The bottles are certainly eye-catching. Psychedelic skulls in a variety of metallic colors pop off the shelf. Yes, they are representative of the sugar skulls created in Mexico for El Dia de los Muertos, The Day of the Dead. Not to be confused with the Grateful Dead, but rather the holiday that remembers those who came before us, and who are with us in memory and traditions.
The story behind this new rum is best said by J. Smoke Wallin, CEO of the marketing firm for the brand.
“A while back, a bunch of my friends were sitting around sipping various cocktails, enjoying fine cigars and most of all each other’s company. The conversation spanned technology, politics, exotic travel, past loves lost, and family. As the evening went on, memories were created among friends from different worlds while discussing those people who came before us and meant a lot to who each of us are today, but are no longer with us. One of the group pointed out that those lost people, who we celebrate, are really with us always.
“You know, that is really what “El Día de los Meurtos” “The Day of the Dead” is all about. You see, for thousands of years many people have celebrated their loved ones in different ways. With the “Day of the Dead” you have convergence of European Catholic traditions with the ancient Aztec traditions. It really is all about celebrating those who have left this world but mean so much to the people they touched.”
As the night wore on, the discussion led to how each of us celebrated the lives of our loved ones lost. The idea of a “celebration” among the living, in honor of those that came before and have left us, resonated throughout the group. In thinking about the beautiful tributes put together all over, we all agreed the iconic Sugar Skulls really bring to life the feelings of honoring those gone.
One of us pointed out, “you know, what sugar is made from don’t you?… sugar cane. That is exactly what is in this drink”… he held up his sipping rum to the firelight… “a toast… to our loved ones lost, let us celebrate what they mean to us and let us live each day fully” Our group toasted…. here here… here here… It was a magical night and I know it touched me deeply.”
Sugar Skull is made from sugar cane molasses from the Caribbean and South America and crafted in the Caribbean using 4-column stills. They also make Madagascar Wild Berry and Hellfire Cinnamon rums which GSN did not receive for review.
Original Tribal Silver (80 proof)
Nose: Clean, slightly sweet and oddly reminiscent of vodka.
Taste: Slightly viscous with a refined sugar note. Not a lot of character here, but nothing gone astray either.
Finish: Short with lingering sugar candy essences.
Overall: This is not so much a sipper as a mixing rum. But, it is perfectly aligned for daiquiris and Cuba Libres.
GSN Rating: B
Mystic Vanilla (80 proof)
Nose: Faint vanilla tones with a dry crispness.
Taste: Surprisingly not sugary, but rather assertively vanilla. The flavor doesn’t overpower the rum, but it does create a slight bitterness.
Finish: The vanilla character is remarkably well-heeled and self-confident.
Overall: Another mixing rum which works well with drinks which lean towards sweetness.
GSN Rating: B+
Native Coconut (42 proof)
Nose: A fruity, almost pineapple/lime coconut nose.
Taste: Thin, but much less cloying than Malibu. The citrus edge is still there in the flavor, making this seem less sweet somehow.
Finish: Lingering sweet coconut essence, as if you’ve just had a slice of coconut cream pie.
Overall: I think this is better than many of the coconut rums available, but I wish it were a higher proof. Still, if added to cola, this works quite well. In a Pina Colada, it keeps the alcohol level down.
GSN Rating: B
For more information go to: Sugar Skull