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Good Sipp'n Rum

There have been a few recommendations here for Rhum Barbancourt 5 Star Reserve Speciale. So I thought I would try it today. It's a great price and a nice bottle.

But... I wasn't too happy with the way it tasted and nosed; neat. Barbancourt has a very strong "cane sugar" taste and smell and it's border line "finger nail polish" for my taste. There are a few Tequila's that I am the same way about, like Patron.

After I mixed it with some Diet Pepsi and lime it got a whole lot better, but it still has a pretty strong "cooked sugar cane/ finger nail polish" taste though. So I will most likely use it as a mixer.

So anyway, my question is. I don't like Capt. Morgan's and or Bacardi. I've tried Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, which is another pretty good mixer.

But that's about the extent of my Rum experience.

So, I'm looking for a good spiced rum that I can drink neat. Any suggestions? My price range is from $16.00 to $30.00.

A few that I'm looking at are:

Appleton Special Jamaica Rum or Appleton Estate Reserve Rum

Cruzan Estates Single Barrel


Mount Gay Eclipse

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  1. I don't think this falls into the under $30 range but I would recommend Pyrat XO.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cocktailqueen77

      my local liquour store has the 750ml XO on special for $14.99. To the OP question. There are many good rums for under $30 but depends on what state your're in as taxes vary greatly. I'm a big fan of El Dorado 12 and 15. Both under $30 in my area. I would also suggest moving away from spiced rums for sipping. Rums can be enjoyed on their own without flavorings added. A dash of water or a couple of ice cubes can help round it out for those that are not use to drinking spirits neat.

    2. Okay, just did a quick Google search...

      Pyrat is available for under $30...


      Description from site:

      "Pyrat XO Reserve is a select blend of fine, 15 year old Caribbean rums. It’s smooth taste and delicious flavor is complimented by it’s rich amber color. Pyrat XO Reserve is excellent over ice with a twist of lemon or as an ingredient in a premium rum drink."

      The bottle presentation is beautiful as well. The "charm" that comes with it means "protector of bartenders", gotta love that.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cocktailqueen77

        I've read that Pyrat XO has mango notes but the bottle I have comes across to me more like a prune juice kind of heavy fruit note. Too heavy fruit for my tastes. I use it for baking. Beautiful bottle though.

      2. While hearing that you mix with Diet Pepsi makes me hesitate, one excellent rum is 10 Cane.

        3 Replies
        1. re: AlbertaHound

          Agree with 10 Cane as well. As a mixer, Gosling's Dark is good.

          1. re: cocktailqueen77

            I love 10 Cane, both for sipping and for mixing.

            My next bottle might be Oronoco for its even richer mouthfeel, though I think it runs closer to $40.

          2. re: AlbertaHound

            Marketing is indeed a wonderous thing, 10 cane in the 70's and 80's used to be called "Drummer Boy" and came in a cheesy decanter for the tourist trade at the airport in Trinidad. In those days it went for $14.00 tt/ $5.00us. Then as is the case with the industry, rum became the flavour of the month, as vodka, tequila and gin before it. Then came the new bottle, the new press, and in turn the new devotees, at $32.00 a bottle. To me It's still Drummer Boy.

          3. There was a good article on quality rum ("Rum Gets Serious") in the 4/25/08 issue of the SF Chronicle.


            1. El Dorado Rum 15 years a Demerara Rum from Guyana. It doesn't get any better than this at any price.

              3 Replies
              1. re: 2top

                I agree, but authentic 15 year old is hard to find. About 10 years ago the distiller was labeling it's 5 year old as 15 years aged in barrels when they fell onto some hard times. This fact was well known in the Guyanese population and at that time was also a way for the government to charge more duty.I understand this practice has since stopped but there are a lot of infant rum in teenage bottles out there.

                1. re: currymouth

                  Just to go with your post, most producers find it hard to believe and are very skeptical, even if they aren't vocally so. Most agree that aging rum that long is a tough task as it evaporates rather quickly and very little would be left after a decade in the tropics.

                  1. re: Icantread

                    Exactly. Thus the price difference between a standard bottle and a "Aged" spirit.Having grown up in the WI and exposed to rum of all ages it is still very hard for me to tell which is truly a 10/15/20 year old rum for the simple fact that there are so many imposters out there. Mind you I don't claim to be a authority on rum but having drank my share of the spirit, I can pretty much guess when I am being sold a "pig in a poke"

              2. I haven't met a really good spiced rum except Sailor Jerry, and flavored rums are, as a category, pretty awful in almost every case.

                While many of the premium aged rums can be enjoyed neat like a cognac from a snifter, I tend to find they are much better on the rocks with a splash of water to lower the proof and so release more flavors.

                Prices vary so much depending upon the part of the country and local availability. Try any of the aged rums, and rum agricole. Some good ones that come to mind are: Mathuselem, anything by Rhum JM or Clement, anything by Pyrat, almost any of the Plantation rums, St Theresa, Diplomatico, Cruzan, Mount Gay Extra Old, Pussers, Depaz, Cockspur, Zacaya, Zacapa, etc.

                If you want to know about rum go here. http://www.ministryofrum.com/index.php

                1. i know i'm repeating myself
                  but Old Monk from India is one of the best sipping rums i've ever had. i also like gosling's black seal

                  1. I'm with the crowd who would criticize you for mixing Barbancourt with any cola. I do like it, and I drink it neat or witha few rocks, or rarely some tonic. I also don't notice the flavor notes you do in it.

                    Your three choices of things to try are all on my list of rums i am willing to drink neat, but the Cruzan would be my choice, followed by Appleton. I like Mount Gay too, whihc is what got my drinking rum back when I was racing sailboats. Mount Gay sponsored a lot of stuff. But not a one of these is a spiced rum.

                    Two other spiced rums of which I am aware and have not been mentioned are Capt. Morgan Tattoo and Three Palms Spiced.

                    One more you might try it Ron Barrellito. However, the best way may be to find a bar with a good selection and keep trying different ones. Alternatively, find some friends to help you sample and split the bottles.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Captain

                      I'm going to have to do some research into rum.

                      I don't even know the difference between "spiced" rum and other darker rums.

                      I'm a novice rum drinker.

                      There is a Rum website where the two guys that do all of the reviews really really like mixing their rum with diet Coke or Pepsi. That's where I got the idea.

                      All I know is that I don't really like the Barbancourt much. I do like Sailor Jerry's Spiced Rum though, it's just a little one dimensional and hot for sipp'n neat for me though.

                      So, I guess I might try 10 cane and maybe Cruzan first. We'll see. :)

                      Thanks for all the replies and I promise never to mix good rum with Cola again. :)

                      1. re: theginguy

                        As far as mixers with rum, I've been a fan for years of tonic and ginger ale. Ginger beer is another common mixer. Depending on the rum, tonic may need squeeze or twist. Ginger ale really needs nothing else.

                        Some good rum sites:





                        1. re: theginguy

                          Maybe a day (or ten) late, but given that you didn't like Barbancourt, 10 Cane might not be the best choice. It's another agricultural rum, and there will be marked similarities in the flavor profile. The Cruzan may be the most accessible of all the rums listed here, and is very good. But try something a little fuller-bodied, too.

                      2. Well, if you dislike the Captain and Bacardi, you're off to a good start. But there are such a variety of rums out there, it's hard to know where to start. Maybe a trip to a local watering hole is in order.

                        Given that you didn't like the Barbancourt, you may want to avoid "agricultural" rums (aka Rhum Agricole) which are made directly from sugar cane juice and have a distinctive flavor and aroma. But since the vast majority of rums are made from molasses, this shouldn't be much of a limiting factor for you. Spiced rums (which are--you guessed it--rums with spices added) are another thing entirely. I'd say ignore them too for the time being.

                        If you want to get some good basic information about rums, here's a good article. http://www.ministryofrum.com/articles... The website also has reviews of a variety of rums. Just use the search engine on the home page.

                        Of the rums mentioned here, I'm not a fan of Pyrat XO. The rum is a little too candy-like for my taste. YMMV. But nobody can argue that the marketing is annoying and cheezy. Cruzan Single Barrel is on the light-bodied end of the spectrum. El Dorado is its polar opposite; dark and thick and smoky. Both are delicious in their own ways. The Appleton Estate is in the middle, and is also very tasty. My favorite lately is the Ron Matusalem Clasico (from the Dominican distillery--although I'm sure the Cubans make good stuff, too). Medium to full bodied, with hints of nuts, toast, vanilla, toffee, and coconut. Wonderful.

                        Try 'em all!

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: alanbarnes

                          What do you think of Barcelo from DR?

                          1. re: currymouth

                            Haven't had the pleasure. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen it in California. Definitely not at BevMo, where I've been working my way through their various options over the last several years.

                            1. re: alanbarnes

                              I have had the pleasure to taste several bottles over the years brought in by a friend. And find it to be smokey, dense, almost silky. As with the case with good rum, drink only with 2 cubes of good ice, nothing more. Back in the WI, we could pick out the tourist by the coke they insisted in mixing in good rum. That is what young rum is for.

                        2. Zaya, Ron Zacapa Centenario and Pampero Aniversario are my 3 favorites.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: SuperCorona

                            I second Zaya and add Diplomatico - nice white chocolaty nose - from maybe Guatamala.

                          2. Westerhall's Plantation Rum. Very tough to find, but very, very easy to drink....

                            1. I do like the Barbancourt very much, but taaste is non disputandum(sp? latin was a long time ago.) others I like to sip: Appleton 15 yo, R.L.Searle 10 y/o(Barbados), Diplomatico(Guatemala), Anniversario Reserva(Venezuela), and when I'm feeling indulgent, a little sip from a bottle of pre-Castro Cuban Bacardi Reserva 10 y/o, that I inherited from my grandfather, a man of great taste and foresight, who brought a case of it in 59 and didn't serve it to guests

                              1. Personally I like Pyrat or 10 Cane.

                                1. It may be hard to find, but the best sipping rum I've had is Barrilitos 3 Star from Puerto Rico. It sells for ~$25 around Miami and as cheap as $13 in PR. Pampero Aniversario from Venezuela is also decent as is Pyrat XO. I would consider Mount Gay a very good mixing rum (tonic, seltzer w/lime, etc.) but not so much a sipper.

                                  1. I like the Mount Gay. I got into that while sailing on the Chesapeake Bay. It seemed to be the drink of choice among the sailors. I bought a bottle of Bacardi Anejo while at the plant in PR That was pretty good but I haven't seen it for a few years. Maybe they don't make it anymore.

                                    1. I finally had a chance to try the Cruzan Estates Single Barrel (available in NC ABC stores for $24) and it was quite good. Not as good (to me) as Barrilitos 3 Star, but definitely in the ballpark flavorwise. Recommended.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: PeterB

                                        Zaya rum from Guatamala is my favorite sipping rum. Although it may seem taboo we keep it in the freezer and slowly drink it from snifters. My second is Appleton.

                                      2. I remember doing an elementary school project about the American Revolution and becoming (prematurely) enamored of "rich, sweet rum" that was shipped in barrels and served in pewter tankards. As I became of legal age and tried several different brands, something kept nagging me about the "richness and sweetness" from my fifth grade assignment I had yet to discover. Not until I bought a bottle of Gosling's dark Bermuda rum about 15 years ago was this fantasy fulfilled. That's one I can sit and sip for a loooooong time. Appleton's is a close second.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Chefpaulo

                                          For "Rich & Sweet" try this.
                                          Pyrat XO Reserve Planters Gold
                                          Brown rum distilled from molasses. Aged in used whisky and bourbon barrels. Pyrat is a blend of Caribbean rums as old as 15 years chosen for their richness, full flavor with overtones of orange fruit and a slight spice finish.