Bumbu Rum Review - Is the Original Spiced Rum Worth It?

By Timo Torner / Last updated on August 14, 2023

In this article, we review Bumbu Rum, a Spiced Rum with a distinctive, sweet flavor profile. If you want to know what it is, how the actual liquid tastes, and how to mix it or use it in cocktails, this one is for you.
Bumbu Rum original review

First things first, technically Bumbu Rum is not a real rum as it contains only 35% of alcohol, less than the minimum amount required for distilled spirits (in the U.S.). Aside from technicalities, Bumbu clearly belongs to the category of Spiced Rums yet has a distinct sweet taste with a unique flavor profile. Based on rum from Barbados, the spirit's flavor profile contains a blend of spices and warm notes of vanilla, chocolate, banana, and molasses. 

Particularly for non-rum drinkers, the original Bumbu is an ideal serve. It's easy to sip, not too harsh, and complex in taste. It's very easygoing, and the unique selection of spices and complex flavors make it worth a try.

Bumbu Rum Review Summary

Bumbu Rum original bottle
  • Produced By: Sovereign Brands
  • Owned By: Brett and Brian Berish
  • Product WebsiteClick here
  • Production Location: West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados, Caribbean
  • Classification: Spiced Rum / Rum-based liqueur
  • Flavor profile: Sweet, banana, vanilla, caramel
  • Aging: 15 years in ex-bourbon barrels
  • ABV: 35% (70 proof)
  • Price: $30 - $35 / 750 ml
  • Overall Rating: 3.5/5

What is Bumbu Rum?

Bumbu is a spiced rum-based alcoholic beverage with an alcohol content of 35% (70 proof), flavored with all-natural spices and no artificial colors or flavors. It's produced in small batches and based on aged Caribbean rum from Barbados that is aged for 15 years in former bourbon barrels. 

The price for one bottle of Bumbu Rum typically ranges between $30 and $35. Bumbu Rum contains additional sugar making it easier to drink as it covers harsh notes from alcohol. 

Is it a good rum?

Bumbu certainly does something right, whether one likes it or not. The sweet rum is rated well across several spirit rating websites. On Flaviar, it has an average rating of 8.6, and even on rumratings, it has an average score of 6.4. That doesn't make it an exceptional option but still a solid, good rum.

Is it real rum?

No, Bumbu is marketed as rum, but technically it doesn't fulfill the requirements. In the US, a rum must contain at least 40% alcohol, in the EU 37.5%. Instead, Bumbu is a sweetened spiced rum-based liquor flavored with several ingredients.

The smell & aroma of Bumbu

When nosing the Bumbu Rum, an immediate sense of profound sweetness envelops the senses, transporting one straight to the pinnacle of the sweet spectrum. 

 The aroma unfolds with a rich tapestry of caramel notes, their velvety essence swirling enticingly in the air. Accompanied by the subtle embrace of vanilla and banana with a subtle hint of spice, a symphony of indulgence takes center stage.

Amidst this olfactory journey, there's a distinct absence of citrus or sharp notes, allowing the harmonious interplay of caramel, vanilla, and toffee to claim the spotlight, rendering the Bumbu Rum an aromatic embodiment of sweet sophistication.

What does Bumbu the Original Rum taste like?

From the very first sip, a wave of pronounced sweetness covers the tongue. This sweetness, reminiscent of caramel and toffee, pervades the flavor profile, serving as a testament to the infusion of rich, velvety sugar undertones. 

Amidst this symphony of sweetness, subtle nuances emerge on the palate, including delicate echoes of chocolate, nutmeg, and banana. A standout feature is the undeniable presence of the Banoffee essence, rendering a sensory homage to this cherished dessert. 

The absence of any harsh alcohol bite, characteristic of its 35% ABV, seamlessly aligns with its role as a sipping liqueur. Yet, beyond its sweet foundation, a finely tuned balance of spices unfolds, imparting a welcome touch of warmth. It's this medley of natural native spices, akin to peppery, allspice notes, that introduces an intriguing and complex flavor profile and prevents the overall experience from drifting into cloying territory. 

What is Bumbu Rum made from?

The base rum is a 15-year old Bajan Spiced Rum with a base of fermented sugar cane, distilled in Barbados. The sugar cane used in this spirit is harvested all over Latin America like Brazil, Costa Rica, Belize, Dominican Republic, and the Caribbean islands. The different minerals in the terroir show in the final rum and the taste of the final version of Bumbu Rum.

The rum brand also uses a specific type of yeast during fermentation, a distillery secret that dates back to the 1840s. Therefore, the distillers carefully selected a mix from various countries in Central and South America.

Another vital element of Barbadian Rum is the water used in the products. This exceptional water gets naturally purified by limestones. The third and most characteristic element of Spiced Rum is a secret. Bumbu does not reveal what spices go into the recipe. But what we do know is that it's not the usual suspects.

Bottle Design

The Bumbu Original Rum boasts a stunning bottle design that captures the eye with its clear glass and an intricately designed cross emblem. While the words "Bumbu Rum Co." grace the label, at the heart of the visually captivating cross design, the phrase "Rum with natural flavors" is displayed.

This labeling intricacy might inadvertently lead one to overlook the fact that this is not an authentic rum, but a finely crafted spiced rum. This intriguing design element, though undeniably captivating, contributes to success of Bumbu.

How to drink Bumbu Rum

Bumbu is a great sipping rum for beginners. The sweetness combined with the pleasant taste of banana and caramel is something for people who otherwise aren't that much into rum. Experienced rum drinkers might find it too sweet when imbibed neat.

You can pair it with a mixer to cut through the sweetness or use it in cocktails. If you're looking for inspiration, read on for mixer recommendations and cocktail recipes to try.

Best mixers

Classic Coke is too sweet as a mixer for Bumbu Rum, so the classic spiced rum & coke is only for those with a sweet tooth. To find suitable mixers, we did an extensive Bumbu Rum tasting using a large variety of mixers. Here are our favorites:

  1. Apple and Ginger Juice: This mixer made from apples, and ginger stands out as an exceptional pairing for Bumbu Rum. The fiery kick of ginger harmoniously balances the sweetness of the rum, while the pressed apple juice seamlessly blends with its toffee notes. The result is a tantalizing and well-rounded highball drink bound to satisfy your taste buds. You can make this yourself or get it from your local grocery store.
  2. Pineapple Soda: Taking second place, Pineapple Soda proves to be a compelling partner for Bumbu Rum. The interplay between the pineapple's natural sweetness and the rum's Banoffee and toffee elements creates a delightful synergy. The additional sweetness from the pineapple soda complements the rum's flavor profile, resulting in a satisfying and flavorful mixed drink. If you're looking to enhance the tropical character of Bumbu Rum, this mixer is a solid contender.
  3. Fentimans Tropical Soda: This tropical version from Fentimans is an intriguing option for those seeking a twist. While they work to a certain extent, they may not perfectly balance the rum's sweetness. Fentimans Tropical Soda provides a burst of exotic flavors, while Schweppes's Muscovado Mixer adds a hint of depth. These options offer an alternative to traditional mixers and could be worth exploring for a unique taste experience.

Cocktails to make with Bumbu Rum

Cocktails made with Bumbu rum are hard to find. We tried it in many classic recipes and across some concoctions we didn't like too much (Daiquiri!). However, there also were some excellent rum cocktail recipe finds we want to highlight here: 

  1. Jungle Bird
  2. Air Mail
  3. Bumbu Mojito

1. Jungle Bird

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Bumbu original
  • 0.75 oz Campari
  • 0.5 oz Strawberry liqueur 
  • 0.5 oz Simple syrup 
  • 1 oz Pineapple juice 
  • 0.5 oz Fresh squeezed lime juice

Steps to make it:

  1. Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. 
  2. Shake for 8 to 12 seconds.
  3. Strain over fresh ice into a glass.
  4. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and leaves

2. Air Mail

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Bumbu original
  • 0.5 oz Lime juice
  • 0.5 oz Honey syrup 
  • Top with Luc Belaire gold brut

Steps to make it:

  1. Add Bumbu, lime juice, and honey syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice. 
  2. Shake for 8 to 12 seconds.
  3. Double-strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  4. Top with Luc Belaire brut.
  5. Garnish with an orange peel.

3. Bumbu Mojito

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Bumbu original
  • 0.75 oz Lime juice
  • 0.75 oz Simple syrup 
  • 3 oz Chilled soda
  • 10-15 Mint leaves

Steps to make it:

  1. Add Bumbu, lime juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice. 
  2. Shake for 8 to 12 seconds.
  3. Strain over fresh ice into a glass.
  4. Top with chilled soda and garnish with mint sprig.

Other Bumbu Rum products

Bumbu Original is only one of three products the brand currently sells. One is a rich and sweet Rum liqueur called Bumbu Crème (15% ABV), and the other is a premium Rum called Bumbu XO. Bumbu XO is not distilled in Barbados but in Panama. It's advertised as an 18-year-old Rum aged in ex-Bourbon barrels and finished in white oak sherry casks.

Bumbu XO gets bottled at 40% ABV and is a totally different product than Bumbu Original. It's much drier and doesn't have that typical banana flavor. Instead, you'll taste oak, spices, ginger, and hints of cinnamon - definitely a more typical Rum than the original version.

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