I am slowly approaching 300 reviews and have a very detailed spreadsheet with all of my results. So I asked myself if someone to were just blindly pick up a rum, what is their chances of it being a good one based solely upon price. I have five price levels and will show what my average ranking is for each price level. The lower the percentage, the better the rum. For newbies, you are better off sticking with the middle group, since your cost goes up considerably for only minor gains in the rankings.
Less than $14 US = 75% (or the lower 25%)
$14 to $24 US = 59%
$25 to $40 US = 42%
$40 to $50 US = 37%
$51 US or more = 30% (the upper 30%)
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"Good" is subjective with a spirit that varies so widely in style; but generally I think you're right. My anecdotal experience with most spirits (rum and others) is that they usually get better with cost up to a certain point, but after a while you start paying more for rarity than quality. (With maybe a few exceptions for niche items that will appeal to only certain tastes.) Very few of us, myself included, have a sufficiently sophisticated palate that we'll get much from the usually subtle differences in rare, very expensive bottlings.
You are absolutely right. Here is an example of what you are saying. My only rums that I rate as a 10 are both from Columbia. Dictador 20 costs $62 and Dictador XO Insolent costs $96. The taste difference is so subtle that I often wonder if the XO Insolent is worth the extra cost. I now keep extra bottles of the Dictador 20 on hand at all times.
Very interesting thread. I expect this statistical distribution to remain true no matter any given personal preferences in taste, i.e. even if the particular rums one sampled to be in the 30% best will vary, it will remain true that rums at that price point will probably result in 30% for anyone.
However, and beyond any hype/rare collection rums, there are indeed some limited bottlings either from "high risk, high reward" experiments that took great care to see whether that idea was worth it... or very specific ones that I have seen from Velier (for example) in the past.
In any case, the fact that there are such great rums in the 40€ - 60€ range makes these unicorns above 120€ seem surreal.
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