Review: Bumbu Rum

Spiced rum tends to follow a pretty well-worn path. But Bumbu is something quite different, and well worth exploring.

The rum starts with sugarcane sourced from all over Latin America: Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guyana, and Honduras. The cane is taken back to the West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados where it is column-distilled and aged in first-fill Kentucky bourbon casks for up to 15 years (though much of the rum is surely considerably younger). Even the yeast is artisan: As the distillery notes, “The yeast used during fermentation is a distillery secret that dates back as far as 1840, when some of our original iron pot stills were cast.”

What Bumbu doesn’t tell us is what spices are used to flavor the rum. Only this is known: “Using the same all-natural native spices and no artificial colors or flavors, our rum is an authentic revival of this piece of Caribbean history, distilled in small batches and blended by hand.”

But if you’re expecting another fistful of cloves and cinnamon, think again. Here’s how Bumbu actually comes across.

The nose is immediately unusual, with overtones of banana, caramel sauce, vanilla, and almonds — all the makings of a lovely banana split. That banana is particularly present on the palate, where it finds a complement in chocolate, more almond, some light coconut milk notes, and lengthy, lingering, creamy vanilla with just a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg on it.

As spiced rums go, it’s one of the most unique expressions I’ve ever encountered — decidedly light on the “spice” notes, which results in a softer, more thoughtful rendition of the classic spirit. Ultimately, it feels like it is built to drink more like a dessert, and less like a rough-and-tumble pirate grog. Without those harsh notes of dried spices, Bumbu lets a more natural, sweeter, fruitier, and elegant spirit to emerge. Who knew?

Lovely stuff.

70 proof.


Bumbu 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. Justin on July 3, 2020 at 7:14 pm

    I took a chance on this rum and I honesty have to say I have never experienced anything like it. I guess I expected the same old spiced rum flavors and was happily surprised by the different spices and flavors I came across. Very good and would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a great sipping rum.

  2. Capt. George Symes on September 19, 2020 at 6:38 am

    I received this rum as a birthday gift and was pleasantly surprised with the flavors and smooth
    tasting my wife doesnt like rum and i convinced her to sip a shot and she believe she loved the
    taste my mistake lrss for me now

  3. Toyia on December 27, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    I’m a big fan. I’ve bought four bottles of Bumbu in the last month. It is the best holiday gift. Every household that I’ve taken it to, whether you are a connoisseur of rum or not a big fan, the consensus is it’s lovely. Yes, I agree it’s not your normal rum. It’s complex. There are a variety of notes- vanilla, banana, almond, some would even say molasses. Depending on the bottle there’s even an aftertaste of oak or my opinion tobacco. Whatever your opinion, We can all agree, this is not your traditional Rum. It is complex. Sweet, smooth and overall a beautiful experience. For those who are rum connoisseurs, Bumbu may not be your thing, but for the individual who wants a drink that is going to go with any moment and any crowd, this is it!

  4. Cory on January 26, 2021 at 10:05 pm

    I admit I don’t love most commercially spiced “rums,” but this stuff is vile. Incredibly saccharine. An onslaught of artificial banana, vanilla, and mystery fruit flavors that attack your taste buds with malice. Worse, it markets itself as premium, craft rum from Barbados, creating market confusion as to what rum actually is and tastes like. This ain’t it. Just another (albeit unique) spiced rum liqueur made of cheap ingredients presented in an expensive (and rather attractive) bottle. As they say in rum circles, drink what you like, but know what you’re drinking.

    • Zig on February 6, 2021 at 4:30 am

      Cory- Your comments read like you were actually at the plant that produces this Rum. Vile and attacks taste buds with malice ? Really? Do your taste buds have emotional nerve endings? You have no clue about what makes a quality Rum. Must be a Trumpster.

    • Starman on May 7, 2021 at 6:16 pm

      Trump lives in your head rent free……This blog is about Rum A$$ho….

    • Chad on September 14, 2021 at 5:11 pm

      Amazing how you can bring politics and Trump into a “rum blog” / spirits review site. Seriously though, this stuff is straight up adulterated, sickly sweet, and full of sugar. To each their own with rum or politics, but I have to agree with Cory. This is nasty stuff.

      If you have a sweet tooth then this rum may be for you. But if you like pure, unadulterated rum look elsewhere. So many better options for your money that won’t raise your blood sugar. This is one review that I have to disagree with.

    • Jay Richard on November 3, 2021 at 1:16 pm

      What a very sad comment “Zig”. Your life must be sad enough that you bring Trump into random conversations. It’s people like you that have turned many of us moderate lefties away from the Dems (that and common sense). Doesn’t mean we are fans of the republicans, but yeah… Get the help that you need son!

    • SallyB on September 6, 2022 at 8:34 pm

      Do you know that the banana is artificial? I really enjoyed the flavors, much more than the traditional spiced rums, since I’m not a fan of the usual spicings that you find in those. And, as I commented, to me the flavor of that rum with added fresh peaches + a touch of lemon or lime, and a dash of tonic water is really delicious, even though that is not something that I would usually drink.

    • Rod ( God ) on June 17, 2023 at 4:04 pm

      Cory probably smokes and has no taste buds, also must be a Milennial. I loved this Rum was drinking straight from the bottle, it’s how I taste all new booze I buy.

    • Derek on September 22, 2023 at 5:19 pm

      I find your review spot on. There’s something of a chemical, artificial taste that comes across. Way too sweet, and I do like my rums to have a touch of sweetness but his was way too much. Also I’m thinking they used an artificial sweetener like Sucralose because if I do eat or ingest sucralose have I’ll have an allergic reaction, and I’m pretty sure the Bumbu rum caused me to have one.

  5. Pete Norman on July 30, 2021 at 9:39 am

    Agree wholeheartedly with Cory above…the stuff IS vile…you could mix it with gasoline and still not overcome the hideously sweet taste

  6. Mycroft Selene on October 28, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    I love this stuff cuz it tastes like bananas and chocolate and I can’t get enough of it now! I bought it in Sundre AB in July this year and I didn’t actually taste it until much later in the year! I was saving it for a trip to Africa and now I can’t go because my credit card is maxed out! Anyway that doesn’t matter to you right now! I’m just yackung your ear off! Anyway thanks for the rum and I will be purchasing more as time progresses! Ciao for now Out

    • Anonymous on September 6, 2022 at 8:37 pm

      I shall too!

  7. Richard Lane on January 22, 2022 at 2:39 pm

    This offering from the Island of Barbados may set the Caribbean discovery back many years.
    This ‘Kickapoo Joy Juice’ is most suitable for that blind date that you may not be able to shag with, given only 70 proof. But you may impress Daisy Mae with your artificial flavor-packed fluid and fancy bottle.

  8. Jason on April 12, 2022 at 1:31 pm

    More like a potent rum liqueur than actual rum. It’s a “miss” on a few points:
    1. It’s only 35% abv. In many countries, it’s illegal to market anything below 40% abv as a rum.
    2. It’s overly sweet. Sure many dark rums, especially spiced rums, are sweetened a little to accent their complex flavours, but this is well beyond any regular rum sweetening. It’s better qualified as a liqueur.
    3. It’s flavoured beyond recognition. It makes me ask, “Well if it’s such a good rum, what are they hiding? What kind of maniac would do this to a quality 15 year old rum?” I’m convinced WIRD claims it’s made with 15 year old rum to price-gouge suckers like myself.

    Now that the negative criticism is out of the way, I’ll just say that I love this stuff! The banana aroma and flavour is great. It is definitely not that fake confectionery banana flavouring used in McGuinness Banana, or 99 Bananas. It is a real banana extract in there, and it tastes of bananas foster. I have only two uses for the stuff- as a sipper, or shaken up in a Jamaican Milk Punch. It gets lost in anything more complex than that, and it’s way too sweet for a reasonable rum & coke.

  9. Anonymous on June 10, 2022 at 7:27 pm

    I’ve been a Rum Connoisseur for a long time now and found Bumbu to be simply incredible. It’s far better and cleaner than any I have had. Again simply amazing

    • Cam on July 3, 2022 at 5:27 am

      Great if viewed as a “dessert rum” and nothing more. It’s incredibly sweet, so don’t mistake this for a ‘traditional’ rum. It’s more akin to your supermarket spiced rums, only more complex.

  10. Niffi on July 30, 2022 at 4:18 am

    The bottle I bought last night is calling to me. Buttery and delicious. Absolutely unexpected and delightful. Sipped it like Scotch.

  11. SallyB on September 6, 2022 at 8:10 pm

    Cut up a few fully ripe peaches, add a good helping of this rum, a splash of lime juice, and an ice cube, then —if you want—a few oz of tonic, stir, and mmmmmm…………Love this rum, even though I am *so* not usually a fan of sweet drinks. That banana + fresh, ripe peaches is just awesome!

  12. Rod ( God ) on June 17, 2023 at 4:10 pm

    Awesome, drink it straight up.

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