Read our expert review and pick up a bottle of the best rum, from dark and spicy versions to versatile spirits that could be used for sipping or in cocktails.
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Rum is less a drink and more a way of life, and its association with pirates, buccaneers and seafarers is no fable. A spirit made from a molasses or sugar cane base, it is sweet and highly drinkable. Dark, aged rum is perfect on its own, while white rum works its magic in classic cocktails such as the daiquiri. Here we pick 10 top bottles to sip or shake, all of which will rum-ble your tastebuds.
Havana Club 3-year-old
If you only have one bottle of rum in your life, make it Havana Club 3-year-old. Cuban rum is deliberately designed to be lighter in style than some of the more robust Caribbean rums, and this makes it perfect for a classic daiquiri.
Dark Matter Spiced Rum
When you think of rum, it is usually palm trees and beaches that spring to mind, not the wilds of the Scottish highlands. Dark Matter, however, is produced at one of Scotland's rare rum distilleries, making a spiced version of the sweet spirit which is full-bodied with notes of clove. Try it in a hot chocolate.
Penny Blue Rum Batch 4
Produced in Mauritius, Penny Blue is named after the ultra-rare stamp which features as the centrepiece to the island’s museum and was the first ever stamp issued outside of Great Britain. Matured in ex-Scotch whisky casks and ex-American Bourbon casks, it is produced in batches in conjunction with London’s Berry Brothers and Rudd, the oldest wine and spirits merchant in the world.
Cadenhead’s 11-year-old Barbadian Rum
Rum can come from any number of places around the world, and the chaps at Cadenhead’s, Scotland’s oldest independent bottler of fine spirits, source rums from different distilleries across the globe. You'll find anything from a 10-year-old Nicaraguan offering through to a 1999 vintage from Guyana, but here we’re focusing on their 11-year-old Barbadian rum, which is sweet and delicious with a hint of oak and a wallop of vanilla.
Available from Cadenhead’s (£35.50)
Ableforth’s Rumbullion! Rum
Chosen by the Ableforth Spirits Company, who also make the lip-smackingly good Bathtub Gin, Rumbullion! is a blend of rums from across the Caribbean. Aged in oak, this gives the rum a big flavour which works well in all cocktails, but especially with ginger beer for a Dark and Stormy. For the extra-thirsty, this also comes in a 1.5l magnum.
El Dorado 15 Year Old
Probably the drinks industry’s rum of choice, El Dorado is produced in Guyana and has a remarkable quirk in production, as the distillery features wooden stills which are used for distillation at high temperatures. The age declared here is the youngest rum in the bottle, which has been matured in oak for extra flavour. This is one to sip.
Wray & Nephew Overproof White Rum
Keep a fire extinguisher on hand when you open this, for at 63% ABV, it’s potentially a hazard waiting to happen. With such a high strength comes an even punchier flavour and a small measure of this in your Hurricane cocktail will bring an immense peppery, liquorice spice to the drink. The original gunpowder in a bottle.
Pusser’s Gunpowder Rum
Much in the same highly-flavoured category as Wray & Nephew, this 54.5% ABV rum also brings a rich, delicious, dark woody tone, alongside a balance of cinnamon and vanilla notes. The no-nonsense flavours in Pusser’s hark back to a time when the Royal Navy used to issue a daily rum ration. This continued until 31st July 1970, now known as ‘Black Tot Day’, when the tradition was, probably rather sensibly, discontinued.
Plantation Stiggins Fancy Pineapple Rum
A revelation in the world of flavoured rums, this Caribbean rum was originally created by the Plantation cellar master as a highly limited edition treat for thirsty bartenders out in New Orleans, where it became an overnight sensation. Fortunately, this wonderfully sweet, aromatic pineapple-infused spirit is now available for the rest of us to enjoy and is perfect sipped over ice.
Ron Zacapa Centenario Sistema Solera 23
A multi-award winning, complex beast – and a rum which has arguably helped to spearhead the ‘premium sipping rum’ category. Ron Zacapa brings together a blend of different rums aged between six and 23 years old, giving a dry spice note alongside a decidedly mature oaky flavour. A rum that deserves plenty of your time to fully explore.
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This review was last updated in February 2019. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at email@example.com.