This advice is mainly for the newbies. If that bottle looks really attractive, then leave it on the shelf of the liquor store. They will try to sell new rum drinkers with very attractive bottles. Don't fall for this tactic!!!!
The only exception to this advice is Zacapa XO. Great rum in a very nice bottle.
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There are some more exceptions to that rule like Plantation XO or Dictador Perpetual (the golden bottle in the black case).
In case of independend bottlers this rule would work very well, because they use often bottles with same design, see CDI, Rum Nation, Kill Devil, Velier. They have rather simple designs.
But independend bottlers have also some differences in quality, because single casks are of different quality.
I think it's still better to read some ratings bevore a purchase.
Meanwhile I only buy whole bottles when I have a rough idea of what's inside this bottle.
I don't wanna waste money on rums with rating below 8.
I have an empty bottle of Velier's 18 y Caroni from 1992, bought back in 2012 when you could still buy such bottles without ruining yourself, and I am never parting with it, a classic, tall, dark green bottle made from massive thick glass, depicting a Caroni warehouse and stating just "Caroni Heavy Rum, 18 years, bottled at cask strength of 62,5 %". Beautiful.
I know what you mean but tend to apply it to "special bottlings". They invariably seem to have been over worked, often with sherry making them sickly sweet.
All of the bottles with R.L. Seale rums rate as "plain Jane" for me. What I mean by fancy bottles are the ones that scream at you from the top shelf or behind a locked case and say "yes, I am expensive and you can't afford me". Any sneaky marketing tactic that convinces one to buy it also counts. In some cases, the bottler goes out of their way to make the bottle look ugly.
I am not a collector, which explains my stance on fancy bottles. I stockpile about two dozen different bottles at any given time strictly for the purpose of eventually drinking them. That Pyrat XO was another one that lures many into buying, but most are put off by the strong orange flavor. It is not even the worse rum that I have tried. Now if you can find a bottle of the original Pyrat XO that was made on the island of Anguilla before it got changed elsewhere, then grab it!
My collecting days are long over with. Try moving 800 pounds of vinyl record albums from one apartment on the third floor to another third floor apartment two buildings away and no elevators. Then I bought the book to get the best price for each one as I sold them off. The bad products are actually worth more because so few were made. Collectors pay dearly just to make their collections complete. No thanks, I will leave the collecting to the others.
Paul I get what your saying and to me this would partly apply to a bottle like milionario XO, but I think your claim is a bit over the top as this is a very subjective matter. Some of best bottle designs (fx. Velier) also, happen to contain some the best rum around. This is my opinion, that others might disagree on, which kinda underlines what I’m trying to say. But props to you for taking up the discussion, as this is what broaden our collective perspective.
Actually, the best bottles that I have found contain very good rum and the bottles can be used for other things after being finished. I have saved numerous different types of empty rum bottle over the years for making large batches of non-carbonated rum drinks. The Admiral Rodney HMS series is without a doubt my favorites (Princessa, Royal Oak, and Formidable). They are short enough to be able to fit on any shelf in the fridge or elsewhere. The bottom is perfectly square, so they can easily be placed next to each other. And most important, they have perfect fitting corks and a wide mouth piece that resists spills. Since Doorly's 5 Year and Doorly's White only comes in those very large plastic bottles, these empty Admiral Rodney bottles come in handy to store that rum in glass. I now have seven empty bottles with an eighth on it's way in a few weeks. I would say that I like these Admiral Rodney rums very much! They are not mixers and should only be served neat or on the rocks. The bottles are attractive without being over the top.
RL Seale's 10 year might be an exception here. By far one of the most eye catching bottles on my shelf - and also one of the best tasting.
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