More than two years ago when I began my Rum Ratings journey, I figured that it would be much cheaper to find a well stocked rum bar and try one ounce at a time. At first, this saved me quite a chunk of change on expensive rums that I may not have enjoyed the entire bottle.
However, knowing what I know now, this is not the best approach. First off, one will never know how long that bottle has been sitting behind the bar after opening. Secondly, a one ounce sample, even from a newly opened bottle, is never enough to provide a full in-depth review. One's taste buds change with mood and prior food consumption each day, so that glorious rum from the first sip may wind up tasting awful a few days later, and vice versa.
So what inspired this discussion? I tried Barbancourt 15 year more than 2 years ago as a one ounce pour from a well stocked bar. Back then, I had no idea about allowing the rum to breathe. Fellow reviewer mujuru wrote an incredible review on this rum and I figured that it was time for me to give it another try. I bought a full bottle today and my rating went up from a 5 to an 8!!!!! Time heals!!!!
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Great post, I often improve my reviews after drinking rum multiple times. Sometimes I discover some new flavors or have other impressions. I always do that at home, with enough time and no distraction.
Once I got Flor de Cana 18 on a flight and the rum was too cold. But I did not notice that and my rating was not appropriate.
It also happens that my experience is not enough to understand a rum. E.g. I was not familiar with Fiji flavors like plastic or glue, it doesn't taste that good at first.
So it's always better to have at least 100ml of a rum to be able do drink it multiple times.
Another reason that I modify my reviews as time goes on is that they wind up being a reference point for me after I have not tried a rum for a long time (like Barbancourt 15 Year). This attention to detail may also help others in making new purchase decisions. We are all in this together.
In the last few years, I have had to travel long distances, up to 400 miles to get rums that had been previously unavailable where I live. Since Total Wine finally opened a store only 50 miles away, I no longer have to make those rum runnings to buy more than a dozen bottles at a time. I would rate the first 3-4 almost immediately and then do the rest in the following days. No point in allowing my judgement to be clouded by rums that had just been tasted. I wish that I could be like you and slowly rate them over days, but that is just not in my nature. However, I always modify my reviews and rating as the bottle slowly disappears over time. This explains how some of the rave reviews on here for certain rums have tumbled way down in my own ratings. It is EXTREMELY rare for a rum to improve over time after opening the bottle!
My updated review of B15 can be seen by clicking on the 25th rum in my "cabinet". My true cabinet usually has only about two dozen bottles at most, which are a combination of repeat purchases and new trials. I don't sit and look at my bottles. I drink them! Former bike nights inspired this. Why sit around and look at one's Harley just to say, "My BIKE!" Ride the damn thing! And drink those rums! They are all gluten free and quite healthy!
I just went through this with El Dorado 21. What started as a lovely rum has aged to a nasty concoction I can’t drink. I’ve edited nearly every review I’ve made, and none for the better so far.
What you get an ounce at a time is hardly an accurate representation of the expression unless you watch them crack the seal.
So far, most of what I’ve liked early on is stuff I wouldn’t give to anyone now.
Rum without additives seems to fare better than those with additives, so I’ll be stocking those mostly from now on.
@ Paul B
You are definitely on to something. Some of my reviews are also based on tasting small quantities, though always from 'fresh' bottles, and some rums need to grow on you before a final verdict can be given. For some rums a sip is enough to discard them as not good in my book but some need more attention. This is why I try to get hold of a larger bottle when there is something of interest in a small sample. Rums like Mount Gay XO, Chairman's Reserve 'the Forgotten casks' and Hampden Estate Gold fall in that category. And the 50ml sample of Appleton's Signature blend brought me to their 12yo rum (yeah, I know you don't like that one ;-)...).
I really like the standard Chairman's Reserve and always have a few bottles in stock but it took me half a bottle (at least) before it won me over; a small sample would never have done that and that would have been my loss.
But for some rums a sip is all I need to forget about them for ever; I could not even finish a 20ml sample of Santos Dumont XO and needed half a sixpack of cheap lager to get that foul taste out of my system!
Today, I went back to a bottle of Rhum JM VSOP. I hated this rum when I bought it. Chemicals, chemicals and more chemicals. Worst rating I’ve ever given.
Now, months later, I’m able to discern more of the subtleties of this rum that we’re lost on me before. It’s still not my favorite, but it deserves an update on account of my palate being more sophisticated now.
The opposite has surely happened too, as mentioned above, but I’ve noticed a new trend at my empties collection. Some bottles have only one empty, while others have 3 or 5 empties. My guess is those should get higher ratings, right 😂
That's an interesting point to judge a rum based upon the number of empties on hand. If that were the case, Admiral Rodney HMS Princessa would win for me on that note. But I only save the best empty bottles that serve well for future use. However, my top rum is Dictador XO Insolent and absolutely no one wants to save that bottle because of it's very sticky outside surface due to the paint that they use on the bottle.
As for Santos Dumont XO, that one sounds like a "who shit in my mouth?" kind of rum. I have only one rum rated at the lowly 1, which is Brugal Anejo. After one sip about two years ago, I gave that whole bottle to my chronic mooch of a neighbor. After a week, I asked her how she was doing with it. She told me that it "cleaned her out". So I nicknamed it Colonic Tonic.
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