Nose: dusty berries, dry toffee/caramel, a bit of vanilla and light oak. After adding a few drops of water, the nose becomes richer, with increased but well-intengrated oak presence, brown sugar, and more vanilla.
Taste: caramel sweetness builds from the front, a bit of muddled berries mid-palate, very light oak tannins and pepper near the back. After dilution, the sweetness becomes more like simple sucrose, which is also a bit overwhelming.
Finish: oak, pepper, residual sweetness
Cockspur 12 (it never actually says 'year' on the label) is a blend of 8, 10, and 12 year old rums. For as old as this rum is, I suspect that it is mostly made from rums aged in refill barrels, though they claim to use both ex-bourbon and fresh oak barrels. The rum has clearly been impacted by oak, with the strong caramel and vanilla notes, but there is very little of the tannic quality one finds in a lot of long-aged rums (which would be especially evident from new oak barrels). I find it very comparable to Cruzan Single Barrel, both in terms of flavors and price. However, Cockspur 12 gains an edge by having more natural flavors than Cruzan, the latter of which is slightly marred by an artificial cast to its vanilla notes. So if you're looking for a sweeter, easy sipping rum, Cockspur 12 is going to be a very good choice. It's also a solid value, usually retailing for under $30. With a bit more complexity it would be elevated in my estimation, but it does what it does very well.
2 oz Cockspur 12
1 tsp allspice dram
0.5 tsp vanilla syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
3 drops cardamom bitters
The nose is a delicious blend of rum, vanilla, and cardamom. The sip begins sweetly, building towards the back. Molasses notes from the rum, vanilla, and spice from the dram and bitters all come in mid-palate.
While not the most complex drink, the ingredients add to the rum without overwhelming it. Quite a satisfying sipper.