Review: Kilo Kai Spiced Rum

Review: Kilo Kai Spiced Rum

kilo kai

When it comes to spiced rum, most people (including myself) pretty much know one brand: Good old Captain Morgan. Nothing wrong with that. The Cap’n takes boring old Bacardi and infuses it with a vague taste of the tropics and the nostalgia of, er, spice traders, pirates, and saucy wenches.

The problem is that Captain Morgan is hardly the top of the line. Dump a shot in a glass of Coke and it’s fine enough, but try it straight and it comes across as a middling rum with a harsh finish and no real distinguishable spice to it, just a vague, almost chemical heat. (I give it a B. At $14 a bottle it’s a decent deal.)

Enter Kilo Kai Spiced Rum, a brand new bottling from Curacao and spiced the way rum ought to be. I tried it straight, head to head with the good Captain and another spiced rum called Kuya. (Don’t bother looking for Kuya; it’s so undrinkably awful I give it an F.) The difference was quite noticeable. While the Captain Morgan rum was hot and harsh, the Kilo Kai was much smoother, with a creamy texture and a clear flavor of honey and cinnamon. That said, the Captain Morgan tastes a lot more clearly of rum, while the Kilo Kai could have had a based of almost anything. Breathe in and it’s the spice that you inhale, not the sugary rum.

It was also quite good mixed with Coke, and I’ll be working on some cocktails with it over the next few weeks. Watch for these! Oh, and the bottle is pretty cool, too. The rough “grip tape” wrap at the top of the bottle is especially memorable.

Kilo Kai is not yet available in stores. Watch for it soon; it’s definitely worth the price.

70 proof.

A / $20 / 

Kilo Kai Spiced Rum




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. KILO KIA junky on January 22, 2009 at 8:36 am

    i never messed with liqueur till i tried morgan ewwwwwww. then went to Kilo Kai and wow wow wow i drink a bottle a week.

  2. karen on January 29, 2009 at 6:52 am

    i have to tell ev1 this is the best thing i have ever drank i am a die hard captain morgan person. I tried this kilo kai few weeks ago and i am going crazy from not having it. I have not tried it with coke i drank it with carnberry juice it is to die for and can not wait for it to come to stores.

  3. cj on March 9, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Karen- where did you try it? Haven’t seen it anywhere. Better than the Captain??

  4. cj on March 9, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    If anyone can tell me where to get a bottle in Chicago, let us all know!

  5. dave collins on May 24, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    i found it at loves liquer in algonquin. its kinda close to chi i geuss? haha. about 45 min away. its good tho. very.

  6. Lisa on July 1, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    this mixes great with DR.Pepper! Its a great rum

  7. Jennifer Holsinger on November 14, 2009 at 12:31 am

    I really love Kilo Kai, I think it teats like Vanilla Coke when mixed in with coke and I love the fact that I can get it at one restaurant in Elk Rapids called PEARLS New Orleans Kitchen and I stared ordering it at the local party store here so they have at least one or two bottles a month!! I love just knowing I can go buy it when I want it!!! It ends up being like 22 something after taxes!! But worth ever penny!!!!! I F***IN LOVE KILO KAI!!!! ^_^

  8. Chris on January 21, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    This has become my go to spiced rum and pretty much all I drink. I don’t even bother with captain or sailor jerry now. I think it’s the best spiced rum on the market (although I haven’t tried Kracken yet). Mixes very well with cranberry or coke, but I love it straight with a few cubes of ice. Very smooth and flavorful.

  9. Lynn on March 7, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I am from Germany and i drank kilo kai rum in the us. it’s amazing, the best rum i know. does anybody know if there is a possibility to get kilo kai rum in germany? thank you.

  10. Jon on March 7, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    We finally got Kilo Kai here in FL and I must say I am impressed. I have never liked Captaini Morgan too much, although Sailor Jerry is good. The problem with Sailor Jerry is that it’s a bit astringent (92 proof will do that to you) so drinking it straight up is iffy. Enter Kilo Kai. This rum is above all else smooth. It goes down very easy. I had five friends try it this past weekend and they all liked it to varying degrees, including the pickiest of them all. Most characterized it as extremely smooth with some degree of cherry flavor. The worst comparison was to cough syrup, but everyone said they enjoyed it. Personally I think it has a great aroma and just-sweet-enough flavor. I’ve been drinking it neat from the freezer but I imagine it would mix up well. But with such a great smooth character and aroma I haven’t felt the need to adulterate it. If you enjoy spiced rum, I highly recommend you try this if it’s available in your area.

  11. Nikki on April 2, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    I disagree with all these reviews. I can only drink Captain Morgan and have a hard time drinking anything else. When Kilo Kai came out I gave it a try…I mixed it with coke, sprite, drank it on the rocks, and had a shot of it. I didn’t like it either way!!!! To me it is like drinking syrup. I find it is not a rum you can go out to the bars and drink a lot of. The worst part is that this company has actually had to pay bars to take Captain Morgan off their shelves and only sell Kilo Kai. To me this is absolutely ridiculous. Let people choose the kind of rum they want to drink. I have no problem with this rum being available in bars but they should not be paying bars to get rid of Captain Morgan. I have been to multiple bars now in Chicago and have not been able to have my normal Captain and diet…which doesn’t give me many other options of what to drink since most other liquors don’t agree with me. It also makes me never want to go to these bars again…..

  12. J. Lindsey on May 27, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Glad to see this stuff is making its rounds away from the West Coast. I picked up a bottle last August in California and sadly I’m down to my last few drops. I’ve converted many friends who started out as “I’m not really a rum drinker,” to which I happily replied “You just haven’t had good rum yet,” while pouring them a shot of this. Unbeatable at the price point.

  13. Rumrunner on May 30, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    You can get this at any Binny’s in Chicago

  14. bob on June 23, 2010 at 9:19 am

    yes i tried kilo awhile back when i couldnt get any captainsmorgans private reserve.the 1.75 litre of captains is 32.00 the kilo was 22.oo and i feel the kilo is better.not only smoother but just spiced different.not as hot either and not to sweet.the sales staff suggested it ,and they were right .

  15. Sveta on June 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    This is my second time bringing this rum to my family in Ukraine….OMG! We all have no. Words to explane the joy of having Kilo…. I am from Chicago, and in May of 2012 is not that easy to find this product in stores… It is the best rum I have ever have!

  16. sd on October 7, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I’m a rum drinker. I’ve tried many different types from barcardi to sailor jerrys. I like the capatin and been drinking the black. one of my favorite rums is Kreken but its a little strong for most. Kilo has turned the tables and is now by far my favorite rum. I had it once and went back to buy more could only find 1 bottle left. sucks cuz i was going to buy a case to store in the basement.

  17. sc'Que? on February 26, 2013 at 2:48 am

    Great rum! (@Nikki: Have you ever considered that large companies/distributors–like Capt.Morgan and their kin–take this sort of tactic all the time? It bugs the hell out of me that the only spiced rum my customers will even consider is Capt.Morgan… out of some strange brand-loyalty. They won’t even taste other products! Honestly, if Kilo were mine in a bribery-driven market, I might resort to the same thing, just to get people to try it!) Newsflash 2013: THERE’S NEW PACKAGING–clear bottle with a simple stuck-on label, NO MORE GRIP TAPE. When asked, they said it was to streamline the bottling process to allow the distiller to bottle on-site using bottles manufactured on Curacao Island. (Great idea, I said. But how about using brown shrink-wrap labeling and keeping the grip-tape?) Anyway, doesn’t matter too much, so long as the quality of the rum remains!

  18. Roman on October 6, 2020 at 7:41 am

    Fantastic spiced rum! I’ve tried many other brands. This is very smooth straight and the taste is like no other. I’ve been drinking Kilo Kai for about ten years. A friend likes to buy expensive aged rums. We did a taste test the other night with a few people and we all agreed Kilo kai for the money can’t be beat! I like to drink Kilo with a little ice and a splash of berry La Croix!

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