Years ago, I sampled two Jamaican rums side by side at a bar. The $27 per bottle sample easily beat out the $120 per bottle sample. From then on, I swore myself to a $120 per bottle limit. When I first started on this site, this limit had been set to $50 per bottle thanks to Don Q Gran Anejo. I now present in order of blunders, all of the rums that I paid more than $50 per bottle for.
Gosling's Family Reserve Old - this one takes the ultimate prize as being my worst overall buy at $80 per bottle and tasting horribly. I rated it as 4
Clement 10 Year - If I wanted bourbon, I would spend much cheaper on real bourbon than this very expensive gluten free bourbon. I rated this one as a 4.
Avua Cachaca Jequitiba - I normally love the Avua Cachacas, but the really exotic hardwood aging on this one makes it taste like a tequila. I rated this one as a 5.
Diplomatico Vintage 2004 - I was in the minority on this one. The more I drank from the bottle, the more that I hated it. It only made me realize why they load down their DRE with more than 40 gpl of added sugar to hide the true rum that lies below. I rated this one as a 5.
The following pricey rums all rated as a 6. Not bad, but not worth the money.
Don Q Gran Anejo
Foursquare 2004 Single Blend 11 Year
Avua Cachaca Tapinhoa
J M Rhum VSOP
Zacapa Edicion Negra
Plantation Guyana 2008
Carupano 21 Year
I hope this helps!
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This is just a matter of taste.
Some mentioned rums are not bad at all.
Which Jamaican rum was the one for 120$?
Goslings Family Reserve is so so.
Diplomatico 2004 is a good sweet rum.
Especially some Foursquare single casks are very good. I tasted some of them.
Sometimes I don't like a combination of flavors but it doesn't mean this rum is bad.
The Jamaican taste test was between Appleton 21 and Blackwell's Reserve. Both are really good rums, but the cheaper Blackwell's clearly won the match.
I think it needs to be explained what makes a rum "bad". I used to like Kraken at the beginning of my rum interest, now I'd say its pretty bad. I still consider it an ok rum to start since it's really cheap and accessible here in Poland and for many it's tasty and easy to drink. Can you distinguish between personal likes/dislikes and overall quality? I think a single person is not able to, this is why we rate rums numerically, so that the average rating gives us the overall quality. This result is still biased but many factors like price or accessibility but gives us more than just a single opinion.
I don't know, it's a part of mind work too. In a blind tasting, would you rate a rum that costs 30.- differently than if the same rum cost 120.- ? How much does price, rarity or expectation influence our taste ? I think a lot !
But if you taste an ED Albion, you will get absolutely disappointed because all the flavours get obscured by sugar. The same thing with the A.H.Riise Black Edition. Some Rum are really overpriced.
Check the lower shelves in my "cabinet" that are all rated less than 4 (below the skull glass). These are all bad and I cannot recommend any of them to anyone. Notice that my top blunder of Goslings Family Reserve is ranked at the lowest of my 4 ratings. This means that as much as I hated that rum due to it's lingering bitterness, some may like it.
When I first started on this site, I would often lower many ratings as the bottle slowly emptied. If it got down to the point where I would never buy it again, I rated those at a 5 or less to remind me to never buy those again. However, I had a rum that recently fell into this category, Kaniche Reserve. It tasted good, but really did a number on my system after only two ounces. I was tempted to lower my rating from a 7 to a 5 the way that I used to, but I left it as a 7 because others may like it and not suffer any ill after effects.
So I try like hell to rate any new rums so that the rest of us can choose whether or not to risk buying. However, my ratings and detailed reviews also serve as a reference point for me in the future when I am thinking of buying one that I had not tried in a long time. My review will remind me what went right and what went wrong in my usual brutally honest style.
And since we rate from 1 to 10, I go a step further and rank all of the rums that I have tried in my own spreadsheet. This is VERY important for me because taste and ranking counts twice as much as price when I am choosing to buy certain rums again.
So, in simplistic terms, a rum is "bad" when one just wants to spit it out and get it out of their sight. I nicknamed my all time worse rum as Colonic Tonic (Brugal Anejo). I gave that bottle to my chronic mooch neighbor after one sip. She helped give it my nick name after finishing off the bottle in one week.
I try like hell to ignore price when rating a new rum. This is very important that I rank the new rum properly in my overall list. My formula for repeat purchases is that my ranking counts twice as much as price, plain and simple. Knowing this, it is really unfair for me to include price in my ranking because the two are separate. It helps if you tell yourself, "You have already spent your money on this one, so how do you rate it?". Then comes the complicated task of ranking the rum within it's classification (white, agricole, dry, semi-dry, etc) and then in the overall grand scheme of things. Yes, it is a lot of work, but nothing at all like what I did in my career, which is still in my blood.
That's why I use "just" the 1 - 10 rum ratings score like it says for example: 7/10 Recommendable to most. I just try to describe the scents and aromas of a rum without numerical scoring system and sometimes a good bottle tell you a good story.
I agree that the very simple and descriptive 1-10 rating works just great on this site. My own system is complicated and I would not dare impose that upon anyone. A few months ago, I did an in-depth analysis of all my ratings and found that I had way too many rated as a 7. So I had to take the lower half of those 7 ratings and change them to a 6 rating. The rankings in my "cabinet" remained the same. Now most of my rums rate as a 6, with lesser amounts for my 7's and 5's. The extremes of 8-10 and 1-4 are at the low ends of the curve. So why is my 6 rating the new middle ground? If we did not have all of these reviews to help us out, I am sure that the middle ground would wind up as a 5 or even less.
Appleton 21 and Blackwell's Reserve are from the same producer. It would be unusual if they would create a better rum and sell it cheaper.
According to reviews of thefatrumpirate, both of them correspond to their price.
We should discuss, how we rate rums, what makes a rum good and what bad.
I judge according to the following criteria:
1. complexity, how many flavors are in the taste and how often do they change.
2. Intensity, how intensive and saturated are the flavors. High abv intensifies the flavors. I deduct points when I taste alcohol.
3. Balance, are there dominating flavors, how do they change in the initial, middle, finish, aftertaste.
4. Aging, how much wood influence, tannins, heavy flavors like rubber, leather, tobacco are in the rum.
5. Clarity, is there a distillery character. Are the individual aromas clearly perceptible? Meets this rum my expectation and is it better than my reference rum.
6. Excitement, do I experience something new according to a reference r(h)um. Is there something exceptional.
What I don't like is:
1. Only thin and young flavors, like vanilla and white oak.
2. Too much dilution (watery taste), too much spice, artificial flavors, too much sweetness.
3. Alcohol in the taste (not the spice).
There are of course always some personal preferences, but I don't just try to take my personal taste into account.
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