3 Coconut Rums

I’m not one for flavored rums – I’d much rather have a home-made infusion made with fresh fruits. But I happened to notice that Dave Broom, in his book Rum, gave Cruzan Coconut Rum 4 stars. 4 stars. For a pre-made, flavored rum. I figured that it had to be pretty good, and resolved myself to give it a try since I like coconut anyway. One day I saw a bottle in a liquor store and I grabbed it. And then I thought about comparisons, so I grabbed a nip each of Malibu Coconut and Parrot Bay Coconut. What the heck.

As expected, nothing secret is easily divulged about these three flavored rums. Malibu is a 42-proof spirit made using Barbados rums, but is labeled “Caribbean Rum with natural coconut flavor.” Captain Morgan’s Parrot Bay – also 42 proof – is a Puerto Rican rum also “with natural coconut flavor.” The Cruzan Coconut – at an eye-popping 55 proof – is from St. Croix and has – surprise – “natural coconut flavors.” Cruzan also shows a registered slogan: “The taste is real.” I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean.

I’m curious about how much natural coconut flavors these rums have, and how much of the coconut taste comes from a chemical lab. I guess they have to go that way since the natural flavors probably won’t last a year on the shelf. I’ve heard rumors that 267 had a difficult time with their infused spirits. I do want to try their Pineapple Rum Infusion some time, but all I can find is their Mango Rum and I’m not a real fan of mangoes.

Malibu Coconut Rum
First up, in no particular order, is the Malibu. This smells mostly of alcohol, with some sweetness and some rather fake-smelling coconut lingering in the background. I’m actually surprised at how weak the coconut smell is – I hope the others aren’t like this. The taste is actually mostly non-existent but with a lot of coconut smell, but the rum has some sweetness and barely any hint of alcohol. No burn whatsoever – it’s quite smooth. The coconut, however, is slightly reminiscent of the beach – and I mean a New England beach with hundreds of folks slathering sun protection on their pearly-white skin. This tastes more fake than anything, though it’s not horrible. Its smoothness and sweetness make this a rum that’s easily drinkable, and I can see why they have sold so much over the years.

Parrot Bay Coconut
Next up is Captain Morgan’s Parrot Bay. I can’t detect an alcohol smell with this one, but I can’t really detect any coconut either. Instead, there’s something fruity – so much that I grabbed the bottle to make sure that I had the Coconut version, which I do. Another few smells finally find the coconut smell, but it’s faint – like sniffing a roll of Pina Colada Lifesavers before you open them. The taste definitely contains more coconut, but like the Malibu much of the coconut hits the nose and not so much the taste buds. There’s less fakeness here, though there’s a tiny bit of a burn. Well, the burn is noticeable whereas the Malibu went down like water. The Parrot Bay is better than the Malibu, but it’s not quite awe-inspiring.

Cruzan Coconut Rum
Last up is the Cruzan. Actually I think I subconsciously planned to try the Cruzan last. Yeah, I probably did. Anyway, a sniff of this one detects only coconut – no alcohol and no fruits – but it is very faint. The Cruzan actually has the least coconut smell of the bunch, even with my nose buried halfway into the shot glass. At least I can’t detect any fake chemical smells like the Malibu. As for taste, the Cruzan easily has the most burn. The taste is on par with the Parrot Bay, though the extra bit of a burn from the Cruzan drops it a point.

Malibu Zero, The Others…
Well, it’s easy for me to say that the Malibu is the loser here, but the Parrot Bay and the Cruzan are too close to call. Obviously it’s time to kick back for a few minutes, let the mouth relax, and try these two again. I’ll be back in a few minutes…

Coconut Showdown
First up this time will be the Cruzan Coconut – two healthy measures swished and swallowed. And the result is… Nicely sweet with a good amount of realistic coconut. There’s still the burn, though, which is slight but should probably be non-existent in a 55-proof spirit. Overall it’s OK, but nothing to write home about.

Next is – of course – the Parrot Bay, using the same methods of imbibing. And the result is… Somewhat boring. It’s slightly sweeter than the Cruzan, with a thicker mouthfeel and the coconut is not as good since it has a tinge of chemical plant around it. There is absolutely no burn though, so this is the coconut rum of choice for girly-man shooters.

And The Winner Is…
Well, I’m certainly not much of a winner in this showdown since it points out that I wasted $12 on a fifth and two nips. But between the Coconut Rums the winner has to be the Cruzan for it’s slightly better coconut flavor and higher alcohol content. But it didn’t win by much – the Parrot Bay was smoother than simple syrup and had a decent coconut flavor. The clear loser is the Malibu – which makes it a winner of sorts since it has achieved the lowest point on my Rum Rankings list. Yes, it’s worse than Bacardi White.



20 Responses to “3 Coconut Rums”

  1. Phil Says:

    Belmont Estate and Koko-Nut are also really worse the money

    • Anne Margaret Says:

      hi, dont see any reviews on Belmont Estate. As a long time guest to antigua (lived for years) , originally from USA, but now ‘live in Nevis’ 2-3 months yr x 15 yrs, I am obsessed with silver (gold too strong) Belmont estate coconut rum. REAL coconut rum. Smooth as a silk tie on Liberace. Man, this rum, on rocks or with a ‘splash ‘ of Ting (if you dont know Ting, remove this website), is known as “ting with a sting’ on islands. Best rum ever and killer mojitoes. I put 2 in each suitcase when i leave (left last wk for US) and then, pick up 2 more in St Kitts airport. Ssshhh! Lots of places have Malibu. ugh, made in Canada. gross. I dont know why islands serve Malibu , when Belmont is made in islands. Up until last yr was made in St Kitts, but ‘factory’ moved to Guyana. Of course, for $$. 28 EC a bottle in supermarkets, and some places sell it for 38 EC. (around $8-10 usa dollars) and it is SMOOTH…………….. enjoy!

  2. Scottes Says:

    Thanks for the warning! Though I must say that after this comparison I will be hard pressed to try *any* flavored rum.

    • Anne Margaret Says:

      hi, p.s. the Brinleys estate is also made in St KItts. they have: coffee, mango, and lime rum. For ‘real rums’ anyhow. But, I would not publish the word Malibu (made in Canada, distributed by New Jersey co.). when writing a ‘island’ rum critique. NOt you, that is, but the writer of this fun website. As a long time island gal. Used to work for West INdies cricket team, travelled and lived on every island, many times……… for years. so tried them all! Fun reading your comments! 🙂

  3. Rick Says:


    Thanks for the review – now I don’t have to do it myself. 🙂

  4. Scottes Says:


    I’ll leave the Mango Rums for you to review. Yum. 🙂

  5. Chrissy Says:

    Malibu worse than Bacardi Silver? You must be mad! I guess I find Malibu rather weak and a waste of my time, but Bacardi upsets me in so many ways, I would sooner drink a bottle of water. If I had to drink a coconut rum (not particularly fond of them), I’d have Wray & Nephew’s Cocomania or the Cruzan.

    • Anne Margaret Says:

      Coco Mania they say is made in Jamaica. But, when I lived in antigua, they insisted in was made there……who knows for sure? hmmmn….if you get a chance, go to St KItts rum factory……..$15 USA, all the rum you can drink and ‘take home ‘containers…………………..

  6. Scottes Says:

    LOL! Yes, I found the Malibu to be worse, and you picked the exact reason – it is “a waste of my time.” At least the Bacardi is 80-proof and that has it’s benefits. I’m sure that I would get sick long before I’d catch a buzz with the Malibu.

    This past weekend I tried some toasted coconut rum that a friend brought back from St. Martin. THAT was fantastic! Alas, I don’t know the name or anything much about it… But it was delicious.

  7. Chrissy Says:

    Well I have some Tortuga Coconut sittin in my cupboard now, but I really don’t know when I’ll get around to trying it.

  8. Kara Says:

    I must agree that the Malibu isn’t strong, but I can’t say that I don’t like the taste. With coconut being a very very subtle flavor, Malibu is nice for mixing. I drink mine with water and honestly, I like it for the taste, not the alcohol. Call me crazy, but I like it because it’s just right for me. I don’t really like to get more than buzzed all of the time, and if you happen to be in a situation where being drunk isn’t advantageous, this does the trick.

  9. Watts Says:

    I’m just finding this web site — after doing a web search on a specific rum (Angostura 1919) on my iPhone while I was at a liquor store, no less. 🙂 I’m home now — based on your relative lack of enthusiasm for the 1919, I ended up getting an El Dorado 15, which has been pretty impressive in the drink I just had (a “Rum, Gum and Lime,” which does a good job of highlighting the rum it’s mixed with rather than smothering it).

    …but about the coconut rums. I’m sort of relieved you liked the Cruzan the most. It’s the only coconut rum I find — well, not drinkable, per se, but mixable, for the couple of drinks I have that call explicitly for coconut rum rather than rum with coconut syrup. Malibu has always struck me as pretty nasty stuff.

    Cruzan on the whole seems to make good mixable rums — I confess I like the Cruzan Estate Dark more than you do, although if the Appleton Special is the same price I may indeed go with it instead. (I’ve liked Appleton’s higher-end rums that I’ve tried so far.)

  10. Scottes Says:

    The El Dorado 15 is fantastic stuff. I think the 12-year-old is a much better bargain – not quite as good, but much cheaper. Alas, i can’t find the 12 lately, so I’m “stuck” with the 15.

    I love a good Rum & Ginger Ale for the reasons you state – highlighting without smothering. I will have to try some variation of a “rum, gum, and lime” – it sounds like a great way to enjoy a good rum.

  11. Ivan Says:

    Malibu tastes incredibly sweet. It must be full of syrup. But it would have been interesting to have found out the full (or as close to as possible) ingredients.

    Give me Bacardi any day over this.

  12. Chris Says:

    You are on the right track with Brinleys . Try their Brinleys Gold Coconut , IMO it the best …BEST…coconut rum on the market . Bacardi , Malibu , Captain, toss them. Brinleys Gold coconut is 72 proof and flavors that come through screaming “pour me another” .

    • Anne Margaret Says:

      see my belmont estate coconut rum comments…………………’real’ …………locals drink Belmont. not brinleys. but again, up to our own palates, for sure! bottom line, you enjoy it! 🙂

  13. Mark Says:

    Scott…. are you also aware that Parrot Bay makes a 90 proof version of their coconut flavored rum? Sometimes hard to find…
    …but when I want to bring more coconut to my mixed drinks I have used real coconut milk with some tasty success!

  14. Anonymous Says:

    parrot bay is awesome but def gonna try some others i will drink malibu wit pineapple juice too

  15. Gunslinger Says:

    Coconut rum – It’s flavoured rum. It’s generally an abomination. But it possibly has a place, especially in the Tikiland. It also makes a better substitute for coconut cream (if you’re either allergic to it, or prefer a stronger drink, or both).

    Yes, Malibu tastes like tanning lotion. I have similar expectations for that Bacardi Coco I see overseas is graced with. “Malibu Black” came to fruition a couple of years ago, but I haven’t wasted any money on hunting it down to try it.

    The coconut rum of choice comes from Wray and Nephew: Koko Kanu. It’s based on their own pleasant-enough white rum, so you’re in for something decent. I am yet to find Cruzan Coconut in Australia (Cruzan anything is hard to find), but my curiosity is too piqued by the 90-proof Parrot Bay available on the other side of the world.

    Has anyone else tried Koko Kanu? It’s 37.5%ABV, very smooth if a little bit cloying.

  16. Anne Margaret Says:

    lastly, no burn with Belmont estate. some tourists last week in Nevis kept saying’ its gotta have the burn’. I disagree………..no burn, all silk makes a great: rum, wine, etc. no burn. and my reflux does not kick up with Belmont, but always with cheap booze. so, just a thought………….thanks for sharing everyone!!

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