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Rum that you can sip??

Does anyone have a good recommendation for deep, round, smooth, tasty rum that you can sip?

I have tried some here and there and all rums seem to have a bitterness that hits me in the back of my tongue.

I've dropped cash on Pyrate OX, tried Zaya, had Appleton's Estated Xv and they all were yummy with a little sparkling water and lime juice, with coke or a biting ginger ale. But why can we sip scotch, enjoy its round flavors but we don't ask the same from our rum?

I imagine a rum that is able to be drunk neat, has a wide complex flavor that passes over the tongue without making me cringe as it makes its way down to my stomach. I'm almost embarrassed to say that the closest thing I've found is actually a $12 bottle of Bacardi Añejo. It doesn't come in as cool a bottle as Pyrate, it's a little simple, but not half bad.

I can think of nothing inherent in rum that would make it unable to be as enjoyable as a fine single malt. Why drop $40 or $50 on a bottle of rum that you can only stand to drink mixed with a bunch a soda that's supersaturated with sugar or corn syrup??

How do you feel?

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  1. I feel that if you want a beverage you can drink like scotch...drink scotch. Different beverages have different characteristics, and it may simply be that rum is not for you.

    2 Replies
    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

      Fungy! Where have you been? I'd have to agree, although (and this part is directed at you, BeanBoy) one of the aged Nicaraguan Flor de Cana might be what you want.

      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        Just wanted to thank Sam and everyone else on the boards who recommended the Flor de Cana. Just got a bottle of the 4yr and can't wait to try the 12. The 4 yr cost me like $15 and would be very good at twice the price. A real gem, and yes, a good sipper too, though not so complex you couldn't mix it. Anyhow, thanks folks, I'd never have found it without you.

    2. Try Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 year, about 40$ and definitely sippable.

      4 Replies
      1. re: swobohe

        Centenario I like
        Brugal Rum Anejo
        El Dorado Rum

        1. re: kchurchill5

          Second the El Dorado. The 15yr is about $30 here and is a screaming bargain.

        2. re: swobohe

          Yup, the Ron Zacapa.Havana Club 7 years.

          1. re: swobohe

            The Zacapa 23 has amazing burnt caramel flavors. Please - no ice, no mixers.

          2. Real Demerara 20 year from Guyana, or Barcelo Anejo from DR, both priced around $30.00 if you can find them.

            1. you need to find a demerara rum or a Rhum Agricole. I would say a good aged Agricole is as complex, though differently, as some Scotch.

              1. Old Monk rum is tasty for around $17 in MA. Rhum Agricole is a good suggestion - Clement makes a nice one that seems pretty widely available. Dogfish Head rums, if you can get your hands on a bottle, are great. 10 Cane is nice but a little pricy.

                Some of those brands you listed are "sipping" rums. Maybe you just don't like rum the same way you like scotch?

                3 Replies
                1. re: mrgrotto

                  the 10 Cane I've tasted has a real funk to it that makes for good interesting cocktails but I would not recommend sipping straight.

                  1. re: mrgrotto

                    I haven't seen Old Monk in stores around Boston. Where are you getting yours? Tried it at Drink, and would be thrilled to land a bottle (or two).

                    1. re: jkv

                      I'm pretty sure that I saw it at Liquor World the toher night (where I spent waaaaay too much money stocking up on stuff)

                  2. Have you tried Cruzan's Single Barrel? It's a nice, if not overly complicated, rum that would be a good intro to sipping rums... It sells for around $30 near me. Also, you mentioned Appleton V/X. They also make some longer-aged rums which might be better straight than the V/X, which consensus (of rum bloggers, at least) suggests is better in cocktails. But, if you like your rum mixed with ginger ale, there's nothing wrong with that either. I personally would rather drink rum neat and drink White Horse w/ a bit of ginger ale...

                    1. I love all good aged rums, but not neat. I drink them on the rocks with a splash of water to open them up. Just like how I drink my whiskey and gin. You really can't taste the full range of any spirit until it's lowered to around 60 proof, until that point the alcohol deadens much of your taste. But once it is lowered enough with water your taste buds can access the full range of flavors, the nuances, aromatics, etc. I feel that people who drink spirits neat are losing out on what the spirit really tastes like.

                      When I am judging spirits I taste them neat, but I feel that it does an injustice to the spirit because it's all tight and closed down and you have to imagine, based on experience, what it really tastes like opened up.

                      When I am distilling, rum, brandy, whiskey, whatever... I taste the spirit straight, just a drop on my finger, wiped across my tongue. But then I mix it with water and drop it to around 80 proof and taste it. Then to around 50-60 proof. That's when I know what is really going on.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: JMF

                        The Classic Rum series from Bristol Spirts is what you need. I drink the Port Morant regularly, in fact when last in LA i bought the remaining stock @ Wine & Liquuor Depot in Van Nuys and I live in NYC. From the web site it looks as if they've repackaged them. You can also try Renegade Rums, they're from one of the prvate labellers of fine Scotch.

                        1. re: MOREKASHA

                          A fav of mine is the Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva ($26-$32 depending upon market)-my friends have nicknamed it "Liquid Gold". The above mentioned Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 Yr (high 30's $-wise) is excellent, as is the Ron Pampero Anniversario ($30-35), IMHO.

                          As for the Monk, I do dig it greatly as a mixer but find it a bit too bitter and molasses-ey for my sipping preference (though it IS sippable). In Boston, jkv, Old Monk can be found at Marty's (now, sadly, only located in Newton) and Martignetti's.

                          1. re: Scortch

                            Nice! Thanks for the heads-up.

                            I had been using the Zaya as an exotic sub-in for my wife's sidecars. It had this booming vanilla thing going on that made it a beautiful sipping rum, but also an interesting addition to a cocktail. My most recent bottle I found is completely different (and no longer from Guatemala, I noticed), and not nearly as distinctive.

                            I figured that the Monk would work just as well, at less than half the cost. Viva la recession!

                      2. This topic has been discussed several times over the past few years. Rhum Clement from Martinique is very sippable. Here is a link to one of the prior discussions:


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: DavidT

                          Here is a direct link to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on this subject:


                          1. re: DavidT

                            Thanks for that link. The tasting notes and recipes look great, and I can't wait to try the "Coin Toss" - I'd never thought of mixing any of my prized Carpano Antico w/ rum, but I need to try it (although I'll need to find a sub for the Scarlett Ibis...)

                        2. I have been a disciple of Havana Club blanco, 3 year and 7 year, and have smuggled it back from Cuba and C.A. for a couple decades. Then they discontinued the delicious, yellow, 3 year, which sent me scurrying for a replacement. Sam directed me to the Nicaraguan Flor de Cana line, which is excellent. My newer find, and best value, is Abuelo anejo and Abuelo 7 year, from Panama. Both are drinkable neat, but like others above I prefer a splash and a cube with it.

                          18 Replies
                          1. re: Veggo

                            your'e just bragging - i love havana club too, but it's not too easy to get a bottle in the US.

                            i have now heard about the flor de cana enough that i have no excuse for not having tried it - better get to that.

                            1. re: andytee

                              at, it is simple to bring back Havana Club. Example:you can buy it at the duty free shop at the Cancun airport, at a good price, and you carry it on because you are in the secure area. On your customs declaration, simply say "2 bottles liquor". I have never had a customs guy go through my dive bag or peek in the duty-free bag, in 20 years.

                              1. re: Veggo

                                veggo - i'm just jealous. it's not that it's hard to get a bottle or two into the US, it's that it's hard to get a bottle if you are IN the US. i had a friend who went to cuba a lot and would bring back bottles of havana club, but now we live on other sides of the country from each other.

                                1. re: andytee

                                  at, you reminded me of my brother in Vermont. I sent him a bottle of Havana Club anejo for Christmas a few years ago, and he wouldn't drink it because he didn't want to run out (the ole' drawer-full-of-warm-socks New Englander).
                                  I had to send him another bottle to get him to crack one open! He likes it.

                                  1. re: Veggo

                                    if you want to send me one, promise i will open it.

                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      I know this is an old thread, but tell your brother in Vermont he can easily get Havana Club rum in Canada. It costs more here than it does in Cuba, but it's widely available.

                                  2. re: Veggo

                                    Alright Veggo, let's not broadcast! I have a bottle of 3 year HC at home, no importation label. I loathe the customs and they hate me back.Just got pulled into secondary AGAIN, they were so busy grilling me they never checked my bags with excess booze.

                                    1. re: streetgourmetla

                                      sg, lucky you! I haven't seen the delicious, golden 3 year HC in so long I thought it had been discontinued. It is perfect in mango,strawberry, and pineapple daiquiris, or a cuba libre.

                                      1. re: Veggo

                                        AH, those daiquiris at El Floridita.........

                                        I'm saving my bottle for daiquiris, for sure.

                                2. re: Veggo

                                  Veggo, have you had El Dorado rum? The 12 and 15 yr old are fantastic and are my go-to rums. Had a weekend cigar get together with fellow habanos fanatics. Lots of rum on the table the entire weekend. Plenty of HC anejo and 7 that hardley got touch compare to many other rums. Diplomatico Reserva is another winner. Vizcaya VXOP is an interesting rum.
                                  I currently have a bottle of Abuelo anejo in my bar. The 7 is better and both a good bang for the $. I get my fill of Cuban rum when down in the Islands but I don't miss it when coming home as there are so many good rums, great rums thar are easily accessible. I have my limits and don't have the same feeling about my cigars.

                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                    Did you mean the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, or just the Reserva? The Exclusiva's by far my favorite rum out there, and while the plain Reserva's not a terrible rum, it really seemed like more of a mixing rum.

                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                      S97, no, I have not tried. A Flor de Cana 7 didn't make it through Easter weekend, so I'll be on the lookout when I restock.
                                      I am encouraged that rum is getting so much shelf space and with so many new brands being imported in recent years, from so many countries and islands. Who knows how many undiscovered brands of "ron" are quietly ageing at this moment, for our pleasure a decade or two from now (if WE last so long!).

                                    2. re: Veggo

                                      I'm trying the Flor de Cana 7 for the first time. I had the Abuelo 7 a few months ago. If my memory is correct, I prefer the Abuelo. The Flor is a bit too one-noted.

                                      I also really enjoyed some Appleton 12 year a few weeks ago. Being a cheap bastard, I went out and bought the X/V... not as good. Still good and sippable, but the 12 year was great.

                                      More research required.

                                      1. re: Alcachofa

                                        I have the FdC 18 yr and I would say your descriptor of "one-note" is very apt for that one as well. It is good but not as complex or interesting as some other rums I have had, such as Pussers, El dorado 12/15, Appleton 12, Mount Gay XO, Matusalem 15 yr. Also very dry, I expected more sweetness from that much time in the barrel. I was definitely disappointed for the $40 I paid, considering none of the ones I mentioned above cost me more than $30 other than the Mt Gay ($35).

                                        I have also tasted a small sample of the Abuelo 7 yr and was quite impressed, bought a bottle of the 12 yr but have yet to open it.

                                        1. re: ncyankee101

                                          I would think less time for more sweetness. I'm not a big fan of a heavy wood in wine, bourbon and certainly rum.

                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                            The type of barrels has a lot to do with the flavor imparted to the liquor, and the amount of wood sugars the rum gets from the wood, but most long-aged rums I have had tend to be a good bit sweeter than the FdC 18 yr. El dorado 12 and 15, Zacapa 23, XO and zaya 12 (the last three are suspected by some of having added sweeteners).

                                            1. re: ncyankee101

                                              Yeah that was my impression as well. Seems like there are very few unadulterated rums out there that don't have colorants, sweeteners and flavorings added

                                    3. I have had Oronoco several times, neat, and it is incredibly smooth. Even stranger is it is clear. It is from Brazil. They don't include it in their flight of rums but I struck up a conversation with the bartender at Cuba Libre in Atlantic City
                                      I also recently had Zaya, which even my wife loved neat. The bottle was from Guatamala but it is my understanding is while it has the same name it is now made somewhere else.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: folprivate

                                        I bought Oronoco for the first time a couple weeks ago - $35 - very good, as it should be for the price. I'm not sure how Brazilian rum differs from Cachaca in the manufacturing process, but the flavors differ.

                                        1. re: Veggo

                                          I'm seeing Oronoco on sale in my parts. Don't think they were selling it at the list price

                                          It doesn't have that rum/tequila taste of cachaca. Not sure how they make it. I know it's sugar cane juice

                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                            Actually Oronoco is a blend of cane juice and molasses rums.

                                            1. re: ncyankee101

                                              That makes sense taste wise. They state juice on their website

                                            2. re: scubadoo97

                                              Yeah, I have been seeing Oronoco discounted quite a bit as well. Picked up a bottle for $25 here (near Boston) and then saw at least one place selling it for $20. I'm thinking too many people weren't willing to drop $40 on a light rum.

                                              I like it a lot, definitely a different light rum, a lot more sweetness and flavor, and quite subtle and smooth. One of the few light rums that I have enjoyed drinking neat, and it also makes a nice Daiquiri.

                                              1. re: nickls

                                                I agree with you there, it is usually $35 here in NC but regularly goes on sale for $25, when my bottle gets halfway empty I make sure I get another. About the only light rum I have had that I like better is Banks 5 Island, that stuff is amazing.

                                        2. Rhum Barbancourt Reserve - aged 15 years. Product of Haiti - $40 to $50
                                          Pure sippin' rum. :)

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: mcsheridan

                                            amen to the Barby 15, Also the El Dorado 15 and the Clement 15. Appleton 15 is also very nice to sip. What is it about 15 years aging in Rhum? it seems just the right age.

                                            1. re: chazzerking

                                              When did Appleton start making a 15 year again? I know of the VX, 12 year, and 21 year, but not the 15... last I knew, Trader Vic went through all of the 15 year back when they were bottling as J. Wray & Nephew, making Mai Tais with it in the 1940s and 50s.

                                              1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                                                I don't know. A friend broght me a bottle from the distilley about two years ago. it was clearly marked 15 y/o not the XV(which someone tried to give me when I asked for the 15.

                                            2. re: mcsheridan

                                              Barbancourt would have been my rec, really the ultimate sipping rum. Brugal Anejo is not bad either. Ironically both from the island of Hispaniola.

                                              1. re: mcsheridan

                                                This is excellent -- a great value for the price. It is my recommendation as well. I like to hold the glass well away from my nose and inhale the aromas of brown sugar, caramel, molasses, and vanilla. There's not much in the way of complexity, but this is delicious stuff.

                                                1. re: sushigirlie

                                                  I would also say Barrilito 3 star from Puerto Rico is in the pantheon, though MUCH guttsier.

                                              2. Bump up to the Appleton Estate Extra. It's a 12-year, and is very nice. If you can afford the 21-year, by all means try it. One sip of that and the angels were singing!

                                                A very nice one that's rather tricky to find is Lemon Hart rum from Demerara. If you want to sip it, make sure you find one that does not have a little red triangle in the top left corner, as that denotes the 151 proof bottling.

                                                1. One I really like, and that is available in NYC (and I've seen it on occasion in L.A. as well) is Ron de Barrilito three stars. According to info on ministryofrum website, R de B is:

                                                  Brown rum distilled from molasses. [Aged] minimum of 6 to 10 years in used whisky and bourbon barrels.

                                                  The older of the two rums from Barrilito, the extra time [the three star label] spent aging is evident in this heavier rum with a slightly smoky flavor that doesn't overpower the rum flavor.

                                                  Bottled at 43% alcohol by volume.

                                                  I enjoy sipping it as I do a nice Scotch - makes for a nice change up!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Pigeage

                                                    Barrilito is awesome, but the OP wanted something with no bite and Barrilito, even the 3 star has got quite a bit of bite.

                                                  2. Try the Venezuelan rum Diplomatica Reserva. I brought a bottle to a dinner birthday party, and once a few people had tried it neat the rest of the bottle evaporated quickly. This was in a mixed crowd of mostly non-spirits drinkers.

                                                    I hated Pyrate OX. Appleton's wasn't compex enough to drink neat.

                                                    1. Would you guys laugh if I said Captain Morgan Private Stock?

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: jaykayen

                                                        We won't laugh, but we'll encourage you to try harder...

                                                      2. old monk, hard to find, i think they dropped their distributor, but it can be ordered online

                                                        1. Having spent time in barbados recently i would have to go with Mount Gay. I dont tend to drink much rum but when i do it would have to be that. I actually had the opportunity to visit the distillery out there. The old version of the mount gay rum is by far the best. Stick it over rocks and away you go

                                                          1. Sailor Jerry's is good, it's a little heavy on the vanilla, but good.

                                                            1. My suggestions: Cruzan Single Barrel, Zacapa, Matusalem and Mt. Gay Extra Old. All good sippers, each very unique. Zacapa, in my view, is the best, but it's also the most expensive at $60 or so. Best value is Mt Gay, at around $25 or so in the States.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: bathiel

                                                                I assume you are referring to Zacapa XO - I got the 23 yr old in FL for $35.

                                                              2. You should check out 3 sheets rum from Ballast Point Spirits,very good aged almost 2 years in oak barrel,very good sipping rum.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: forthnd

                                                                  Do you work for Ballast Point? I don't see this rum in my market area. Tell us what makes it special

                                                                2. My favorites are Rhum Barbancourt 15-year old, and Clément XO Rhum Agricole.

                                                                  1. santa teresa 1797
                                                                    ron qntiguo de solera

                                                                    from venezuela

                                                                    lovely and eminently sippable

                                                                    1. One Barrel rum from Belize needs to be on the list as it is exported to the US now. Sweetish, vanilla flavor, zero astringent aftertaste. About $9US in Belize, 15 stateside.

                                                                      Centenario anejo from Costa Rica has not yet been mentioned; it is good neat or with one cube and a lime wedge, I don't know if it is exported to the US.

                                                                      1. El Dorado 21 year old, or Centenario 23 year old. Barbancourt from Haiti used to be a good one find an aged bottle 18 year plus should do, but its rare. Pyrat Cask 23 is often mentioned as a great sipper but terribly expensive $260.00.

                                                                        28 Replies
                                                                        1. re: TheDewster

                                                                          All high end rums. No doubt sipping candidates. Just to be clear, one doesn't need to spend an arm and leg to get good sipping rums.

                                                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                            I agree scuba - Some very good sipping rums I bought in FL for less than $30 : Zaya, El Dorado 15, Seales 10 yr old. Less than $20 - Doorley's XO and Bacardi 8 yr old. Picked up Oronoco on sale for $25 here in NC, very nice for a white rum. Zacapa 23 yr old for $35 in FL also was a pretty good deal.

                                                                            1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                              We now have El Dorado rums available to us here in Michigan. Been a long wait. Only in a few select locations but if you ask it can be ordered by your favorite shop or bartender. Tryed the 15 and 12 year old. Very smooth and full of surprising flavors. Very high quality for the price.

                                                                              1. re: foodiesgeneralstore

                                                                                I am an El Dorado fan. I keep both the 15 and 12 on my bar at all times. Excellent rum for the price. Where I am the 12 is around $20 and the 15 is $29

                                                                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                  Great pricing. El Dorado 12 is about $30 and the 15 is $40. It is a great value. I enjoy sharing samples with the unititiated. Most are very surprised at smoothness and great flavor.

                                                                            2. re: TheDewster

                                                                              15 year Barbancourt Estate reserve is roughly $40 in NY. Don't waste your dough on Pyrat.


                                                                              Pyrat, as far as I can tell is newfangled marketing nonsense from the Patron tequila people. They are probably just buying and rebottling some aged rum purchased from somewhere else.

                                                                              Ah yes, a little googling and the truth:


                                                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                I don't care if the Pyrat was created by the same people behind Patron, but what does bother me is the fact that it's disgusting and tastes like cheap triple sec.

                                                                                I've not tried the $300 version -- and won't, unless StriperGuy is buying -- but the XO is definitely on my "not recommended" list.

                                                                                Currently I feel that a nice agricole is the best candidate for a sipping rum. They tend to be quite a bit drier and more complex than a lot of the big sticky sweet rums like Zacapa. I have bottles by both Depaz and Rhum JM that are excellent after a nice meal.

                                                                                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                  Where are you getting these Rhum Agricoles in Boston.

                                                                                  1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                    Actually I got the Depaz in NYC. The JM I picked up at Kappy's on Rt 16. Now that I think about it I also have some Clement, but I guess that's easy enough to get around here.

                                                                                    1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                      Your post reminds me I have to revisit the French Caribbean where Rhum Agricole is the inexpensive every day libation, typically drunk as part of a Ti Punch which is no punch at all. It is served thusly:

                                                                                      - 1 L Bottle of High proof (120ish) Rhum Agricole left on the bar or at your table
                                                                                      - Small plate of itsy bitsy limes sliced
                                                                                      - Small bottle of Cane Syrup

                                                                                      There you go, knock yourself out, literally. Pour your self a smidge, or a coffee cup full. Rhum, squeeze of lime, dash or two of cane syrup to sweeten it up a might.

                                                                                      I will say that I find the flavor of Cachaca to be a pretty good substitute for Rhum Agricole.

                                                                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                        Pretty close to Punch -- just add a splash of water and a bit of nutmeg :-) ... and if you're drinking at 120 proof maybe that water would be a good idea anyway. Unless, of course, you really do intend to sleep it off under the table.

                                                                                        I'll have to try more cachaca. I've had some of the more upscale ones, but for some reason I still think of it as firewater fit only for consumption with plenty of lime and sugar. The agricoles, on the other hand, strike me as more elegant and refined (not in the industrial sense, but rather in the artisanal sense). I realize that this is baseless given that they're made from the same stuff in more or less the same way, so I'll have to overcome my bias using the heavy consumption methodology. It will give me something entertaining to do this winter!

                                                                                  2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                    I did not care for Pyrat either. I sent my wife to the store to buy Zacapa Centenario and they were out, so the clerk say, "he'll love this. I'll drink it if he doesn't like it." It has an odd bitter orange flavor that I don't like (as opposed to creole shrubb, which I do like). Too me a looong time to drink it up. Probably should have returned it, given what he said.

                                                                                    Frankly, I now find Centenario too sweet to sip.

                                                                                    1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                      I'm using up the last of my Centenario to make Mai Tais ... I also have a bottle of the Zacapa XO, which strangely is a bit drier (I would have expected sweeter given the longer time in wood), and was of course a lot more expensive. I probably won't make Mai Tais with it -- instead I'll save it for a Zombie or two. :-)

                                                                                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                        hey Davis_sq_pro - I see that shopper's vineyard has Zacapa XO on sale for $49, that seems like a great price as most places I see it are $70 or higher, many around $100. Tempted to give it a try.

                                                                                        I found that the Flor De Cana remain dry no matter how long they are in wood, the 18 yr old is still very dry and I much prefer the 15 yr El Dorado. Of course unlike Scotch the age statements on rum refer to the oldest not youngest rum in the blend. (Other than Seales who uses the Scotch method of stating age.)

                                                                                        1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                          "age statements on rum refer to the oldest not youngest rum in the blend"

                                                                                          Is that always true? Did not know that. So the age statement is essentially meaningless because they could put in a thimble full of the old stuff.

                                                                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                            Unfortunately yes, rum is not regulated much at all, even in terms of flavoring additives. This story pretty much sums it up


                                                                                            1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                              Demerara Distillers makers of El Dorado brand rums uses a true aging system. nothing in the bottle is younger than the age on the label.It may be older but never younger.

                                                                                              1. re: foodiesgeneralstore

                                                                                                I didn't know that for a fact but I suspected it as their 12 and 15 yr old are two of my favorites and they seem genuine, as opposed to the tastes of some that seem to have added flavors, such as Zaya 12 and Zacapa 23 (though I quite like both).

                                                                                          2. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                            Well I went back on my word and started using it in Mai Tais. 1 shot of Zacapa XO, 1 shot of Myers's Legend. Most expensive Mai Tai ever, but quite tasty and I can't say that I enjoy drinking either of those rums straight.

                                                                                            1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                              Actually that's not even close to the most expensive mai tai ever, Matt Robold (Rumdood) made one as part of his research with Appleton 21 yr and Clement XO - $300 between them, more or less.


                                                                                              I made one with Sea Wynde and ED 15 yr, and Creole Shrubb - it was outstanding. Not quite as pricey as yours - $70 for my rums vs $94 for yours (at the $49 sale price and $45 I paid for my bottle of Legend,)

                                                                                            2. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                              They were offering a 3 pack at $49/bottle and free shipping. I had to pick up one. Price too good to pass up although the $90-100 price I often see is way too much for this rum.

                                                                                      2. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                        I have never had Pyrat Cask 23 I just said it is often mentioned by people, and I said it was awfully expensive. I have El Dorado 21 and love it. I intend to buy Centenario next time because it is so much cheaper. I agree that Patron is a joke like Cabo Wabo trying to create exclusiveness. I learned that after paying huge money for a bottle of Port Ellen and found it was inferior to Glenmorangie. They indeed buy and rebottle rum according to their website.

                                                                                        1. re: TheDewster

                                                                                          Port Ellen is an Islay, and a well-respected one at that - but then you have made your dislike of Islay scotches clear on several occasions *yawn*. Saying Port Ellen is inferior to Glenmorangie is like saying a Cuban cigar is inferior to a Marlboro light.

                                                                                          For the record I had a bottle of Glenmorangie 10 and didn't like it much at all - almost no flavor other than a sour, very hot finish. Do like the Lasanta, when I am in the mood for a sherry bomb.

                                                                                          1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                            Actually I list Highland Park 25 as my all time favourite so I don't get the Islay comment. Ardbeg and Lagavulin are too peaty for me but the Port Ellen wasn't super peaty.

                                                                                            1. re: TheDewster

                                                                                              Highland park is not an Islay. It's also more smoky than peaty, and more sweet than either - and by 25 yrs old any Scotch any Scotch has mostly gone over to wood anyway.

                                                                                              1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                You are correct Orkney Islands are not in the Islay region I stand corrected, I like minimal peat then. *Yawn*

                                                                                      3. Does anyone know if Admiral Rodney, a premium brown rum from St. Lucia that's certainly sip-worthy, is available in the US? I'm hoarding my bottle from my trip to the island last summer.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: tomjb27

                                                                                          I'm the same way with the bottle that I picked up while honeymooning in St. Lucia a couple of years ago. Rich, caramel-flavored goodness!

                                                                                          I tasted some fine rums while cruising the Caribbean last year and one of the standouts was Westerhall Plantation Rum out of Grenada. It's lighter bodied but really smooth at only $13.

                                                                                          1. re: WesternOmelet

                                                                                            We must be on the same rum wavelength. I bought a bottle of Westerhall before my trip to St Lucia, being in a state of frothing rum-anticipation that needed immediate sating. It’s been a favorite ever since. I only wish I could get it for $13. It's north of $20 at my local.

                                                                                        2. Pusser's navy rum is one of my favorites - but it has a very strong unusual flavor you might or might not like, from being distilled in wooden pot stills. I've seen it described as tree sap, but my take is more like butter and burnt brown sugar.

                                                                                          I had the 15 yr old version once and it was incredible, but hard to find and fairly pricey.

                                                                                          19 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                            Love Pusser's as well. Good stuff. Never even seen the 15 year.

                                                                                            1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                              To be honest, I don't remember there being much difference in flavor, but then I only had the 15 once at a bar - I just remember being blown away by it and decided I had to get a bottle. I was relieved when the blue label version had that same flavor, so I assume it is more from the wood stills than from the ageing. Would love to try them side by side sometime.

                                                                                              1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                Hope you mean pot stills don't think a still can be made of wood!

                                                                                                    1. re: TheDewster

                                                                                                      Yes, Pusser's is known for having the last of the wood stills.

                                                                                                      1. re: JMF

                                                                                                        Wow I feel stupid. Wood, open flame and liquor I assumed it wasn't done.

                                                                                                        1. re: TheDewster

                                                                                                          I wanted to give high end rums (my regular choices are bourbon and tequila) a chance so I ended up I ended up buying the Vizcaya VXOP for $39 (the Zacapa 23 was $49).
                                                                                                          After trying it two different days, both straight up and with a cube, I found this rum had an overwhelming sweetness to it and the dominant flavor I tasted was molasses? Before I go buy the Zacapa, I might try one of the lower cost rum recommendations.
                                                                                                          As for now, does anyone have recommendations on what to mix with the Vizcaya?

                                                                                                          1. re: imhungryletseat

                                                                                                            Rums tend to be a bit sweeter, but you bought some fru fru rum, that did not exist 10 years ago, in some fancy bottle...

                                                                                                            Do yourself a favor and get a good old school rum.

                                                                                                            Even Zacapa has only been around since 1976. Try some of the other serious rums mentioned in this thread, you won't regret it.

                                                                                                            1. re: imhungryletseat

                                                                                                              I agree with Striper -- skip the RZ23 if you don't want a sweet molasses-flavored rum.

                                                                                                              To for the rum you have, I'd try subbing it for Old Monk (which has a heavy molasses / caramel flavor, but isn't that sweet) in a 1919:
                                                                                                              3⁄4 oz Rum, Old Monk
                                                                                                              3⁄4 oz Rye, Rittenhouse 100
                                                                                                              1⁄2 oz Bénédictine
                                                                                                              1 oz Sweet Vermouth, Punt e Mes
                                                                                                              2 ds Whiskey Barrel Aged bitters, Fee Brothers (Or Bittermen's Xocolati Mole Bitters)

                                                                                                              Full recipe and details: http://www.kindredcocktails.com/cockt...

                                                                                                              I would also make a Daiquiri with it. It will obviously be a different drink than if made with white rum, but if you reduce the sugar, you can balance out the sweetness that you don't like.

                                                                                                              1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                                                I like Eldorado 21 from Guyana not super sweet and very complex and smooth. That's a sipper!

                                                                                                                1. re: TheDewster

                                                                                                                  El Dorado 12 YO and 15 YO are available in Michigan. I enjoy both neat or on the rocks. 12 is a little sweeter.

                                                                                                                  1. re: foodiesgeneralstore

                                                                                                                    At several events last year I was talking with Ian Lye, the owner of El Dorado, and invariably when people tasted the whole line, they liked the 12 and 21 year olds, but didn't think the 15 was as good. I saw this happen dozens and dozens of times each day. Just a bit of trivia. (I walked home one of those days with a gift of the whole line of the rums: white, gold, dark, 5, 12, 15, 21, spiced, and cream liqueur. Sadly, they are long gone)

                                                                                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                      Just curious -- have you tried their single barrel rums?

                                                                                                                      1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                        Not yet, looking forward to it the next time I run across El Dorado at an event.

                                                                                                                        1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                          I certainly found the 21 a revelation compared to Bacardi, Screech, or the Cuban rums I have had. I am glad I listened to the manager of the Duty free who recommended it.

                                                                                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                            how is the single barrel cruzan?

                                                                                                            2. re: JMF

                                                                                                              El Dorado's Demerara Distillers’ operation has one of the last remaining wooden Coffey Stills, and 2 original wooden pot stills, the last of their kind still in operation.

                                                                                                    2. I'm pretty simple when it comes to spirit -- my first test is whether it tastes good neat. Nothing against a mixed drink, but if the ingredients aren't good by themselves it's not the best.

                                                                                                      I like Screech. As a Jamaican rum, it's more robust in flavour than some of the Cubans and has a different vibe than Barbados or Phillipine rums. I could spend a lot of money on stuff that doesn't taste any better to me.

                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: CHinBC

                                                                                                        Does Screech come from Jamaica? I thought it was distilled in Newfoundland . . .

                                                                                                          1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                            Its bottled in St. John's NFLD from barrrels shipped from Jamaica. They also take vodka from the prairies (Smirnoff )and add melted iceberg water to make Iceberg Vodka and up the price.

                                                                                                          2. re: CHinBC

                                                                                                            Agree. Tasting ingredients is vital.

                                                                                                            I often taste ingredients neat, but not so much for whether I like them neat, but for whether I think they are a good ingredient. Just like in cooking, you may use ingredients that you would not enjoy all by themselves, but which are fantastic in a recipe. For example, some ryes are so rye-forward that I don't think I'd enjoy them neat. But adding some spice to the right cocktail can be awesome. And Ron Zacapa 23 is too sweet neat for me. But I still like it in cocktails.

                                                                                                            www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft cocktail recipe database for enthusiasts & professionals

                                                                                                          3. As others have suggested, I think Flor de Cana 7 year might fit the bill. I discovered it last year in Nicaragua and immediately emptied my luggage to accomodate bringing a couple gallons home. At $8 per liter it was tough to pass up. I've seen it for $22-25 per 750ml here in the states; still very worth it. I drink it same as a bourbon, usually neat, sometimes a cube of ice or two. In the summer it takes very well to a lime wedge and ice.

                                                                                                                1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                  sounds like he was a student and became the master. I like both websites for the Rhum, don't care about their little tiff. Thanks ncyakee101 for the headsup!

                                                                                                                  1. re: ROCKLES

                                                                                                                    My main complaint is that - as the Capn says - it doesn't seem anyone at the ministry has ever met a rum they didn't like. Reviews definitely not meant to offend anyone in the industry, at least last time I looked. Capn jimbo definitely seems more objective.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                      Not to mention some glaring errors and/or "oddness" (I don't know how else to describe it) on the "Ministry" site . . . on the other hand, the Ministry site is much better organized, so . . .

                                                                                                                      1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                        I read about the Minster of Rum in a book about the Caribbean. He is of course "self proclaimed". But he does have some good suggestions regarding sipping rums

                                                                                                                2. Zafra 21 year from Panama imported by the guys that brought us Ron Zacapa. It's a "true" 21 year not a solera aged in bourbon barrels that are brought up to the mountains to age. Really great stuff at a better price than the Zacapa. Flor de Cana 18 year is the best I've tasted but I was in Panama so my surroundings may have affected my memory. Worth seeking these two out for sure.

                                                                                                                  1. I was recently able to get my hands on a bottle of Renegade Rum Company 2000 Jamaican Rum and really enjoyed it. They age for eight years in bourbon casks then ship over to Scotland to finish in white wine casks. I've had a lot of friends who don't seem to like it but I find it to be really enjoyable (lots of wine notes coming through along with bourbon).

                                                                                                                    I am a massive fan of Matusalem Classico as well as the El Dorado 21 year (which strangely enough evokes a craving for cigars every time I taste it).

                                                                                                                    I generally drink rum in a sipping glass with one ice cube to let it open up and keep me from breaking out in a sweat due to the terrible heat we have pretty much all the time here in Aus.

                                                                                                                    1. Bean, forgive me but if you find "bitterness" in most of the rums you try, it is highly likely that you have a special palate that is sensitive to certain phenols in spirits, and experience them as "bitter". Most drinkers do not experience this.

                                                                                                                      Actually most rums are perceived with a bit of vanillan sweetness to a greater or lesser degree, but it's fair to say the "bitterness" is highly uncommon, particularly in rum. Sadly, even a Canadian rum reviewer suffers from this very same "bitter" sensitiviity, which naturally skews the reviews and makes them relatively inaccessible.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: Capn Jimbo

                                                                                                                        Wow, I wrote this little rant sooooo long ago, I almost forgot all about it.

                                                                                                                        My tastes have changed a bit. I still do taste that taste, I'd almost call a deep, round bitterness that throws everything else off.

                                                                                                                        I have since been introduced to Venezuelan rums and am in love. I am slowly working my way through the long list of rums at Smuggler's Cove in SF. Wow! What an education I am receiving there!! :)

                                                                                                                      2. Try Abuelo 12 from Panama, Santa Teresa 1796 Venezuela, Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Venezuela has won many gold medals and is top awarded with Zacapa Centenario 23 Years old both World top Rums ! Do not touch Bacardi it is JUNK !

                                                                                                                        19 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Intlexec

                                                                                                                          Really have a thing about Bacardi, don't you?

                                                                                                                            1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                              Is it truly "junk"? Or, rather, is that you (and myself, for that matter) don't like/drink it . . . but millions of other people do?

                                                                                                                              While this thread -- specifically -- is about "rums to sip" (and for my tastes, that pretty much limits my selection to some Rhums Agricole, Barancourt 15 year old, and a few others), rather than for mixing, to say that (all) Bacardi is junk is just nonsense.

                                                                                                                              This isn't a contest of who can name the most esoteric rum, and Bacardi 8, though not my first choice, actually IS pretty decent . . . Bacardi Silver and Amber will work as mixers, but I wouldn't recommend them for sipping.

                                                                                                                              That said, back to my main point: define "junk." Is Bacardi 8 technically flawed? Is it full of carcinogens that are dangerous to one's health? It Bacardi 8 not true rum, but rather made from the remnants of partially emptied packets of Splenda? Or do you merely not like it?

                                                                                                                              1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                The Bacardi silver and gold are mediocre rum. I feel not even worth mixing with. But as I said in another thread, their older rums, and special bottlings are pretty good. I will say that the Bacardi eight, compared to El Dorado eight, just can't compete. Even the El Dorado five blows it away.

                                                                                                                                It is too bad, because Bacardi used to be excellent. I'm not sure when their quality fell off, but I assume starting the late 60's to early 70's when vodka took over as the top spirit, and they wanted to cash in with folks who wanted booze with less flavor.

                                                                                                                                1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                  Actually, I know of some rum critics and aficionados who like the El Dorado 5 yr the best of their entire line. I personally prefer the 12 and 15 yr, but I think the 5 is also excellent.

                                                                                                                                  Capn Jimbo at the rum project considers the sweet spot for rum to be from 7-10 years, since by his estimate aging in the tropics takes place at 2-3 times the rate of cooler climates such as Scotland. This corresponds well to many whiskey critics who say 15-21 years is ideal for Scotch.

                                                                                                                                2. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                  Perhaps it depends upon what one is mixing. I think any white rum would be fine dumped into a can of Coke at a drunken frat party. OTOH, certainly the rum is front-and-center in a well-made Daiquiri.

                                                                                                                                  I suspect that in most markets, and certainly in Boston, there are lots of other economical white rum choices, such as Brugal, El Dorado, Flor de Cana, Wray & Nephew, Barbancourt, etc that one isn't forced to mix with a rum you don't care for.

                                                                                                                                  In this regard, one might say that the entry-level Barcardi products are not competitive for the rum-loving cocktail enthusiast who wants a flavorful rum. These seems like a polite definition of junk.

                                                                                                                                  As for being a true rum, well rum is allowed to have undisclosed additives, including sweeteners. So being a "true" rum isn't saying much compared to calling a whiskey a "true" straight Bourbon.

                                                                                                                                  www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Comunity

                                                                                                                                  1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                    Is cheese whiz junk?

                                                                                                                                    When I diss Bacardi I am basically talking about their commoditized (sp?) entry level white and amber products,

                                                                                                                                    I just them by how they taste, for the white, particularly in a mojito. It tastes like crap. I prefer DonQ, Brugal, or Cruzan.

                                                                                                                                    Enjoy your cheese whiz.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                      Not being a connoisseur of cheese whiz -- in act, having never tasted it in my life -- I shall defer to your far more sophisticated taste.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                        I don't eat it, but Cheese Whiz is good for luring in edible reef fish so I can spear them.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                          I like Cheez Whiz on a cheese steak :)

                                                                                                                              2. re: Intlexec

                                                                                                                                Bacardi 8 yr is actually a pretty decent rum, though there are many I like better for the money. Same for their anejo. And the reserva limitada is supposed to be very good but if I am going to spend that kind of money I am going to buy Mount gay 1703.

                                                                                                                                Also Diplomatico reserva and Zacapa 23 are overly sweetened liqueur-like rums, try El Dorado 12 or 15 yr, Pusser's, Appleton 12 yr, Scarlet Ibis, or Mt Gay extra old if you want truly world class rums that don't rely on sweetening.

                                                                                                                                1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                                  I agree Zacapa is on the sweet size Diplomatsico not too bad...I highly recommend Abuelo 12 from Panama it is great neat with a good ZGr....Mt Gay is also a nice one and I have also tried El Dorado 12 it is good...But you must try Santa Teresa 1796 from Venezuela it has received several Gold Medals..Cheers !
                                                                                                                                  Here is the link

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Intlexec

                                                                                                                                    I just tried the Abuelo 7 yr a couple nights ago and like it, picked up a bottle of the 12 yr but haven't opened it yet.

                                                                                                                                    I have Santa teresa selecto and it is quite good but haven't gotten hold of the 1796 yet, though it has been on my list for a while.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                                      Abuelo is a decent sipping rum.

                                                                                                                                      The 1796 Santa Teresa is pretty good.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                                        Yes also try to procure the Diplomatico Ambassador very rare also from Venezuela...Cheers Bro

                                                                                                                                        1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                                          In Denver we now have a Rum Bar 250 brands....available...

                                                                                                                                      2. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                                        I agree that the Bacardi 8 and the Anjeo is pretty good. When I was in Hawaii several year ago I was big into rum and the best rum I could find were the two Bacardi rums mentioned. I had experience with them before and knew they were decent sipping rums. Way better than the typical floaters on the shelf.

                                                                                                                                      3. re: Intlexec

                                                                                                                                        Yea, I have tried both Santa Tereza and Diplomatico now. Smiling, just thinking about them.

                                                                                                                                        Bacardi Añjo isn't great, but not bad for $12!! ;) All the other Bacardi bottles I stay far away from.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: BeanBoy

                                                                                                                                          The 8 yr is pretty decent, though there are many I prefer in the same $20-25 price range.

                                                                                                                                          Someone had said the Bacardi select is good, I caved and bought a 375 ml. I have to say it doesn't taste too bad up front but has a very artifical finish as though it was been sweetened with saccharin. Would make a decent budget mixer if it was all you had available, but again there are a lot of rums Ive had in the same ~$12 range I prefer - such as Flor de Cana 4 yr or Appleton special.

                                                                                                                                      4. Picked up a bottle of Depaz last night, on sale for $25.


                                                                                                                                        The stuff is incredible. This is my first rhum agricole, and honestly, if you didn't tell someone it was a rum, they might not guess it. It really seems more of a cross between a light speyside scotch and a dry cognac. I love the woodsy quality to it. If you get a chnace to try (or buy) a bottle, I would highly suggest you do so.

                                                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Big Crunch

                                                                                                                                          I agree I wouldn't place it as a rum, I think it tastes a little like Tequila. To be honest when I first got it I wasn't a fan, just tasted odd to me, though I had it the other night for the first time in a while and enjoyed it quite a bit.

                                                                                                                                          It's the only true agricole I have had though I have had a couple bottles of Barbancourt 5 star. They don't really taste all that similar to me, I guess because the wood from the Barbancourt's 8 yrs aging overwhelms the subtle flavors that make the Depaz unusual.

                                                                                                                                          I was lucky to get the bottle on closeout from Shopper's vineyard for $17, now wishing I had grabbed another one as mine is half gone.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                                            I only tried it once, and -- like you -- wasn't a fan on first exposure. Perhaps I'll give it another try.

                                                                                                                                            OTOH, I love the older bottlings from Barbancourt and Clement . . .

                                                                                                                                            1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                              The 8 year barbancourt is not quite a sipper for me, a bit harsh but if ice melts it down it is passable, prefer to use it to mix with, super smooth in a mojito

                                                                                                                                              Is the 15y smooth enough to sip on with come ice or a bit of lime in there? Have been on the edge of pulling the trigger on the 15y many times...just haven't done it yet

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Dapuma

                                                                                                                                                I have the 15 and love it . . .

                                                                                                                                                EDIT: Hate to seem like I'm piling on, but I, too, love the Five Star; didn't mention it at first, because I was responding solely to your question.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Dapuma

                                                                                                                                                  You find the 8 yr harsh? I don't get that at all. I find it robust with a chest-warming finish, but I wouldn't call it harsh. I much prefer it to overly smooth super sweet dessert-type rums such as zaya 12 yr or Zacapa 23.

                                                                                                                                                  The 15 yr is also on my list to try, but given my past experience with $40+ rums - none of which I have liked as much as rums I can get for less than $30 - I have found it hard to pull the trigger. Gosling's old rum is excellent but not worth the $60 price tag in my opinion, if it was $40-45 it would be.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                                                    I don't think the 15 year is even remotely as good as the 8 year. It's smooth, sure, but when I gave some to my uncle, who knows nothing about rum, he replied, "oh wow, it's just like Cognac!" And I immediately realized that he was 100% correct: it could be Cognac or pretty much any other spirit. The extra 7 years have stripped it of much of its rum character and have left in its place a rather generic "brown liquor" flavor.

                                                                                                                                                    Just my 2c, naturally. YMMV as always!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                      I tend to find that's the case with most liquors. Tequila has a more delicate flavor than most of the others and in many anejos and extra anejos I can barely detect any agave, just wood. The last new anejo I tried was highly regarded, Gran centenario (the older one with the green label), and though it was very good, it tasted more like a mild Bourbon to me than Tequila - which makes sense given that it had been aged in new charred American oak barrels.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Dapuma

                                                                                                                                                    With all due respect, Barbancourt Five Star is anything but harsh, and is generally considered one of the top ten rums in the world. It is pure, unadulterated and is a close to a handmade cane juice rum as you will ever find. The Gardier family retains the distillery for near 150 years, and their Five Star especially is true artistry.

                                                                                                                                                    At The Rum Project the Five Star is one of a handful of rums to earn a "10". If you find it harsh, it is likely because you have become accustomed to the many sweetened and altered products that attempt to pass for real rum.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Capn Jimbo

                                                                                                                                                      While the word "harsh" maybe a little harsh, Cane juice rums do have an entirely different profile when compared to Molasses based rums. THe cane based rums can be much dryer and more akin in style to Cognac. I am not sure if that is the result of Cane Juice or if that is the impact of their French heritage.

                                                                                                                                                      I have tried the several Saint James rhums and the Barbancourt 5 star. I mainly use the Saint James to mix because on their own they are rather austere but i occasionally sip on the barbancourt. I too have been itching to try the 15 year to see if it smooths out any of the 8yrs rough edges.

                                                                                                                                                      Overall I consider them an indispensable part of my collection but not as go to as the many fine products from ED.