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So I figured now that it's warm weather it's time for a new pour...

Was stuck between an interesting bottle of Rowan Creek small batch bourbon, and striking out in a totally new direction, so....new direction it is!

Walked out of the door with a bottle of Ron Cartavio Añejo Reserva, which is pretty okay (no illusions about getting outstanding drink for 13 bucks a fifth) but have no clue where it fits in on the grand scheme of distilled cane-y goodness...t's good, just not...awe inspiring? A lot more tasty with a bit of ice or well water, and opens up to a nice buttery vanilla tone, but I imagine there's better there--of the shelves I inspected the only names I really recognized were Cruzan and 10 cane, both of which i suppose are well respected, aren't they?

I guess most of my confusion is that I was shooting from the hip, so to speak, and I know that, say, 20 bucks can buy a pretty good bourbon, a passable scotch, but I don't know how good rum fits into the scheme of things

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As a class, decent rums are very affordable. Thirteen dollars or thereabouts will get you a very good white rum -- at least in my area, Cruzan 2-year old, Flor de Cana 4 and Appleton white are all less than $15. If you can find Montecristo Premium Blend, it will be about $20, and might be worth it.

But $13 for a good anejo seems suspiciously cheap. I'm not familiar with Cartavio, but Brugal is usually $17-20, as are Bacardi 8 and Cruzan Single Barrel. And like anything else, when you get into carefully-tended limited-supply products, the sky's the limit.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Another direction to try that I found to a great surprise is Anguilla Pyrat Rum. It is imported by the folks who bring you Patron (overpriced and overrated, but that's a different post...) The Pyrat has characteristics more suited to a brandy or Calvados, with an amazing heady aroma. Definitely not for everyone, but if you were considering small batch bourbon and appreciate a good scotch whiskey, this might be right up your alley. The fact that it is unlike what Americans consider Rum means that it is often discounted. granted it isn't $13 a fifth, but more like $27. I have seen it on sale for $22.

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Metusalem Classico, Brugal Anj, Sailor Jerrys, Cruzan Navy strength (black strap, you will never go near Gostlings again) both Pomparo's, Coruba (Myers will never get another dollar from you).

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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  • 1 year later...

At my website I've identified a bunch of great rums for $20 or less. For example Barbancourt Five Star, perhaps the best of the cane juice rums and rated as one of the great rums of the world...

Just $18.

The Three Star version, which would be rated superior by most reviewers is closer to $14. Now mind you, these rums are not swill, they are not average, they are not good - no, they are exceptional...

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  • 2 years later...

Resurrecting this ancient thread to ask a question.

I'm trying to improve our rum selection, but I'm still learning about this incredibly diverse spirit.

If you were to have only four bottles of rum behind your bar, which would they be?

What about five bottles? Six?

Pip Hanson | Marvel Bar

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Wow. Good question.

1. Light Rum: Ron Matusalem Platino (or Flor de Cana Extra Dry or Cruzan Light). All three are great for mixing, but my very first real Daiquiri was made with Matusalem so they just don't taste the same to me with any other rum. All three can be had for about $15 - $18 each.

2. Amber Rum: Flor de Cana Gold or El Dorado 5 Year (or Cruzan Amber). Also great for mixing. All are about $18 each.

3. Dark Rum: Goslings Black Seal. This is a great rum for punches. They also have a 151 proof version that is excellent. About $18.

4. Aged Rum: El Dorado 15 Year or Flor de Cana Centenario 12 Year or Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva. All are perfect for sipping. I can't decide which is my favorite (although I'm leaning towards the El Dorado). All are near $35.

If you're adding a #5. Clement VSOP. It's a Rum Agricole, and has a funky aftertaste that once you get used to you love. Combined with an aged Jamaican rum (like Appleton 12 Yr), it makes a great Mai Tai.

If you're adding #6, make it Smith and Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum. I still haven't run out of cocktails, punches, Tiki drinks, etc. that can be improved by a dash of this stuff. It's pretty amazing.

This is just my two cents worth. I'm sure others will have completely different lists. I'm looking forward to seeing other peoples' takes on this.

Have fun,

Dan

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Only four bottles is a tough one.

Personally, for me it would be:

1. La Favorite (white rhum agricole). After a number of years trying to convince myself otherwise, I gave in to the realization that non-agricole white rums are kind of crappy. Some drinks calling for white rum will taste "not entirely traditional" with Favorite (e.g., the Daiquiri), but to my taste are usually better with Favorite.

2. Smith & Cross (pot-stilled traditional Jamaican rum). I am not sure that there is a better cocktail-grade rum on the market, but I have not yet found a cocktail it wasn't good in. Great in all kinds of tiki and caribbean drinks, as well as in punches, and dashed into cocktails.

3. Lemon Hart 151 (overproof demerara rum). Indispensable in swizzles-type drinks, and many tiki drinks.

4. Mount Gay Sugar Cane (medium-body amber rum). I care less about this #4 rum than I do about #s 1-3, but I recently had some of this and found it quite nice, and suitable for drinks calling for amber or Barbados rum.

If you want to add more, it gets more interesting.

5. Coruba Dark (good as a "dark rum" when you want that caramel bomb instead of Jamaica's funk

6. If you must have a "Cuban style" white rum, I'd suggest (in order of preference): El Dorado 3, Flor de Caña Extra Dry or Brugal white)

7. The aged El Dorado rums are excellent

8. If you must have a spiced rum, Kracken is the one you want

A lot of people like the Appleton rums, but I don't have much use for them.

Edited by slkinsey (log)

--

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This is a nearly impossible task, as I've been steeping myself in the world of rum lately and realize I know much less than I thought.

1. Light: Don Q for the well; Rhum J.M white if you've got the cash. Never had La Favorite, sadly.

2. Amber is such an absurdly broad category that I don't even know what it means. But, to play along, I'd choose Smith & Cross first, followed by, in no particular order, Chairman's Reserve, Diplomatica Reserva Exclusiva, El Dorado, English Harbour, Depaz, any Mount Gay, any Barbancourt, Appleton V/X, Reserve, or 12 year, and Old Monk. Can't get enough of that funky stuff.

3. Dark: Goslings or Myers's. I've never had Coruba, I should add.

4. Aged: I have been nursing a crazygood J.M Vieux VSOP the last few days, and I can't imagine much that would be better. Zacapa 23 is pretty skippy, though.

5. And... Gotta have Lemon Hart 151 and Wray & Nephew around.

I wish I could recommend Flor de Caña or Cruzan, but I feel that both have lost a lot of quality over the last few years.

Oh, and can we all mourn the passing of the astonishing Inner Circle Green? I am slowly, slowly allowing myself to finish the last bottle in the state.....

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Since, as others have noted, it is really impossible to cover the vast range of rums out there in a few bottles, let me just mention four of my all-time favorites. Each is world-class and unique, both on its own and mixed.

Santa Teresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera

Ron del Barrilito Three Star

Plantation Barbados (Vintage, not Grande Réserve)

St. James Ambre

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...

3. Lemon Hart 151 (overproof demerara rum). Indispensable in swizzles-type drinks, and many tiki drinks.

Do you know if Lemon Hart 151 is still available in the States? It disappeared from Astor Wines' website, and I can't find it anywhere else. I've got a bottle and a half left, and don't want to use any until/unless I know I can find it again.

Thanks,

Dan

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Indeed, Pernod Ricard sold the Lemon Hart brand to a small Canadian importer/distributor that intends to keep alive the 80 and 151 marks, albeit with a refresh to the label. No word on timing...when I find out anything I'll post.

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Thanks, everyone, for the great suggestions. The only way to properly decide for myself is a taste test. Dirty job etc. etc.

OK - somewhat related question: five to ten vital rum cocktails? I ask so that I can put these rums through their paces. I have my own ideas but I would value more input.

Pip Hanson | Marvel Bar

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I'd add an El Presidente to Chris' list, for something that goes in a bit of a different direction. It's not my favorite, and I drink one only every once in a while but it's a different look for rum I think.

nunc est bibendum...

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Rum, tonic, and a wedge of lime is a good way to taste the rums.

Another favorite is the Old Cuban. I discovered it at Eastern Standard in Boston, but I'm not sure who invented it.

And a vintage cocktail featuring Cherry Heering is the Gilroy Cocktail. It doesn't really highlight the rum, but it sure is delicious.

Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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