Bermuda’s Goslings Rum has become a staple in lots of watering holes, both waterside and landlocked, over its 200-plus year history. There’s the bartender friendly flagship, Black Seal, that comprises, as a rule, the base of the classic (and trademarked) Dark N’ Stormy cocktail (along with their own brand of exceptional ginger beer, if you can find it). Then there’s the more sipping-inclined Family Reserve “Old Rum” and the even more luxe Papa Seal Single Barrel, which we’ve yet to sample, unfortunately. What’s missing? I guess it’s this bottle, Goslings Black Seal 151 Proof, designed purely for the serious partygoers and flaming cocktail enthusiasts among us. So, what does Goslings Black Seal at nearly twice the alcohol content taste like? <Checks room for open flames.> Let’s find out!
The nose is a scorcher, unsurprisingly, but not without some recognizable rum character at its core. Once the alcohol has a chance to subside, there’s cinnamon, torched sugar, and some clove in the aroma that eventually melds into an almost smoky, wood-driven note that’s not quite barrel char. The palate isn’t as en fuego as I’d anticipated, at least not up front. That is in no way an encouragement to drink this one neat. Before my tongue had a chance to go numb (and it eventually does), I got quite a lot of classic Black Seal character: rich, dark molasses, dried ginger, and lots of baking spice. The finish, what’s not engulfed in flames, is full of bright, sweet RedHots and peppery oak. A fine backbar novelty, perfect for a birthday candle on your next shooter, but which could almost pass for a cocktail base. At half the measure, of course.