There are two types of rum in this world: those to be mixed with your favorite soda or juice, and those to be enjoyed by sipping; similar to a fine scotch. Here is a listing of some of our most favorite Caribbean sipping rums. We are always looking for recommendations!
One important thing to remember: aging rum is not the same as aging, say, bourbon or Scotch. Rums are made in tropical climates, and the constant heat ages them a lot quicker than the more temperate weather of, say, Kentucky or Islay, to name just two.
At the entry level is light rum, sometimes called “white” or “silver,” which is the type most of us know best and is used in tropical cocktails. Medium rums, sometimes called “gold” or “amber,” are a little more complex—but not much. Heavy rums encompass blended and dark rums. But what you want are the heaviest of the heavies, the full-bodied, well-aged, “brandy-style” sipping rums. The rums to which all other rums aspire. These are the rums to which we should aspire.
MOUNT GAY EXTRA OLD – Barbados
Founded in 1703, Mount Gay is not only the oldest continually operating distillery in the Americas, but one of the oldest in the world. Which gives the impression that they know what they’re doing. One taste of this glorious elixir proves it. It’s rich like a perfect piece of dark chocolate, sweet with tropical flavors like orange peel and banana, and dry with notes of the American oak it’s been aged in. The balance of the flavors could scarcely be more perfect, and what hits your palate is the result of 300-plus years of experience at making this stuff. One of the best rums you can buy at any price.
APPLETON ESTATE 21 YEAR OLD – Jamaica
It’s deep, dark and sinfully rich with coffee, cocoa and cinnamon notes. It’s also one of the woodier rums you’ll encounter, but while it saunters pretty close to the outer limits of woodiness, it doesn’t go over the line. This is a rum best enjoyed in front of a fireplace on a frosty night — both the rum and the fire will help to ward off the chill.
BACARDI RESERVA LIMITADA – Puerto Rico
The Reserva Limitada, originally made exclusively for family and friends, has been available to the public in limited quantities since 2003. This rum exudes class, so break out your smoking jacket before pouring a snifter.
DON Q GRAN AñEJO – Puerto Rico
This rum is the winner of a bevy of awards and possessor of some of the fanciest packaging I’ve seen for any spirit, rum or otherwise. Sure enough, it’s more complex and sweeter than I expected, with a nose full of vanilla, bananas and honey. The tongue agrees, with the vanilla dominant and caramel and grass/wood notes backing it up.
Rhum Barbancourt Estate Reserve – Haiti
Aged 15 years, the Rhum Barbancourt Estate Reserve is a true sipping rum. Citrus dominates the aroma while the palate has subtle hints of cinnamon and even pepper.
Ron Brugal 1888 Gran Reserva Familiar – Dominican Republic
Ron Brugal 1888 is aged in American white oak barrels, then Spanish sherry casks in the Dominican Republic. The aroma mixes molasses, coffee and a subtle hint of raisin with spices and a hint of citrus dominating. Long story short, it’s one of the smoothest rums on the market.
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