Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Rum Tasting


eje
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm hoping to learn more about Rum this year and want to plan a tasting of a dozen or so "sipping" rums next spring with some friends.

We had an abortive and badly conceived first try this last year with a half dozen or so we had lying aroud and found the only one of the (very motley) group we really liked for sipping was a Bacardi 8 year that my friend's brother brought back from somewhere in the Caribbean (I forget if it was Cuba or Puerto Rico).

If possible, I'd like to keep most of the bottles under or around approx $30 US, with maybe one "special" bottle.

Suggestions for menus or literature are also welcome.

Thanks!

Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Assuming just want to try different rums, rather than hit each island, here are a few I've tried. This is just a sipping list.

All available from Hi-Time Wine:

5 $66 NEISSON RESERVE SPEC 1LT

1 $30 RON ZACAPA 23YR RUM 750

1 $27 RON ANEJO ANIVERSARIO 750

2 $26 CRUZAN SINGLE BARREL 750

4 $20 PYRAT PLANTERS XO RS 750

2 $17 BARBANCOURT 8YR 750

2 $17 CRUZAN DIAMOND EST 750

3 $15 1 BARREL RUM BELIZE 1LT

Notes:

1) These I drink. They are VERY good.

2) These are good straight, but mix well for top flight drinks (no coke thank you)

3) I a class by itself. tastes like carmels, REALLY GOOD carmels. Great value.

4) Sweet. Very different than the others good contrast. Many love this one.

5) For me, the only sippable agricole I have had. 1/4th of the rum in a perfect MaiTai.

If you find yourself down SoCal way, look me up for a taste test. I may have some Bacardi 8 lurking about for a baseline for you. :raz:

-E

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All available from Hi-Time Wine:

Do you recommend Hi-Time? They do have some stuff I've been looking for and been unable to find in the bay area.

4  $20 PYRAT PLANTERS XO RS 750

2  $26 CRUZAN SINGLE BARREL 750

2  $17 BARBANCOURT 8YR 750

These were definitely already up for consideration.

5  $66 NEISSON RESERVE SPEC 1LT

I would like to get a rhum agricole on the list. Do you think that should be the splurge or something like the Santa Teresa 1796?

1  $30 RON ZACAPA 23YR RUM 750

1  $27 RON ANEJO ANIVERSARIO 750

2  $17 CRUZAN DIAMOND EST 750

3  $15 1 BARREL RUM BELIZE 1LT

These I will have to research more.

As far as organizing a tasting goes, does anyone think I should try to find representative sipping rums of different styles or similar style rums from different regions.

If you find yourself down SoCal way, look me up for a taste test.  I may have some Bacardi 8 lurking about for a baseline for you.  :raz:

Likewise, if you find yourself thirsty for Rye and are in this neck of the woods, be sure and drop me a line.

-Erik

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you haven't already done so check out the rum profiler

http://www.ministryofrum.com/rumlocator/ac...trum.html&-show

I would add El Dorado 12 and 15 yr old. Diplomatico Reserva and Santa Teresa 1796 are two rums I just tasted at the International Cane Spirit Festival's RumFest where I had the pleasure of meeting Ed Hamilton. These are both two rums not to be missed. I think the Ron Zacapa 23 is still my favorite.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did something like that, to great success. :) The trick is finding rums that are very different from one another.

A few suggestions that will add variety:

A bottle of the cheapest Puerto Rican white rum you can find at your local liquor store. :) This can serve as the "control" bottle.

A naval rum, such as Pusser's Blue.

A rhum agricole.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you recommend Hi-Time?  They do have some stuff I've been looking for and been unable to find in the bay area.

It's great store. Best selection I've ever seen. The prices are fair. And they ship ($21/case to your area).

I have never used their shipping though. They are only 25 miles from my house and... well... it's like an adventure. :rolleyes:

I would like to get a rhum agricole on the list.  Do you think that should be the splurge or something like the Santa Teresa 1796?

Oh I would pickup Santa Teresa 1796 whenever you see it. It is mighty good. It ranks 1 and 2 with RON ZACAPA 23YR. They both tend to be the same price. My tastebuds can't seem to make up thier minds as to which one of these I like best.

The only reason I didn't list it was it is not on Hitime's list at this moment. I didn't see a point in suggesting something you couldn't get.

As for the agricole, it's the only one I can stand. At least for now. Tastes do change. And, besides it really does go into making a VERY good MaiTai.

1  $30 RON ZACAPA 23YR RUM 750

1  $27 RON ANEJO ANIVERSARIO 750

2  $17 CRUZAN DIAMOND EST 750

3  $15 1 BARREL RUM BELIZE 1LT

These I will have to research more.

Cruzan, as brand, tends to be very Bacardi like only better. I put both Cruzan's down because they are similar to the Bacardi 8 you mentioned. For my money the Diamond is a much better value than the Single Barrel. SB is better, but not twice as good.

Likewise, if you find yourself thirsty for Rye and are in this neck of the woods, be sure and drop me a line.

-Erik

Rye you say? Spotted the Rock and Rye thread on the other forum a while back. I bought some Wild Turkey on spec as it were. :wink:

Rye is... in need of more research on my part.

I may just have take you up on that.

-E

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would recommend structuring the tasting to illustrate to the people the variety of rums out there in terms of complexity, oaking, body, dryness. I would use Cruzan Estate 2yo rums instead of Bacardi Silver and Gold in the spirit of focusing on lesser known / less common rums. (I lament that the only rum some of my friends and family know and/or drink is Bacardi.) I would add the following (that I've tried) in addition to what has been already suggested:

Montecristo 12yo (a sweeter rum a little similar to Pyrat's XO)

Cruzan Black Strap

Appleton Special Gold

Appleton Special White

Appleton VX

Appleton XO

Gosling's Black Seal

Mount Gay Eclipse

Mount Gay Extra Old (if you want a highly oaked rum)

Cruzan Dark Estate 2yo

Cruzan Light Estate 2yo

Cockspur 5 Star

Bacardi Select (AKA Bacardi Black)

Brugal Añejo (one of the driest rums I've ever tasted....hopefully the tilde over the "n" will come through)

Lemon Hart & Son Demarara

Havana Club 7yo (I tried this at a club a few blocks from the infamous Atocha train station in Madrid, Spain....it cost about 15 Euros/US$18 for the drink)

I did try Coruba and Flor de Caña 5yo, but they didn't impress me in a positive manner. And for St. Louis IX's sake (the patron saint of distillers although I'm Presbyterian and not Catholic), please don't include Captian Morgan in the tasting at all.

For the "control", maybe Ron Rico, Myers Dark, or Aristocrat?

Bacardi seems a little drier than Cruzan, and Cruzan seems has more flavor and body than Bacardi. I have difficulty seeing that Cruzan has a lot of similarity with Bacardi.

Tuesday, I bought a bottle of Santa Teresa 1796 from Cranberry Liquors (a more reputable store in my region) in Westminster, MD for about $46. I currently don't have an opinion on that as I've yet to try it although I have heard many favorable opinions from those more experienced in rum than I am.

I am an enthusiast of tea, coffee, ginger ale, root beer, beer, whisk(e)y, wine, rum, and their related apertifs/liqueurs. I can't stand gin or tequila although I did my new brother-in-law a small favor and took a shot of cheap tequila at his request during the wedding reception. Also, the ex officio drink of Tradewind Caribbean Airlines, for which I fly in cyberspace, is tequila-based, and I am trying campaign a rum-based drink. I tend to favor those whisk(e)ys with winter wheat over those with rye (unless the whisk/e/y with rye has been aged a long time). With any beverage, my taste is diametrically polar: either very light/simple or very dark/strong/complex.

Edited by elixirofthetropics (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because I like them I would have things such as

Cruzan Single Barrel - it is one of the few rums at 37.5% (or the bottle I had was) - very easy drinking

Angostura 1919 - to me better than the 1824

Santa Teresa 1796 - great stuff

Ron Zacapa 23yo - ditto

In have just come back from Barbados and don't know why everyone thinks that Mount Gay is so good. I think that it is far too commercial (is it owned by Pernod Ricard?) to be considered anything more than good and reliable. (I did buy a bottle of their Mango Rum as a present for someone!!!!) Think that Doorly's is a bit better but lament at the lack of quality remaining of the island's rum

And do you know what rum they used in a rum punch I had where I was staying.........MALIBU.

Edited by ctgm (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I much prefer Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 y/o over Santa Teresa 1796, but both are good sipping rums. A real sleeper out there, and one that seldom gets mentioned, is Diplomatico, an exceptionally fine sipping rum from Venezuela that is under $50. It's my wife's favorite sipping rum, period. :raz:

You guys should all pool your money and buy a bottle of Pyrat Cask 23 for your sipping contest! You can thank me later! :biggrin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because I like them I would have things such as

Cruzan Single Barrel - it is one of the few rums at 37.5% (or the bottle I had was) - very easy drinking

Angostura 1919 - to me better than the 1824

Santa Teresa 1796 - great stuff

Ron Zacapa 23yo - ditto

In have just come back from Barbados and don't know why everyone thinks that Mount Gay is so good. I think that it is far too commercial (is it owned by Pernod Ricard?) to be considered anything more than good and reliable. (I did buy a bottle of their Mango Rum as a present for someone!!!!) Think that Doorly's is a bit better but lament at the lack of quality remaining of the island's rum

And do you know what rum they used in a rum punch I had where I was staying.........MALIBU.

I know that where I stayed and visited in Barbados near Oistin and in Bridgetown, I know that they did not use Malibu in their rum punches (thank goodness). Mount Gay Eclipse is good but not as good as Appleton, and the XO is good for those who like a heavily oaked rum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the suggestions!

Now I just have to start saving money and tracking down these rums.

I will post impressions as I accumulate.

Anyone have suggestions for good books about rum?

Cheers!

Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 9 months later...

I like to organize a rum tasting for some friends, but don`t know how to do it right.how many rums would you take? which kind of rums? which order? what to drink and eat beside? what is a control bottle good for? any other tips welcome. thanks and cheers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I think the folks further up in the forum did a good job listing a bunch of rums worth tasting. I don't like all of them, but then thats what tasting is for, right -- to find out what you like. As for the value of a "control" rum, well I don't really see it being necessary. However, if you have a rum you usually drink, of course it would be good to include it in the tasting -- you might as well find out how it stacks up.

Most sipping rums are pretty full of flavor, so I dont think you have a lot of leeway in terms of serving food. Of course, what you eat will affect your overall impression, so you might as well go with something you might eat in the course of normal rum drinking in the future. If you're a purist, maybe just bread while you're focusing on tasting and something heartier later. If you want to go with a theme, you could go with a Caribbean meal: Picadillo, Moros y Cristianos, fried plantains, for examples.

To add to others' lists, here are some of my favorites:

Santa Teresa 1796 (the best I've ever tasted, though, sadly, I've never had the Zacapa)

El Dorado 15 (an excellent rum from Guyana)

Cruzan Single Barrel (the one I drink the most, as I can actually get it in NC)

Barbacourt 5 Star (8 year old Haitian)

Ron del Barrilito 3 Star (this is an astonishingly good rum from Puerto Rico, of all places)

One more note: sipping rums are generally mellow, and sweeter than other liquors such as Scotch, so I think they are best appreciated straight -- no need for water or ice.

Enjoy!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just realized I failed to respond to about half your questions about the rum tasting.

What kinds of rums to serve: While some have argued for trying to find a breadth of different styles, I would actually advise the opposite. I would instead go for a bunch of aged "sippping rums" that are more-or-less in the same league and then focus on tasting the distinctions between them. Rums differ from each other a lot, so I think you will find them quite different anyway. Still, the closer they are in style the more you will be able to hone in on which flavors are making the difference between your favorites and the rest.

This being said, I wouldnt worry about the order. What I would do is either put the bottles out covered in numbered paper bags, or put them in plain, numbered bottles. Then put out some glasses, a pitcher of water and a bucket so people can rinse out their glasses, and let your guests try things in whatever order suits their fancy. I would also try to encourage people to take notes and to avoid saying which ones they like/dislike until everyone has tried everything, then compare notes.

As for how many rums to taste, I would say 5 to 10 is a reasonable number. And don't feel that you have to taste $50, 20-year-old rums. You could have an interesting tasting made up of rums in the $15, 5-year-old range. Cruzan Estate Diamond and Appleton V/X are both good, more affordably-priced choices.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you David for the usefull information. So this is my choice now: 1. Zacapa 23yr. ( the best), 2. St. Teresa 1796 ( to compare with the Zacapa), 2. El Dorado 15 yr. , 3. El Dorado 21 yr. ( to compare ), 5. Cruzan Diamond , 6. Bermudez Anniversario ( to taste how fantastic young Rums can be), 7. Riviere du Mat Grande Reserve, 8: Pyrat XO Pistol Reserve ( to show how different rums can be) I know quiet a lot heavy rums, but they`re my favourites. I would like to try some older Rhum Agricole, but found them quiet expensive and I don`t know which are worth a try. Thanks again Cheers Steffen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

This is a great question and a common one. Entry into the world of rum can be confusing and misleading as it's way too easy to end up with a mish mosh of other people's favorites.

I found this very frustrating, so I thought it would be useful to have an organized way to approach rum by identifying what turned out what I call the five basic styles of rum (which includes the French cane juice rums), as well as reference standards for each style. These would give your guests a real overview of the world of rum.

I then created a basic starter collection of ten rums (Link to Basic Collection)for just a tad over $200 total. This is a truly great collection representing the best of world of rum as we know it, plus a few fun and mixing rums, not a penny wasted. Not bad.

Some of the rums in this group include:

Mount Gay Extra Old

Appleton Extra

Barbancourt Five Star

Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva

El Dorado 12 or 15

These are all world class and quite affordable...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Out of curiosity, has anyone here ever had Stroh '80'? This is appearing regularly in my local stores. I was very surprised when I looked closely at the label to learn that the '80' in the name does not indicate 80-proof, but rather it indicates 80% ABV!!! Yow. Another unusual thing about it is that it's made in Austria, not exactly the first place that springs to mind when you think of rum these days. Just wondering about people's opinions of it.

Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's 80% alcohol and the other 20% is sugar, and herbal. It's kind of like Jagermeiser, and typically served similarly (i.e., thrown back ice cold). It ain't no sippin' rum.

That would explain one of their other products (shown on their website) called Jagertree. This Stroh 80 sounds intriguing and odd enough to be tempting, but I'm not sure if I want to spend the $20 just for the novelty. Still, although the stores here seem to stocking a lot of it now, by next year, it could disappear never to be seen again. Does it work in applications that call for 151 rum, or do you use it more like an herbal liqueur?

Edited by brinza (log)

Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stroh 80 is not very good, IMO.  Nothing I'd use in a cocktail.

Yeah I agree, it's awful.

Thanks for the input, both. I think I'll avoid that, then. Besides, I mistyped the price--its' $28 here, not $20, even more reason to forget it. I guess it doesn't say much about local tastes around here, that the stores are stocking it. Meanwhile the PALCB, in their infinite ignorance, has taken Benedictine off the lists altogether (you can't even special order it!). Oh, they've got lots of B&B but what good does that do anyone? :angry: Sorry for the off-topic rant, but that is really bugging me lately.

Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

More info here:

Stroh Rum?, A word from Stock, the holding company

FWIW, the 80% Stroh rum is rarely consumed as such. It's mainly used for

1) the notorious Jagatee (hunter's tea, something like grog), the stuff that many skiers in Austria drink before or Après Ski after the last downhill.

2) Rumtopf (rum pot), a large pot you start filling with fruits in early summer (strawberries, raspberries) and then continue with all kind of freshly harvested fruits during the season. You keep the fruits covered and hence preservated with Stroh rum. The high percentage keeps the proof high enough when diluted with the liquidity content of the fruits. Consumed during and after christmas day. Great stuff. Served warm with vanilla ice cream is a real crowd pleaser!

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it gives you any kind of heads up, there is a bottle of Stroh 80 in my bar that has EXACTLY 3 ounces out of it. We tried to make Stroh drinks with it one night and, well, other than the clear problem that it doesn't taste very good, there is the whole "it's gonna be a really short party" effect.

It's awful. Believe me, with my friends, if anything lives longer than a year in a bar and isn't an empty bottle, it's probably damned near undrinkable.

Cab drivers would like it to become a popular beverages, however.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've found a use for the Stroh 80. I keep it around for a TheraFlu toddy when I'm sick as a dog with the flu or an upper respiratory infection. Put a shot of this into the OTC TheraFlu and consume. Go to bed. Sweat like you're the subject of an exorcism. Wake up feeling better, if not completely cured.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...