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Rums with absolutely no added sugar


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Paul B (PREMIUM)

Posted 15 Feb '19 from United States with 400 ratings

It's time to give my list of bone dry rums ranked in order with my rating shown to the left. Technically, I consider dry rums to have less than 10 grams per liter of added sugar, but I have only included those rums known to have zero gpl of added sugar. I certainly do not want the sugar police coming after me. Barbados lays most of the claims to having no added sugar, but only wound up with less than 30% in this list. I will let you count the other countries. Notice that my top ranked dry rum happens to be from Plantation as well as being an overproof. This is because it was created by a panel of experts. Check my list below to see where your favorites fit in. Also note that most of my initial ratings often evolve as the bottle slowly disappears over time. 8 Plantation OFTD 8 Appleton 21 8 Kirk & Sweeney 23 8 Don Q Single Barrel 2005 8 Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican 7 Don Q Single Barrel 2007 7 Foursquare Zinfandel Cask 7 Flor de Cana 12 7 Appleton Reserve Blend 7 Carta Vieja 8 Anos 7 Hamilton Demerara 86 7 Ron Medellin 8 7 The Real McCoy 12 Year Old 7 St. Nicholas Abbey 10 Year 7 Flor de Cana 7 7 Angostura 7 Year 7 Cruzan Single Barrel 7 10 Cane 7 Marlin & Barrel Bearing Amber 6 Foursquare 2004 Single Blend 11 Year 6 Grander 8 6 Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12 5 Plantation Xaymaca 5 Mount Gay Black Barrel 5 The Real McCoy 5 Year Old 4 Chairman's Reserve 4 Cockspur 12 3 Mount Gay XO
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Pedro

From Netherlands with 10 ratings Replied 25 Mar '19

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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 25 Mar '19

I am unable to get rums from Mauritius over here, but thanks for the tip.
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Taster

From Switzerland with 114 ratings Replied 13 Aug '19

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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 14 Aug '19

Taster: When I first compiled my list, Dictador 12 had an added sugar of 5 gpl and not zero. This is still dry, but it probably has zero. Since I don't have a hydrometer to test my bottle, i will leave it as is with it being uncertain, 0 or 5?
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Taster

From Switzerland with 114 ratings Replied 15 Aug '19

Ok Paul, I hoped, you might probably have a more precise Information than the one from the known lists. Yes, leave it as is, since the list says 0-5 gpl. Have a good day!
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Jaybird

From United States with 48 ratings Replied 1 Oct '19

That's an impressive list. I also think highly of Flor de Cana 18 and Foursquare 2005. I personally think that Flor de Cana is a grossly underrated brand. Their expressions are excellent. Foursquare goes without saying. I'm also impressed by the fact that even with 0 sugar added, many of these rums come across balanced with a perception of sweetness that makes them very smooth and enjoyable to sip. On another note have you been able to experience either the rums of Privateer in MA or the rums of Prichard's in Tennessee? I've had the Prichard's Fine and like it but have not been able to acquire anything from Privateer as yet. Both distillers are pot still and no sugar added. Cheers.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 1 Oct '19

Jaybird: I have seen too many bad reviews for Prichard, so I have avoided them like the plague. They are also quite expensive. I found most of Foursquare rums boring with the exception of their Zinfandel Cask aging. That varietal also happens to be my favorite from my wine drinking days, uniquely Californian. Choosing the right pre-sweetened cask is the key to having slightly sweetened rums without having any added sugar. However, those casks of sherry, port, and madeira can be quite expensive. Recycled bourbon barrels come quite cheap, but there lies a risk of the rum tasting too much like bourbon. Clement 10 year from Martinique is a prime example of this, and rhum agricoles seem to be highly susceptible to this phenomenon.
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PierreM

From France with 14 ratings Replied 28 Nov '19

You can add the : RL Seale 10 years Nothing added. Just rhum !!! It is rare enough to be mentionned.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 29 Nov '19

PierreM: RL Seale 10 Years has been on my wish list for months, but I don't feel like driving 400 miles just to be able to try it.
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PierreM

From France with 14 ratings Replied 30 Nov '19

This is something I can understand. Even in Paris, it is difficult to found. I had to order it in a small independent rhum shop. RL Seale is out from the main distribution channels.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 2 Dec '19

Pierre M: Where I live it is illegal to even ship alcohol to my door. And if I drove 400 miles to get those highly rated rums from RL Seale and I wound up loving any of them with any of them getting into my top 10%, I would have to drive back to get more and most are in limited quantities in stores. I therefore see my pursuit of RL Seale rums monopolized by Total Wine as being totally pointless.
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Jaybird

From United States with 48 ratings Replied 2 Dec '19

Paul B: I agree with the chosen cask statement. That definitely gives that perception of sweetness to the final rum. I also agree that the Zinfandel cask Foursquare was my absolute favorite to this point. I don't argue your point about you finding them boring on the whole as that is definitely a personal perception and preference. I do like all of the Foursquare, Real McCoy products that I've had so far. I'm just happy we have so many great rums to choose from these days. About the Prichard's, I did obtain a bottle recently and I think it is less interesting than I use to believe. A bit more course and medicinal that my previous bottle for sure. It was disappointing. I just acquired a bottle of Maggie's Farm single cask that I'm anxious to try and I'm also getting a bottle of Montanya Exclusiva brought to me from Colorado next week that I've been anxious about. I'm hoping that these live up to what I've been reading. Keep up the great posts and have a safe and happy holiday season!
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 3 Dec '19

Jaybird: Thanks for the feedback, but I have probably already approached the maximum number of rums to try. A very good concert in the Houston area would be a good excuse to visit Total Wine and pick up another dozen rums that I cannot get where I live. For any new rums, I always buy only one bottle. From my list of these dozen, I seriously doubt that any could move into my top ten percent. I have already tried way too many rums that I rated as a 7, good but not quite great in a crowded field.
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Mujuru

From United States with 73 ratings Replied 1 Jan '21

Just FYI a rum can contain 5gpL (and maybe even slightly higher depending on age) and still have absolutely 0 added sugar. If rum is stored in charred wooden casks for very long periods of time some of the naturally occurring plant sugars in the wood will dissolve into the rum. No AOC Agricole, Jamaican or Bajan rums are allowed to have added sugar yet a great many of the longer aged varieties measure out at having 3-5gpL. Pretty much the rule is that if the rum is produced, aged, and bottled in Jamaica, Barbados, Martinique, or Guadeloupe in the last 12 years or so then it has 0 added sugar. It doesn’t necessarily mean it will measure as 0gpL using a hydrometer and calculation, it just means it will have 0g of sugar added by the producer to the rum prior to bottling. Yes there will be a very few exceptions like a few of very, very old La Favorites and some of the Plantation varieties that say Barbados but which are actually aged in France (and then dosed there). But no Foursquare Rum, Mount Gay, nor any from Hampden, Worthy Park, or Appleton, nor Rhum JM, Neisson, Trois Rivieres or other AOC Agricole producers will by law have any added sugars.
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Taster

From Switzerland with 114 ratings Replied 10 Jan '21

Friends of unaltered rums might be interested in my latest discovery: Mezan Rums. The boxing says: „The untouched rum: unsweetened, uncolored and unchill filtered.“ I got me a bottle of Belize 2008. It‘s pretty wild (see my tasting note). Even better is La Hechicera Extra Anejo, also one of those „sugarless“ rums (acc. to rumproject.com)
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Kamamura

From Czech Republic with 31 ratings Replied 8 Feb '21

Anything that bears the "Rhum Agricole AOC" mark IMO is free of additives, because there are regulations that forbid it.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 8 Feb '21

Kamamura: I forgot to mention that my list is all molasses based rums. I have agricoles and cachacas classified separately. It goes without saying that any rhum in these two categories will have no added sugar or a very minimal amount.
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Immiketoo (PREMIUM)

From Greece with 49 ratings Replied 12 Feb '21

Paul, I’m certain you only have a small amount of FS on your list because of the lack of availability. I’ve tried many of their bottles and I find them to be head and shoulders above many other offerings. Detente, Redoutable and Empery are the ones I’d recommend. All are wine cask finishes and they are all amazing. I’m left flat by the 2004,5,7 expressions as they seem more one dimensional to me. Just my two cents.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 12 Feb '21

immiketoo: With several recent openings of Total Wine near me, I now have plenty of choices for Foursquare ECS rums. However, there are very few that I like and all are grossly overpriced, so I just leave them on the shelf where they belong. With a bit of research, much better and cheaper rums are available with no added sugar. Seek and you will find!
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Immiketoo (PREMIUM)

From Greece with 49 ratings Replied 12 Feb '21

I’ve tried many of those on your list, but I am interested in the Flor de Cana. I’m surprised to hear you say the FS are overpriced as where I live (Rhodes Greece) they are right in line with all the other top brands of similar age; ie Appleton 21, etc. In fact, most bottles are cheaper than the Appleton 21, which I very much enjoy. Otherwise I am in agreement with your list, at least the ones I’ve tried. I sure wish I could share some of my bottles with you, maybe change your mind, or at least confirm your decision :)
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Immiketoo (PREMIUM)

From Greece with 49 ratings Replied 13 Feb '21

Just picked up a Flor de Cana 25. It’s all they had, so I am excited to try it :)
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 13 Feb '21

Immiketoo: Absolutely nothing can change my mind about Foursquare ECS rums. As for Flor de Cana, their 18 year old was an epic fail with my rating being vastly lowered to a 4 after only one month. I still buy their 12 year old, but have no desire to try their 25 year old. I now have enough rums to most likely last me until April. This means zero alcohol expenses for February and maybe even March. After 365 reviews and tired of being ripped off by all of the crap that is out there, there will be no more new rums for me to try. Less than 10 percent of all that I have reviewed falls under my ratings of 8 or above. I have lots of 7's and even more of the 6's. About 30 percent fall below my rating of 6, which means that I will never buy any of these again.
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Immiketoo (PREMIUM)

From Greece with 49 ratings Replied 13 Feb '21

Paul, That’s a strong statement. No worries, sir. As for the new bottle of FdC, I bought that based on your listing several bottles of the brand. I didn’t think that some expressions would be excluded based on the strong recommendations of the other expressions. I guess we will see how it goes :). At your level of experience, I imagine there’s a TON of disappointment when trying new rums. I have experienced this to some small degree, and I immediately mark those as never buy again in my book.
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vomi1011

From Germany with 325 ratings Replied 13 Feb '21

If we look at the facts, there is some evidence that the ECS releases are underpriced. 1. Foursquare Rums are pure rums, distilled in pot and/or column stills. 2. All have a strong distillery character. 3. Allmost all are bottled in high proof. 4. The releases are frequent and various with different finishes. 5. The bottlings of independent bottlers are much more expensive. 6. There are already very expensive and legendary bottlings like Velier Destino / 70th Anniversary 7. We have the potential to build a collection.
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Immiketoo (PREMIUM)

From Greece with 49 ratings Replied 13 Feb '21

Boom, I feel they have a crispness that’s many other brands lack. I agree with value for money, especially considering the ABV. It’s true that I am a fan, but there are expressions that I don’t care for, but they are few considering all the bottles I’ve tried.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 13 Feb '21

I tried three of the Foursquare ECS rums, and only one was worthy of buying again, the Zinfandel Cask, which is no longer available. The other two were one that costed me $70 US and rated as a 7 with the other one costing me $66 US and rating as a 6. At these prices, both should have rated at least as an 8 or more. There are just too many other rums that I have rated at a 7 or a 6 that are all a much better value than these ECS rums. End of story on those with no need to elaborate any further, but their Doorly's XO is still a repeat purchase, along with their Probitas White.
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vomi1011

From Germany with 325 ratings Replied 13 Feb '21

There may be some problems with the rating system 😆 Any ECS is better than the Doorlys XO.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 13 Feb '21

I assure you that there is nothing wrong with the rating system. I have my own overall rankings and Doorly's XO comes in at 54. The two ECS rums just mentioned came it at 94 and 215. All are ranked by my own taste preferences for the 365 rums that I have reviewed. Rarely does any rum remain in my originally assigned ranking positions, as all move up or down as I gradually try each new bottle, and often with side by side comparisons. When cost comes into play, these two ECS rums just flat out lose. Granted, Doorly's XO is an everyday sipper and not very complex at all, but certainly not at all offensive like those two ECS rums. I first tried the XO at a bar in Las Vegas two years ago and did not think that I would like it. I have since fallen in love with it. And for reference purposes, I have their Zinfandel Cask ranked at 52, just two notches above the XO. In summary, those two ECS rums that I have ranked low are because they taste too much like bourbons. If I wanted a bourbon, I could save lots of money and buy bourbon instead.
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vomi1011

From Germany with 325 ratings Replied 16 Feb '21

This is what I'm talking about, 43% rum that is limited to two bottles a customer. https://www.thewhiskyexchange.com/p/33319/foursquare-11-year-old-zinfandel-cask Now it's expensive, so buy the old ECS bottles as long you can afford it.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 16 Feb '21

I have stated this time and time again on this site. It is illegal to have spirits shipped into or out of the state where I live. So, even though The Whiskey Exchange shows those Zinfandel Cask ECS's in stock, I cannot buy them no matter how much that I am willing to pay. The alcohol laws in each state are designed to allow exclusive rights to certain brands for the distributors. This is based upon donations to political candidates. Really sad!
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vomi1011

From Germany with 325 ratings Replied 16 Feb '21

I'm not talking about buying the zinfandel cask, but buying the ECS releases that are available for a quarter of the price. The Zinfandel cask shows only the direction of future price tags and this is why the current ECS releases are cheap.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 400 ratings Replied 16 Feb '21

I have to repeat myself once again that I cannot have spirits shipped to where I live, nor can I send any out. The reason that ECS prices are going down is that they were way over priced to begin with. I still won't buy any more.
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vomi1011

From Germany with 325 ratings Replied 16 Feb '21

ECS prices are going down? In US? The Zinfandel almost doubled the price and it's limited to two bottles per customer.
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Jimmy Cliff (PREMIUM)

From United States with 274 ratings Replied 29 Mar '21

I have been a rum guy for over 40 years. I started out with original Pussers blue with the original slightly over proof until they changed the blend dropping to 40 proof. As I grew older and could afford better higher priced rums I grew to appreciate better more expensive rums. The original Pussers 15 orange label was one of my favorites until the changed the recipe in the past 3-4 years. I am a big fan of the ECS from Foursquare have everyone in my collection except 1&2 which are cost prohibitive at auctions. Detente at $69 bottle I truly love, not as strong as Empery or Roubtoble but quite satisfying. Lots of other great rums out there just enjoying reading everyone’s posts while sapling some rums tonight.
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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 18 ratings Replied 29 Mar '21

Wow, what a nice ECS collection. From reviews I learned that marks I and II are not the best in taste, I consider them as collectibles only. Probably people want to feel satisfied because of having completed the full collection.
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Jimmy Cliff (PREMIUM)

From United States with 274 ratings Replied 29 Mar '21

Thanks that’s what I thought. I almost got #2 Rumauctioneer last month and some one outbid me 10lb in last minute. After the dust settled I was happy because then the quest for #1 would have begun, at the end of the day both would have been gross amount of money for something I would likely never drink
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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 18 ratings Replied 29 Mar '21

I mean I entirely understand the joy of collecting (either as a location for money or just to be happy about the collection itself) but I really feel I would eventually open any bottle just because I like to try new rums :) What else to spend my money on if not rums to drink
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Jimmy Cliff (PREMIUM)

From United States with 274 ratings Replied 29 Mar '21

I agree all of these unopened bottles have had a back up I’ve tried, some 3-4 times. I currently love Detente. 1 & 2 would be hard pressed to have 2 each.
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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 18 ratings Replied 30 Mar '21

Indeed, I think it's a good idea to share some samples to fulfill curiosity of the rum tastes without opening a pricy bottle. Unfortunately I didn't see anybody offering samples of these particular two bottlings, not to mention their bar availability.
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