2-3% of matured distillates added.
To compare it to the Hurricane, while they are wildly different ABVs, the Punk Croc has a very noticeable oily mouthfeel and more rounded flavours going on, even at just 43% strength. This is one of the most unique rums I tried, it has very particular aromas and plenty of body – Outlier is really getting me to want to visit the Isle of Man.
The Punk Croc is priced at £40 on the Outlier website which is more than fair, so I do recommend you get one before the stock is gone, especially if you enjoy a good Daiquiri! Personally I’m really excited to try it in a variety of cocktails.
Punk Croc – MCR Rum Festival Blend score:
Value for money: 15/15