Rum is often associated with tropical vacations, fruity mixed drinks, and life at sea. But it’s not for the faint of heart.
Thanks to the experts at FindTheBest, we found the 13 best bottles of rum that even pirates would drool over.
Rums were ranked by their Smart Rating scores, which FindTheBest based on the rums’ scores in four different rum tasting competitions, as well as reviews from experts at Wine Enthusiast Magazine and the Beverage Tasting Institute.
Where ties in Smart Rating scores occurred, we used price as a tiebreaker, ranking lower-priced bottles of rum higher on the list.
Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Rum
13. Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Rum ($60)
Plantation uses a blend of its oldest reserves to make its distinctive 20th Anniversary Rum. Drinkers will note a creaminess that comes from years of ageing.
12. Montecristo Rum ($40)
Montecristo Rum is gold and old — 12 years, to be exact. There’s a hotness in the first sip that dissipates into the drink, but it’s a characteristic that won this rum a prestigious Double Gold honour in the 2011 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
11. Tommy Bahama Golden Sun Rum ($28)
Tommy Bahama may be best known for its tropical apparel, but the Bahamas are known for rum. The Golden Sun Rum conveys the exotic spices and relaxed attitude of the beautiful, Caribbean islands.
10. Pusser’s Rum ($22)
Aged 15 years, Pusser’s Rum hails from the British Virgin Islands and sports subtle flavours of vanilla and honey. With a molasses-like smoothness, rum aficionados appreciate the fact that there’s little to no burn from the alcohol.
9. Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 ($20)
A Cuban formula rum from the Dominican Republic may seem like a juxtaposition, but Vizcaya does it well. Spicy and buttery, the VXOP Cask 21 warms on the way down.
8. Cruzan Single Barrel Extra-aged Rum ($16)
Cruzan’s Single Barrel Extra-aged Rum is a full-bodied blend so complex that adding a mixer would be considered blasphemy. Its deep colour and caramelized aroma evokes the taste and smell of bananas foster.
7. Diplomático Añejo Rum ($14)
It may be the cheapest rum on the list in price, but certainly not in flavour. Diplomático Añejo Rum is the youngest rum in the brand, aged four years, but its youth lends to its energetic notes of cocoa and coffee.
6. Gosling’s Family Reserve Old Rum ($80)
Gosling’s Family Reserve Old Rum is considered “the ultimate sipping rum,” according to FindTheBest. Aged in dark barrels, this rum’s sweetness enables it to be enjoyed like a digestif.
5. Dictador 20 Rum ($60)
Dictador 20 is a dark rum aged in charred barrels for, as the name implies, 20 years. This rum won Double Gold at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
4. Pampero Aniversario Rum ($20)
This aged Venezuelan rum is revered for its sweet and smokey taste, and its absence of the harshness that other liquors often have. The $US20 price tag is an incredibly reasonable one, given the quality.
3. Ron Abuelo Centuria ($130)
The Ron Abuelo Centuria is the most expensive bottle on this list, but well worth the price. Thirty years give this rum time to develop a rich and complex taste, with hints of the white oak from the barrels in which it’s aged.
2. Ron Abuelo 12-Year-Old Rum ($25)
Also from Ron Abuelo, the 12-Year-Old Rum has a soft mouthfeel and tropical flavours of vanilla and dried fruit. It has a boozy smell, but not to worry — it doesn’t carry over upon drinking it.
1. Leblon Cachaça ($30)
Cachaça is a type of white rum made with fresh sugar cane juice, rather than processed sugar cane, that originates in Brazil. Leblon makes one heck of a cachaça, winning Double Gold year over year at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The fresh fruitiness of Leblon’s cachaça makes it the perfect liquor for your next caipirinha.
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