Gosling’s Black Seal was supposedly named because the cap used to be sealed with a black wax. It isn’t any more, just a red plastic screw cap, but it does fit the bottle well and closes more securely than most of the pressed metal caps you find these days. Should have a cork of course, but then few rums at this price have that. Bottled at 40% ABV there is no age statement on the bottle.
A dark mahogany in color, it is not the darkest rum I have, beaten out by several others, but it is quite pretty. When you swirl it in the glass you get many thin legs forming that very slowly run down the glass blending together as they go. It looks thick. On the nose I sense tobacco, prune, raisin, a little alcohol, dark brown sugar, chocolate, and a little light molassses. There are no acetone or varnish notes telling me the rum has some age to it. There is creaminess on the tongue, but not so much as suggested by the legs. I am struck by a hint of black cherry which I haven’t ever noted in a rum before. Also brown sugar, and caramel medium finish. On the swallow there is a little heat but the rum is smooth. There is no bitterness in the after taste, and the rum gets a little creamier as the glass goes down. The major flavor notes seem to be the dark fruit and dark brown sugar. According to the master list of rums and their sugar content, there are only 11 grams of sugar/liter added to this one, a moderate amount, but by no means excessive compared to some.
All in all surprisingly complex and interesting rum if not quite as integrated as some. I’m not saying this is the best rum in the world, or even in my modest collection. But at $19 (BevMo in the U.S.) for a 750ml bottle it is the best bang for the buck out of all the rums I’ve tried in the last 4 years! It works well with cigars too. A Nyctophilia I smoked recently with it got enhanced charred sugar and woodiness out of it, while lighter cigars seem to get a little sweeter. I think there are better, more general, pairing rums but this will work and for the price, if you like rums at all, you have to try it. Would I buy it again? I already have!