Screech Rum: A Retraction
Our long-time readers (hi Mom and Dad) will remember that waaaay back in 2005 we wrote a Screech Rum Review that was... How should we put this? It was less than complimentary to the Newfoundland-based rum. Since then, every once in a while we have received a comment to that review saying, in essence, that we were morons for badmouthing the stuff. Here are some of the choicer comments:
"the stuff is supposed to be harsh. if you can't take it go back to drinking coolers or whatever."
"listen, im from newfoundland and it sounds to mw like your just a bunch of mainland bitches, do me and the rest of the world a favor and stick to the water you guys call rum."
"By Jesus, whom ever wrote this review has got to be half retarded!!"
"Just split a bottle with two friends this weekend - we thought Screech was great! Carmel, smooth, wonderful. This reviewer is really an idiot."
You get the picture. So, after a few years of this we did what any red-blooded bloggers would do and made a bold, two-pronged move. We checked with the interns who reviewed it, and sat them down to give Screech another try. Below you'll find out what they had to say.
Intern One: OK, I'll be the first to admit that mistakes were made when we did our first Screech review. We'd already been drinking pretty heavily when we decided to review it, and then we split the bottle...
Intern Two: Yeah...check out the time stamp on the original review and you'll see it was just shy of midnight, and that's pretty much the cardinal rule, don't write reviews drunk. Plus, some of the stuff we mixed it with...
Intern One: Oh, man. We kept trying to outdo each other with what to mix it with. Didn't we chase a shot with cold tomato soup?
Intern Two (Reading the original review): "...tastes like Toronto with a Detroit chaser"? What does that even mean?
At this moment, our Editor in Chief points out they're stalling.
Intern Two: So...we don't have to drink the whole bottle again do we?
Intern One: I don't think I could take it.
The Editor in Chief pours a finger or two into a Spirit Sipper
, and slides it toward the interns. Intern Two sniffs and takes a sip, and while he swishes it, so does Intern One.
Intern Two: Are you sure this is the same stuff? I don't think any of my hair fell out.
Intern One (Picking up the bottle): Yeah, the label's different. Is this the New Coke of Screech?
Intern Two: It's not as sweet as some of the rums I've had, and it definitely gives you a kick in the tongue, but it's not...
Intern One: It's not scary. I remember more of a "burning tires and formaldehyde" kind of vibe.
Intern Two: It's pretty good actually. I probably wouldn't want to shoot it all that often (that's how we drank that first bottle) but I can see it making a great Rum and cola because it's not too sweet. Put a little lime in there and I'd be able to hunker down with a bottle.
Intern One (Taking another sip): Yeah, I'd drink this. I'd drink hell out of this.
: After a little more yammering, both interns agreed that they had been a bit too harsh on this rum (which isn't actually made in Newfoundland anymore; it's actually Jamaican). They both felt it's a good rum for the price ($15-$20 for 750ml) and they both planned on picking up a bottle to add to their liquor cabinets. They both still claim strongly that the formulation they tried on this particular day was different than what they originally drank.
So can we claim our review convinced the Screech folks to rethink their rum? We can say almost unequivocally "no," so here's what we will say to all the Screech fans out there:
(Give us a second...this is hard for a Snob.)
We were wrong. We're sorry. We are officially Screech fans, and we'll kiss the puffin's ass or whatever it is you folks say up there.
And if you're not a Screech drinker but you like your rum with some kick, give it a try and let us know what you think. It's available in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, and you may be able to find it online.
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Posted by Jake Jamieson at February 11, 2009 1:32 PM
At The Rum Project (linked) Sue Sea and I have reviewed most of the rums that count, over 130 of them. Let me be clear: I've not tasted "Screetch", but if it's like some of the other "rums" blended and bottled by the NLC, I'd be cautious.
The reason is simple: it doesn't take long before you recognize "rums" that are mostly backstory. Whether you name a rum after a two-block party street (George St.) or after a name for rotgut moonshine called "Screetch" produced from the dregs of decrepit shipping barrels, the result is the same - a rousing and marketable backstory housing a hollow product.
This website's first reviews were pretty awful, and many of the early comments reflected that. And I sure wouldn't blame on the time of night or state of sobriety - frankly as the hour grows later and the blood alcohol grows higher, the better the women look and the rum tastes.
So I don't buy that. OTOH, I'd be more inclined to believe that the NLC got the messege and dramatically changed the formula from awful to palatable.
Beware the marketing mavens, for they serve you ill...
Before you decide to head on up to the land of Bob & Doug McKenzie, keep in mind that liquor cost 2 to 3 times as much as what you currently pay in Maine, NH or Mass.
You guys get frickin 1 liter bottles of just about any spirit for as cheap as $12 USD while we Cannucks are forced to get the 750ml versions for as much as $25-40 CAD. I have yet to see a 1 liter bottle of any spirit in a Canadian liquor store... that's how uncommon that size is over here (probably because nobody would want to pay $60 CAD for it)
The exchange rate is great for Americans heading to Canada right now, but once you factor in our retarded pricing, you wouldn't be saving all that much. Trust me, you're better off buying the stuff locally in USA.