The 8 Best Dark Rums

Rum has a lot of different variations. Throughout time we’ve seen spiced rum, white rums, and dark rums explode in popularity.

With its sweet taste and endless mixing potential, rum has for a long time been a favorite - from sea-faring workers to the casual drinker today!

But it is dark rum that usually comes to mind whenever the word is mentioned. It conjures up images of pirates drinking somewhere out in the Caribbean, or sailors out at sea.

Of course, the dark rums of today are much better than those back then, as the process for distilling delicious flavors has been greatly improved over the years.

So you want to get a bottle of the finest dark rum the world has to offer - but with so many different options, how can you be sure which is the best? What does barrel-aged mean? What is the best kind of flavors that will give you the best, authentic experience?

Well if you’re scratching your head trying to work out dark rum you should buy - don’t panic! We’re here to help.

Below is an extensive guide that will take you through 8 of the best rums on the market right now. We’ll break them down with a description as well as a shortlist of pros and cons so that you can make your future purchase with confidence.

Let’s get started! 

OUR TOP PICK

Goslings Black Seal Rum

This is a dark and rich rum that we had to include as the first item on our list. In terms of color, it is one of the most gorgeous rums you’ll find - with a subtle amber tint that looks great.

We found this to be a very well-textured rum with notes of caramel, rich molasses, and vanilla.

This is a great rum to sip neat, or else mix in cocktails. If you’re looking for something that is full-bodied and rich - Black Seal Rum by Goslings is the one for you.

Pros

  • Rich - in both flavor and color
  • Vanilla - small notes of vanilla.

Cons

  • High ABV percentage, so watch out! 

EDITORS CHOICE

Bacardi Black Rum

Bacardi is a company that is world-renowned for selling some of the finest rum there is on the market, so we knew they would have to feature at least once or twice in this list.

Bacardi Black Rum hails from Peurto Rico and is has been around since its original launch in 1982. This particular rum has notes of smoke, tropical fruit, vanilla, and caramel.

It also has a very oaky finish that we think goes amazingly with dark rums.

We recommend this rum if you’re looking for something easy and simplistic, with a slightly lower ABV (12.5%) than other rums on this list.

Pros

  • ABV percentage - lower percentage means you don’t have to be careful with how much you drink.
  • Flavor - we loved the oaky taste.

Cons

  • Light - a very light dark rum, which could be off-putting for connoisseurs.

BEST VALUE

Rom Barcelo Gran Anejo Dark

This is a fairly unique rum for this list, but we wanted to include it because of its unique flavor and origin. This rum is from the Dominican Republic, one of the many islands in the Caribbean known for its rum. 

This blend has been aged for 6 years in charred ex-bourbon barrels, which means a very unique, smoky flavor.

We found this rum to be unique for its mix of smoke and sweetness, as well as its notes of cherry and vanilla. If you’re looking for something sweet and different then this is the rum for you!

Pros

  • Unique Notes - such as cheery and vanilla
  • Charred Barrel Aged - for a great smoky texture.

Cons

  • Rich - a very rich, dark rum so might not be right for somebody who is new to drinking dark rum. 

Best for Mixing

Plantation Original Dark Rum

Perhaps you’re looking for something smooth and reliable? This dark rum by Plantation is a classic and a really great dark rum for those who are new to the drink! It hails from Barbados and is 40% ABV - so it’s rather strong.

It has notes of cinnamon, plum, banana, and vanilla, and has been made with an impressive series of additional blends in Cognac, France. We recommend Plantation as a great rum for cocktails or rum punch at a party!

Pros

  • Original - this is the classic, dark rum taste! 
  • Mixing - great for mixing into cocktails!

Cons

  • Flavor - not the most unique or complex flavor. 

Best for Sipping

Blackwell Rum

This is a particularly rich dark rum from Jamaica that is 40% ABV and rich in flavor and taste.

It has been aged in a barrel for an entire year, with added tropical fruit flavors for that extra bit of intrigue for the taster. It also has rich notes of spice and coconut.

This rum is very smooth and easy to drink neat, so we recommend this rum if you’re looking for a strong, rich bottle that you’ll be able to sip slowly.

Pros

  • Great for sipping - great rum to sip slowly over the course of an evening.
  • Coconut Flavor - we found the notes of coconut to finish were unique and delicious!

Cons

  • Strength - fairly heavy, so you’ll want to watch out with this one! 

Strongest

Ron Barcelo Rum Imperial Onyx

Looking for something ridiculously strong? Something that will knock your socks off? Something that would make pirates from the 1600’s wince - then this is the rum for you! At an incredible 80% ABV this is a rum you should drink sparingly.

It has notes of cherry, dried fruit, coffee, wood, and vanilla. We found this rum to contain a lot of flavors, but also very overpowering because of its intense alcohol content.

If you want something that you can keep for a long time, that you can add to other drinks for some extra kick - this is the rum for you!

Pros

  • Strength - as rich and strong as you will find.
  • Flavors - multiple flavors, char-aged.

Cons

  • Percentage - very strong alcohol which can make it difficult to enjoy. 

Most Unique

Dictador XO Perpetual Rum

This is another fairly unique rum that has its origins in Columbia. It’s made in a different way - with the fermentation of virgin sugar cane honey - which gives it a light, unique flavor for a dark rum.

That’s not to say it tastes like a white rum though, we found its finish to still have the classic, smoky flavors that you would expect from a dark rum.

This is a nice one if you’re looking for something that tastes lighter, without losing out on the rich flavors and ABV percentage

Pros

  • Flavors - notes of honey and sweetness.
  • Color - fairly light for a dark rum.

Cons

  • Not for those looking for something richer and darker! 

Safest Pick

Cruzan Aged Dark Rum

This Aged Dark Rum is from the US Virgin Islands - aged in charred oak casks and matured until it has a great texture and taste.

This is a great rum for cocktails or punch - as its light flavor isn’t too overpowering. We recommend this for those who are looking for something middle-of-the-range that can be sipped or mixed.

Pros

  • Taste - mellow taste that isn’t too overpowering.
  • Mixing - great for mixing!

Cons

  • Not as dark and rich as other rums on this list! 

Final Thoughts

We hope that this list has given you some great ideas about the best dark rum for you!

As with all things, it is important to read the product descriptions online, or the labels in-store when you’re making your purchase.

Always consider alcohol percentage as well as flavors when selecting your perfect rum.

Mandy Winters
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