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Paul B (PREMIUM)

Posted 6 Apr '21 from United States with 420 ratings

Folks, lately I have noticed way too may rave reviews for expensive rums and this absolutely sickens me!!! Anyone can spend a small fortune on a "rum" and and then declare that it was "DEVINE" while refusing to admit that they have been screwed again. That is NOT me!!!!I on the the other hand have taken great efforts to find really good rums that are affordable. I now present my best 7-8 ratings in the $13-$25 US range. Finding these affordable bargains is MUCH more of a challenge than raving about the latest pricey rum that one has found.  Anyone can waste money on anything and then rave about it. Not me!!!!Alleyne Arthurs Special Barbados RumFoursquare SpicedNavy BayOak & Palm SpicedPlantation Artisinal 3-StarsBlackwell's Reserve (the only one in this list to attain my rating of 8)Plantation Original Dark Double AgedCarta Vieja 8 AnosDoorly's XOWildcat Brothers Sweet CrudeRum Fire Overproof (see my detailed notes below!)El Dorado 8896 8 YearSan ZanjRon Centenario 9 CommemorativoHamilton Demerara 86Black Pearl LightSelvarey WhiteBrinley Gold Shipwreck SpicedVizcaya CristalDiplomatico PlanasOn the Jamaican Rum Fire Overproof from Hampden, one needs to add at least 2 ice cubes and allow them to melt to bring out the flavors while also lowering the burn. Drink this stuff straight, and I can promise you that you will absolutely hate it. This one is still light years better than Wray & Nephew Overproof.
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alseick

From Poland with 8 ratings Replied 6 Apr '21

I think I was a witness of the sparkle which started this  The problem might be also related to the region where we live and shipping availability and cost, in central Europe most of these are not easily available, so I guess people are kind of forced to follow the trends, I guess distributors are bringing the most popular rums, also hyped ones to avoid risk  I had this feeling when I tasted Foursquare Detente and a bit when checked 2008 - like is something wrong with my taste, it is strong has a lot of flavour, but is it that awesome, balanced etc considering the price?
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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 27 ratings Replied 6 Apr '21

It's difficult not to mind the price while sipping a rum. I sometimes test my friends by serving a glass of rum and not acknowledging the price and brand. These studies showed moderate quality-price correlation. Usually my friends prefer sweeter and weaker rums. And, as we all know, the most expensive ones are the strongest and driest. Surprisingly, telling that the rum is very expensive before serving makes my friends rate them higher. I hope they don't read it because I plan to continue these experiments.
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Stefan Persson (TASTING CLUB)

From Sweden with 238 ratings Replied 6 Apr '21

Paul,  You’ve made a tremendous great job to find that many great cheap rums.  Our tastes differ a little, my favorites that I just open for special occasions are quite expensive. Most of them I’ve bought tax free or to good prices at auctions.  It’s no challenge to find great rums +€100, just expensive. The real challenge is to find great cheap ones.  Below I list my best quite cheap everyday rums with ratings and prices.  About Latin styled Ron it’s hard for me to find something real cheap and good, the only one that I really like below €40 is the Malecon Rare Proof 13yo(8+).  About British styled rum it’s easier cause here I have my overall best everyday rum, English Harbour 5yo(8), for below €20. Between €20-25 I have: Cockspur VSOR 12yo(7+) Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof(7+) Pusser’s Blue Label(7) Appleton 12yo(7) Smith & Cross(7+) Chairman’s Reserve Original(7) Between €25-35 I have: Doorly’s 12yo(8) R.L. Seale’s 10yo(9) Sixty Six 12yo(8) El Dorado 15yo(8) Chairman’s Reserve Forgotten Casks(7+) Captain Bligh XO(8+)  When it comes to aged Agricole’s it’s hard to find anything that’s really good below €40. The only one that comes close is the J.M. XO(8) for just over €40.  When it comes to white rum it’s easier to find great ones. Of the Jamaican Overproof’s I like the Rum Fire(8+) best for the cost of €30. The one I’ve rated highest is the Rivers Antoine 69%(9) it costs around €45 in Europe, but can be bought for around €15 in Grenada I’ve heard. About Agricole’s Blanc many of them can be found for between €15-30. I’ve many more to test, but those I’ve rated highest (7+) so far is Bielle 59 and Montebello 50.
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Rene Rum

From Switzerland with 426 ratings Replied 6 Apr '21

Paul, keep calm and think about your health. 😉 There’s lot of overpriced rums and their fanboys (if they really tried for sure). And so what! Better be clever and buy smart. Usually, the price is so high because of rarity not of taste, unfortunately. Damn, in your mentioned price range I find in Switzerland only Bacardi or Captain Morgan maybe a Havana Club 3 yo. We have here high tax on alcohol (29.- Chf. for 1 litre of 100% alcohol = 12.- Chf. for 40% vol.) In the price range from 50.- to 100.- you will find here quite drinkable rums. Doorly's XO for example cost 49.- Chf. = 53.- $
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vomi1011

From Germany with 387 ratings Replied 6 Apr '21

We should also mention some great rums under 50€ here: 1. Stolen Overproof -> Hampden HLCF high ester pot still rum, a pineapple dream in cask strength for 39€ 2. El Dorado 15 -> Good Demerara but sweetened, great rum and the new version is less sweet for 35€ (they have the oldes stills). 3. Chairman's Reserve 2005 -> great column and pot still blend with 46% abv for 49€ 4. Mount Gay XO -> 5 to 17y old blend, with triple cask aging and cognack finish, 43% for 35€ 5. Worthy Park Estate -> great pot still rum, with many banana flavors and 46% abv for 47€ If you still have doubts, ask a professional: 1. https://thefatrumpirate.com/stolen-overproof-rum 2. https://thefatrumpirate.com/el-dorado-15 3. https://thefatrumpirate.com/chairmans-reserve-2005-vintage 4. https://thefatrumpirate.com/mount-gay-xo-triple-cask-blend 5. https://thefatrumpirate.com/worthy-park-single-estate-reserve
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 6 Apr '21

Rene: I think what happens is that most of the expensive rums wind up in Europe because rum drinkers over here in the USA simply won't buy them. Where I live, it's all about craft beers, bourbons, and vodkas. Rums have taken a back seat to these popular sellers. If I do spot an expensive rum for sale, I can almost guarantee that it will still be there a month later or more.For the 38 rums that I have rated at 8 or higher, the average price is $52.42 US. They range from a low of $20 US to a high of $117 US.
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Stefan Persson (TASTING CLUB)

From Sweden with 238 ratings Replied 6 Apr '21

René, You’re completely correct. An example: Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros is for sale just over €40, but for its precursor the Barrel Proof you have to pay for around €150 just because of that’s not produced anymore or to be correct just because they’ve the changed label. So it’s all about rarity!
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Captain Lee (PREMIUM)

From United States with 13 ratings Replied 7 Apr '21

Counterpoint. Paul, you've amassed a phenomenal number of reviews, and full credit to your systematic approach and advocacy for value. I maybe drink 5 ounces (150ml) of rum a week. Maybe. That means that if I drank steadily on one bottle at a time (which I don't, but for illustration purposes) it would take me 5 weeks to work my way through it. My wife might nip a dram or two from time to time, some gets shared with friends, and some sits lonely on the shelf. I might buy 20 bottles in a year. I'm very fortunate to be in a position where price does not matter much to me. While I'm open to exploration, what I know I like are higher proofs and medium-long aging consumed neat. In general, those are more expensive bottles. I will quite happily spend $100 for a bottle that I think that I am likely to really like rather than $30 x 3 that I think might be OK. There may well be some gems on your list above, but none of them really fits my profile, and it would take me a year (or more!) to work my way through all of them. Life is short. Your mileage and what you like are certain to vary! There is plenty of room in the Rum ecosystem for multiple approaches to something we all enjoy. And maybe next time I get the itch to buy a bottle I'll give one of the above list a try!
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Bonandy

From Poland with 58 ratings Replied 7 Apr '21

It all depends on individual taste, and tastes can be formed. Cheap can be tasty and expensive can not be tasty. You can afford the price or not. Maybe there's a bit of snobbery in all of this?
Large jessica for rum ratings

Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 7 Apr '21

Two years ago, I tasted Appleton 21 Year side by side with the much cheaper Blackwell's Reserve. Both were from the house of Appleton, but the cheaper Blackwell's edged out the 21 year to my surprise. And ever since then, I have been on a quest to find really good affordable rums. That is also when I placed a $120 per bottle limit on any rum that I bought.I usually like to have about a dozen opened bottles for testing a little of each one now and then, and adjusting them in my rankings if necessary. Right now, I have 43 opened bottles and more than a dozen closed bottles that I refuse to open up since I already know that all of them are good rums. At this rate, I now have enough rums to last me for a year or more. So what happens to the really bad ones that I try? Since I hate pouring any down the drain after all efforts have been made to save them as mixers, I donate them to a neighbor who only uses them to calm her nerves. At least they don't go to waste. As for overproofs, yes they last longer in the bottle than other rums, and most also cost more. But I always keep an opened bottle of Plantation OFTD on hand at 138 proof, and have recently added Rum Fire Overproof to my repeat purchases list. Both cost less than $30 US. For the most part, I have been very disappointed with the Foursquare ECS overproof rums because most of them taste too much like bourbons. And at those prices, I won't be buying any more of them. And at 400 reviews, it is finally time for me to stop trying new ones.
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Yohobro

From Canada with 24 ratings Replied 7 Apr '21

All I can say is I’m glad you (and all other experienced rum drinkers here) took the bullet for the rest of us new to rum. I don’t feel the need to drop my hard earned money on an ok bottle. I think most can agree there are a plethora of exceptional rums available under $50. For the amount of rum I drink, I can meander through these less expensive rums and be perfectly happy for a long time. Cheers!
Large jessica for rum ratings

Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 8 Apr '21

Yohobro: Thanks for the compliments! Of the 39 times that I tried a rum costing more than $50 US, here are the results, and this is with help from fellow reviewers. 38% got my rating of 8 or higher 31% got my rating of 7 21% got my rating of 6  5% got my rating of 5  5% got my rating of 4  0% got my rating of 3 or less. However, at those prices, I felt that each of them had damn well better have wound up in the group with my ratings of 8 or higher. As you can see, my results wound up being a crap shoot.
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vomi1011

From Germany with 387 ratings Replied 8 Apr '21

Looks like there is a correlation between price and rating. 38% with a rating of 8 or higher is a good rate. Do you have such a rate for rums under $ 25?
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Rene Rum

From Switzerland with 426 ratings Replied 8 Apr '21

Hey guys, honestly, I got a deep look into my bar to find great rum for under 50.-. And see, I found a few: -Plantation Overproof O.F.T.D. -Pusser's Gunpowder Proof -Compagnie des Indes Jamaica Navy Strength 5-Year -Wray & Nephew White Overproof -Arcane Extraroma 12-Year -Malteco Triple 1 11-Year -Barcelo Imperial Onyx Those all rated as 8
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 9 Apr '21

Rene: I can only get 3 from your list where I live. Plantation OFTD is always in my cabinet as an opened bottle. It was actually created from 15 different rums by a panel of experts. How on earth they keep the price so cheap is beyond my imagination. I have it rated as an 8 as well as the Pusser's Gunpowder Proof. As for Wray & Nephew Overproof, I have that one rated as a 2. Rum Fire Overproof blows it away. Enclosed for everyone's benefit are my final percentages by three different price ranges and ratings. My 7 and 6 ratings are the most common, so why on earth would anyone want to spend a lot of money on a rum to have it not quite make it to the rating of 8 or better? Also notice, that 10% of those expensive rums wound up being rated at 5 or below to never be bought again. Conversely, when spending less than $25 US for a rum, only a lot of luck will get it into the rating of 8 or higher. I am also quite brutal in my ratings. Most start out good and then gradually tumble down as the weeks pass by on each bottle. It is extremely rare for a rum to go up in my overall rankings after first opening it. Now, for those cases where I risked a lot for a rum and got screwed financially, I will be the first to admit it and also tell everyone about it. I am not one to gloat over an expensive rum just because I refuse to accept the truth of being screwed again.
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vomi1011

From Germany with 387 ratings Replied 9 Apr '21

Therefore we have rumratings, so that everyone can buy a good rum based on the ratings of the community. I often have only one point deviation to the community rating. Of course there are some exceptions, but if a rum has more than 50 ratings it's very unlikely that the overall ratings are wrong. If I have more than two points difference, then I did not understand something. I need to taste this rum over and over again.There is a risk when there are only few reviews, as this is the case with Clairins and very expensive rums. But nobody forces us to try these rums, just wait for the reviews and drink good rum meanwhile.In your statistics we can see a correlation between rating and price. It is rare that very expensive rum tastes bad. If you don't like some rums with heavy aromas that's ok, rate them bad. This goes into the average rating and is taken into account.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 9 Apr '21

vomi1011: Lucky for you, I had a couple of hours to kill this afternoon while awaiting for the very bad weather to arrive. So I went looking through your cabinet and wrote down all 73 rums that we both reviewed on here. I had one column for your rating and one column for my rating. I now have them both plotted with your ratings in black and my ratings in blue. This picture is worth a thousand words! You are quite generous with your ratings except in very few cases where I rated a point or two higher. Angostura 1919 was the only exception whereby I rated it as an 8 and you rated it as a 5. Our ratings for that rum are under two different names for the same exact rum, which is why it is hard to compare the actual reviews themselves.
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vomi1011

From Germany with 387 ratings Replied 10 Apr '21

This is because I use a system from 1 to 100 and always round up from full tenths. My 90 points rating is a 10 in rumratings. This puts me closer to the community ratings than if I would round it down. And in this case I would not have any 10 points ratings.There is a huge difference between my 97 and 90 rating. I have only three rums with 97, these are my top rums.
Large jessica for rum ratings

Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 10 Apr '21

vomi1011: I will just point a few of some of your rums with the same rating that had me going, "Say WHAT?!!" On your 8 Rating, you have Ron Zacapa 23 rated the same as Hampden Estate 8 Year. On your 9 Rating, you have Papa's Pilar Dark rated the same as Worthy Park Single Estate. On your 7 Rating, you have Zaya 12 Year rated the same as Santa Teresa 1796. That must have been the old bottle of Zaya before they changed the blend. These are just a few of the obvious ones. You review each rum individually on the same scale as wine, which does not work in my opinion. Andy's very brief and perfect one line descriptions of each Rating gets me in the ball park. Then I adjust it up or down within all of my rankings to become the overall part of my big picture. I only have 31% of all of my ratings in the 7-10 class. Your percentages in that class number a whopping 86%. And we only agree on about 20% of our ratings on these 73 rums. As for the rest of them in your cabinet, I cannot get them where I live, so I have absolutely no idea if I would like them. Probably not! The European market is VERY different from the USA market. We are mostly satisfied with the cheap and plentiful stuff. I have yet to spend more than $120 US for one bottle of rum. I have found enough of the stellar rums that I need go no further in my quest. However, one new rum seriously caught my attention, but it is $150 US and 1200 miles away. No way on earth! It can stay there!
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vomi1011

From Germany with 387 ratings Replied 10 Apr '21

Whiskybase, rumtastingnotes and many popular reviewers use the scale up to 100 for their reviews. Therefore I use it also. We had a discussion about that in another thread with Andy. All four mentioned rums have a deviation of <1 to the community ratings. My opinion is only one of many, the community has a better rating in all cases. I can't compare Zacapa with Hampden, these are different worlds for me. They have both a rating of 8 in their own world. The first one is a multicolumn rum for sweet rum lovers and the second is a craftmans rum for purists. There are people who like vintage cars and others who like new cars. If I put them into the same world then I have to consider how they were made. I don't want to do that, because sometimes I wan't to drink a sweet rum and sometimes a pure rum. And maybe I'm not close to your ratings but I think I'm close to the community.You are right, I have a lot of rums with good rating.I stopped buying rums a year ago, which I could rate worse than 8. Because I have gained mor experience in the last year and can now assess how good a rum will be. I also exchange a lot of samples with others and get higher quality rums. This has to do with the fact that my network of rum friends continues to grow. Yesterday I found pictures of samples that I made here on rumratings. I understand that you can't get these rums. It was also hard to find some vintage Caronis for me, because there are just a few people who have samples of these rums. I often paid as much for 3cl as others for a good bottle of rum. But I really wanted to know how this rum tasted. You should try to get some samples from europe. I don't know how US customs handle the shipment of samples, but it may be possible. One may have to declare that these are fruit juice samples.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 10 Apr '21

vomi1011: I have lost all respect for the so called "professional raters" for rum, since it is my firm belief that they only rate these rums to boost sales and many of these ratings are quite questionable. I have listed some ratings from four of these "professional institutions" and have ordered them from highly questionable to somewhat believable. My typical comments are also enclosed. I hereby challenge you to match your professional opinion to any of the ones presented in my list below, especially those in the first two groups. Here goes! Wine Advocate ------------------------------------------- 89 Captain Morgan Spiced (what were they smoking?) Ultimate Spirits Challenge ----------------------------------------------- 98 Plantation Isle of Fiji 2020 (Puh-LEEZ!!!!.. the customers know more than these folks) 93 Denizen 3 Year (not terrible, but still rated too high) 92 Brugal Rum Anejo (my all time worst rum ever!!!) 87 Don Q Cristal (the most popular rum in Puerto Rico and only for getting sauced) Beverage Tasting Institute ------------------------------------------ 95 Cruzan Single Barrel 93 896 8 Year 93 R.L. Seale's 10 Year 93 El Pasador de Oro XO 93 Flor de Cana 12 Year 92 Jonas Curse Black Spiced Rum (what were they smoking?!!!!) 92 896 5 Year 92 Plantation Original Dark 92 Pampero Anniversario 91 Kaniche Perfeccion 90 Kaniche Reserve 90 Flor de Cana 7 Year 88 Doorly's XO Wine Enthusiast ---------------------------------------- 97 Don Pancho 30 Year 96 Pyrat XO ( who paid them and how much for this rating?) 95 Ron Abuelo 12 Year 95 Kirk & Sweeney 12 Year 93 Mount Gay XO 93 Appleton Estate 12 year 92 Flor de Cana 18 Year 92 Clement VSOP 91 Plantation XO 20th Anniversary 91 Papa's Pilar Dark 91 Bumbu Original 90 Rhum JM VSOP 90 Leblon Cachaca 89 Foursquare Spiced Have at it!!!!
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vomi1011

From Germany with 387 ratings Replied 10 Apr '21

Unfortunately, I'm not a professional, it's just a hobby of mine. I would say that Doorlys XO rating is ok, but the rest is weird. I don't see them as professionals either, and they don't specialized in rum. Maybe they got paid for these reviews.I don't always agree with the pros either, but I like most of their reviews:Marius from singlecaskrum.com/ Marius form www.rumcask.comFlo from barrel-aged-thoughts.blogspot.com Serge from www.whiskyfun.comthefatrumpirate.com/ Marco from barrel-aged-mind.blogspot.comthelonecaner.com rumdiariesblog.wordpress.comwww.rumrevelations.comFor example thefatrumpirate has a bad rating for blackwell, I would rate it with 4 stars or 8 points. But that's how it is, this rum has 6.7 points on rumratings. Thats 1.3 points under my rating and that's still ok. Sometimes it's otherwise.
Large jessica for rum ratings

Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 10 Apr '21

vomi1011; That was a great totally honest response and I respect you for it. However, I have very little respect for reviews from The Fat Rum Pirate, whom you provide lots of links to. He is certainly a lot better than these so-called "professional raters", but has a long way to go in my book. No two rum tasters can match exactly, and as I have already pointed out, we only match by 20% of reviews for the same rums. I would also like to do this comparison of similar rums with other well respected reviewers on this site, if they don't mind me doing so (they should all speak up now!!)
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vomi1011

From Germany with 387 ratings Replied 10 Apr '21

It would be interesting to see how the community reviews look like in your plot. Then you would have three lines for this 73 rums. I guess the community line would be closer to mine and further from yours. It would say that your taste or rating system is stricter than mine and stricter that the one of the community.But you have to decide how to round the average ratings (I always round up).
Large jessica for rum ratings

Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 10 Apr '21

Large jessica for rum ratings

Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 10 Apr '21

vomi1011: On another note, here is another angle of looking at all of our ratings. As you well know, the least popular rums are showing no actual bottles on this site as of now. These are actually the ones that are damn near impossible to find for others!!! When it comes to our tallies of no bottles being shown, here are our results. vomi1011: 66 Paul B: 19 vomi1011:  I am sure that you are mighty proud of yourself for rating rums that most of us cannot even get for love nor money. I write my reviews for this entire community and not to try and appear as the ultimate rum snob. Sorry if the truth hurts! I am so glad to have finally revealed you for what you really are, which is one who is NOT to be trusted.P.S. I trust reviews from joola69 more than yours even though most of those are the lowest rated for each rum. At least he is brutally honest and can be trusted!!P.S.S. For new reviewers on this site, don't ever trust this one's reviews that are designed to make you waste your money for whatever reason.P.S.S. I thank this dreaded reviewer for being my inspiration to finally call it quits after 400 reviews. Should I happen upon yet another rum worth buying, I will not even submit another review on it. The magic number of 400 sits quite well for me.
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vomi1011

From Germany with 387 ratings Replied 10 Apr '21

Don't know whats wrong with you. Seemed like a normal conversation to me and then suddenly anger and hatered. I also don't know why my reviews are so important to you, you mention them very often. My reviews are more important to me than to others. I use them to reconstruct the taste and my impressions. Most of the time, I talk to people who drink much better rums than I do and who are also much more experienced. I write reviews because I like rum and I use this site for my tasting notes. My ratings are my personal opinion, maybe they are wrong, but the community ratings are what matters. Do what you want and don't take my ratings too seriously.
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Captain Lee (PREMIUM)

From United States with 13 ratings Replied 10 Apr '21

vomi1011 - if we ever figure out how to get it through customs, I would happily exchange samples with you! I enjoy your reviews and insights. I like reading about rums that are available to you in Europe even if I cannot get them here - maybe I can find another IB from the same distillery, or a brand will get US distribution that it didn't have before (Hampden Endemic Birds!), or I'll be able to travel and try new things that way. Shoot - half the fun is the search for something that you love, and the intrigue of things that you can't have, unless... maybe... there's a guy that knows a guy that knows an importer... On that note, if anybody knows where I can get a bottle of Velier Royal Navy Tiger Shark in the USA, help me out!
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vomi1011

From Germany with 387 ratings Replied 10 Apr '21

Hi Captain Lee. I could try to send you a sample in a letter for 3.70€. Because a package is very expensive >30€. German post say only documents are allowed but maybe customs don't care about a sample inside. Just to try (up to 500g is 3.7€ and up to 1kg is 7€).
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Captain Lee (PREMIUM)

From United States with 13 ratings Replied 11 Apr '21

That would be fantastic! Let me email the site mods and see if they will send you my email address.
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vomi1011

From Germany with 387 ratings Replied 11 Apr '21

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