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Rum Review: Koloa Coconut

Kōloa Kaua’i Coconut Rum Review

Koloa Kauai Coconut Rum

As of this writing, I think I still hold the curious distinction as one of the world’s foremost coconut rum experts. Some thought me crazy when I wrote the Coconut Rum Challenge, but as I said there, I have long enjoyed coconut rum in a variety of tropical drinks.

Since writing that article, I have received coconut rums from a few smaller distilleries. One of those distilleries is Koloa from the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Unlike many of the other coconut rums out there, this one comes in at a relatively full strength 40% ABV. Let’s take a look at this new player in the coconut rum game and see if it can beat the reigning champion.

Like the rest of Koloa’s rum line, the coconut is bottled in clear glass with a plastic screw cap. The label design is simple and classic, featuring a fine line drawing of their tasting room at the Kilohana plantation on Kauai.

In the glass, the rum is perfectly clear, and a swirl in my snifter produces a number of droplets that eventually yield and fall downward.  As I move in for a nosing, there is a fair bit of astringency that reminds me this is not one of those 21% ABV coconut rum liqueurs (I’m looking at you, Malibu). The aromas are of fresh but mature coconut meat, supported by a foundation of crème brulee and molasses. Beyond the initial aromas is a medley of faint hard candy notes: cherry and grape among them. Let’s taste…

As the rum enters, the astringency and sweetness balance each other, and many of the initial aromas are translated into flavors. The mature coconut flavors soon mingle with the candy, and the result is nothing short of delightful. There is the slightest hint of saccharin bitterness as the coconut flavor fades out, but it’s not enough to ruin my enjoyment, rather, it inspires me to replace it with a fresh sip.

Granted, this is definitely a mixing rum, but I could easily imagine folks enjoying Koloa Coconut Rum over ice, or with a just splash of cold coconut water. Move over Bacardi Coco (which scored a 5/10 in our previous taste test) we have a new leader in the coconut rum game.

On to the scores:

  • Appearance: 1/1
  • Nose: 2/2
  • Mouth feel: 1/1
  • Taste: 3/4
  • Aftertaste: 1/2
  • Total Score: 8/10

Buy Koloa Coconut Rum online

Have you tried Koloa Kauai Coconut? Please share your thoughts below!


Disclosure: This bottle was provided by the distiller for review purposes.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2013 3:30 pm

    I’ve been chomping at the bit to try some Koloa rums and use them on the site. I wish I’d get samples! Glad to see this turned out well. No shame in having experience with coconut rum. It was a really great article.

  2. Gil Batzri permalink
    November 11, 2013 3:18 pm

    Nice to know, I haven’t been super impressed with their other rums, but I will give this a try when I finish my Coco

    • Josh Miller permalink*
      November 11, 2013 3:25 pm

      ‘Tis quite good.

  3. Martin permalink
    June 2, 2014 3:50 pm

    Have you tried Koko Kanu – a coconut rum from J.Wray & Nephew (Appleton Estate)?

    • Josh Miller permalink*
      June 3, 2014 4:12 pm

      I have not seen that here, Martin. In terms of J Wray/Campari products, I only have the Coruba Coconut.

  4. Michael Kohl permalink
    September 6, 2014 11:13 am

    Hands down the best coconut rum. Try mixing with cream soda for a delightfully refreshing cocktail.

  5. steph f permalink
    March 6, 2015 3:36 pm

    A wonderful coconut rum! Enough so that I’m willing to pay the expensive shipping charges to WI to get this rum again. I should have brought more bottles back from Kauai!

  6. Casey Stewart permalink
    April 12, 2015 12:46 am

    I would love to see how Whaler’s Coconut Rum stacks up, overall.

    • Josh Miller permalink*
      April 12, 2015 7:45 am

      That one’s not sold around here, but based on my experience with their other products, I would expect it to slot in near the bottom.

  7. Brian s permalink
    July 9, 2015 9:48 am

    I love clarke’s court rhythm coconut rum but sold out everywhere over here

  8. ralph alexander permalink
    December 25, 2015 1:19 pm

    Where are the recipes for the Kauai Coffee Rum?? We were hoping to use at Christmas time Wondering In Seattle ie.. Starbucks Land. (A reply please) R Alexander

    • Josh Miller permalink*
      December 30, 2015 2:35 pm

      Sorry, Ralph; I haven’t had it yet! Should work interchangeably with recipes calling for other coffee liqueurs, however.

  9. kristen permalink
    September 21, 2016 4:13 pm

    Have you tried Blue Chair Bay premium blend coconut rum since writing this article? Give it a shot, I’m curious to read what you think.

  10. October 20, 2017 6:24 pm

    Hello Josh – I just found your reviews on coconut spirits — well done and very helpful. Like you, I am looking for a coconut rum or liqueur that actually tastes and smells like coconut. I understand that Kalani is a 30% abv Mayan rum (from Yucatan, Mexico) that is apparently distilled from coconut. It’s priced at $27.50 for a 750ml bottle. Here are the comments of B&B Liquor Shop online: “This pale straw-colored liqueur features a sweet, light coconut fragrance and bright, lingering coconut flavor. Thick feel. By far the most authentic and natural tasting coconut spirit, tastes like an alcoholic coconut milk.” I haven’t tried it, but wondered if you have? I would appreciate your comments. Thanks, Norm

  11. Timothy Sellati permalink
    January 9, 2018 11:32 am

    I just tried Brinley Gold Shipwreck Coconut Rum Cream and I thought it was wonderful. This concoction is made with Caribbean rum from St. Kitts and real cream from NY State. It is an alcoholic light weight coming in at only 15% ABV, but it certainly sports a nice natural coconut flavor and no nasty artificial fruit/artificial sweetener after taste.

    Curious to know if you ever tried this coconut rum.

    • January 11, 2018 10:34 am

      I recently found a fabulous bottling of Rum Haven that I can certainly recommend. Unlike every other coconut flavored beverage I’ve tried previously, this 21% ABV spirit is exactly what I expect a quality coconut rum experience to be. According to the label, Rum Haven is Caribbean rum with coconut liqueur. It is made with cane sugar and real coconut water with nothing artificial added. I found the aroma delightful, the taste rich with genuine fresh coconut flavor, and the finish is very clean with no odd aftertaste. I use it as an ingredient in tiki drinks, but it is a fine enough spirit to sip on its own. It is imported by Grande Antilles Cane Spirits in Hayward, CA and it is modestly priced at about $15 for 750ml. You might give it a try.

      • Kevin permalink
        June 2, 2018 2:42 pm

        Love Rumhaven really refreshing nonchemical taste

  12. Laini Nash permalink
    January 1, 2019 1:09 pm

    I may have a list people at my wedding am considering rums aye aye Captain Morgan spiced Bacardi Mango Bacardi Grand melon Bacardi pineapple fusion Bacardi superior I love parrot Bay to my favorite looking at the shellback silver I would like to try the Coco can do a coconut rum Don q Coco the carubba coconut rum Bacardi Coco and the newest one you listed the koala coconut rum could you tell me for a list people we’re talkin millionaires used to the best which would be my 5 best picks

  13. Sharon permalink
    August 1, 2019 2:43 am

    Siesta Key coconut rum?!?!

  14. Karina permalink
    September 25, 2019 2:30 pm

    Give Key West Legal Distillery’s Green Coconut rum a try. Nice on it’s own and makes an amazing *classic* daiquiri.

  15. Juan Quintero permalink
    December 26, 2021 12:12 pm

    Hi! did you try the one from Demerara Distillers? it is from their Diamond brand, I would love to know your opinion


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