The top three rums on rum ratings under the popularity tab are diplomatico reserva, zacapa 23, and the kraken. I know that my opinion isnt law but these rums dont even make my top 20. Im not necessarily complaining about this, but it blows my mind that other bottles of rum in the same price range isnt more popular. Just a thought.
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Your question had me also scratching my head. At first I thought that this was caused by the large numbers of US citizens raised with a sweet tooth like myself. Then I looked at your top shelf. Holy moly! The only affordable rum on your top shelf for beginners is Doorly's 12 Year.
When I started out three years ago on this site, my first reviews were for Kirk & Sweeney 12 Year and Plantation Pineapple Stiggin's Fancy. Both of those have sunk in my ratings as the bottles gradually emptied. I then "splurged" on my first bottle of Plantation XO and thought that I had found the ultimate. I then researched more reviews and started stocking up my shelves with rums that all wound up being sugar bombs (30-49 gpl of added sugar). Then I found out the evils of too much added sugar. They don't last! And thanks to a bottle of Don Q Gran Anejo that I did not like, I then put a limit of $50 US per bottle. Gradually, I moved this limit up to $120 where it has remained for a long time. Many newbies are also still on a Captain Morgan and Kraken budget, and I feel the need to steer them away from that crap by spending just a few more bucks.
So, I am guessing that cost and having a sweet tooth are the reasons for those three most popular rums. Notice that their scores are also not that great. Posting a review for the most popular rums also tells others where one's tastes lie. It also took me quite a while to muster up the courage to try The Kraken, but never again. Same for Zacapa 23, but reviews led me to try that one that I had never heard of back then.
Popular doesn't need to be original, good, or even representing, indicative. Popular is just that, popular. Havana Club, Morgan and Bacardi are popular brands, but i consider them to be terrible and would never revisit any product in their line ever again, yet every bar out there has a rum-backbone made of those, primarily! Many factors contribute to "popularity", such as price, affordability, flashy promotion, or even crafty marketing flirting openly with deceit (yeah, i am looking at you, zacapa 23)! It's the same with actors, idols and models; many people love an indiscribable, unspeakable or "plastic" one, while genuine talent and natural charms go by unnoticed and unappreciated. Hidden gems require exploration and experimentation, eh? Better keep it that way, it is never smart to shake the status quo, or change the equation between supply and demand, or else prices and practices might just change... Keep the popular popular and the hidden gems a snobbyish connoisseur's privilige/adventure! X marks the spot, yaaarrrr!!!
I know that my cabinet is mostly expensive😀. But in my cabinet i have Richard Seale 10 year, El Pasador de Oro, and Doorly's 12 year which are about $25. I got them from Total Wine and they are awesome for the money.
That makes a lot of sense. Your right. That same logic can be applied to the popular musicians of today. A lot of them suck but still very popular.
I did say that I only chose affordable rums from your top shelf. But you are right in the three affordable rums from your top two shelves. The last two rums on your third and bottom shelf are affordable, but one of them is the most popular on this site. However, out of your three affordable rums, all are only available from Total Wine. Where I live, the closest Total Wine was four hundred miles away up until six months ago when two of them opened within 40 miles of where I live. As of this writing, about half of the states in the USA have no Total Wine stores at all (because of antiquated alcohol laws that also favor politically connected folks).
Very well said!!!!!
Personally I think it’s that these are rums that are easily available and easy to drink. You may not agree but as an everyday sipper I love Diplimatico Reserva. It is sweet but that suits my taste too.
I’m a big rum fan but just starting my collection slowly!
Enjoying an English Harbour 10 year at present!
We all have our own palate and thats fine. But trust me when i say that there are better options that arent more expensive and just as available.
English Harbour 10 is good one. I have English harbour 1981. The bottle is almost empty now. The pandemic has taken its toll on my collection. Stay thirsty my friend.
I believe it is the availability worldwide and price which has made these rums most popular. I think everyone here drank Bacardi or Kraken at least once. If one tried it, why not rate it? I try to rate everything I see.
Ok the other hand, two most sold rums (but it's data from random web page from 2017) are Mc Dowell's from India and Tanduay from Philippines, which are not popular in RR.
This is actually quite simple to answer. Most people (if not all) always start with the sweet spanish style rum also known as “beginners rum”. Not all people have the posibility to buy samples or can afford buying new bottles out of curiosity and experimental reasons and therefore stick with the rum style they already know and like. The rating list also impact People’s buying.
Tasting agricole, Jamaican funk or Caroni etc. It’s like tasting beer og coffee for the first time. You don’t like it to begin with, but with time you will love it!!!
Personally i started with the sweet rums but today I just love Agricole and Jamaican and thinks sweet rums is a bit boring. Time can change your testing buds 😆
Update to the top list from 2019:
Tanduay 20.5 mln bottles sold
Captain Morgan 11.9
Havana Club 4.6
Appleton Estate 1.1
So, there is no Kraken, no DRE and no Plantation. Looks like my hypothesis failed.
I started with sweet rum and crappy popular rum but i never liked it. Rum use to be my least favorite spirit until i discovered that there were better options out there. I was once a single malt whiskey guy.
Why do you switched from whiskey to rum?
For a decade, i was able to drink several high end whiskeys for free. So i got burned out with the taste. I needed a new adventure. Rum was my next adventure.
I think everyone starts the rum adventure with Diplomatico, Zacapa, Plantation or other nice sweet "everybody’s darling" rums. And yes, you have to start with the simple ones to training the tastebuds and get an idee of what rum can be. As VikingXO says, a beginner never would be lucky with a Caroni or funky Jamaica. During your journey your taste will change und you are ready for the "specials".
And think about, the real gems are not the cheap mass stuff.
As most of the posts here point out, most people start their Rum journey with the sweet Latin/Spanish style, so did I.
From the age of 20 (45 years ago) and onwards to recently I only used rums such as Carioca, Bacardi or Ronrico in drinks.
When it came to drinking alcohol neat, started that journey with blended Whisky and then switched to Single Malts. Then I switched to Cognac, first the big houses and then the small ones like Hine and Delamain.
About 10-15 years ago, I discovered rum as something to drink neat and then I started with brands such as Zacapa, DRE and Atlantico, but after a few years I went on to more demanding Latin rum such as rum from Cuba and less demanding British styled rum. After that I started drinking more demanding British styled rum and Agricole.
However, I still drink rum from all styles even though I have relatively few favorites from the sweet Latin style.
The conclusion of this exposition is then that "everyone" starts with the sweet Latin style, but far from everyone makes a journey similar to mine and therefore the number of ratings decreases with how demanding the rum is.
The first rum i ever tried was Havana 7 year. Then, i went to a rum bar where i tried 25 different rums. Right away, i knew my favorite styles of rum were english and spanish. I havent found any French style rum that i like. Probably because i dont like Cognac.
It’s probably as you say about Agricole and Cognac, cause there are clear similarities between them.
It would be interesting to know what Cognac respectively Agricole you’ve tasted.
In my opinion you shouldn’t drink Cognac VS or VSOP neat. VS is for cooking and VSOP is for drink mixing.
When it comes to Agricole I think that the best entry is Rhum J.M. XO or La Mauny XO. So if you want to try Agricole once again I suggest that you test one of those. Both is possible to find at reasonable costs, at least in Europe.
Cognac ive had:
Louis VIII Remy Martin
Agricole Rum ive had:
I havent tried more agricoles because i thought all of them taste like Cognac. Is this true?
Cognacs and rhum agricoles are nowhere being close in tasting like each other. Cognacs come from grapes. Agricoles come from sugar cane juice. One cannot start out more opposite than this.
My problems with agricoles is that the basic juice is so delicate that excessive aging in charred oak barrels absolutely ruins it until it winds up tasting like bourbon. Clement is the worst offender in this area.
Stefan recommended JM Rhum XO, which I will pick up tomorrow, since I liked their VO very much. Agricoles need to be aged in new oak barrels that have not been charred (IMHO).
Well, these cognacs should be OK because it's XO, but it's cognac from the big houses and is overpriced in my opinion. I prefer cognac from the small houses like Hine or Delamain made from grapes from Grande Champagne.
About Agricole I would say that they differ quite a lot. I haven’t tasted any from outside the Caribbean so I don’t have any opinion about them.
The Barbancourt from Haiti is not a typical Agricole. Not the best one to start with, it’s quite demanding. It is probably the Agricole that is most similar to Cognac as they use the same methods and traditions used in Cognac production.
Then we have the Martinique rhum, which you have tasted one of, if it was the old Clement XO in a carafe it’s one of the best in my opinion. I think that Clement also is quite demanding, instead I recommend the J.M. and the La Mauny I mentioned earlier.
Everything around rhum from Martinique is very regulated in ”Apellation d’origene controlee”(AOC). The Agricole from Martinique is fruity and dry.
Then we have those from Guadeloupe. They are completely different, they have a much richer and and even more fruity taste. They are not nearly as dry as those from Martinique instead there is a certain sweetness in them. They are not covered at all by the regulations surrounding the rhum from Martinique. I really like all rhum from there, I can recommend anything that’s at least 6yo.
Finally, we also have those from Marie Galante, which is a separate island belonging to Guadeloupe. They aren’t covered by the AOC either. From here comes, among others, Bielle who is considered a very good Agricole. The style is somewhere in between the rhums from Martinique and Guadeloupe.
I agree that the clairins and Barbancourts are in a totally different class than agricoles from Martinique. However, it is how quickly the cane juice is processed and what yeast is used. This is what separates Martiniquan, Guadeloupean, and agricoles from Marie Galant from all the rest. Same goes for Brazilian cachacas. It is all about rapid processing of the juice and using the right yeast. You may want to check out Three Roll Estate Rum Agricole from Louisiana. They process their juice very quickly and also import their yeast from Guadeloupe. If tasting this one blind folded, very few could tell that it is from Louisiana.
Wow. You really know your stuff. Ive tried quite a few Cognacs but never purchased a bottle. Just wasnt my thing. Im gonna give your recommendations at try. I trust your judgment.
On another note, i find it interesting that spirits can be made from different things and taste so similar. For instance, some korean soju tastes like vodka. But soju is made from rice and vodka is made from potatoes.
Thank you for your kind words.
I hope I don’t trick you into making some bad purchases, but if you start liking Agricole, a whole new world of flavors will open up for you. Good luck!
Spirits made from rice are also produced in Thailand, thinking of their Thai Whiskey and their Thai Rum, Mehkong and Sang Som, although the taste is quite far from scotch and rums in my opinion.
Unfortunately, very few Rum is imported from the US to Europe, and Three Roll Estate isn’t so this is impossible for me to buy.
I wisely took your advice and doled out $60 US for a bottle of Rhum JM XO. I have already submitted my review rating it as an 8. Thank you so much for this recommendation!!!! Near perfect!
It fully deserves that (imagine that i paid for it 60 euros)! That is a magnificent drink and it didn't last long, for a reason... Why is the rum always gone?
It makes me very happy that you liked the JM XO and that I thus did not trick you into a purchase that you needed to regret
I really hope from a similar reaction from RumGuy in due time.
Good stuff seems to ends so damn fast.
You are a truly trustworthy retired sea officer and I would never suspect that you would try to trick anyone. By the way, we are the same age at 65 and both retired.
I wrote my usual lengthy review for Rhum JM XO, but three words would have summed it up best!
I am still amazed with each sip. Thanks for restoring my trust in agricoles. They are so hard to create and are easily prone to mistakes in the entire process. Luckily, this bottle of JM Rhum XO is easy to replace!
Well, i trust Stefan too! I am absolutely certain that Clement XO will amaze me! I must save up and go after the good one, although i am looking towards its new version of ~60 bucks a bit more intimately... Clement XO is highly recommended by Stefan and it has good place in my wishlist! It has to be a masterpiece.
Thanks for all the kind words, guys!
Sorry if I misled you. I understand that it could be perceived that I was a retired naval officer because I praised Pusser's for their commitment to the sailors' charity fund, but I am a retired army officer and I actually worked for the US Army during "Desert Storm".
I went to get it today. It's really good. I actually like this rum much better than el dorado 21. After drinking for awhile, Ive come to the realization i prefer rum made from molasses and not sugar cane juice. But i will definitely enjoy this. Thanks again.
Also, i believe all good rum should be bottle at 45% ABV or higher. This rum is perfect at that mark.
I am also retired US Army, but from the Corps of Engineers for almost 32 years. Mother Nature can be a bitch of an enemy, which is what we had to face with hurricanes and sea level rise. Global warming is very real!!!! I am really enjoying slow sipping on my bottle of JM XO, knowing damn well that it can easily be replaced.
I don’t think you should give up Agricole, as there is so much to miss.
Most of us need time to grow into it.
It is also possible that you like Guadeloupe Agricole better, which is richer and not as dry.
The one that stands out the most in that direction is ReimonenQ and there I suggest the 7 or 9yo to a reasonable cost, but as I wrote earlier is all Agricole from Guadeloupe great if it’s at least 6yo.
If you are willing to go up a little in price (100+) then I would say that all Agricole from Guadeloupe is very good to damn good.
I havent given up on agricole. Spanish and English style rums are just what im use to. But its growing on me. I really like Rhum JM XO. Actually, im still drinking it now. My problem is the availability to purchase certain bottles of rum. Ive never seen the Guadeloupe in the the U.S. If i purchase online, it will be almost double the price. So, id rather wait til i travel abroad. Im waiting for Covid to subside a bit. Which Guadeloupe rum do u recommend?
Sounds good !
My favorite brands are Reimonenq and Montebello and of these I have tried most of them from Blanc and upwards, except the most expensive ones.
Of the other brands I have mostly tasted the slightly more expensive editions such as Bologne XO, Longueteau XO, Damoiseau 15yo and Karukera Christoph Colomb. From Severin I have tried the much cheaper XO. These are all good but I suggest despite my opinion about them, that you don’t start with the youngest ones of Reimonenq and Montebello.
Picture: My Reimonenq shelf.
I’m also waiting for better times.
Hopefully I will be vaccinated before the summer.
We plan for a Caribbean cruise, with start and finish in Guadeloupe, in the beginning of next year if possible.
It’s good for us to finish in Guadeloupe, cause then we’re inside the EU and we can bring home 10 liters/person.
Picture: Some of the other Agricole’s I mentioned in my last post, but don’t buy the Pere Labat.
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