Review: The Kraken Black Spiced Rum - Drinkhacker

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Review: The Kraken Black Spiced Rum

the kraken black spiced rum

This is not Captain Morgan, folks.

The Kraken, with its sea creature label and black-as-coffee liquid within, makes a striking impression on the bar and in the glass. The idea is kitschy: A drink as strong and dark as kraken (giant squid) ink, powerful enough to take him down. And, yeah, at 94 proof and laden with flavor, perhaps it is. (The label doesn’t indicate it, but the rum is distilled in Trinidad and Tobago.)

The Kraken — the rum, that is — cuts quite a profile in consumption, a truly monstrous hit of chocolate and molasses, cut with Christmas spices — cinnamon and allspice, cloves and maybe even some ginger. Vanilla is big on the finish. Overall the effect is quite impressive, and any spiced rum fan will get a big kick out of The Kraken.

Again, at 94 proof, it needs a bit of water if you’re sipping it straight, and it works just fine with your standard mixers — though last night I was bemoaning the fact that no good recipes exist using spiced rum. The price is also right.


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The Kraken Black Spiced Rum



Christopher Null

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

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  1. Edoc November 4, 2009

    What’s the provenance of Kraken rum? I visited their flash-craptastic website, and it was not friendly with Safari on Win. Couldn’t even find out where the stuff is distilled.

  2. Christopher Null November 4, 2009

    Trinidad and Tobago — just updated the post after asking them directly.

  3. Edoc November 4, 2009

    LOL. I just returned to the site to check for a response, saw the update and wondered if I somehow overlooked it in your original post. Thanks for the swift reply.

  4. Charlie November 4, 2009

    I tried looking on their website for this info, but their locator is broken. Do you (or anyone on the wubernets) know if this is available in Atlanta, GA? Since it’s a Proximo product, I’m going to assume that it’s got good availability, but you never know…

  5. Christopher Null November 4, 2009

    It’s brand new so it could take a while to work through the distribution channel.

  6. J. Lindsey November 5, 2009

    Love that bottle. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it makes its way to Mississippi. We’re not exactly rich in spiced rum, but I have Pampero and Pyrat, so I can’t complain much!

  7. Edoc November 6, 2009

    It’ll be hard to top Pampero, J. Lindsey. If you see Vizcaya on the shelf, that’s the one you’ve gotta try– it’s the new killer sipping rum on the block.

  8. greg November 10, 2009

    I emailed and asked when it is going to be in my area and got this reply:

    “While Kraken rum is only currently available in PA,VA, CA, MI & OH the product will be sold nationally after January 2010!
    Check back with us after January to find a location in your area :)”

  9. Paul November 20, 2009

    On my third bottle… Makes the best rum n cokes…

  10. Jack November 24, 2009

    There do exist good mixers: make grog! Mix 1/3 Kraken, 2/3 water, in a 2 quart pitcher, add 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and 5 limes worth of juice, and you’re good to go!

  11. Nicholas December 9, 2009

    I’ve had this bottle numerous times here in Virginia. It’s a delicious rum, the taste is that of Bacardi Select with the smell of Captain Morgan yet the taste on the palette is extremely smooth, I’ve given it to friends and family through snifters (shot glasses used to taste it) and it turns out that The Kraken is easy enough to drink straight as I have had no problems with it. Here in Va, it goes for roughly $15 a bottle and that’s a fair price for this good rum. I’ve added it to the collection of rums that I own and will continue drinking this for times to come, it’s a very decent and delicious rum, I swear by it.

  12. Elle December 19, 2009

    just wondering, can i pick it up at the ABC store in Northern VA? I have a few friends (and my husband) that are big fans of spiced rum, in particular Sailor Jerry’s. This sounded pretty good and the bottle design can’t be beat. Good Christmas gift? I saw this great post on NotCot where they were unwrapping what I assumed was the “launch” packaging- very cool stuff like Kraken teeth and a wax seal. Wish I could find that box to give for gifts this year.

  13. JDO December 23, 2009

    I’m a liquor saleman in S. Carolina and we’ll being selling this fine produce come Jan’10! Can’t wait! Heard nothing but good things. You people that already have access to this brand; how much $ does it usually cost?

  14. JDO December 23, 2009

    Wow..maybe should have proof read my message b/f submitting! Salesman and product is what I meant to type! Drinking and typing sometimes don’t mix!

  15. soundenvision December 28, 2009

    It runs just about $20 a bottle. The place down the block from me sells it for $19.95 a bottle. Yummy stuff… really smooth with a nice boozy burn at the end.

  16. Ross January 8, 2010

    Just picked up a bottle from BevMo for $21 in Bay Area. Excited to start drinking it!

  17. XullioS January 8, 2010

    Picked me up a bottle of this here in pittsburgh @ 15.99. Phenomenal price, this booze is generating a lot of buzz and after tasting it I’ll be sure to help fuel that. Can’t wait to taste test this side by side with the Appleton Reserve I also picked up.

  18. Chris January 21, 2010

    I’m a big fan of spiced rums and am always looking for a new one to try, can’t wait to find it here in FL. In the past year I’ve been drinking a lot of Kilo Kai and was wondering how they compare?

  19. The Liquor Reviewer February 7, 2010

    Chris: I much prefer Kraken to Kilo Kai – Kraken is rich, complex and eminently sippable, while Kilo Kai comes off as a little bit artificial tasting to me.

  20. grantbob February 20, 2010

    Found at Toco Giant in Atlanta this morning. I like dark rums and spiced rums and this is definitely the best marriage of the two so far. Better straight than on ice.

  21. otter February 25, 2010

    I got my first bottle last week. I live in S.E. Kansas. Kraken is the best spiced rum I’ve tried. I usually drink Pompero, Flora De Cona 12 yr., Brinley Gold Vanillia (my favorite flavored rum), Whalers Rare Dark Reserver, Whalers Vanillia (my wifes favorite flavored), Pyrat XO resever, and Cruzan Single Barrel Estate (my least favorite).

    Kraken was a really nice surpise. Cpt. Morgan and the other commerical spiced rums got nothing on Kraken. My son is in south TX. and is bringing me home a liter and a half in a couple of weeks. He got it for 24 bucks down there. I paid 22 bucks up here for a fifth. I like it straight and with coke both. It’s even pretty good with Dr. Pepper. Great stuff.

  22. CupK8 March 6, 2010

    Just found this at my local beverage store (Central IL – it’s everywhere!) and was intrigued by the bottle. So glad you reviewed it! I’m always drawn by unique bottle/label designs and have been taken in before. Now I know to give this one a try! Thanks!

  23. Scott H. March 26, 2010

    ‘Tried it last weekend and I must say it is excellent, both over ice and in what was the tastiest rum and coke I’ve ever had. I highly recommend that you pick up a bottle this weekend, channel your inner Titan, and “RELEASE THE KRAKEN !!!”

  24. Jason B March 29, 2010

    I first saw the advertisement in the Multineer Magazine and just bought my first bottle in Honolulu. The website is eerie and the timing of its national release is just in time for the new Clash of the Titans.

  25. BMILLER March 29, 2010


  26. emmalee March 31, 2010

    Hey guys! I have a great Kraken recipe that you will all love:
    The Kraken Rita
    1 oz Kraken rum
    1 oz Triple Sec or Grand Marnier
    splash of OJ
    heavy spash of sour
    mix and serve as a cocktail or as a shooter. It’s a sweet and hearty flavor.

    Kraken Skulls
    1 oz Kraken Rum
    1 oz Grand Marnier

    1 oz Crystal Head vodka (thus the “skull” of the name – since the Crystal Head bottle is skull shaped)
    splash of simple syrup
    splash of sweetened lime juice
    mix with cranberry and pineapple
    sink in grenadine
    serve as shooter, iced cocktail or even martini

    I am working on more recipes. I hope you all enjoy these!!

  27. James April 1, 2010

    I am a Liquor rep in Michigan. We launched The Kraken here last year in September. It was a really fun brand to sell and build. As always Proximo treated us great! Thank you to all Michigander’s whom have purchased The Kraken.

  28. Jason B April 4, 2010

    Here’s a tropical favorite with a new twist:
    Kraken Mama
    1/4 oz Coffee Liquor
    1/2 oz Captain Morgen Spiced Rum
    1/2 oz Cream of Coconut
    1/4 oz Kraken Rum
    1 oz Lemon Juice
    4 oz Pineapple Juice
    Garnish with a cherry and straw on the rocks.

  29. Banzai April 5, 2010

    I work in a wine & spirits department and have had The Kraken as a personal recommendation since we got it in about a month ago.
    You have GOT TO TRY THIS!! I haven’t been this jazzed for a liquor since Firefly hit the market!
    I usually pitch it as:

    “EXTREMELY smooth for 94 proof, MUCH smoother than Sailor Jerry (my old stand-by). If I had to criticize it in ANY way it’s that it’s described as a SPICED black rum and I’ve finished a bottle myself and the “SPICE” is incredibly subtle. If the ad men at Kraken were able to change the name, my suggestion would be CHAMELEON, because WHATEVER you mix it with, you can’t tell the liquor is there……it’s THAT smooth. It blends or ENHANCES whatever you mix it with to the UTMOST flavor.”

    And at 94 proof for $16, it’s a STEAL!! Until something better comes along, the BEAST will be in MY belly!!

  30. Dallas April 12, 2010

    Move over Captain Morgan, Admiral Nelson, and Sailor Jerry. This is hands down…THE BEST!

  31. wicked wayne April 21, 2010

    thiisthe shit

  32. c-house April 21, 2010

    Friends. No doubt- The Kraken, Regatta Ginger Beer, a bit of lime, splash of simple syrup to make one fine “Dark and Stormy”. Damn Lovely! Can only find it in CT at $22 a bottle but now see it at good bars. Cheers!

  33. NewOrleansCrawfish May 1, 2010

    I just purchased a bottle this morning, only because it looked interesting and being 94 proof, I thought I’d give it a try, being that I like spice rums. Before trying I went to the internet to find some feedback. Guess what, with all the positives I heard I left my computer to open the bottle I only purchased for $17.99 at Albertsons in Culver City CA about one hour ago. This is one of the “BEST” rums I have ever tasted. They only had two bottles, I’ll head back to buy that remaining bottle, if it’s still there. Great Rum Folks, I hope you all get a chance to try it, you’ll want more.

  34. Jacob May 11, 2010

    I live in Massachusetts and (yeah I know, It sucks to be me!) and the 1.75 litre bottle is $29.95……… Are you folks buying the 1.75 also? I like your prices better if you are! I bought a baby Kraken on line. Gonna pan fry it with garlic when he grows up!

  35. Tom May 26, 2010

    Procured the bottle at my local liquor store in DC. While it was $24, I only had to walk three blocks to get it. In terms of Dark n’ Stormies, I’m liking the Cruzan Black Strap better with Reed’s Extra Ginger Beer. Kraken is better rum, but the Cruzan seems to work better for this cocktail.

  36. d. stancil June 15, 2010

    At J. Lindsey: it is now readily available in Mississippi. I just myself a bottle today.

  37. T.Smith June 19, 2010

    Bought my 1.75L about a week ago and I’ve had a couple glasses a night since then… Bought it for around 24.00 and it’s better than the Bacardi 8yr reserve I usually drink. RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!!!!

  38. JoeJoe Shabbadoo June 24, 2010

    The Kraken was recently purchased for 16.99 at BJ’s here in Randolph Massachusetts. Best price I have seen yet.

    The Kraken will sink the Captain.

  39. Loves it stormy June 30, 2010

    A victim of marketing, after one look at the bottle, I had to have it. Didn’t matter if it was rockgut. Had to see what it was all about with that big beastie on the label. These guys are marketing geniuses. And, whats more, they make killer rum, too. WOW! I have to say that I am impressed. It made a fantastic dark n stormy. Sorry, Goslings, but I may

  40. sour_claw July 16, 2010

    Lust hit North Carolina as I approached the bottle. I came across it and had to give it a go.

    Now after tasting, it is Love!

    No better spiced Rum available in my state. I used some ice cubes, one ounce 7-up and 2 ounces Kraken. Sipped away and I am sold!

  41. Max July 23, 2010

    Good enough to drink straight. Has a jaeger consistency but 20 more proof. My old standby is admiral because it’s such a steady, party all night and be hammered drunk at 70 proof. This black spiced rum truly will make you black out. I tried it up at Indiana university at Big Red Liquors. Apparently it’s origin is Tobago, but Its stateside hq is in Lawrenceburg- down on the Ohio River. Seems to be a hotbed with Brown Forman in Louisville and Seagrams pretty close to Lawrenceburg in Aurora, IN.

  42. Christine August 8, 2010

    This is the best dark rum I have had the pleasure of experiencing. I drink it straight, mix it, cook with it, and hell last night I even make butter pecan ice-cream with it. The flavors are amazing and I’ve made all of my friends try it, with no negative feedback.

  43. Joey August 21, 2010

    I got a question, does anyone know where in Oregon I can get this? I’ve heard POSITIVE stories from drinkers all around and I’m dying to try it.

  44. Kevin August 30, 2010

    Almost finished the 1st bottle, onto the 2nd soon. Great black spiced rum. Goes down smooth and leaves that nice, warm feeling in your belly. Put a beat in your belly!

  45. Kevin August 30, 2010

    Beast* Wow this stuff gets to you…

  46. Edoc August 31, 2010

    Good mixer, and good for a floater on top of rum drinks, but if you’re looking for a refined dark rum for sipping, try:

    El Dorado 15 yr (Guyana)
    Khukri Coronation (Nepal)
    Zafra 21 yr (Panama)
    Zacapa 23 yr (Guatemala)
    Barbancourt 15 yr (Haiti)
    Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva (Venezuela)
    Pampero Anniversario (Venezuela)

  47. Brad September 16, 2010

    Kraken Cookies

    2 oz. Kraken on ice
    Two chocolate chip cookies

    Drink the Kraken and eat the cookies

  48. Gallo September 17, 2010

    The Kraken makes a perfect rum and coke and is great straight. Haven’t purchased any other brand since trying KRAKEN!!!

  49. Edoc September 18, 2010

    Brinley Shipwreck rum is a new and excellent spiced rum worth looking for. It’s lower alcohol %, but it uses rum aged 4 years, and it’s delicious.

  50. michelle October 9, 2010

    Awesome in Dark& Stormys too- ginger ale, rrum& lime. Yum!

  51. James October 12, 2010

    Tried The Kracken and Root Beer last weekend. It was excellent.

  52. The Gourmez November 15, 2010

    I quoted a bit of your Kraken thoughts on my review today. Just thought I’d let you know!

  53. Tim November 17, 2010

    Kraken and Ginger Beer with a twist of lime is the merde!

  54. Anonymous November 18, 2010

    Fantastic mixing rum because of all the vanilla. Best rum and Coke ever, this is a must have.

  55. The Dude November 19, 2010

    Drinking Kraken & 7 Up as we speak. Fantastic. Great vanilla finish. Paid $16.99 for 750ml. definitely worth adding to the collection.

  56. Look fresh January 3, 2011

    Kraken with pineapple/coconut mix, dash of grand marnier, with 1/2 ounce if tequila rose

  57. Britishdebs January 5, 2011

    I was introduced to this rum this past weekend. I saw a sign at my bar for Krak n Coke and I had to ask the bartender about it and she said it was new and mixed me the Krak n Coke and I loved it. I was shocked that on my second drink it tasted just a strong as the first one (most times by a second drink of Capt n Coke it tastes weaker) and by my second drink I was REALLY enjoying my drinks…LOL I am looking forward to stocking up my liquor cabinet with this lovely drink.

  58. Matt January 14, 2011

    My favorite rum, I always just mix it with coke.

  59. bobby January 28, 2011

    my friends and i tried this rum a couple of months ago and i was incredibly disappointed. we were all sort of proud with our selection at the liquor store, but eagerness turned to dead silence after we took our first round. everybody seemed to embrace it as they turned to mixing rather than shooting, but being very much a rum guy i refuse to take it anything but neat or on the rocks, for tasting purposes at least, and came away with a bad impression.

    based on your equally great views of some of my favorites (gosling’s, sailor, and kilo), though, i’m starting to doubt myself. maybe i should give it another shot.

  60. KCS January 31, 2011

    I love my spiced rums… everyone knows it… My fave till recently was Captain Morgan’s Private Stock, or their new 100, or Sailor Jerry.
    Though Private Stock being my fave…
    Then I found the Kraken.. hello!

    Try spiced rum and Dr. Pepper.. fantastic together. Or with some spiced apple cider warm with some spiced rum.. great for cold weather.. (or even just with apple juice, especially the “good” stuff like fresh Tropicana)
    Great review. Wanted to make sure I wasn’t alone in my new black ink drink adoration!

  61. chris February 3, 2011

    i was wondering how to make the kraken lava colada’s that el torito resturants make. any one know how?????

  62. [email protected] March 13, 2011

    run hershey choc,syrup down side of rounded glass just dash havy cream,rocks akraken sprinkle with nutmeg if u like.

  63. Pingback: Kraken Rum
  64. olanmills May 27, 2011

    “needs a bit of water” ? lol

    Anyways, it tastes nice. I had a double shot straight, and I had some with ginger beer. tastes nice. It’s good on it’s own, but it’s also good with pop. I think it would be good with some nice colas or root beers, and I already know it’s good with nice ginger beer.

  65. Jonathon Storjohann July 18, 2011

    Well, I gotta tell you. I’ve had rums from the caribbean to Jamaica. They are awesome rums. Captain Spiced is ok but like one of the readers it tastes weaker for the next rum n coke. But today, I had to try Kraken for the first time and man of war, I swore; from the first to the last drink its awesome in flavor. Coming from a true alcoholic taste tester. God bless.

  66. K August 5, 2011

    To all those people that compared it to KILO KAT here…

    Get Real and wake up!
    Remind yourself if u truly are a rum fan that its rare to find dark rums in spiced flavors and kraken is just that. For those who haven’t tried Kilo yet, dont waste your money on it. Kilo is too sweet (too much vanilla) and taste just like Brinley. Puke! :p

  67. Jeff F August 12, 2011

    Leaving the Captain was an easy choice, Kracken is it.

  68. TJ September 6, 2011

    Kraken and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice! A bit of work, but on a hot summer night… worth it.

  69. Ruben September 16, 2011

    Just tried my first mixer with Kraken, topped it off with some NOS energy drink, tastes very much like a long island, with a punch.. ironic! I will no doubt try the root beer & dr pepper since it is a recurring theme.

  70. Phatcat November 1, 2011

    A simple Dr. Pepper really compliments the flavor. If you can get it, I suggest Dublin Dr. Pepper which uses real cane sugar for the best simple drink. black fizzy blood of the earth!

  71. Methusala Honeysuckle November 7, 2011

    The Kraken is my favorite drink now! straight up or with a ginger beer.

  72. Ian December 22, 2011

    Just had my first sip of Kracken. 100 times better than Captain Morgans. Have also had Sailor Jerry’s too. I think Kracken takes it by an edge. Also have had Matuselum. Kracken is referred choice from this point.

  73. Brian October 23, 2012

    Makes excellent dark n’ stormies with Reeds extra ginger beer.

  74. captain jay November 21, 2012

    Sexy bottle! Stuck my finger in one of her two holes and she poured like a dream! I mixed it with some coke zero and 4 drinks later….Here I am! I love the Kraken and NEVER going back to Captains. But I do love me some private stock. If any body has some kick ass mixes…please post them

  75. Andy January 25, 2013

    Crapton morgan and Sailor J are way too sweet for me, The Kraken is perfect, not too sweet and good taste. Try it with a Dr pepper, good stuff!

  76. Doc June 24, 2013

    2:1 Dr. Pepper and Kracken, over ice. It is my drink of Choice

  77. Pingback: The Kraken Black Spiced Rum | Rebecca Gomez Farrell
  78. Pasqual February 12, 2014

    Kracken and San Peligrino Grapefruit- nectar of the gods, enough said

  79. Terry Anglin April 17, 2014

    The best recipe is Kraken, some OJ, bit of pineapple juice and a shot of mango Gatorade

  80. TEHOOPER January 31, 2015

    Been a Kraken fan for a few years ever since I was swayed by the great bottle design. Haven’t gone back. My favorite mixes are Kraken & Rootbeer (The Black Pearl) and Kraken mixed with the zero carb white Monster energy drink (the Kraken Monster).

  81. levi April 5, 2015

    I thought the rum was overly sweet tasting notes of sugar unnatural notes of herb low spice aroma.
    Cloyingly too sweet and has left me with a bad hangover a few times which gives me the impression the quality spirit that I much desire from such a good marketing ploy has led me to disappointment and this was not surprising.
    I would like to have a quality spirit for this price and said prowess but I don’t think the market has found their secret gem with this one.
    A lot of the reviews on here have been a bit blatant and certainly not from renowned rum drinkers.
    This is typical mass produced market type of liquor where the distiller hasn’t got the balls to make the big guys( owners ) literally make a great spirit for spirit and not money.

  82. Hamp January 17, 2020

    I typically mix it with a bit of the Honeycrisp pressed apple juice. It’s amazing.

  83. Dov February 2, 2020

    I always mix it with Cherry coke…delicious!


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