A Journey through Elegance: My 15 Favorite Rums
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As a sommelier with a passion for the finer things in life, I have had the privilege of exploring the world of spirits and uncovering hidden gems. Among the vast array of libations, rum has always held a special place in my heart. Its rich history, diverse flavors, and the artistry of its production make it a fascinating and beloved spirit. In this article, I would like to share with you my top 15 favorite rums, ranging from ten to one, each one representing a unique experience and a testament to the craft of rum-making.
Caribbean Classic Rums
Mount Gay XO (Barbados)
From the birthplace of rum, Barbados, comes Mount Gay XO. Aged in bourbon barrels, it offers a symphony of vanilla, oak, and tropical fruit notes. It’s a rum that invites you to sit back, relax, and savor every drop.
Appleton Estate 21-Year-Old (Jamaica)
Jamaican rums are renowned for their bold flavors, and the Appleton Estate 21-Year-Old is no exception. Aged in oak barrels, it delivers notes of orange peel, honey, and spice. This is a rum to be cherished on special occasions.
Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros (Cuba)
Cuba has a storied history of rum production, and Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros is a standout example. This rum is a blend of aged rums, hand-selected by the maestros roneros. It boasts a rich, velvety texture with notes of tobacco, dark chocolate, and a hint of tropical fruit.
Doorly's 12-Year-Old (Barbados)
Completing our list is Doorly’s 12-Year-Old, another exceptional rum from Barbados. This rum showcases the influence of oak aging with its notes of toffee, nutmeg, and a touch of tropical fruit. It’s a true representation of Barbadian rum-making tradition and a fitting end to our journey through favorite rums.
Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
Kicking off our list is Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva, a Venezuelan gem. With its notes of toffee, dark chocolate, and a hint of orange peel, this rum is a true crowd-pleaser. Sip it neat or indulge in an Old Fashioned cocktail for a delightful experience.
Ron Diplomático Single Vintage 2002
At the pinnacle of my list is the Ron Diplomático Single Vintage 2002. This Venezuelan rum is a true work of art, with complex layers of flavor that include dark fruit, coffee, and oak. Its depth and balance make it the ultimate expression of rum craftsmanship.
Barbados continues to impress with Foursquare 2007, a single-blended rum that showcases the island’s rum-making prowess. It exudes flavors of vanilla, caramel, and oak, creating a harmonious and memorable tasting experience.
Ten To One Rum
Ten To One is a relatively new entrant to the world of rum, hailing from the Caribbean. Their aged dark rum is a revelation, offering a balanced blend of tropical fruit, vanilla, and a hint of oak. It’s an exciting addition to the world of rum that showcases the potential for innovation and craftsmanship in this timeless spirit.
Puerto Rican Rums
Ron del Barrilito 3-Star
Hailing from Puerto Rico, Ron del Barrilito 3-Star is a blend of rums aged up to 10 years, giving it a unique flavor profile that includes honey, dried fruits, and a touch of oak. It’s an exquisite sipping rum that deserves a place in your collection.
Ron del Barrilito 5-Star
Building on the excellence of the 3-Star, Ron del Barrilito 5-Star from Puerto Rico takes rum to the next level. A blend of rums aged up to 35 years, it boasts a luxurious profile with notes of caramel, toffee, and a whisper of tobacco. This is a rum to savor on special occasions.
Plantation XO 20th Anniversary (Blend of Caribbean rums finished in Cognac barrels)
Plantation XO 20th Anniversary is a blend of Barbadian rums aged in bourbon casks and finished in Cognac barrels. Its layers of flavors include dark fruits, warm spices, and a silky-smooth finish. This rum’s complexity is a true testament to the art of blending.
Ron Zacapa Centenario XO (Guatemala)
From Guatemala comes Ron Zacapa Centenario XO, a true masterpiece. Aged in a solera system using a blend of rums up to 30 years old, it offers an opulent experience with flavors of dark chocolate, dried fruits, and a whisper of smokiness.
Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 15 (Dominican Republic)
The Dominican Republic’s Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 15 is a fine example of Caribbean craftsmanship. Aged using the Solera method, it delivers a delightful fusion of vanilla, caramel, and spice. It’s a versatile rum that can be enjoyed neat or in cocktails.
Pusser's Rum Aged 15 Years (British Virgin Islands)
Pusser’s Rum Aged 15 Years is a British Virgin Islands classic. It’s known for its bold and rich character with flavors of molasses, dark chocolate, and a touch of oak. This rum is a favorite among aficionados who appreciate the robustness of Navy-style rum.
El Dorado 15-Year-Old
Guyana’s El Dorado 15-Year-Old is a masterclass in rum-making. It boasts a rich, full-bodied character with flavors of toffee, spice, and dried fruit. Savor it neat or enjoy it in an exceptional Mai Tai cocktail.
These 15 rums represent the pinnacle of the rum world, each offering a distinct and memorable tasting experience. From the rich history of Barbados to the innovation of newer brands, the world of rum is a treasure trove of flavors waiting to be explored. Whether you’re a seasoned rum enthusiast or a curious newcomer, these rums are a testament to the craft and artistry of rum-making, inviting you to embark on a journey through the Caribbean and beyond, one sip at a time. Cheers!