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Rum journey and why price is not an issue


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vomi1011

Posted 15 Sep '21 from Germany with 392 ratings

We had searched many times for the best rums at a certain price. I also followed this approach at the beginning in order to maximize the taste. Here I would like to discuss why this is an approach that only works at the beginning of your rum journey.

A common rum journey looks like this: If you are well informed at the beginning, then you know that there are English, Spanish and French rum styles. You start with the Spanish Solera profiles. Some rums are diluted and the taste is adjusted. The prices are beginner-friendly, there are often milder or more expensive versions of the same rum. The profiles are consistent over decades.

With more experience, you begin to know more profiles. You will become familiar with the distilleries and the marks, and you can expect combinations of flavors from certain bottlings. Slowly a preference for certain distilleries and brands crystallizes. The price range is increasing, and you are hunting bottling from certain distilleries, often single casks in cask strength. You can also taste the differences between individual vintages or bottlings. From now on it is no longer about the best rum for a certain price, but about certain bottlings that are affordable for you.

In the last stage you will know most of the rum profiles, you are only interested in a few distilleries and only certain marks. You can assess new bottlings directly from the year of the distillation. You often try to find the legendary bottlings from a particular year. The price increases exponentially. You know the quality and are ready to pay for it. Now you are an expert like a wine connoisseur.

If you are more experienced the question of price no longer arises.Because you know there is no Demerara SVW or REV under 200 Euro, or a 1996 Caroni under 300 Euro. And why that?

These marks or vintages offer special flavor profiles with more or less complexity. It is pointless to look for something comparable because there is nothing comparable. The profile is so unique that there can't be other rum to replace it. Therefore the price no longer plays a role from a certain level of experience. If you can't afford it get a sample. 5cl of a good rum that enriches your rum journey is more valuable than a whole bottle that you buy blindly.

And how can you speed up your rum journey? Look for tasting sets. I like tasting sets that represent specific distilleries like the one currently available from Worthy Park.

https://www.rum-depot.de/rum-rhum/melasse-rum/rum-gelagert/3568/worthy-park-master-class-tasting-kit-2021https://rumratingsclub.cratejoy.com/https://www.rumundco.de/navi.php?suche=tasting&Sortierung2=11&kf=183&hf=0&af=6&af=30&Sortierung=11&a=12009https://www.rum-depot.de/raritaeten/r-h-um-raritaeten/3581/online-tasting-caroni-employees-4th-5th-release

Cheers and enjoy

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Toni (PREMIUM)

From Germany with 25 ratings Replied 15 Sep '21

I kind of agree to the most points. Visiting the German Rumfest helped me a lot to increase my map of taste within just one day. Otherwise (because i do not drink that often) i would have spend a year or longer to get there. Since i live in Germany i also had the possibility to get some samples from you directly. Ty very much Vomi. I had the new Black Tot release and Veliers Tiger Shark in my glas and everything i had afterwards that day i did not like anymore. I had the same experience with coffee before. Once you know how to brew or where to buy the better stuff you forget the rest no matter the price. I think this is what all of us who have the tasting abilities have in common. Fortunately rum is still kind of affordable compared to whisky/scotch. My only problem is to justify my purchases in front of my better half...
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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 30 ratings Replied 15 Sep '21

Vomi, thanks for a great post. This small article perfectly summarizes our existence in the rum world. I couldn't agree more about how valuable the samples are.
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vomi1011

From Germany with 392 ratings Replied 15 Sep '21

You welcome. 😅 Fortunately, I'm not under any pressure and can purchace everything I like. It is difficult to review and write down everything at a fair like Rumfest. The two Navys are exceptional, I love these two. And it's hard to find rum profiles like that because they are blended.

Maybe Navy rums have the tastiest profiles for you. That's what I'm talking about, finding rum profiles that you like best and looking further in a certain direction. After you tried some Caronis, you can try Le Gus't Demerara 2002 with Caroni finish, I think you would like it too.

I started with sample sets from rumundco, then from the rum company, then from other rum guys. I still try a lot of samples from other people. Some now cost 40 euros for 2cl and you can only get them from these users. But it's still worth it for me because these are legendary rums that add to my experience. It's also interesting for other people if you know some vintages or marks from a certain distillery. You can talk to them about their favorite rums. Which Hampden marks or which vintages they particularly like. You can get tips on what is good and what you should try.

I love this journey and also want to encourage everyone to explore different distilleries and vinttages.

Large jessica for rum ratings

Paul B

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 16 Sep '21

A critical element in buying expensive rums was left out here, and that is the effort to obtain them. Out of the eight rums that I spent $100 US or more on, only one qualifies for a repeat purchase at $110. This is mainly due to it's great taste and being readily available where I live. The other seven either require a major effort to get and/or the taste is not worth the money. Taste is calculated from my overall rankings. To find out if a rum is a good buy for me, taste counts twice as much as the price. Some of you my want to count taste higher than a value of 2 to 1.

Before Hurricane Ida took all of the fire out of me, I traveled as far as 650 miles to get very special rums. I am no longer willing to drive more than 25 miles these days. And where I live, it is illegal to have any spirits shipped to me. Those that do not have this restrictive law seem to take buying any rums that they want for granted. There is much more to life than chasing after expensive rums.

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vomi1011

From Germany with 392 ratings Replied 16 Sep '21

I think there is no rum community in US. I only sent samples once to US and fortunately they arrived. I think it would be no problem to exchange samples privately within the USA with post delivery.

The price of taste is an ideological question. There is a lot of nonsense that we spend money on to buy enjoyment and meaning. Taste is one of the basic senses and I can't help but pamper my taste buds.

One can also say it is nonsense to eat a 100 euro steak or expensive Sushi. I say it is nonsense to buy an expensive car. Skip the car, drink rum and eat steaks or sushi.

This discussion reminds me of a scene in Matrix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gL0xQHI0wo

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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 30 ratings Replied 16 Sep '21

I believe that, money is supposed to make us more happy. Though they are said not to be capable of doing this, we can buy our favourite stuff to please ourselfes. If we just think out of the box and don't follow the rules, that alcohol is a bad thing and a car, appartament or holidays are more important than fine dining, fishing or video games, we can discover that we prefer a Foursquare over 5 bottles of Don Papa. Or a single sip of a legendary rum over 100 bottles of Don Papa. Coming back to the first post here, I still have many almost-full bottles of the Spanish-styled sweet Solera rums. I discovered I prefer dry rums and so much time has passed that these sweet rums surely deteriorated in the bottles. Even though I try not to waste anything, I have already spoiled several cocktails by adding improper rum. And for me discovering is much more important than the comfort of the taste I know and like. Even though I enjoyed many sipping rums, I think that I would only rebuy a full bottle of the Tiger Shark and El Dorado Skeldon (I tried it yesterday and it's great).
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Toni (PREMIUM)

From Germany with 25 ratings Replied 23 Sep '21

By the way one conclusion for me is to exclude prices when i rate. I mean i often mention the price of the rum that i rate, because it is an additional valuable information. I see the logic behind including the price in the ratings but for me i can only put rums in a special order when price does not matter.
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vomi1011

From Germany with 392 ratings Replied 23 Sep '21

I have thought about this many times and have come to a conclusion.

If I took the price into account, then e.g. an 8 stars rum would be in the range of 10. But a 10 stars rum that is 10 times more expensive would be clearly superior to that in terms of taste. So I'm just trying to evaluate the taste without the price.

Large jessica for rum ratings

Paul B

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 26 Sep '21

Some folks on this site have wondered how on earth can I quantify taste versus price to find worthy repeat purchases. Basically, for me taste counts twice as much as price. I have tried many different formulas over these past four years and this simple one works best for me. Some may want to rank taste higher than 2 and some may actually want to rank it less than 2 (God forbid!)

So now for the details. With 420 reviews, I picked out my 42nd ranked rum which is at my top 10 percent. It is Angostura 1919. It's cost was $35 and my upper price limit is $150. This price is now in my upper 23 percent. So (10+10+23)/3 comes out to 14.42 percent. Any final percentage of less than 20 percent is a damn good buy. From 20-29.99 percent is a good buy. From 30-49.99 percent is good for only special occasions. Anything coming in at 50 percent or less are the ones that I will never touch again.

There were only two rums that cost me more than $150 US. These are Diplomatico Ambassador and Caroni 17 Year. So how did each fare in my calculations? The Ambassdor wound up at 74.14% and the Caroni wound up at 50.46%. Had the Caroni been a mere $2 US cheaper, it would have wound up at the bottom end of my group designated for special occasions IF i could find another bottle at this price of $190 US. And three days after posting this, I found a much better buy than either one of these rums while being cheaper. A bolt lying in the road after Hurricane Ida caused me to need another tire with a 70,000 mile warranty. It is a crying shame when a rum that is literally pissed away costs more than a good tire that keeps one safe.

Many will criticize me for all of this math, but math got me into a very successful career and comfortable retirement. I was a computer programmer and civil engineer and it funded my Caribbean travels in the late eighties and early nineties. My ex-wife often called me an atypical engineer because I did not fit the mold of pocket protector nerd engineer. I thank my intense love of rock music for keeping me away from that stereotype. For anyone who disagrees with my approach, all I can say is try it to see how yours comes up. You already have them ranked and you already have an upper price limit. I would also be interested in what weighting factor for taste that you come up with and infinity does not count!

And price does INDEED become a factor unless one is filthy rich or promoting rums that they sell like the one who started this thread!!!!!

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Toni (PREMIUM)

From Germany with 25 ratings Replied 27 Sep '21

@Paul I have a less mathematical and more romantical approach of rating my rums. Our ratings are higly subjective. And we rate using an ordinal scale right? So not many mathematical operations are consistent with this. If i like something (e.g. having a conversation with a girl) better then something else (e.g talking to another girl/boy/group instead). It does not matter for me what price tags you put on this options. At the end of the day i will still choose the first option. Whether i can afford my first choice or not is my second thought then. Thank god i enjoy having conversation with different people at different ocassions. And i like having different rums for different opportunities. Even when my current best rated rum would cost 20€ instead of 120€ i still would probably choose a 3yo Havana Club for a cuba libre at a party. Because i prefer to be a reasonable person and a man of culture as well. And last but not least. Regular rumlovers from the EU, US or comparable first world countries dont have to be filthy rich or even rich to ocassionally drink exeptional rums. Let the unicorns that one can only find at the secondary market aside we can afford drinking 99% of the available market.

 

EDIT: And there is an other experiment i have in my mind that makes ratings very difficult to describe in a precise scientific way. If a had to choose between my highest rated rum for the rest of my life or all the other rums. I would choose option 2 (of course). And that indicates also that "best rated rum" is not the only criteria for us when we decide what pick we make today. Therefore  i think that ratings are useful for basic orientation as long as i know what premises and what criterias someone uses to rate rums. But not more.

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vomi1011

From Germany with 392 ratings Replied 27 Sep '21

I'm unfortunately not rich 😬 

I have no debts or assets and I don't even have a car. But I tried some rums that costs >1k.

A rum journey shouldn't be price-driven, but experience-driven. At the beginning I was interested in the brands. Then I moved on to the distilleries.Now I can predict the aromas based on the distillery, the mark and aging. If something stands out particularly well, I can name it. If something deviates from the reference rum, too.

That's what it's about, you have to understand a rum and not calculate it mathematically.

Large jessica for rum ratings

Paul B

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 27 Sep '21

Toni:

Comparing rum to women is an absolutely awful way to go! When it comes to women, I simply stay away from the three C's: Crazy, Control Freaks, or Con Artists. I once met a blues guitarist who was married to a woman that was all three. Pour soul.

And for those who are incapable of calculating this very simple formula, I really feel sorry for you.

By the way, my top rated rum (Foursquare ECS Shibboleth) wound up at 30.83% due to it's high price of $138. I probably need to add distance to find these rums to the equation because this top rated rum was damn hard to find my second bottle that will remain closed for a long time.

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vomi1011

From Germany with 392 ratings Replied 27 Sep '21

No spreadsheet for women Paul? 😆 Btw, there was no comparison of women with rum. I think Van Gogh cut his ear off because of his wife, but different story. There are also many men with a lack of empathy and who are incapable of relationships. 

You could include 1000 other factors in your spreadsheet and it wouldn't affect the taste. Because in the end it is taste, experience and enjoyment that are important.

Large jessica for rum ratings

Paul B

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 27 Sep '21

TonI:

I just had to apply my formula onto two of the rums that we have both rated.

Your Appleton 12 Year Rare Cask ranks 10th out of 25 and I paid $42 US for my bottle. My upper limit is now $150. And my formula comes in at 36%, which means good enough for special occasions.

Then I chose your Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva which you have ranked at 19th out of 25. I paid $36 US for my last bottle. My formula comes in at 59%, which means don't ever buy this one again!

I notice that you have a lot more on your wish list than what you have already tried, with way too many from Hampden. A word of advice on Hampden, go for their Rum Fire Overproof first, which has been their staple for many years!!!! You will then realize that these newcomers are just a marketing scheme from them. Read all of these reviews first before buying. This rum habit can become like literally pissing money away.

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Captain Lee (PREMIUM)

From United States with 13 ratings Replied 28 Sep '21

Vomi, the original post is great - an excellent description of the rum journey. And sampling, whether at a rum bar, rum festival, or via private treaty is a fantastic way to stretch the boundaries quickly and help define your tastes. The rum community in the US is much less organized than in Europe, but there are communities to find. I appreciate your efforts to get samples to the USA!
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kudzey (TASTING CLUB)

From Poland with 30 ratings Replied 28 Sep '21

What we speak about is basically individual taste preferences. I'm my case (and I think I'm not alone here) price correlates with what I like in rum. And I believe that price correlates with general audience taste, no other option makes sense. Of course, correlation is not a sharp relation.

I can understand seeking for price-quality ratio with some numerical factors. Statements like "not worth is price" are absolutely valuable in this forum as price is a limiting factor for everyone. However, at the end, there is just you and your glass. No matter if you paid for rum or it was a gift or a free sample and whether you have 5 bottles left. Tasting is tasting: you drink a rum.

Note that the price scales with volume, I'd gladly see more small bottles at shops, rather than 0.7s which take me years to finish.

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Rene Rum

From Switzerland with 430 ratings Replied 9 Oct '21

@Toni: yes, absolutely right

@kudzey: yep, I share your opinion!

@vomi: great post! Yes, that's the way a rum journey goes. And furthermore, in my case, I'm looking for extreme or special rum like white high ester Jamaican rum, Savanna HERR, special Agricoles, there are a lot of nice things on the market to explore. Ending up with planning the vacation destinations with the options to visit a distillery.

If you drink to get dizzy, price is crucial. If you drink to get experienced and enjoyed, price does not matter.

Sometimes luck is needed, got a present from a friend of mine, a bottle of rum distilled 1977 in Switzerland, stored in different barrels and glass balloons, forgotten, used as rum aroma, and now in 2021, not a dozen bottles bottled, a f*** rarity no one can buy.

Btw. Don't speed up the journey to much, tastebuds and brain needs time to learn. ;-)

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Tony Sanders (PREMIUM)

From United States with 61 ratings Replied 11 Oct '21

As PaulB states Louisiana does not allow samples or shipping. My journey like his is tracking down rums or experiencing them while traveling. I have focused on tasting the higher end rums I can find. The last one took driving to Houston 300+ miles to one store only to find out it was only in stock at a store 30 miles away in driving rain and heavy traffic. I am sure others have to face such obstacles. Cost is not much of a barrier at this stage of my life but I only am chasing good rum, not a rum just to rate. So to all KEEP UP THE HUNT and share your results.
Large jessica for rum ratings

Paul B

From United States with 420 ratings Replied 11 Oct '21

Tony:

This past March, I set up an account with Total Wine since I live 25 miles east of the Mandeville store. I then placed orders for some rums that are impossible to find in these parts. Once I got the confirmation that my orders were filled, I drove all the way down to Orlando to get these prized rums. It was worth the 1300 mile round trip after getting vaccinated, but I would not do that again. However, it is good to know that I will be guaranteed of getting what I want from Total Wine. I also set up an account with Martin Wine & Spirits. Nothing worse than driving a long distance to buy a rum and it is not there.

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