It is a bit surprising to walk through a Costco and find the company’s own store brand, Kirkland Signature, adorning bottles of liquor. Named after the town where the corporation was formerly headquartered, Kirkland Signature brand typically adorns well made products, but it’s still hard to let go of the stigma associated with generic products in general, and especially store brands, when buying liquor. But, I’m still very dedicated to trying out anything unfamiliar to myself for this blog, so when I saw the Kirkland logo on bottles of rum I decided to take the plunge.
At around $14 for 1.75 liters, Costco is charging for a half gallon less than many brands charge for a fifth. It felt like a gamble, but at such an inexpensive price it isn’t really much of a risk.
The packaging is very simple, but gives off something of a classy vibe. The bottle is almost rectangular, but has a curved taper like a perfume bottle and is narrower at the bottom than the top. Under the label the bottle is silkscreened with a sketch of sailing ship. Instead of a foil seal, the bottle has a less expensive plastic one. Underneath that is a wooden cap fastened to a synthetic cork.
Opening the bottle, the scent is really magnificent. It’s very complex, and hard to pick out any individual scents, but it’s a rich and tangy smell. The first sip had a surprisingly potent piquant spice burn, but not any alcohol burn. The spices themselves are tasty, but underneath the rum has a flavor that’s rich in a different way from the scent. Leaving a glass out for several hours to mellow, the taste of the spices recedes and leaves just that rich, almost creamy flavor.
Mixed with Coca-Cola, the potent spices in Costco’s rum interact with the sugar in the soda to cancel each other out. The same is true of the base rum and the cola; the flavors of the rum and the Coke work against each other and the result is a very mildly flavored drink. It doesn’t taste bad by any means, but is almost completely bland. I think I’ll try a stronger mix later with more rum in it; after the ice had melted a little the rum came through again, and there was some of that familiar Rum & Coke synergy to the taste.
In a rum float [check “The Silver Book of Cocktails” under “Chilly Rum Soda,” pg.596] the addition of vanilla ice cream to the Rum & Coke somehow makes it all taste bitter, which I did not expect at all. In the future I would probably skip the ice cream and only add whipped cream on top, since the home made whipped cream I added brought out the flavor of the rum and went very well over all.