Sea Wynde

by Matt Robold on January 5, 2008

And here I’ll bet you thought I had forgotten all about rum reviews here.  Pish posh.  I know what keeps people coming to this site, and it ain’t my wit or good looks…both of which are currently on back-order, and I have been assured will be arriving within a month or two.

It had been brought to my attention that I have only reviewed rums that I rate as the very best.  No 4′s out of 5, no 3′s…well today I decided to change that, and decided to take on a rum I had not tried in almost a year: Sea Wynde.  I’m not going to say now what the end-rating will be for this review.  Let’s just say that the first time I tried this rum, it did not jump to the top of my favorites list.

Sea Wynde is a pot-still rum, meaning that instead of the more common and modern column stills used by most spirit makers these days, the makers of Sea Wynde have opted for rums made using the more classical approach of using copper pot stills.  The rum is a blend of 5 rums from Jamaica and Guyana, boasting that it is “the only rum in the world made entirely from pot still rums from the Caribbean and South America.”

I first happened upon Sea Wynde at the recommendation of an acquaintance.  A friend of a friend, as it were, worked at BevMo down the road from me, and during a shopping excursion there, he noticed I was picking up my usual bottle of Appleton Estate V/X.  He asked if I had ever had the Appleton before and if I liked it, and when I assured him that the answer to both questions was a resounding “yes”, he suggested that I might like Sea Wynde based on the flavor profile.  I eagerly grabbed the very impressive-looking bottle and took it home to try.  To be blunt, I was bitterly disappointed in the rum.

Time passed by.  My palate has evolved a great deal (I like to think) since the first time that I sat down with my bottle of the Wynde.  While perusing my recently enhanced rum shelf for my next review subject, I thought that perhaps, just maybe, my better-trained palate could find more to like in the rum.  Others I know seem to have found uses for it, so certainly it couldn’t be all that bad…could it?

Let’s find out…

Appearance

The rum is a nice, light gold color.  It it not very deep in hue, and is really – as far as spirits go – rather pretty to look at.  It is not the thick, syrupy nectar of Ron Zacapa.  A swirl in the glass reveals a spirit that clings strongly to the sides, with legs taking a good deal of time to form from the rim of the liquid.

Nose

Sea Wynde has an aroma.  It is unmistakable, and completely impossible to miss.  If someone opens the bottle in the same room with you, I’d wager you could tell it had been opened within 30 seconds.  As soon as I opened the bottle to pour myself my dram, I could smell the rough, metallic notes of the rum.

I let the rum sit in the glass for a second, did my usual swirling to look for the legs, and then placed my nose about a half-inch above the glass and inhaled.

I won’t lie to you…I wasn’t happy doing so.  As I mentioned already, there is a distinct metallic scent to the rum.  You can literally smell the copper.  Buried beneath the coppery scents are stronger notes of orange, and a sugary floral scent that could be apple or apple blossom.

I spent a little more time with the nose on this rum than I normally do.  I started wanting to like it.  I wanted to will myself in to thinking it was good.  After a while, when those floral notes started to reveal themselves, I began to think, “Hey, this isn’t so bad…just a little rough around the edges.  Rough isn’t necessarily bad, right?”

Palate

I took my first sip of Sea Wynde and let it sit for a second.  There is a strong oily quality to the body.  Not a viscosity like the Zacapa rums, but rather a slick, lubricated feel to the rum.  Just as you get over the texture, you notice that this is a sharp, rough-tasting rum, as the nose seemed to indicate.  There is actually some burn on the tongue and while the burn in the throat is not significant, it does exist, as does a burn in the chest.

The taste is just as metallic as the nose, leaving your tongue feeling dry after each sip.  I have to be completely honest here…I didn’t want to continue.  I didn’t want to do this anymore.  I don’t like it.  I don’t.  I could come up with a list of millions of liquids I’d rather drink than this if I needed to.  I say with not a hint of jest that it is for you, my dear reader, that I persisted in my investigation.

I returned the glass to my lips a few more times to tease more of the flavors out.  There’s a touch of orange at the entry with the coppery taste, followed by raisins.  The finish is dry and oaky at first, followed by a rush of peppery spice that quickly obliterates the other flavors besides the copper.  In the end, I feel like I’ve been sucking on a spicy penny.

A Little Water Perhaps

Perhaps, as can be the case, this rum just needs some smoothing out.  Perhaps a few drops of water will work some magic on it.  I picked up this trick from Scott at Scotte’s Rum Pages, and have used it for other rums.

I added a few drops of water to the Sea Wynde, swirled, and then sipped again.  Some of the roughness was definitely smoothed out.  The coppery taste was still there, but not as abrupt, and the burning on the tongue and the throat was pretty much eliminated altogether.  Still, I don’t think you could pay me to drink more than an ounce of this stuff.  OK, I take it back, you could pay me, but I want a lot of money and I want it up front!

Put Some Ice On It

OK, water didn’t work.  Let’s try some more water, but in it’s more frozeny state.  I took a single ice cube from my bag of ice and added it to my glass.  I let the glass sit for a while, stirred a bit to chill the entirety of the glass, and then toasted my own health and dove back in to the glass with gusto.

I love my work.  I really, really do.  I think that getting to sit and sample rums and write about it, even if it isn’t really my job, is one of the most enjoyable things I could do.  I feel very privileged that any of you come to read my comments on these – OH SWEET MOTHER OF ALL THAT IS HOLY WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS???

I can’t do it…I just can’t.  I couldn’t even swallow the vile concoction in my hand.  I can’t remember ever being so happy to be near a sink in my life, as I spat out what I had tried to sip.

I reflected for a bit, thinking, “It can’t be THAT bad.  You’re just overreacting.  Be a man, Dood…get back in to that glass!  Do it for your readers!  Both of them!”

Back I went, and back my head went to the sink.

OK, Maybe A Real Cocktail Then

How about “No”, Mr. Section Heading?  I may love my readers, but I don’t love anyone that much (sorry Mrs. Dood).  I have my limits, and I have reached my limits for tonight.  Maybe some other night I’ll go try this in a mojito or a mai tai or to degrease my car’s engine, but for the moment I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than bury this bottle as deep in the Earth as possible in the hopes that no one ever stumbles upon it for a thousand years.  I was so horrified by the experience at this point that I walked to the fridge and opened a beer.

The Long & The Short Of It

The makers of Sea Wynde are very proud of their product.  I can understand that…it’s a rum!  Who wouldn’t be proud of making rum?  But perhaps, regardless of whether or not a company refers to its rum as “the perfect rum”, the fact that they have a section on their website on how to use it for cooking should probably ring a few alarms in your head.  I mean, Castle Brands – the owners of Sea Wynde – also owns Goslings, and you don’t the Goslings website suggesting you mix their rum with shrimp.

I’ve always described the imagery that different rums conjure when you drink them, but with Sea Wynde I’m just not sure what to say.  I see images of Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs cleaning pot stills with old rags comprised of old socks…and I’m not sure any more detail is in good taste.

Rating this rum is hard.  I’m usually prone to fits of hyperbole, and I’m tempted to give it a massive negative number.  However, to maintain some integrity, and in recognition of the fact that at least this is a rum, Sea Wynde still stays above the dreaded zero.

Dood’s Rating:  1 Bottle of Rum Out of 5

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{ 20 comments }

Count Silvio January 6, 2008 at 11:26 am

Why not try it with coke? Or cooking as they suggested. Although if it is that bad it might ruin the food.

Lew Barrett March 3, 2008 at 7:25 pm

Dood, I tried a dram at a bar a few weeks ago. It’s available locally and as a premium priced rum, I was curious. My “Long and Short” is that I didn’t like it either. I found an unpleasant overwhelming smoke…or something….that blotted out everything else. Normally I enjoy distinct and unique tastes as long as they are pleasant. This wasn’t to my taste either.

Capn Jimbo June 17, 2008 at 2:46 pm

I have been tempted more than once to try Sea Wynde, but there are just too many negative reviews. I will say that your reviews of Wynde reminds me of my experience with Pusser’s Blue Label.

Does anyone agree?

Sweet Betulaceae November 21, 2008 at 1:23 am

bit of success is a stepping stone for a great one.

Carlos February 15, 2009 at 8:27 am

So I let some guy at Bevmo tell me to try this rum. Of course he never tried it himself, only hearing from some other sources that it was pretty good. It also backed by some 96-100 pt rating and was priced at around $40. I said to myself, “it can’t be that bad”. Defiantly one of the worst mistakes I have made. I just can’t believe I actually spent money on this bottle. Man I can’t even give this bottle away!I’m forever scared.

some-dumb-rum-bum March 26, 2009 at 6:51 am

i received a bottle as a gift. i mixed some with sprite about 50/50 with some ice and it’s ok – i have a pretty good buzz and an odd copper flavor on my tongue. Isn’t copper good for you?
It reminds me of drinking scotch. (harsh and nasty)

Ben May 21, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Very funny review.

I actually bought a bottle of Sea Wynde in Vermont. At first I didn’t know what to make of it, just thought it was a very strong rum. Keep in mind that I never throw away any hard liquor, specially rum. And let me tell you that to be able to go through it, I tried everything. Cola. Lime. 7-up. Ginger Ale. Orange Juice. Cranberry Juice. Any drink combinaison. I was finally able to get through it, but my final verdict is it’s not only a strong rum, it’s a strongly horrendous rum. By far the worst I’ve ever had, and I had bad ones.

Matt Robold May 21, 2009 at 9:20 pm

Hi Ben,

Thanks for the comment. Just wanted to say that I was able to eventually find a use for the Sea Wynde. Paired with the right second rum, it works quite well in a mai tai (here – a little less than halfway down the page).

umwukghq June 13, 2009 at 10:30 am

umwukghq

Adam August 6, 2009 at 6:49 pm

I’ve had a bottle of this sitting in my cabinet for over a year now. Haven’t noticed any metallic or copper scent nor flavors. Different batches, perhaps?

Actually I think the scent of the rum I have is rather nice, kind of a burnt treacle. Same thing upon sipping it–I find it to be pleasant until swallowing. At that point the peppery “fade” kicks in and makes me wish I’d never seen the stuff.

Despite this I have done two things with it, and if you have any sitting around that you don’t wish to use as $40 drain cleaner perhaps this will help:

A) I made some caramel sauce to go over some fruit, and dosed it with a heavy shot of Sea Wynde. It actually tastes really good when cooked down with lots of sugar in this way.

B) I’ve been dashing it into planters punch. And I do mean DASHING–any more than 1/8 of an ounce kills the drink. A little dash, on the other hand, lends a nice estery roughness that I actually enjoy. Works similarly well in a Mai Tai.

I’m not sure either of these will work with the copper-flavored variety that you seem to have, but it’s worth a shot if you’re bored and don’t mind potentially destroying a drink…

FlaSoxxJim December 29, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Reviews of Sea Wynde like those here are honestly what has kept me from trying this rum until last night. I thought it was superb and I can’t believe there are so many seasoned rum sippers who are so down on this one. The nose instantly reminded me of Pusser’s and the flavor was also somewhat similar to Pusser’s 95.5 but with more depth.

If loving this rum is wrong, I don’t want to be right!

Matt Robold December 29, 2009 at 3:22 pm

An interesting thing I’ve found about Sea Wynde: it’s all about the batch you get. I’ve talked with a few other rum people and it appears that there is little to no control between batches, meaning that you get a completely different product every time. Or perhaps they’re still working out their product.

I recently tried a newer batch of Sea Wynde and compared it to my bottle and they were lightyears different. The newer Sea Wynde is actually funky and wonderful, whereas the older batches are pretty much universally recognized as hideous. Perhaps an updated review is in order.

FlaSoxxJim December 30, 2009 at 6:17 am

That’s an interesting observation regarding Sea Wynde, and something I wondered about. Being a blend from five stills I assumed they’d be producing a fairly consistent product but that may not be the case.

I have the same batch to batch consistency question regarding another well-regarded rum that I finally just got around to trying — Cruzan’s Single Barrel Estate. Whereas with the Sea Wynde I went in expecting to be underwhelmed based on negative reviews here and elsewhere, I totally expected this rum to be beyond reproach based on reviews and scads of awards. As of my first dram the other night, I was not overly impressed. Interesting flavors for sure, but the overwhelmingly dominant element in the nose was a really harsh acetone-like aroma that crept into the palate and I just couldn’t get past. I’m not sure if this is a flaw specific to the batch, and I assume being single barrel that this may be the case.

Love your reviews by the way, Dood. I’m only a couple of years into my own more scholarly pursuit of rum and sites like yours and Scottes have greatly added to enjoying the journey.

SeldomSeen April 18, 2010 at 5:03 am

Rumdood is right-on here. Gag! (Literally)…..Sea Wynde should be ashamed to market this garbage, and especially for gouging anyone foolish enough to chance a blind purchase. Fortunately, I wasn’t suckered into buying a bottle and got a tasting from a friend who did make the error. Instead of Sea Wynde for a label, they should just call it “Ca-Cardi”. Harsh, with heavy metal overtones, medicinal flavors, and other various unpleasant assaults on the palate. Unless your just a glutton for punishment, I’d pass on this one. There are just too many good rums out there deserving of your patronage. Save your money for a top shelf rum worthy of such an inflated price tag.

B Chapman March 8, 2011 at 10:26 am

Sea Wynde is one of the few rums today that is 100% Pot Stilled.This process is much more expensive and labor intensive than continuous destillation. It also produces a more intense range of flavors. It is certainly not for everyone,but neither is island single malt with its intense peat and iodine flavors. As with the single malt,there are few fence straddlers, you either love it or hate it. I think it is sublime. I would compare the experience as the difference between tasting a Sam Adams lager to a Coors Light(beer flavored water)

Rob Brodie September 23, 2011 at 10:04 pm

B Chapman’s got it spot on. Take it from someone who drinks a lot of Islay whisky… this stuff is fantastically unique and a taste of the old world of rum. Just because you dont like the flavours, doesn’t mean its a bad drop.

I find that theres a time and a place for nearly every type of rum, this is a rum that challenges your palate and is extremely rewarding.

Anyone remember the first time they tried beer when they were really young, or olives.. i think you get my drift here. This is a drink that requires effort and acquiring a taste to suit.

Sandi December 26, 2011 at 7:23 pm

I know this discussion was started in 2008, and recently re-started in 2011, but I wanted to add my 2 cents.

So I finally decided to buy / try Sea Wynde this weekend. The metal label is what caught my attention for the past few months, but I always selected a different rum. Sea Wynde was next to Zaya, Zacapa and Zafra (did not like Zafra) on the shelf, so how bad could it be??. I asked the “rum expert” at the wine & spirits store where Sea Wynde ranked in comparison to Zaya & Zacapa, and he said it was up there and its worth trying (especially since the rum is no longer being produced). Fine, I’ll try it, ya only live once!

Goodness gracious! This stuff is not for me. I usually drink rum neat, but this is the first time I’ve come across a rum I could not stomach. I tried this rum (neat) Saturday evening, and I had to pour it out. I decided to give it a whirl again Monday evening (on the rocks) and the taste did get better, but still, if I had to select between Sea Wynde and Bacardi, I’d go with Bacardi (and I’m not a Bacardi fan.) I’m having a very difficult time picking out the flavors of this rum (and I use to smoke cigars), and it really reminds me of a rum I had during this summer – Fire in De Hole – which really tasted like rubbing alcohol. There is a peppery burn at the end, but I’m not even sure if that’s pepper. I have not tasted the “fruitiness” of the rum with or without the 2 ice cubes.

Would I recommend this rum to a friend, I really don’t know. While I may not prefer Sea Wynde’s taste, another one of my rum friends may enjoy it.

Just my 2 cents! Happy Holiday Season to everyone!

Eric January 15, 2012 at 8:48 am

Thanks,
“The metal label is what caught my attention”
Yes, me too and I almost bought a bottle for that reason. Now I may skip it, but it would look good on the shelf.

Eric

Chas February 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I really don’t mind this. Certainly I can’t find the negative aspects that everyone else seems to.

The nose and palate is very iodiney, reminding me of an Islay whisky. I think that they might have been better off bottling it at 40% rather than 46% to take off the spirity edge and give a smoothness to it.

Right – away with the Santa Teresa 1796 and Cruzan Single Barrel and out with the Sea Wynde.

Mmmm. Lovely iodiney nose, which carries through to the palate. However this evening there is something a bit different (maybe the other rums I have had). Behind the alcohol and iodine, there is a slight dirtiness (??) to the rum. This can’t really be described as smooth and polished, but still I like it. But given the choice of the 3 bottles of rum I am going at this evening, 1st Cruzan, 2nd Sea Wynde and 3rd the 1796.

Wonderful how subjective this all is!

Joe June 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm

I just opened a bottle of Sea Wynde. Admittedly, I originally bought it because the bottle looked interesting (yes, I know this is usually a huge mistake). While my wife was driving home I searched for some reviews about Sea Wynde and google pointed me to this review. After reading this review and a number of the comments I went from looking forward to trying a new rum to thinking, “I have to try this if it’s that bad!” Yes, it was pretty awful. The scent was harsh, the taste was harsh, and in the end I was left thinking the only thing I might be able to do with this rum is mix it with some sprite / 7-up. But only after if I’ve already gone through my bottles of Mount Gay Eclipse and Bacardi.

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