Jack-O Blast Review

Jack-O Blast Review

Bottom Line: Should You Buy Captain Morgan Jack-O Blast Pumpkin Spice Rum?

As a shooter


“It tastes like your late night poor choice (of paramours) closing time at the bar.”

Plundering Pumpkin


“Okay! The flavor is a million times better here.”

In Coffee


“It tastes like what I get out of the vending machine at work.”

Dark and Stormy


“I feel like I can taste every single flavor!”


Disquieted at the beginning—one must never try this thing straight, no matter what the marketing department or your sorority sister says—this things sings in the right setting. And that setting is beer and ginger ale.

For the Halloween Alcohol Nerds

It’s Story and of What it’s Made

In 2015 Captain Morgan released their Cannon Blast spiced rum. It was, in our opinion, a liqueur made of citrus and cinnamon. We were not fans and declined to review it. (Sorry, Diageo; to be fair, we’ve positively reviewed other Captain Morgan products.)

We were, however, fans of the bottle! It was a great design, looking just like a cannon ball. It’s awkward on the shelf and a bit difficult to handle when pouring but as a party prop—an area where Captain Morgan thrives—it’s perfect. The bottle is a sure-fire hit anywhere even if the rum (liqueur) is a bit of a disappointment.

Now, in 2016, they’ve offered the same bottle in a pumpkin motif as the Captain Morgan Jack-O Blast! It’s just as cool; a perfect fit for Halloween parties everywhere. It promises “autumnal spices.” It is also designed to be a shooter. No word on what the spices are (frustrating if expected). Can the pumpkin succeed where the cannon ball failed?

In pondering, along with the obligatory shot we decided that there’s no other thing to compare it to save that other most seasonal of fall drinks: the Starbuck Pumpkin Spice Latte! We also try it in a producer-recommended setting of beer(!). And there’s always freestyling at the end…

How it Performed

Jack-O Blast Neat and Unadorned Chilled Shooter vs Cannon Blast and Fireball

Okay, we don’t shoot spirits very often but we’ll shoot this. We tried it two ways: room temperature and chilled. Because the chilling will necessarily dilute the spirit, we tried that first.

Let’s compare it to the ubiquitous and riotous Fireball first: total cinnamon schnapps… Sweet, cinnamon candy.. No, hot candy… Familiar because everyone knows about this. The fade and finish come a bit bitter and asphalt-driven; perhaps a bit from the whiskey. It’s too sweet… but then again, it started out as Dr. McGillicuddy’s Fireball schnapps and for schnapps the sweetness is appropriate.

Cannon Blast next, our old nemesis. Lots of citrus on the nose… mostly citrus, really… Maybe a honey note… A nice sweet, clean, almost natural (!) scent… Rum, spice? Not yet when only smelling... Here goes the shot: total medicine with a horrible aspirin fade. You know when you chew Tylenol instead of swallow it? That’s the finish here: prescription meds. Others thought it went down easy and is very mixable. It’s a shortcut for lime maybe.

On to Jack-O Blast. So far, our panel is divided on the better shot but no question Fireball vs Cannon Blast is a lesser of two evils kind of choice (like the 2016 presidential election) rather than some happy choice (like Ginger or Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island). The aroma here is actually fantastic. They nailed it: complete pumpkin pie. Real pumpkin pie… At least pumpkin pie filling out of the can… It’s sweet but not as sweet as the schnapps… It has the same bitter, eaten Tylenol finish that so horrifies some but at least the front end is moderately tasty… But it elicits frowns, puzzlement, sighs. The taste is manufactured.

On ice, both the Captain Morgan products improved… the Rx finish is reduced, the flavor is a bit muted on ice… but that’s a fair trade. This is drinkable/shootable on the rocks. But then, Oh God, there’s that horrid aftertaste again. There’s some major defect in these bottles. But we can say that people might go out and buy it for a party at Halloween. At least, some of our number will admit to that.

Plundering Pumpkin vs Aboslut Mandarin

The Plundering Pumpkin is recommended by the Captain Morgan folks and calls for 1oz Jack-O Blast, 2oz Pumpkin beer, and 1oz ginger beer or ginger ale. We’re going to bastardize this a bit. Or rather, we’re going to totally ignore this recipe. Why? Well, first, who has pumpkin beer? We don’t. But we do love, love, love putting Absolut Mandarin vodka in 12oz of Belgium White ale. (Try that, you’ll love it.) So we’re going to do that instead. Also, ginger beer and ginger ale are light years apart. We might drop a little in… we’ll see. But if Absolut Mandarin can stand on its own, then we think Captain Morgan should as well (we’re guessing the spiciness of the ginger ale is designed to cut the sweet of the Jack-O Blast since that doesn’t taste so hot in beer). And finally, why do you need a pumpkin beer when you’re supposed to be adding something that’s literally poured out of a pumpkin?!

The Absolut Mandarin version is just awesome. We’ve used it at parties. We use it when we’re alone. For whatever reason, mandarin orange vodka mixes superbly with white ale in ratios of 12:2. If the Jack-O Blast is even close, we’ll give them a charitable nod.

Well, in the white ale the Jack-O Blast smells even more like pumpkin pie. Somehow the beer brought out more pie crust flavor and that’s nice on the nose. And you know what? It’s good. It’s actually very good. It’s a bit too sweet, perhaps, but it’s very, very good. This is the drink that should be marketed. A minority of our number said, “Eh, it’s fine… but I’d probably just get a pumpkin beer.” Yeah… well look, smart guy: that beer’s only beer-proof, unlike this Plundering Pumpkin thing that’s augmented with rum. That’s a party!

Jack-O Blast vs Starbucks Latte and Matusalem 15yr Gran Reserva

“Nuh-uh!” say the rum lovers, “You did not put a 15yr rum into a coffee!” Yes, we did. Here’s why: it’s a great rum but it’s also offered at a great price affording you the ability to do things like this. Settle down. We used 4 parts latte to 1 part rum.

This is where we picked up a nice, piping hot Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte, that most hip of all hipster coffee drinks. The rationale: we’re taking the pumpkin spices of the season and letting them into the thunderdome: two pumpkins enter, one pumpkin leave.

The Starbucks mixed with Matusalem smells great… A nut aroma, very mild spice… Not at all the pumpkin pie aroma… Rather, coffee and niceness… It tastes wonderful… Creamy, pumpkin, has a great rum kick... I could drink that every morning, all the time, and gaze longingly at whomever is in my bed with ever-greater love... It sings of a chilly night in Autumn... Some found it too subtle with a taste of alcohol. But overall very popular.

With the Jack-O Blast, we used coffee with a little cream in it 4:1 with the spiced rum. Why regular coffee and not Pumpkin Spice Latte? The theory is that Starbucks provided the flavor in the first drink, Captain Morgan in the second. It seemed unfair to double-up on pumpkin spice. In the moment, it smells like someone put a shot of pumpkin syrup in my coffee… It tastes, well, ok... The horrible aftertaste is eliminated by the coffee, which is a good thing. But it’s just a mild flavor. The Italian in our number was scandalized by the coffee far more than the rum. Overall, it’s not strong enough in any dimension: not alcohol, not flavor, not aroma. Just weak.

Big-time loser to Starbucks and Matusalem in this.

Jack-O Blast vs Meyers Dark Rum in a Dark and Stormy

Okay… taking a cue from the ginger beer, we’re going to try this in a Dark and Stormy. We go classic: ginger beer (Sioux City brand), 2 dashes of Angostura bitters, and Myers Dark rum. After the beer experience, we’re optimistic about this one. Here we go…

The traditional Dark and Stormy is, well, predictably good. It’s beer like… a thick, molasses-driven Moscow Mule… More complex, and, darker (getting less poetic as the night goes on)... Stormier (natch)... Angrier… It’s a black cloudy sky where a Moscow Mule is clouds and sunlight... Smoky on the finish… Like the ashes after a storm rages through.

Moving to Jack-O Blast, there’s the pumpkin pie! Can’t get away from it. And you know what? It’s better. Great even. The pie flavor mixes very nicely with the ginger and rum. This is far superior to a traditional Dark and Stormy. It tastes crisp with all the elements in concert. We’re finally getting a persistent pumpkin instead of that Rx aftertaste. This is a great drink. The Captain Morgan folk should put this on their website immediately!

This is a definitive, clear, and highest-best-use winner of the night. Who knew pumpkins went with Dark and Stormy cocktails? Well, duh. Dark and Stormy = Halloween.

Published by Proof66.com