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Recommendations for beginner rums with value for money

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Posted 26 Mar '20 from Netherlands with 7 ratings

Hello all,

I am relatively new to the rum world and could use some advice on more rums to try that are not too expensive and have good value for money. So far I tried the following; Diplomatico Reserva, El Dorado 8 and Don Papa small batch.

So far I think El Dorado 8 is my favorite, despite being the cheapest I like the flavour the most as it is not to sweet and has a good bite. I would like some recommendations for more like this (recently bought el dorado 12)

Diplomatico I also really enjoyed, very smoothm sweet but not too sweet, but I wouldnt drink more than one on a given evening - more of a special occasion thing.

Finally I tried Don Papa small batch, had quite negative reviews, I didnt think it was too bad, I enjoyed the more tropical taste but was my least favorite of the three and I probably wouldnt spend money on it again.

I am looking for some other ones to try in the price range of 25-40 euro a bottle and of similar quality to Diplomatico and El Dorado 8.

Thank you for your help!

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From United States with 318 ratings Replied 26 Mar '20

Lucas 1997:

These are my top ten value rums whereby my overall ranking counts twice as much as cost. All are within your requested price range.

Cana Brava 3 Year Old
Blackwell's Reserve
Plantation OFTD 138 Proof
South Bay Small Batch
Dictador 12
Clarin Le Rocher (very hard to find)
Carta Vieja 8 Anos
Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican
El Dorado 8
Pusser's Gunpowder Proof


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From United States with 318 ratings Replied 28 Mar '20


I noticed that only three of my value recommendations are dry rums. I STRONGLY advise all rum drinkers to stick with dry rums. They are much better for one's health and the taste is still the same month's later down to the last drop. So here are my top ten dry rums that are very good value. The first three appear on my previous list. All are still within your requested price range. Having all my rated rums in a complex spreadsheet allows me to easily find out these things.

South Bay Small Batch
Dictador 12
Carta Vieja 8 Anos
Ron Cartavio Solera 12
Kirk & Sweeney 18
Doorly's XO
Don Q Single Barrel 2005
Santa Teresa 1796
Carta Vieja Golden Cask 18
Matusalem Gran Reserva 18


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From Germany with 157 ratings Replied 30 Mar '20

I think of these rums that they are really cheap and I also have several bottles of them in my bar.
You can find some tasting notes in my cabinet.
1. Barcelo Imperial
2. Bacardi Diez
3. Origines 8 Don Pancho
4. Malecon 15
5. Mount Gay XO

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Rene Rum

From Switzerland with 352 ratings Replied 8 May '20

Rum drinking is like a journey. You have to go and find your one's way and your personal taste (it is changing anyway during the journey) attempt and taste what your budget allows you. Start with low budget rum to find your style, is it French (Agricole), Spanish (Solera) or English (Navy) style rum. After you find your love, I recommend to rise the budget per bottle and enjoy. Take time, live is long enough.
Paul B have nice lists.

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From United States with 21 ratings Replied 8 May '20

Anything Foursquare (Doorly's XO or 12 yr, Real McCoy 12 yr, RL Seale's)
Hamilton 86
Appleton Estate 12 year Rare Casks
Cockspur VSOR 12 year
Dictador 12 year

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Rene Rum

From Switzerland with 352 ratings Replied 8 May '20

Barbados rum for sugarless rum Lovers, very great, pure rum !
Jamaica, very funky and my first rum love, Appleton V/X.
Dictator, just a dream of a rum, love the 20 year.
Plantation rum are semi sweet and also payable.

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From United States with 24 ratings Replied 14 May '20

I like any of the Kirk & Sweeney and Flor De Caña 12 or 18 are also very good.

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From United States with 9 ratings Replied 17 May '20

I’m a fan of Jamaican and Barbadian rums. Not really a fan of sweetened rums. If I had to pick but three value rums right now to keep me company while marooned it would be these:

Appleton 12
Mount Gay XO
Smith and Cross

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Stefan Persson (PREMIUM)

From Sweden with 150 ratings Replied 25 May '20

It’s not hard to find good rum if you don’t care about the price. Most rum is good or very good if you are willing to pay over 100€. But to find (very) good rum at a low price isn’t that easy. I have therefore created a list of rum which I think is good or very good at a reasonable price. About Spanish and British styled rum I have limited the cost to 40€/bottle at European online shops. When it comes to Agricole I must raise it to 60€.
Spanish style:
1. Ron Zafra 21 (40€) - Superb
2. Santa Teresa 1796 (40€) - Very good
3. Ron Botran 1893 (27€) - Good
4. Others that’s good in the price segment: Havana Club Maestros (36€), Malecon Rare Proof 13yo (37€).
British style:
1. English Harbour 5yo (19€) - Superb and the most pricewhorty of all rum I have tasted.
2. R.L. Seales (33€) - Wonderful rum in a wonderful bottle.
3. El Dorado 15yo (35€) - Very good, a reference rum.
4. Others that’s good in the price segment: Chairman’s Reserve (20€), Appleton Rare Blend 12yo (22€), Smith & Cross Trad. Jamaican Rum (23€), El Dorado 12yo (26€), Captain Bligh XO (32€), Doorly’s 12yo (35€), Sixty Six 12yo (37€)& English Harbour Cask Finish (39€).
1. Saint James 12yo (58€) - Superb.
2. Montebello 10yo (57€) - Very good.
3. J.M XO (50€) - Maybe the best Agricole to taste if you want to taste Agricole for the first time and to a very competitive price.
4. Others that’s good in the price segment: Dillon 12yo (39€), Barbancourt 15yo (40€), Damoiseau XO (45€), J. Bally 12yo (57€), ReimonenQ Cuvee Prestige (59€), HSE XO (59€) & La Mauny XO (60€).

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From Panama with 3 ratings Replied 27 May '20

Lucas—- greetings and welcome to the wonderful world of rum. I have a could of recommendations from my perspective that could give you a taste for a variety of rums and styles, without breaking the bank.. hope you enjoy:

Jamaican Rum- Appleton 12... Appleton was what first got me into rum (it was the VO or VSOP)... you get that complex pot still flavor that you learn to love from Jamaican rum.

Latin American style— Santa Teresa 1796. One of my go to rums. Dry, clean, interesting ... probably the closest that you will get to a true solera rum (I think)...

French Agricole—- I am really just getting into these just now, but I really liked them. Made from cane juice vs molasses or cane syrup ... I have had Rhum JM and Clement both VSOP and white and really enjoy.

Haitian ... Barbacourt 15 or 8 ... I love this rum ... it’s a mix of all of those styles to some degree... just try it, brother... and if you don’t like it, the next drink is on me.

I’m no expert on rum, but I do love the drink and know what i like. Hopefully this will get you started without maxing out your credit card!

Salud hermano!

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