RANKED! The Mandatory 10 Best Rums to Buy
It seems like in this whiskey-obsessed world, sometimes rum gets lost in the shuffle. Unless you’re an ardent fan of the molasses or sugarcane juice-based spirit, you might have taken it for granted in the last few years. But whiskey drinkers would be doing themselves a major disservice if they didn’t give some aged rums a try. And we aren’t just talking about the amazing cocktails like the Dark ‘N’ Stormy, Mai Tai, Mojito, and the classic Daiquiri. We’re talking about drinking rum neat or on the rocks just like you do with your bourbon, Scotch, or rye.
The spirit is much more than harsh, rubbing-alcohol-like, cheap white rum. Many white rums are sweet, nuanced, and smooth. But, there’s also dark rum and spiced rum. Check out some of our favorites below.
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10. The Real McCoy 12
After one sip, this Barbados rum will likely find a permanent spot in your liquor cabinet. You won’t want to mix with this 12-year-old rum with hints of sweet bourbon, subtle spice, and rich toffee.
Photo: The Real McCoy
9. El Dorado 12
This Demerara rum is a blend of coffey still rum and double wooden pot still rum and was aged for 12 years. The result is a sweet, smooth rum with hints of caramel, honey, vanilla, and charred oak.
Photo: El Dorado
8. Rhum J.M. X.O.
This rhum agricole comes from the island of Martinique. It’s matured for a minimum of six years in charred ex-bourbon casks. The result is an extremely complex, well-rounded rum with hints of spice, tropical fruits, and caramelized sugar.
Photo: Rhum J.M.
7. Brugal 1888
If you love bourbon, Brugal 1888 is for you. This rich, smooth rum was aged for up to 14 years in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in sherry butts. Flavors of caramel, toffee, and vanilla are very prevalent.
6. Plantation Original Dark
This classic dark rum is made from a blend of two rums from Trinidad and Tobago. Both are aged in bourbon casks. The base is a 3- to 5-year-old rum and this is blended with a rich 8-year-old rum. The result is a rum with hints of Christmas cake, caramel, and vanilla.
5. Don Papa 10
This is another rum for whiskey fans. The Filipino rum was aged in re-charred, ex-bourbon casks. The result is an exceptionally smooth, sweet rum with hints of honey, vanilla, and caramel.
Photo: Don Papa
4. Appleton Estate Rare Blend
Jamaica’s Appleton Estate is one of the most well-known rum brands in the world. Its Rare Blend is one of its best offerings. This easily sippable rum is full of sweet cream, molasses, and subtle hints of citrus.
Photo: Appleton Estate
3. Santa Teresa 1796
This is a legit rum for sipping. Made using the solera method usually used to make sherry, this Venezuelan rum is a blend of juice up to 35 years old (you read that right). The result is rich, velvety rum with hints of pepper, vanilla, and caramelized bananas.
Photo: Santa Teresa
2. Mount Gay XO
Mount Gay is the oldest rum distillery in the world with its genesis in 1703. Its XO (extra aged) offering is a blend of 8- to 15-year-old rums. It’s spicy, rich, and sweet with just the right amount of dryness.
Photo: Mount Gay
1. Diplomatico Reserva
No list of sipping rums is complete without Diplomatico Reserva. This award-winning Venezuelan rum was made with molasses in a copper pot still before maturing for 12 years. The result is a rum full of tropical fruit, honey, and caramelized sugar sweetness.