Equiano Rum Review

The Worlds First African Caribbean Rum
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Equiano Rum is the world’s first African and Caribbean Rum; that says a lot. And add to that an interesting back story which every new spirit launch seems to have these days.  It’s advertised as a true rum, completely uncompromised with no added sugars, spices, flavorings, or colors. That in itself is unique because both rum and whiskey over the years have become oversaturated with trash brands on the market. So this week we’re sampling Equiano to give you the deets and keep it real; is Equiano the real deal or just a bunch of hype?

Equiano is a multi award winning premium aged rum, that is the world’s first African & Caribbean blend and is a collaboration between two distilleries on two different continents. It’s Co-Founder, Ian Burrell is one of the most respected ambassadors in the rum category and we’ve been fortunate to share a drink with him in years past.  It’s unique flavor comes from the use of ex-bourbon and ex-cognac casks that it is matured in.

The Backstory

The Equiano name itself is interesting, we first thought it had something to do with the equator and it’s tropical nature but it’s actually named after Olaudah Equiano, a freedom fighter who liberated himself by selling rum. Equiano stood for equality and that is why 5% of company profits and $2 of every bottle purchased go to ground level freedom and equality projects annually. So now that we know a bit about the history, let’s see how the liquid itself holds up.

Tasting Notes

First Impression: The bottle is pretty damn beautiful, but that’s not unique in the Rum category. The bottle is the first impression and Equiano has managed to keep it both fancy and simple at the same time.

Nose: The nose is strong, very heavy dose of dry fruits. We soak raisins in rum annually for baking and this gives us heavy vibes of those rum soaked raisins. Strong undertones of butterscotch and toffee, think a Werthers original candy (yum). Those are the strongest aromas but the usual suspects can be found as well like vanilla and caramel.

Taste: You noticed the difference when there is no sugar added. This is a dryer rum, sweet naturally but not overbearing.  From the start you get noticeable flavors of oak, dried fruit, butterscotch and a smooth finish with orange and vanilla that lingers on the tongue.

Price:  $59.99

ABV: 43%

Final Word: Leading up to and post launch we heard a lot about Equiano, and we weren’t disappointed. It’s definitely in a category all by itself or at least with very few peers. Rum has become confused over the years; It’s a naturally sweet spirit, but it doesn’t have to be overdone. Equiano balances sweet with flavor and created a smooth liquid from start to finish. It’s a bit pricy at $59.99 but even at that price tag we would recommend adding this one to your liquor cabinet.


Alex is a full time consultant with 10+ years experience in the wine & spirits + consumer packaged goods industries. He is not a professional bartender, but is BarSmarts certified and makes a mean caipirinha. When not writing, Alex can be found traveling, spending time with his family, or bar hopping.

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