As a rum enthusiast, I have had the pleasure of exploring a wide range of rums from different regions and distilleries. Today, I want to share with you my personal list of the 14 best rums that have left a lasting impression on my palate. These rums not only showcase the diversity and complexity of this beloved spirit but also represent some of the finest craftsmanship in the industry.
1. Plantation XO 20th Anniversary
One of my all-time favorites, Plantation XO 20th Anniversary, hails from Barbados. This aged rum is a blend of spirits from different Caribbean countries, which adds layers of complexity to its flavor profile. With notes of tropical fruits, vanilla, and a hint of spice, this rum delivers an exceptionally smooth and balanced taste.
2. Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12 Year Old
Coming from the heart of Jamaica, Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12 Year Old is a true gem. Distilled in copper pot stills and aged in oak barrels, this rum boasts rich flavors of toffee, dark chocolate, and orange peel. Each sip takes me on a journey to the Caribbean, evoking the warmth and vibrancy of the island.
3. Ron Zacapa Centenario XO
If you’re a fan of sweeter rums, look no further than Ron Zacapa Centenario XO from Guatemala. This luxurious rum is aged up to 25 years, resulting in a velvety smooth texture and a symphony of flavors. With hints of caramel, honey, and dried fruits, it’s like dessert in a glass.
4. Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
Hailing from Venezuela, Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva is a rum that never fails to impress. Its rich and complex flavor profile is a result of being distilled in copper pot stills and aged in ex-bourbon barrels. The taste of brown sugar, toffee, and baking spices is simply exquisite.
5. Mount Gay XO
Mount Gay XO, the pride of Barbados, is a rum that showcases the artistry and tradition of the distillery. With a blend of rums aged between 8 and 15 years, this expression offers a harmonious balance of oak, caramel, and tropical fruit flavors. Every sip is a reminder of the craftsmanship and legacy behind Mount Gay.
6. Havana Club Selección de Maestros
Havana Club Selección de Maestros represents the best of Cuban rum-making. This rum undergoes a unique aging process, where a group of master blenders personally selects the barrels for each batch. The result is a sophisticated and robust rum with notes of vanilla, tobacco, and a touch of spice.
7. El Dorado 15 Year Old
Straight from the shores of Guyana, El Dorado 15 Year Old is a rum that exudes elegance and complexity. This rum is crafted using a combination of traditional wooden stills and modern column stills, creating a unique flavor profile. With tastes of honey, dark chocolate, and tropical fruits, it’s a true delight for the senses.
8. Ron del Barrilito 3 Star
Ron del Barrilito 3 Star is a Puerto Rican rum with a rich history dating back to the 19th century. This rum is a blend of aged rums, with one of them aged for up to 10 years in sherry casks. The result is a smooth and well-balanced rum with notes of dried fruits, oak, and a hint of spice.
9. English Harbour 5 Year Old
From the Caribbean island of Antigua comes English Harbour 5 Year Old, a rum that embodies the spirit of the region. This rum is produced using a combination of traditional and modern methods, resulting in a unique flavor profile. With hints of caramel, vanilla, and a touch of smokiness, it’s a true delight for rum connoisseurs.
10. Pyrat XO Reserve
Pyrat XO Reserve is a rum that stands out with its distinctive bottle and equally impressive flavor profile. This rum, sourced from various Caribbean islands, offers a blend of aged rums that have been carefully selected and blended to create a harmonious taste. With notes of orange, honey, and spices, it’s a rum worth savoring.
11. Doorly’s XO
From the Foursquare Distillery in Barbados, Doorly’s XO is a rum that showcases the true essence of the island. With a blend of rums aged for a minimum of 6 years in ex-bourbon barrels, this rum delivers a smooth and well-rounded taste. The flavors of tropical fruits, vanilla, and oak dance on the palate, leaving a lasting impression.
12. Santa Teresa 1796
Venezuela’s Santa Teresa 1796 is a rum that combines tradition and innovation to create a truly remarkable spirit. This rum is aged using the solera method, which involves a fractional blending process that imparts complexity and depth of flavor. With notes of caramel, chocolate, and coffee, it’s a rum that captivates the senses.
13. Mount Gay Black Barrel
Mount Gay Black Barrel is a rum that showcases the expertise and craftsmanship of the oldest rum distillery in the world, Mount Gay in Barbados. This rum is finished in charred oak barrels, imparting rich and bold flavors to the spirit. With notes of caramel, spice, and tropical fruits, it’s a rum that demands to be savored.
14. Chairman’s Reserve Rum
Rounding out my list is Chairman’s Reserve Rum from Saint Lucia. This rum is a blend of pot and column still rums aged for at least 5 years, resulting in a complex and flavorful spirit. With hints of tropical fruits, spices, and a touch of oak, it’s a rum that never fails to impress.
These 14 rums represent the pinnacle of craftsmanship and flavor in the world of rum. Whether you prefer a sweet and smooth sipper or a rich and complex dram, there’s a rum on this list that will satisfy your taste buds. So, gather some friends, pour a glass, and embark on a journey through the world of rum.