After having rated 262 rums in the past 20 months, there are not many more that are worth taking a risk on. So I have refined my QPR formula to something much simpler. The taste and rating counts twice as much as the cost per bottle. I then sorted my spreadsheet from best buy to worst buy. Keep in mind that my own personal taste counts heavily in these lists. Many of you will disagree, which is expected.
The good buys from the clear cut winner on down
Blackwell's Reserve (ranked high and only $22)
South Bay Small Batch 18 (worth special ordering every few months)
Dictador 12 ( a cheaper version of it's older brothers rated as 10's)
Plantation OFTD (crafted by a panel of experts)
Cana Brava 3 Year Old (A superb white rum from Don Pancho)
Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican (makes the best Mai Tai)
Carta Vieja 8 Anos (for lovers of oak)
El Dorado 8 (the best buy of this beloved brand)
Plantation XO 20th Anniversary (premium rum at a reasonable price)
Pusser's Gunpowder Proof (cheap and versatile)
The bad buys and getting worse
Old Man Guavaberry 5 (guavaberry is NOT guava!)
Flor de Cana 18 (started out good, but went downhill)
Brugal Anejo (lowest rating overall but cheap)
Wray & Nephew Overproof (cheap, but unbearable)
Mount Gay XO (was unbearable at the end of the bottle)
Clement 10 Year (expensive bourbon rum)
Papas Pilar Dark (disgusting and expensive)
Ypioca Prata (gives cachaca a bad name)
Old New Orleans 1718 Tricentennial Blend (what were they thinking?)
Gosling's Family Reserve Old (a very expensive rating of 4, the absolute worst buy)
Hopefully, this helps. I started out liking the sugar bombs like ED12 and DRE, but have since lowered those ratings since I now appreciate the taste and benefits of dry rums.
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Curious as to where you would put Doorly's 12, XO and RL Seal 10 yr.
All three of those rums have been on my wish list for a long time. It's just that I would have to drive 400 miles to the nearest Total Wine in Houston to buy them. Since I prefer dry rums, I would imagine that they would rank fairly high with a 7 or 6 rating. Being so cheap, they should also wind up near the top of my recommended buys. I am just speculating here. However, it would take a REALLY good concert to get me back to the Houston area, preferably at the Mitchell Pavilion.
Notice that Total Wine stores are only located in 23 of the 50 states in the USA. These are the only states with sensible alcohol laws. I happen to not only live in a state that has no Total Wine stores, but I also cannot have distilled spirits shipped directly to me. I would have to order a case through a retail liquor store, which sucks. I did find one merchant who allows less than one case to be ordered. I doubt that he can order any of the Doorly's because these are exclusive to Total Wine.
I feel your pain. We cannot have spirits shipped to us here in Texas as well. Feel pretty fortunate, however, to live in the D/FW area where we have stores with pretty decent inventory.
I picked up the Doorly's 12 and RL Seale's this week on a recommendation. Enjoyed both. Going to throw those into some blind tastings this weekend with some others we plan to pick up.
My better half and I are primarily bourbon and tequila drinkers. We wanted to dip our toes into the world of rum/rhum to expand our bar selection a little more. Appreciate all the info here.
Since I am no longer a bourbon drinker, that is why Clement 10 year is rated as a bad buy in my list (at least for me). However, this rum tastes the most like a bourbon out of all 262 that I have tried. Rum is gluten free because it is not made with grain. On rhum agricoles made from sugar cane instead of molasses like this one, they are highly sensitive to excess aging in used bourbon barrels. If I wanted bourbon, I would buy a good bourbon instead of Clement 10 Year. However, give Clement 10 Year a try and I seriously doubt that anyone could tell it apart from Kentucky bourbon in a blind taste test. I found my only bottle for $61 plus tax.
Would be fun to work with an online retailer and group all of your best buy rums into some kind of package :)
I think that we would need feedback from multiple reviewers to even think of something like that. Many would agree with some of my suggestions, but certainly not all. My list is just from my own rankings compared to cost. It took me more than a year to simplify the formula. Taste and ranking counts twice as much as cost.
An option to mark your best buys would be very sweet. The rums getting most marks would also be beneficial info for everyone. Looking at Pauls list, it’s clear that opinions differ on some bottles. Having a collective rating system for best buys however, would give fairly decent indications on where to look I think.
How sweet is the South Bay? I can't find any info on it re: dosage. Anything more than 20 g/L is literally hard for me to swallow (THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID!). The story behind it seems intriguing. Found it at TW for $30. Was going to grab the last of the Cana Brava they had then see what I had left over in the alcohol budget to pick up and try. SB is currently at the top of my list.
South Bay Small Batch 18 is rated in my spreadsheet as Aged Dry. There is absolutely no way that it has more than 20 gpl of added sugar. There is no official amount shown, but since my butt never gets married to the royal porcelain throne the next day after only drinking South Bay, it is a dry one. It also has no legs in the snifter. I actually like it better than Kirk & Sweeney 18.
I'll have to wait until next week to pick up the SBSmB. TW had Cana Brava marked down to $12. Got their last 6. They had Chairman's Reserve Forgotten Cask marked down to $24 so I picked up 1 of those. Sipping on it now. Me likie!!!
Here is a trick that I found to improve the taste of dry rums rated at 7 or less, and without adding sugar. I use premium coconut water with bits of coconut. Those without the bits of coconut just don't cut it. You can combine the mixture to your own taste. Good coconut water will even make a dry rum rated at a 5 drinkable. Anything rated below a 5 is sot of hopeless.
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