James Cook Genuine Overseas Dark Rum

Today we have fun by drinking rum!

Another rum today, this time in the form of James Cook Genuine Overseas Dark Rum. James Cook is a 40% dark rum available from Lidl for £10.99, making it quite cheap for a normal strength rum. I’ve drank a lot of this in the past and while I don’t remember much about it other than it being drinkable, I do remember it being pure grade esophagus stripper. On with the review then.

Perhaps one of Lidl's finest.

Perhaps one of Lidl’s finest.

James Cook presents itself as quite a naval rum with the label being laden with compasses, ships and anchors, as well as being named after Captain Cook himself. The words “JAMES COOK” are printed around the neck of the bottle which unfortunately look like “COCK” when hit by light, something which I hope to overlook while drinking it. While the label is in English, the cap is printed in German saying “Echter Übersee Rum” so I assume this is made in Germany and then shipped elsewhere. It is a “Genuine Overseas” rum after all. The back label features more of Lidl’s usual mindless drivel stating “Its composition of fine rum from overseas lends it a harmonious, mild flavour”. The word “composition” suggests it could be a blended rum but it doesn’t mention being blended anywhere so I’m assuming this is just weird wording. It then goes on to say “This genuine overseas dark rum tastes best in a grog or tea: add 1/3 James Cook to 2/3 hot water or tea with 2 sugar cubes”. No thanks, I think I’ll stick with coke rather than boiling water as a mixer. The label finally leaves us with the cliffhanger “PRODUCE OF MORE THAN ONE COUNTRY”. Since they’ve went to all the effort of constantly pointing out that this is a “Genuine Overseas” rum, I would have thought they would mention where it came from but maybe some things are best left unsaid.

James Cook has a fairly standard rum smell. It isn’t the most inviting rum but there isn’t anything overly unappealing other than the bleachy scent which is to be expected from any cheap spirit. Again, this isn’t overpowering so it isn’t much of a problem. James Cook is quite pleasant to drink too. It’s much sweeter than I expected from the smell, but it definitely tastes much better. The burn is much less than I remember but I assume this will come back once the bottle is finished, although I was drinking it with the cheapest coke I could find (19p for a 2 litre bottle) so I’m sure that didn’t help. James Cook is a rum which I would have no problems sipping on all night. I mixed James Cook and coke and it was quite disappointing. Mixing it kills of all taste of alcohol but still keeps a minimum rum flavour. You can tell you’re drinking rum but it’s quite a bland drink. I would much rather drank this rum straight than mix it with coke.

James Cook Genuine Overseas Dark Rum is a pretty great rum for the price. It’s cheap, tastes decent and gets the job done. James Cook could possibly make a pretty good drink as a DIY spiced rum, which is something I’m going to look at in the future.

Booze Review rating: 7/10

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18 Responses to James Cook Genuine Overseas Dark Rum

  1. Mal says:

    Being a veteran of Bundaberg, Pussers, Lambs and the dreaded Captain Morgan Rums, I approached this offering from my well meaning spouse, with some trepidation.
    I suspect she saw James Cook on the label and assumed an Australian would automatically drink it in a fit of patriotic fervor.
    A crack of the cap and a quick sniff was disappointing. Had I not opened the bottle myself, I would have suspected some tampering with rubbing alcohol.
    At that point, I would have probably set it aside for a time when my usual supplies had dwindled to naught. Unfortunately, my spouse was hovering.
    The fine traditions of Rum, Buggery and the Lash, were upheld on first tasting of the neat spirit.
    My palate was suitably chastised, which is about as lurid a description that might pass the censors.
    Coke, of the genuine variety was applied to the wounds, but did little to tart up what is undoubtedly a very raw spirit of mixed parentage.
    It isn’t undrinkable. It is certainly contains a good measure of alcohol. The taste is easily drowned by soft drink, but that is hardly the object of drinking for enjoyment.
    It was a gift, so nothing lost really, but i wouldn’t and shan’t go out of my way to purchase more.

  2. Rich says:

    I bought this for adding to coke. It kind of tastes of rum and coke, but its not got a very weak rum flavour – a bit naff. I shop at Lidl and this product is one of their weaker ones and at the price its not really cheap or inexpensive. Buy a bottle of captain morgan instead.

  3. Neil Cake says:

    Inspired by your site (and payday coming around), I decided to pop down Lidl to try one of their spirits, and opted for the gold James Cook variety – encouraged by its 40% ABVs. I will be posting a review on my blog some time in the future, but I just thought I’d let you know in advance, it is beyond doubt the worst spirit I have ever attempted to drink. I would like to know whether you’ve tried it, and whether you would be able to drink a full bottle of it. I haven’t tried mixing it yet, but evidence so far suggests it is one for the sink.


    Neil Cake.

  4. Arne says:

    Looking for a cheaper alternative to Captian Morgan spiced, I just tried this Lidl spiced variation of Captain Cook. The first Impression after having opened the bottle was the smell. Spicy and flavoured. Yes indeed.
    To make a Long Story short, bottom line is that mixed together with Coke it surely does its thing and can be enjoyed. As it is much more spiced and flavoured than Captain Morgan, you just gotta use less of it unless you want a very strong taste.
    So using less even makes it less expensive as the bottle lasts longer 😉
    And yes, am telling here for an alternative to do mixing with coke. Serve chilled on ice of course.
    Neither this cheaper Lidl brand, nor Captain Morgan spiced itself should be a choice to be swallowed pure. As with it being drowned in Coke, the taste is different, stronger, than Captain Morgan. But as it is a matter of taste this can be good and must not be bad as it is just different flavoured. I do like it for a change. Again when trying please do use less of it than you are used to with other brands. Cheers.

  5. john says:

    having run out of my favourite sipping rum and whilst visiting my lidl store in Bodmin I happened to see in the spirits section James Cook rum and I thought that I would give it a try. It looked very light in colour but then again so do a lot of premium rums. Upon opening the bottle and smelling it I thought that I had bought a bootle of Whisky for the overwhelming smell was that of Whisky and believe it or not it tasted more like Whisky than Rum. This Rum is harsh on the taste with no mellowness to it whatsoever and does not deserve to be called Premium Rum. Well I suppose you learn by your mistakes.

  6. Lachlan says:

    I bought a bottle of this as it was pretty cheap and I had no drink in the house to offer any guests that may show up, I did have a bottle of Kraken, but I finally finished that after about 2 years from the purchase date. Anyway, it’s certainly not Kraken, and it’s certainly not Mount Gay, but it is 10 times better than the last cheap rum I bought which was Sainsbury’s own brand. When I uncapped and had a sniff, it was pretty much a standard rummy smell with a more than just a hint of banana. Reading that it was “Genuine Overseas Rum” and “Produce of more than one country” I figured it must be a blended rum and someone flung some banana rum into that blend somewhere along the line. I took a big swig straight from the bottle and while it was certainly smoother than nail varnish remover, it was a touch on the harsh side, although a lot sweeter than that Sainsbury’s own nonsense. Once my eyes had stopped watering, and I could see the bottle again, I took another swig and after the initial burn, I got that nice warm feeling down my oesophagus. When I breathed out, I experienced a reasonably strong banana whiff, which is nice, I like bananas. That lasted for a couple of minutes then I put the bottle in the cupboard and went to get my dinner. All in all, I think for the price its a decent bottle of rum, once you get over the initial shock as it hits the back of your throat. I’d buy it again just to keep in the cupboard for the occasional glass and maybe even have a laugh watching my friends take their first drink of it. Definitely worth a tenner for a full bottle.

  7. Soosie says:

    Very disappointed, weak rum taste and sharp. Bought for adding to dishes, mulled wine etc. Very little rum flavour.

  8. Kraken says:

    Hi, nice review.
    I use to drink the James Cook 54% or the James Cook Smooth and Spiced 35% (both from Lidl here in Germany) mixed with Coke and they are pretty good. On the bottle of the 54% rum the label says: “Komposition feinen Rums aus dem Indischen Ozean”, which means: composition of fine rum from the Indian Ocean.

  9. Joe bored in a country I can't speak polish but with my girlfriend so fuck it, more rum please. says:

    In Polska right now so gf can see her relatives.
    I don’t talk polish (it’s a very difficult and illogical language).
    Anyhow long story short got gran imperio 7 year old (blended) rum from Biedronka store here for about £7 (that would be about $12 if you US). It tastes like a rougher Diplamatico Reserva, fairly good stuff really beats lidl and aldi’s offerings hands down.
    Just a pity no biedronka in UK.
    If you visiting UK just go in to Tesco or Asda and get a bottle of Cockspur it’s retailing just now for about £13.

  10. Greg says:

    Bought this to make blackberry (from the freezer) rum, having just made some blackberry gin, and thought better have a sip. Now on a special at £9.99 thought it was just great – now looking forward to it as blackberry rum.

  11. Hamalito says:

    this is some nice easy drinking dark rum,and I drink a lot of it.A lot.

    Avoid the spiced version,it’s 35% and like Bundaberg – you won’t get that mashed off it ( drunk but not hammered ).The Amber version is the best,that I would compare to Appletons.

    Best drank on it’s own with a glass of water chaser.

    I thankyou!

    Top marks for the price.

  12. Ryan Barraclough says:

    I bought this rum to make creme bruleé with, but the recipe didn’t need any so I just drank the bottle straight. Very surprised with the taste for such a cheap rum. I’d recommend as a mixer or in boozy recipes, but if you’re hard up on cash and enjoy rum, this stuff will definitely get you fucked up for the price. The emphasis on it being ‘overseas’ rum screams of being nowhere near the Caribbean, but a pleasant drink nonetheless. 6/10

  13. John says:

    I just bought a bottle and I paid £14 fuckin quid haven’t tried it yet

  14. Jan Bindegal says:

    Bought one today at LIDL in Denmark for 73 Dkk (around 8,21 Pounds).

    I like rum indeed and my favorite is Stroh Rum 60%.
    James Cook ‘Genuine’ Overseas Dark Rum Is made in Italy, and i thought that most cheap booze come from either France, Germany or Poland.. 😀
    Haven’t tasted it yet, but i gonna mix it with coke later today.

    Ohh – And congratz with Brexit 🙂

  15. Ringo Buckle says:

    This is not too bad a rum at all. Needs to be had with spot of cola and not for drinking neat. My favourite is Appleton’s Special Reserve and this Captain Cooks is not. However, for £9.99 and with a splash of cola it’s a quite refreshing spot of medicine.

  16. Hougoumont says:

    Hmmm…. ok – at a tenner a throw it’s a bargain. It’s just not very good – but then what do you expect for that particular sum? I’d agree with another reviewer above – I reckon it’s a blended product largely of India – it’s got the classic characteristics of Indian rum. It’s interesting that sugar cane was farmed by the plantation system in India well before the crop was exported to the West Indies – and with rum it seems the wheel has turned full circle with rum manufacture coming to India. Anyroad – history aside.. it has some characteristics of paint stripper, but not half as much as the home brewed Serbian plum brandy in my cupboard – nor the amount of methanol either. I’m swigging it neat while listening to Jazz FM and it dulls the effect of the constantly annoying adverts for Mishcon de Reya while blending pretty well with Mile Davis in his cool period. It’s better treated as a naval drink however – ‘Three Water’ Grog (diluted 3 to 1 with added sugar and freshly squeezed lime juice) is pretty good – not as good as Pussers but a fraction of the price. Drinking with Coke be dammed – ’tis a foul American drink of no merit and dubious connections. Grog it is…

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