Prichard’s Crystal Rum

An unaged white rum? Big deal.
Distilled 5 times? Quite possibly a big deal.

Prichard’s Distillery
Prichard’s Crystal Rum is distilled in Tennessee, USA, by Phil Prichard using Grade A Louisiana fancy molasses. It’s distilled 5 times in pot stills, leaving a very clean, very clear rum. It just recently won a Gold Medal at the 2007 Cane Spirits Competition, and also won Best Of Category for white rums at the same event. It was one of Edward Hamilton’s Rums Of The Month on his Ministry of Rum website. It got a very good review over at the Spirits Review web site.

I kept running into folks mentioning this rum all over the Internet, and I had to wonder if a white rum could be that good. I had to find out, so I found a bottle and brought it home and will finally crack it tonight.

The Bottle
From the bottle:
A crisp, clean rum to be enjoyed chilled, straight up, or on the rocks. The blackstrap bitterness often associated with many rums is totally absent, making Prichard’s Crystal Rum the perfect mixer for your favorite rum cocktails.

Initial Tastes
The rum is certainly crystal clear, and swirling reveals some legs that surprise me for a white rum. The initial smell is heavy on alcohol and something mildly fruity and much more pleasant, but something I could not place exactly. A sip neat, at room-temperature, is a pure taste, quite smooth, with a very mild burn that lasts a short time. A second sip brings more mild tastes around. It’s not too sweet, and very smooth – very very smooth for a white, unaged rum. Yes, the smoothness is rather astounding, but I’m waiting for some tastes that I can identify. They’re so mild they just hint at fruits of some kind.

I rinsed my mouth with some spring water, and gave it a couple minutes just sitting in the glass. The final sip definitely has more taste, is a bit sweeter, and simply tastes like a very good rum. And certainly smooth.

Icey Cubes
Time for some on the rocks…

OK, this doesn’t taste like much at all. It’s almost like drinking vodka – well, very very good vodka, that’s smooth and sweet and has some fruit in the background. So I guess it’s not much like vodka in those respects, but the mild tastes do remind me of vodka’s (usual) lack of taste.

Have I been drinking too many aged sipping rums for me to appreciate this? Well I certainly appreciate the smoothness and lack of burn. I’ve had many older rums that weren’t this smooth. I’m almost through the glass on the rocks and I’m starting to wonder if the rum has evaporated and the ice cubes are melting faster than usual. Really, the Crystal has almost completely disappeared and it seems like I’m drinking water.

Ginger & Lime
Time for some lime and ginger ale. I wonder if I’m going to know that this simple cocktail has any liquor in it? One minute, please…

Two cubes, almost an ounce of Prichard’s Crystal, a spritz of fresh lime, two ounces of Schweppes and… it’s gone. Disappeared. I’m drinking ginger ale with a touch of lime. Seriously, I do not taste any rum, no alcohol, just ginger ale and lime.

Summary
In the end, this stuff is unbelievable in ways, and not worth the time in other ways. It’s very smooth, unbelievably smooth for a unaged white rum. It’s sippable straight up – an unaged white! On the rocks it almost disappears and seems like water. The work and skill that went into making this stuff that smooth is incredible.

But there’s simply not enough taste. I guess that I want to taste the rum when I drink rum.

So I can’t say that it’s worth the $26 that I paid for it, but it’s not going to go down the drain either. I will put this bottle to very good use. I will astound friends with the smoothness. I will make drinks for people who don’t like alcohol. (And it will be much better than vodka at this task.) I will make drinks for people who don’t like rum. I may even pull a high school trick of spiking the punch – and nobody will ever know.

Overall it’s an extremely high quality rum, but simply does not have the taste to make it worthwhile to me. I’m kinda bummed about that.

Prichard’s Distillery: http://www.prichardsdistillery.com/

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3 Responses to “Prichard’s Crystal Rum”

  1. Capn Jimbo's Rum Project Says:

    With all due respect, at The Rum Project (linked above or below), Prichard’s Crystal is one of the highest rated rums we have tasted, silver or gold. Do NOT confuse this rum with an ordinary “mixer”. Think fresh figs, nutty, pastry out of the oven. Subtle of course, as would be expected of all superior rums. Perfectly balanced, and unified. Lovely pepper finish. We were totally surprised by this rum, which can hold its own next to any of the best rums. Sophisticated youth as expressed by one of the true geniuses in rum: Phil Prichard…

    We have tasted all of Phil’s offerings and they are superb, and trust me, we ain’t easy to impress…

  2. Paul Says:

    Good article.

    Sounds like a nice product. I need to get some for my cabinet. It looks like they do tours and have some pretty cool recipes on their site, http://www.prichardsdistillery.com/home.cfm – I’m about an hour and a half away. Maybe I have to stop in some time.

  3. Capn Jimbo's Rum Project Says:

    Brief addition: either things have changed or too many people relied on the SOR. Hamilton’s site say it’s “filtered” five times; this review and that of the Spirits Review state it’s “distilled” five times. With all this confusion, perhaps we should listen to Phil over at his own, distiller’s site:

    “Like all of our rum, Prichards’ Crystal Rum is made with the finest, Louisiana, grade “A” fancy molasses and distilled four times. OK, four times – distilled (filtering is not addressed). In any event, a fine product by a quirky artisan we know and like. Although we’ve reviewed Prichard’s “Fine Rum” and also his amazing “Private Stock”, we’ve managed to neglect an official review of the Crystal. Lord knows we like it though.

    We’ll rectify that now, so feel free to stop by check out the ratings..


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