Aidy’s Beverage Cellars: The Seven Best Rums to Sip
or too long rum has been chained to its boring dance partner Coca-Cola but, just like whisk(e)y, bottles of fine spirits can easily (and should be) sipped solo to get the most out of them. left.
This sugarcane nectar has officially been around since the 1600s – probably much longer in reality – and as a result, it has a fascinating history spanning all corners of the globe. There is so much to explore, as each country has developed its own unique twist based on climate, sugarcane origins and bespoke craftsmanship forged over generations.
This list gives a bit of that, but use it as a starting point – there’s a whole lot of good stuff out there. Those are my picks: time to tackle the rum, sipping the way it does.
Mango Fingers of the Dead
If you are looking for something fun, check out this marvel. With touches of familiarity and creativity, it’s a great choice for those beginning their rum exploration. Produced on the doorstep of Bristol, Dead Man’s Fingers rum was originally made in St Ives, Cornwall. Expect a tropical bomb, dripping with sweet, luscious mangoes and a citrus flavor. It makes a killer mango daiquiri if you’re not in the mood to have it groomed, and goes great in a tall scoop with lemonade and a wedge of lime too.
£19.99, The bottle club
Étan Golden Spiced Rum
This award-winning spiced rum is the fiery passion of five sisters, who all share a fondness for their ancestral home in Cameroon. This cultural melting pot is home to a diverse collection of botanicals, five of which have made their way into this liquid: fever grass, orange peel, cassia, ginger and vanilla. It’s a bold testament to the power of female talent that continues to inhabit this industry and produce a cracking rum that stands alone or works great as part of any rum cocktail. Take a whiff and the dried fig, frangipane and orange zest hit your nose before a sip evokes cinnamon, spicy clementines and a touch of sweet black pepper on the finish. Very well balanced and full of life.
£41, Etan Rum
Jamaica Plantation 2007
This 15-year-old tasting sensation undergoes a unique distillation process via the manufacturer’s Vendôme double pot stills. It is this method that gives the flavor a significantly lighter flavor profile than most Jamaican rums, making it ideal for drinking neat. After 13 years of aging in ex-bourbon barrels, the barrels are shipped directly to Cognac in France where they spend the last two years of their life in barrels of Cognac Ferrand; giving a nod to Plantation’s signature style. Intense notes of fresh custard and vanilla stand out on the nose along with rich stewed meadow fruits such as plum, dates and figs. If you love Jamaican style rums, you simply cannot miss this one.
£74.95, Hard to find whiskey
Sitting comfortably at the foothills of the Andes, Diplomatico has helped put Venezuelan rum on the map. Every few years they release a highly anticipated unique vintage and this year has continued to impress with flying colors. Distilled in 2005, the liquid was aged in American white oak barrels before being refined in oloroso sherry casks for an additional year. The result is outstanding, with noticeable layers of rich dark fruit, coffee, cocoa and tobacco. Evolving every 10 minutes, it sits in your glass as ripe orchard and meadow fruits, creamy vanilla, glazed pineapple, molasses pudding and bitter dark chocolate flavors emerge. The only way to drink is clean.
£98, wood winters
Mount Gay Master Blender Collection Andean Oak Barrel
When Mount Gay releases its rums in small batches, it’s time to pay attention. Their latest straw saw Andean oak being the cask of choice. This non-traditional finish comes from an elevation of approximately 2 miles in the Colombian Andes and is the only oak native to South America. Very few have ventured into this territory when it comes to aging rum, but the distinct spiciness and surge of aromatics in this creation is on another level. Expect successive layers of nutmeg and cinnamon with vanilla muffins, pear tart, charred coconut and a dollop of caramel apple. A love story of fruits and spices.
£150, Berry Bro & Rudd
Appleton Estate 21 years old
What happens when you age a rum for 21 years in a unique tropical Jamaican microclimate? Spoiler: it’s amazing. Based on the humidity and climate in which they are made, Appleton’s rums are said to age three times faster than single malt scotches, allowing them to quickly intensify over a shorter period. Doing this calculation, it’s the equivalent of a 63-year-old scotch. A combination of bespoke barrels, climate and age results in a rum with massive texture and deep personality. Mahogany in color with a hint of green olive, the floral notes stand out first, quickly followed by a bouquet of hazelnut and toasted almond. Then it’s vanilla crème brûlée, burnt orange zest and a plethora of baking spices. The finish reaches a spectacular note: warm, toasted espresso and a pinch of freshly crushed cocoa. It’s like a novel unfolding before your very eyes. Stunning.
£151.99, The bottle club
The Last Drop 1976 Jamaica Rum
As far as hidden gems go, this has got to be one of the most exciting. The Last Drop is on a mission to travel the world in search of exceptional barrels in remarkable places. These casks have stood the test of time, waiting to be unearthed and enjoyed by those who truly have a passion for exploring the best the world has to offer.
Here is their first foray into rum, discovered in 2019 on the docks of Liverpool. This 43-year-old dream was originally produced in southern Jamaica, and after years of enjoying the Caribbean heat, it was shipped to Liverpool and re-racked. Years passed as he sat patiently waiting, his rich dark bronze hue a nod to the nearly half century that had passed.
Ripe orchard fruit meets a tropical baked glaze while allspice, nutmeg and cedar smoke jump to the nose. The palate brings with it spicy marmalade, burnt caramel and tobacco, complemented by distinct ginger and nutmeg. As with all things this old, the finish is where things really stand out; a dry spiced cocoa never seems to fade with a light kiss of anise as the final accord hits. Only 183 bottles existed and very few remain today and as with most things that take time, the price reflects this. But — if the opportunity arises to try it, don’t walk, run. Drinking something created the same year Steve Jobs founded Apple and Jimmy Carter won the US election is damn amazing.
£3,000, The Whiskey Exchange