After posting my 185th review, I am slowly running out of rums to try that are easily available within 200 miles. I won't spend any money on bottom shelf rot gut unless research warrants taking a risk on them. I am also very hesitant to spend more than $100 US on a new bottle and then feel like I could have had 3 or more rums that are almost as good for the same price. My brief risks into those high priced rums were only done so after perusing these reviews extensively. Now, the odds of taking a risk on a rum that winds up in the upper 10% of all of those that I have rated is like betting on the horse with longest odds. However, when those surprise winners wind up with a rating of 7.5 or higher, this is what keeps me going. Simply put, bargains will never wind up with a 9 or 10 rating. What is shown below are the pleasant surprises rated at 8 or an upper level 7. All cost me $20 to $27 US each, except where noted. My rating is shown first before each one and they are placed in order of my overall rankings. I hope this helps.
8 Blackwell's Black Gold Reserve
8 Carta Vieja Anejo 8 Year
8 Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican
8 Depaz Blue Cane Amber Rhum Agricole ($31)
7 Selvarey White
7 Brinley Gold Shipwreck Spiced
7 Brinley Gold Shipwreck Mango
7 Flor de Cana 5 Year Anejo
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Hi Paul, jo, life is a risk and some rums are really a disappointment. But sometimes you have to do some risky things. For me, I try never to buy the same rum twice, because I'm lucky here too have a big variety of rum I can choose from.
If I look to your cabinet, probably Oliver y Oliver could be an option or some other stuff from Plantation.
For me at the moment, I'm very keen on single barrel rum with cask strength from independent bottlers. I don't know if you would like them, they are completely unsweetened and powerful, but lot of esters.
I usually buy rum in a range from 50 - 150 Chf a bottle, sometimes I order sample sets..
I already tried a rum from Oliver & Oliver, which was Optimus 15. It was quite good, but is now hard to find. Plantation rums are easily available where I live and my latest from them was a dud (Xaymaca).
I recently returned from a rum running expedition to buy rums that are not available where I live, nor can they be shipped to where I live. Eleven of them were known repeat good buys. Seven were risky buys, but one of them wound up ranking third overall out of 192. The worst of the risky rums wound up at a rating of 6 out of 10, which is not bad at all.
In case you have not noticed, my cabinet has now been ordered by my exact overall rankings of each. This is a new benefit for Premium Members like me. Simply move each bottle to where you want it. I have lots of rums rated at 7 and 6, so this really comes in handy for these. This also helps me to rank any new rums. For the price of one good bottle of rum per year, this is one of the benefits, along with prices.
If you can, why not take a punt on the Mezan range of rums (I write this as I sip on their 2008 Panama, a rum that got me saying "wow", more than any other rum I have had recently)? They're not bargains, not by any stretch, but I bought their first Panama bottling, the 1995, on a whim from a shop in London I was taking some Far Eastern clients around site seeing. I was going through a bit of an Abuelo stage (not a fan of it any more) so thought why not try another Panama...and It was delicious, and have been a fan ever since (and it helps that I have an account with the UK distributor). They do others, a fair number of Jamaicans, Guyana, Trinidad, Belize....but its the Panama (from Don Jose) that is the one I like best.
Mezan rums have been on my wish list for quite some time, but they cannot be shipped to where I live. I am also not willing to drive 400 miles or more one way just to pick up more rums. Now, when concert season reopens in spring, a good gig will get me near one of the Total Wine stores who carry Mezan and quite a few others that I cannot get here. TW has too many monopolies on brands, which has really turned me off.
I did more research on silly alcohol laws for many of the states over here in the USA. Wine can be shipped to most because the California winemakers convinced them all that wine goes with meals, so it is classified as a food. Beer and distilled spirits are another story. Some states use the excuse that a child could intercept the package, open it up, drink the contents, and wind up in the ER!!! Others have these crazy laws to keep the middle men in business. However, I can drive across state lines, buy rums that are hard to get, and then bring them back home.