One of the newest products to cross our desk is Shellback Rum. Introduced last month and hailing from Barbados, Shellback is currently producing both a silver and a spiced rum at the West Indies Rum Distillery.
Shellback Silver Rum
The Shellback Silver may look unaged, but it’s actually spent one year in used bourbon barrels before being filtered to remove the color. The first thing you’ll notice when diving into this one is the massive vanilla aroma. It’s super sweet, more like vanilla extract than vanilla beans. Take a sip and there’s more vanilla, but it’s significantly muted compared to the nose. There’s also some toasted sugar and some mild chocolate toward the finish. This is a pretty solid silver rum overall, but there’s a slightly off-putting chemical component that I can’t shake. 40% ABV / $17
Shellback Spiced Rum
Shellback Spiced Rum features a combination of 12 spices from around the world including cinnamon bark oil, ginger oil, clove oil, nutmeg, cassia, vanilla and allspice. But not a pinch of added sugar. On the nose it hints at vanilla and caramel sweetness, but drink up to find an entirely different rum. There are loads of dry, spicy cinnamon, nutmeg and cassia. Rather than the strong dessert nostalgia evoked by so many spiced rums, Shellback remains very dry. A touch of honey toward the front smooths things out a bit, and there are plenty of pleasant flavors here. This is a uniquely dry spiced rum that, in addition to the nice punch of natural spices, completely saps your mouth of moisture. It’s sort of fascinating, and it’s worth sampling, to be sure, especially at its modest price point. But the average spiced rum fan may not find what they’re looking for with this one. 40% ABV / $17
And if you’re wondering, the name Shellback is a naval term referring to experienced sailors who have crossed the equator.