This is mainly for the college crowd who wants to move on from Captain Morgan, Bacardi, and Sailor Jerry. All of these rums cost less than $25 US and all of these top ten cheap rums rank in my upper 20%. This was no easy task, so enjoy. The first one on this list rates as an 8 and the rest rate as a 7.
El Dorado 8
Carta Vieja 8 Anos
896 8 Year
Cana Brava 3 Year Old
Plantation Artisinal 3-Stars
Plantation Original Dark Double Aged
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And conversely, here are my recommendations for worst buy rums costing more than $50 US, going from my rating of 6 all the way down to a 4.
Carupano 21 Year
Zacapa Edicion Negra
J M Rhum VSOP
Avua Cachaca Tapinhoa
Foursquare 2004 Single Blend 11 Year
Don Q Gran Anejo
Diplomatico Vintage 2004
Avua Cachaca Jequitiba
Clement 10 Year
Gosling's Family Reserve Old
Ok, I'll play. For $20-$30 I'd recommend:
TW (Total Wine) exclusives....
Doorly's 8 yr ($19.99, have seen it on sale as low as $16.99. Hard to beat at $17)
RL Seale's 10 yr ($25.99, have seen it on sale for as low as $19.99. Recommended for the student who thinks Jack Daniels is top shelf stuff. A great party trick... when you're all sitting there passing around a J, tell your friends you left the bottle in the sun and it melted. Duuuuuuuude nooo waaaay)
Doorly's 12 yr ($26.99, have seen it on sale for as low as $23.99. For those college kids who want a 'sophisticated' pour. Recommended neat, of course. If you must... ok... an ice ball... nothing more. Afterall, you're a college student and we're trying to develop your palate. We don't want to send you out in the world mixing everything with coke)
Also in the price range at other fine liquor stores.....
Blackwell Fine Jamaican ($20.49. This one is pretty ok. It's versatile. NOT funky like other Jamaicans. Won't knock your socks off but solid at the price)
Hamilton 86 ($21.99. My 1st true love in the rum world. Started me on my path. A+- for what it is at the price. Would be my 2nd place recommendation behind Doorly's 12)
The Scarlet Ibis (an absolute sleeper at $23.67. Liquid bubble gum. Haven't tried it in cocktails yet but was originally made for Death & Co for such. This is a solid sipper, even at 98 proof)
Hamilton White 'Stache ($24.62 for a liter. A solid white. A liter?!! 25?!! I'm a college student, hell yeah, I'm all over it)
Hamilton 151 ($26.99... I would've gotten my money's worth from this if it was around when I was in college! This is the leader in the clubhouse when it comes to bang for buck. Throw that shit in Coke, I don't care)
If you want to spend closer to $30....
Plantation OFTD ($26.99 for a liter. Doesn't drink at all like something 138 proof)
Rum Fire ($29.25. What college student wouldn't want a solid, FUNKY overproof Jamaican?!? I would've thrown that in some Hawaiian Punch or ginger ale and got lit if it was around in my day)
I don't think Cana Brava is being produced anymore, but if you see it... buy buy buy! I've bought it as low as $12.49 but it was normally priced at $20.99. We have a good bit bunkered in case it's true about being discontinued.
First and foremost - Appleton 12y (Rare Blend) - should cost from 20-30 Euro.
Anything from Doorly's line you can afford
Wood's Navy Rum
Pusser's Navy Rum (Gunpowder blend)
Havana Club 3y (white), Havana Club 7y (dark) - the Cuban originals, stay away from Bacardi swill
Mount Gay XO, if you want to feel posh
IMHO the very best one and cheapest is the Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum 0,7l 57%.
Because it's a classic navy style rum.
Very strong and intensive with 57%.
Great flavours and very well balanced.
And so damn cheap and delicious to sip that I can't believe it.
After the top 10 that I first posted, here is the next group of good cheap rums.
Brinley Gold Shipwreck Spiced
Havana Club 7
Alleyene Arthurs Special Barbados Rum
Don Q 151
Ron Centenario 9 Commemorativo
Flor de Cana 5 Anejo
Don Q Anejo
Ron Pontalba Dark
Ron Medellin 8
Flor de Cana 7
Brinley Gold Shipwreck Coconut
Clement Mahina Coco
Cruzan Hurricane Proof 137
Brinley Gold Shipwreck Mango
Doorly's 8 Year
Doorly's 5 Year
El Dorado Spiced
Great conversation. Here are 2 that I have found:
-RWS Distillery, Lafayette Louisiana USA. This is genuinely very good small batch craft rum for only $22. USD
- For the cost of $12-$15 USD I like Cruzan Blackstrap.
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