Review: The Kraken Black Spiced Rum

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.


The Kraken Black 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. Edoc on November 4, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    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 on November 4, 2009 at 12:46 pm

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

  3. Edoc on November 4, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    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 on November 4, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    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 on November 4, 2009 at 10:14 pm

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

  6. J. Lindsey on November 5, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    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 on November 6, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    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 on November 10, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    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 on November 20, 2009 at 1:22 pm

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

  10. Jack on November 24, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    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 on December 9, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    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 on December 19, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    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 on December 23, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    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 on December 23, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    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 on December 28, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    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 on January 8, 2010 at 4:10 pm

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

  17. XullioS on January 8, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    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 on January 21, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    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 on February 7, 2010 at 12:46 am

    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 on February 20, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    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 on February 25, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    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 on March 6, 2010 at 11:34 am

    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. on March 26, 2010 at 10:14 am

    ‘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 on March 29, 2010 at 12:39 am

    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 on March 29, 2010 at 8:49 am


  26. emmalee on March 31, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    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 on April 1, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    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 on April 4, 2010 at 1:10 am

    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 on April 5, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    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 on April 12, 2010 at 1:36 pm

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

  31. wicked wayne on April 21, 2010 at 11:50 am

    thiisthe shit

  32. c-house on April 21, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    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 on May 1, 2010 at 10:29 am

    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 on May 11, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    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 on May 26, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    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 on June 15, 2010 at 10:15 pm

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

  37. T.Smith on June 19, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    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 on June 24, 2010 at 8:54 am

    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 on June 30, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    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 on July 16, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    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 on July 23, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    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 on August 8, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    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 on August 21, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    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 on August 30, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    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 on August 30, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Beast* Wow this stuff gets to you…

  46. Edoc on August 31, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    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 on September 16, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Kraken Cookies

    2 oz. Kraken on ice
    Two chocolate chip cookies

    Drink the Kraken and eat the cookies

  48. Gallo on September 17, 2010 at 7:23 pm

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

  49. Edoc on September 18, 2010 at 9:19 am

    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 on October 9, 2010 at 6:08 pm

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

  51. James on October 12, 2010 at 6:17 pm

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

  52. The Gourmez on November 15, 2010 at 10:31 am

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

  53. Tim on November 17, 2010 at 6:06 pm

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

  54. Anonymous on November 18, 2010 at 7:15 pm

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

  55. The Dude on November 19, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    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 on January 3, 2011 at 5:39 pm

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

  57. Britishdebs on January 5, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    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 on January 14, 2011 at 8:54 pm

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

  59. bobby on January 28, 2011 at 1:33 am

    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 on January 31, 2011 at 8:01 am

    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 on February 3, 2011 at 5:27 pm

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

  62. [email protected] on March 13, 2011 at 7:17 am

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

  63. olanmills on May 27, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    “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.

  64. Jonathon Storjohann on July 18, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    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.

  65. K on August 5, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    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

  66. Jeff F on August 12, 2011 at 6:02 pm

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

  67. TJ on September 6, 2011 at 7:41 am

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

  68. Ruben on September 16, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    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.

  69. Phatcat on November 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    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!

  70. Methusala Honeysuckle on November 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm

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

  71. Ian on December 22, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    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.

  72. Brian on October 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm

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

  73. captain jay on November 21, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    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

  74. Andy on January 25, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    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!

  75. Doc on June 24, 2013 at 12:36 pm

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

  76. Pasqual on February 12, 2014 at 7:58 pm

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

  77. Terry Anglin on April 17, 2014 at 2:20 pm

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

  78. TEHOOPER on January 31, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    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).

  79. levi on April 5, 2015 at 4:34 am

    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.

  80. Hamp on January 17, 2020 at 8:21 am

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

  81. Dov on February 2, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    I always mix it with Cherry coke…delicious!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.