Release the Kraken!

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum

I Paid: $17.99 for a 750-milliliter bottle (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 4 stars

Marketing: 5 stars

Octopuses and their squidly kin are hot right now—go to a hipster craft festival, and any knit cap or handmade purse that isn’t covered in cephalopods is probably adorned by an owl. While it’s difficult to explain the shifting whims of fashion, it’s not that hard to exploit them—and this is something that Kraken Black Spiced Rum has done skillfully.

Each bottle is emblazoned with an apparently hand-stippled ink sketch of a massive squid grabbing an old-timey sailing vessel. Other details embellish the bottle: a pair of glass grips protruding from the neck, “The Kraken” embossed on the bottle’s glass front and back, and a lovely silver rendering of the logo on the black cap.

It’s a gorgeous artifact, although the packaging has little to do with rum. (One could argue that sailors historically drank rum and krakens are traditional mythological adversaries of sailors … but deft marketing seems to be the aim more than historical accuracy.)

The rum itself is quite well balanced: Although it has a nice depth of spice, the predominant notes are molasses, gingerbread, and deep dark chocolate, and the spice doesn’t become grating. It pairs very well with ginger beer; the ginger aftertaste soars and elevates after the initial stormy dominance of the rum. And while the 94-proof punch doesn’t make this an easy-sipping straight rum, it’s a capable team player when it comes to mixing.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow Chowhound on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.

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