I’ve made no secret of the fact I’m a big Craft Gin Club fan. But I’m pretty partial to a Rum and Coke with a bit of lime in it (a “Cuba Libre,” I am reliably informed).
I have no idea whether the Craft Gin Club came first or the Craft Rum Club came first. But the websites are similar and the premise is practically identical. The only difference? The Craft Rum Club is 5 pence per month cheaper and switches out gin for rum.
So can the Craft Rum Club live up the high standards I have come to expect having been receiving Craft Gin Club subscriptions for 3 months?
I ordered my first box. I waited patiently. And so without further ado, let’s jump right in with our Craft Rum Club review.
I’m basing this review on the August box.
In short, I think it’s great. It was a very premium rum with premium mixers, supplied with a magazine and snack.
The rum would typically retail alone (based on a Google Search) for £37, so this definitely represents value.
I find it hard not to compare the offering to Craft Gin Club. And honestly, Craft Gin Club is a lot more polished, with more individual items, equally premium end spirits and more in terms of snacks.
That’s not to say Craft Rum Club is bad. Not at all. But I found it hard to review it without comparing.
Anyway, without much further ado, here’s our full review with the good and the could-be-better.
What we like
- The rum was very premium
- Great value for money against buying separately
- High end mixers
- Well packaged
- Very easy subscription management
What could be better
- Would like to see mixers from brands that aren't on the Teso shelves (Fever Tree in the box I got). I love Fever Tree but half the joy of a subscription box for me is brand discovery
- It's good value but compared with, say, Craft Gin Club, there's not as much in the box
Delivery and Packaging
So, the Craft Rum Club arrived bang on time during the first week of the month as promised. Delivered by Royal Mail 48 hour, the packaging is much like Craft Gin Club, insofar as it’s well boxed (loving the ship image no the custom box) and the bottle itself is in Airpac style bottle packaging to stop it breaking.
Faultless delivery and packaging.
What’s in the Box?
So, the contents of the box in brief:
- A full size and very premium bottle of rum – in this case Smith and Cross Traditional Jamaica rum (a whopping 57% alcohol)
- 2 small mixers (in this case 200ml Fever Tree Ginger Beer)
- A snack – in this month’s box that was a pack of Chika’s Rice Crisps in a red pepper flavour
- A copy of “Rumspiration” magazine which covers drink recipes using the rum (plus the rum supplied in the alternative spiced rum box)
- Dried fruit garnishes
The contents are certainly premium. The magazine is insightful though doesn’t feel as polished as that of competitor clubs. But there’s no doubt that this is a box that tries to provide value and premium product.
How did it all taste?
So this is the bit that matters most, right?
We made up our first drinks with the Fever Tree ginger beer, the dried fruit and a helping of that rum (alongside plenty of ice). And make no mistake – it was a bloody good drink. Thoroughly enjoyable.
And further to that, the rum goes great in my personal favourite rum based drink too – a good old Cuba Libre. I’ve yet to try a rum cocktail with it.
I’m going to be honest. The rice crisps that were included were a little dry and cardboard-like for my taste! But that’s not what I’d subscribe to a gin club for! So we can let that slide.
Smith and Cross is a rum I’d never heard of and that’s what I like about alcohol subscription clubs – disovering new brands. That, for me, is half the excitement.
I don’t want brands I can buy in Tesco, frankly. Otherwise why wouldn’t I just buy them in Tesco?
And on that basis, I was a little disappointed to find the mixer was a Fever Tree ginger beer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Fever Tree (hello, refreshingly light Elderflower tonic). But it’s on the shelf in Tesco. It’s not exciting and certainly doesn’t feel in keeping with the premise of a “craft” spirit club. I’d like to see smaller brands and ones that are less well known in the mixers.
So, I’m aware that I’m harping on about Craft Gin Club here like a besotted ex or something. But for me, that’s the pinnacle of what a £40 mid price subscription box should be. And in their box you get a cocktail syrup, a range of soft drinks/mixers and a range of snacks.
The snacks I can generally always live without. But I do like having the option for a standard spirit and mixer plus a more creative cocktail.
Not including a cocktail syrup or ingredients for a cocktail in Craft Rum Club feels like missing an open goal. After all, rum is the the cocktail spirit.
So I think that’s one thing I’d like to see as Craft Rum Club develops.
An absolute bug bear for me with any type of service or subscription is those ones where you can sign up online but can’t cancel online. You know, the ones where you pretty much have to dial premium rate numbers, hang around on hold for seventeen years listening to Coldplay and then speak to someone who tells you that you’ve called the wrong department? Yeh, that sort of torture.
But for me, if you can sign up online you should be able to cancel online too.
I was buying a box to share with a friend as a one off and to review here. So I needed to be able to cancel quickly after and was able to very easily online.
Equally, I was able to request an invoice and got very fast responses to my emails.
Would I recommend Craft Rum Club?
In short, yes. I absolutely would. The most important things (the rum itself and the taste of the drinks made with it) are absolutely spot on.
There’s room for improvement. But make no mistake – this is a good value premium box already.