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Is this a good start into premium aged rum?


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brapuano

Posted 1 Aug '21 from United States with 0 ratings

Is the below list a good start for aged premium rum?  Thanks in advance for the advice.  I am primarily a bourbon and rye drinker. Appleton Estate 21 YearKirk and Sweeney XODiplomatico 2002 Botucal Single VintageFlor de Caña 25-YeaRon Zacapa XODiplomatico Ambassador SelectionCentario 30 Year Zafra Master Reserve 30-Year
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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 27 ratings Replied 1 Aug '21

It depends what you consider premium and what your expectations are. The rums you listed are doubtlessly aged and considered the good quality ones. Usually beginners are advised to try different types to see what they like. We can help you more if you tell us what your preferences are. I defenetely discourage you from buying the entire list at once.
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brapuano

From United States with 0 ratings Replied 1 Aug '21

Hi Kudzey. I am just getting into rum and seem to like the higher aged sweeter rums that don't really taste like true rum if that makes sense. So far I've tasted the Appleton 21 year old, Appleton 12 year old and they didn't taste much different. When I tasted the Zacapa 23, XO, Centario 30 year those all seemed to taste great. Mind you, I am a huge bourbon and rye drinker...mainly high proof and anything that works great in an old fashioned.  I am also looking for something that is deep in flavor, rich, complex and good neat, and with a cigar.  I also drink most of my bourbons and rye neat as well or in an old fashioned.  It just really depends on they day  Any assistance is greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!
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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 27 ratings Replied 1 Aug '21

Yeah, I can see your list makes much sense now.I guess you will like the Diplomatico but I would still advise you to go step-by-step with their products. I don't know any particular reason to begin with the single vintage 2002, prior to the several times cheaper 2005. Similarly, I'd recommend their Reserva Exclusiva before the Ambassador Selection. If you prefer the sweet ones, Flor de Cana could be too dry for you. You can try the Abuelo rums from Panama, these are rather sweet. Another thing for you might be Plantation XO from Barbados. I also strongly recommend trying the Guyanese style: Pusser's or El Dorado.  You wrote that you liked higher aged rums. Be careful with that as the ages on the label are sometimes only branding tricks. Many rums are blends of different vintages, it is sometimes not clear if the age on the label is the average age, the oldest or the youngest. Sometimes only few drops are enough for the company to start calling their products "very old". Another thing is Solera aging, where subsequent vintages are added to the maturation system, diluting the already-matured rums with the just-distilled every year. Let's take Zacapa 23 as an example. The 23 used to refer to the oldest rums in the Solera blend but recently they even dropped the word "years" from the label, I have no clue what this number refers to anymore. Finally, the rums aged for very long can become woody and bitter which might not be appealing for you. Again, try sticking to what you like instead of what the label says. I recently tried Transcontinental Rum Line from Fiji, matured for only 4 years, and was surprised to discover it's rich flavor profile with natural sweetness.  A great advice is to read reviews of the rums you know, find reviewers who like the same as you and see what else they would recommend. I hope this little elaborate helps. You are very welcome in the rum community!
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brapuano

From United States with 0 ratings Replied 1 Aug '21

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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 3 Aug '21

brapuano: As someone new to rum, I would stay away from Diplomatico Ambassador Seleccion. I recently spent $231 US before sales tax and am sorry that I bought it. This one has way too much sherry taste. It will be hidden way in the back of my cabinet behind my mezcals. What you have listed all cost more than $100 each and this is certainly NOT a good place to start! Out of the 8 rums that I paid $100 US or more, four rated as a 7.  At these prices, all should have rated higher. One rated as a 10, one rated as a 9, and two rated as an 8, with Appleton 21 Year being rated as an 8. Stick with rums costing between $40 US and $100 US and that should be fine for starters. In the rum world whereby they age faster in the tropics, being more expensive does not always equate to better quality. I am not a smoker, but the question was posed to me years ago about what is the best rum for cigar smokers. I had to do some research to answer that one. Stick with sweetened rums to pair with fine cigars. I miss the smell of my grandpa's cigars and he grew up near the cigar makers of Ybor City. If you want a rum that tastes exactly like a bourbon, I challenge anyone to be able to tell Clement 10 Year Old apart from a real Kentucky bourbon. This is a rhum agricole from Martinique and the rhum is too delicate to begin with and absorbs too much char from the barrels. No other rum even comes close to tasting this much like a bourbon. Most of the Foursquare ECS rums have bourbon notes, but nowhere near as much as this rhum from Clement. I hope this all helps!
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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 27 ratings Replied 3 Aug '21

Hi Paul, I'm surprised to hear you crossed your 120$ line again. What made you change your mind about expensive rums? I agree with you that the high-price range is risky, I also used to dream about the Ambassador in the past but now I stick to a new rule: try similar rum or get a sample first!
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brapuano

From United States with 0 ratings Replied 3 Aug '21

Hi Paul and kudzey, thanks for the responses! I have certainly learned my lessons with bourbon and rye. High price does not necessarily mean better quality. I will take a look between the $40 and $100 range. Any specific bottles to start off with? As I have mentioned earlier, I prefer high proof, high rye and/or high rye bourbons. I didn't like them at first, but my taste has changed as I have tried so many now. I am starting to like the Centario 30 year, Appleton 21 year, and Ron Zacapa XO. Although I do notice almost a plum smell/taste which is taking some getting used to. Thanks again!
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 3 Aug '21

brapuano: Here is my list of rums in the $40 to $100 US price range and all have my rating of 8 or higher. Dictador XO Insolent Dictador 20 Dictador XO Perpetual Clement Cuvee Homere Clairin Le Rocher 2018 Rhum J M XO Frigate Reserve 15 Year Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Bacardi Facundo Eximo Vizcaya VXOP 21 Ron Zacapa XO Ron Centenario 18 Reserva de la Familia Bacardi Facundo Exquisito Chairman's Reserve Legacy Chairman's Forgotten Casks Bayou Mardi Gras XO Don Pancho Origenes 18 Clement XO Plantation XO Guatemala Santa Teresa 1796 Roulaison Barrel Aged Admiral Rodney HMS Princessa Papa's Pilar Marquesas Blend These would all be a better start and you already got a head start with Ron Zacapa XO.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 3 Aug '21

kudzey: Yes, this is the second time that I crossed my $120 US limit per bottle. The first time was just to finally try a bottle of Caroni. Then it slowly slid down to my rating of 7. And ever since I visited a famous tiki bar in Las Vegas and saw the Ambassador as the most expensive one-ounce pour, I had always wanted a bottle. Then last week, a bottle was hidden in the corner of a locked glass case at one of my favorite liquor stores. The clerk unlocked the case and I had a WTF stupid moment and bought it. I now seriously regret it. It also slid down to a 7 in my rating. Notice that I now only have one rum in my wish list, and it also costs more than $120 US, but is much more reliable as to what can be expected once opened. However, I am not willing to drive 400 miles to get it, especially since all bottles are in Texas. I will just wait until it winds up closer to where I live to get it.
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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 27 ratings Replied 3 Aug '21

Brapuano, let me sum things up: you like sweeter rums and you like high proof bourbon. I'm thinking of some good overproof rums which are also sweet but there is also an important point to mention.  I used to consider two types of rums which are sweet in taste. The first one are natural rums that gained their sweetness during distillation and maturation. On the other hand, there are rums that are sweeter because of adding spices, sweeteners or colorants, either just after distillation or right before bottling but after maturation. Adding these things makes the rum seem more smooth and gives impression of longer aging. No matter which type you like, there is absolutely nothing to be shy about, rum should never be to categorize people. The thing is, that I would say the rums you mentioned (Zacapa and Centenario) are the artificially sweetened rums (again, sounds wrong but it is ok - adding sugar during maturation is a rule in every cognac, for example) and the high-proof products usually belong to the "natural" group. You probably need to test if the natural rums are also for you. You already know the Appleton, but have in mind it is the one on the dry side.  So as you can seee, a seek for good sweet high-proof rums is not a simple challenge (and a cheap good sweet high-proof rums - even harder). From my experience, the Transcontinental rum I mentioned earlier could be a good first try. In the non-overproof case, just stick to the Paul's list, I'm also a fan of the Dictador and Pusser's. These two should be very cool for you, especially that Pussers has some overproof versions as well.
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brapuano

From United States with 0 ratings Replied 3 Aug '21

Paul B and Kudzey, this is great information and I really appreciate the knowledge sharing! Yes, I do indeed like cask strength/barrel proof (aka natural) bourbon and rye. The sweeter stuff used to interesting in the beginning and then quickly faded. Now, I am even more prone to look at "store" and/or "barrel" picks as opposed to your run of the mill highly sought after bourbons and/or ryes that folks chase and/or wait hours in line for.  Purser's Gunpowder Proof Rum and Spiced Rum looks really interesting.  A touch of sweet and heat!  I'd imagine it would be perfect neat and/or in a nice old fashioned without simple syrup, just bitters an orange and luxardo cherries. 
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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 27 ratings Replied 3 Aug '21

By the way, how strong a typical high-proof bourbon is?
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brapuano

From United States with 0 ratings Replied 3 Aug '21

Kudzey, I'd say anywhere from 110-140 proof for bourbon and/or rye at cask strength.
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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 4 Aug '21

I also bought one more rum costing more than my $120 initial limit. This was Foursquare ECS Shibboleth at $138 per bottle. It slowly moved up from my initial rating of 8 to a perfect 10. This is EXTREMELY rare for me. The only problem with this rum is that greedy investors scoop up all of the Foursquare ECS rums with no intentions whatsoever of drinking what lies in the bottles. I have absolutely no respect for them!!! If you can find a bottle at standard prices still on the shelf, GRAB IT!!!! It is a naturally sweet overproof rum at 112 proof. From my bourbon drinking days, only one overproof stands out, and that is Booker's. I once found a rare bar that carried Booker's, so I ordered an ounce as usual. A drunk chick was trying to pick me up one day and sat next to me. Of course she wanted a free drink. I asked her what she wanted and she told the bartender "whatever he is drinking". Okay girl, you asked for it!!! Well, once she took that first sip of Booker's neat, she damn near fell off the bar stool. Always be careful what you wish for!
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brapuano

From United States with 0 ratings Replied 4 Aug '21

Paul B, Booker's is good, but there are now so many barrel pick and/or store pick overproof/cask strength/barrel strength bourbon and rye that it will make your head spin! I'll take a look around and see if I can find Foursquare ECS Shibboleth.
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vomi1011

From Germany with 387 ratings Replied 5 Aug '21

I would start with reference rums rather than with premium products. http://rumproject.com/menuitem2.html There are high end rums and there are commercial premium rums. Some are pure and old, others are tailored for the mass market. You don't know much flavor profiles, I could name very good rums but maybe you don't like their flavor profiles.  Paul don't like Caroni, Hampden or the most ECS profiles for example. I would try entry rums first and when you know that you like rums from a certain region I would dive deeper into it. Shibboleth is a high end Bajan rum, pure, aged for 16y and bottled in high proof. It's the oldest ECS release so far. If you know the Foursquare profile then you know what you can expect from this one. El Dorado Enmore 1996 is a very good Guyana rum. Skeldon 2000 and Albion 2001 also. Maybe you would like Hampden, Worthy Park and New Yearmouth, do you like high ester rums? Maybe it's better to start with cheaper sweet rums like Zacapa 23 or Diplomatico RE, if you like them you can try their premium products. These are modified rums that are flavored and sweetened. They represent the taste of their brand and are grouped under Spanish-style rums. If you know their profile you know what you can expect from their product range.
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Captain Lee (PREMIUM)

From United States with 13 ratings Replied 5 Aug '21

Here is another set of reference rums to check out: https://thelonecaner.com/key-rums-of-the-world/ Rum has a tremendously varied flavor profile. While I haven't had everything on your list, I suspect they all have a very similar profile. Especially if you are already used to high proof spirits neat, consider skipping the 80 proof standards and going straight to cask strength and overproof releases. I have the Appleton 21, and consider it "meh" in comparison to higher proof rums. In the US, Foursquare Exceptional Cask Series (like the Shibboleth mentioned above, but you should also be able to find others), Holmes Cay, Habitation Velier, and Privateer are good ones to look for.
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Captain Lee (PREMIUM)

From United States with 13 ratings Replied 5 Aug '21

Oh, and don't sleep on unaged rums! Clairins, agricoles, and higher ester pot still unaged molasses rums can pack a tremendous amount of flavor for sipping neat.
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Jimmy Cliff (PREMIUM)

From United States with 321 ratings Replied 15 Aug '21

Try any Foursquare you can find! And I drink all of them, not saving for my kids inheritance
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