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Recommendations for a new rum drinker?

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zangyorange 🇳🇿 | 1 rating Posted 10 Nov '21

Hi all,

I have been drinking rum for the 5 years that I've been legally able to, but I've never invested more time into it than the few cheaper ones I've had.

I really do enjoy drinking rums and I am wanting to start trying more and bringing more rum into my life, so I was wondering if anyone had would be able to suggest some rums that they think would be good for a beginner to try. Something that gives a good spread of the various types, and isn't too much on the expensive side. Thank you to anyone who lends me their time and thoughts.

Cheers lads, happy guzzling.

Toni (PREMIUM) 🇩🇪 | 28 ratings Replied 11 Nov '21

In my opinion you cant do anything wrong in the beginning. Just enjoy discovering the world of rum. Good rums, mediocre rums, cheap or pricy, strong or diluted - whatever you have accesss to. Once you gain experience you will not be as open minded as now. Also keep in mind that your preferences will most likely evolve over time.


kudzey (PREMIUM) 🇵🇱 | 38 ratings Replied 11 Nov '21

At the beginning you need to find out your preferences so I discourage you from buying the 0.7l bottles (unless you carelessly drink very much or can afford spilling out the ones that you don't like). Instead try looking for sample kits, you will be able to compare many different types of rum side by side. Christmas is close, maybe you can find a rum advent calendar like this: ttps://www.amazon.co.uk/24-Days-Rum-Advent-Calendar/dp/B075ZQ1MF7

Many crap rums are overpriced so don't spend too much money unless you are sure this is precisely what you want.

Good luck in your rum journey!


Paul B 🇺🇸 | 425 ratings Replied 11 Nov '21

Here are 8 rums that I rated as a 7 or 8 and all cost less than $30 US.

Plantation OFTD 138 Proof

Blackwell's Reserve

Stade's Bond No 8 Dark

Rum Fire Overproof

El Dorado 8

Plantation Original Dark Double Aged

San Zanj

Bacardi Reserva Ocho 8 Year


Rene Rum (PREMIUM) 🇨🇭 | 494 ratings Replied 13 Nov '21

Listen to the guys, these are all good suggestions.

Just let yourself drift on your rum journey. Try this and that, but not every rum fit to every season. Your sensibilities will change over the years and you may not like the rums you like now. So, the rum journey is exciting and varied.

Enjoy it!

Henrikhaa 🇩🇰 | 43 ratings Replied 14 Nov '21

I recommend: 

Quorhum 30th aniversario 

Millonario XO 

Opthimus 25 Y Oporto Finish 

Dictador XO 

Diplomatico Familia 

Unhiq XO 

vomi1011 🇩🇪 | 396 ratings Replied 14 Nov '21

Seems you are looking for reference standards: http://rumproject.com/menuitem2.html

Chapter four is also great: http://rumproject.com/menuitem5.html

Paul B 🇺🇸 | 425 ratings Replied 14 Nov '21


None of these rums are cheap, which is what the first poster asked for.

vomi1011 🇩🇪 | 396 ratings Replied 14 Nov '21

I would like to add the appleton 12 and Doorlys XO to your recommendation Paul.There are many rums in your recommendation that have shaped and accompanied me on my rum journey. I still like them today.

Paul B 🇺🇸 | 425 ratings Replied 15 Nov '21


Doorly's XO is a repeat purchase for me, but did not rank high enough to be added to my list of 8. Appleton 8 Year is also a repeat purchase. Appleton 12 found a love/hate relationship with me. However, Appleton 15 Year Black River Cask was a pleasant surprise.


gdtrfb 🇺🇸 | 32 ratings Replied 15 Nov '21

Cost is relative so here are some of my 'budget' friendly options that punch well above the price.  That said, I am keen on certain types, so don't let that dissuade you from others.

At the very affordable end, Flor de Cana 5 is tought to beat.  A bit more interesting than most in the range.  Sipping with one cube, or in cuisine, mixed drinks works well.

Doorly12yr is very much under rated and very much UNDER PRICED.  Spix macaw on the label.  If you can find it, buy it (or as many as allowed).  It is that good if you fancy bajan rums.  It is really that good btw.  @ 25$ there is NOTHING better out there for under $50.

Matusalem grand reserva 15.   It works well for me too.  No longer made in Cuba, but that is not relevant to me.  A great rum in general for ~30$

Easily sourced, the barcardi 8 is a great intro.  Used to be much less costly 5-10 years ago.  The ocho now has a premium price for the 'age', but quite a good value in general.   It works at the ~30 range.

A bit more expensive the El Dorado 12 is great (30-40 dollars where I live).  The 12, 15 and 18 are good, but the 12 can scratch the itch at a fair price.

also at the 30-40$ range

Diplomatico reserva is always a treat.   It just works and does not disappoint.  You can spend more, but not get 'more'.

At the ~60$ range,  plantation XO is really really hard to beat.  I've spent 2x+ on bottles and not facied them as much.  If I didn't not enjoy the hunt, this would be my grail.  I am sure there are better, but cost, limited time (and I've bought/tried many) and borderline disappointment have kept me from exploring higher end rums these days.  Beyond this price point, you have to know what you want and palettes differ.  

If I could only have 3 options forever, it would be the Doorly's, Diplomatica re, and the Plantation XO topping things off.

Caveats - If you like dry rums and French style rums go for it.  I have had 6-15 and while good, they are just not my favorite and not necessarily budget friendly.

You can get good deals on Columbian style rums.  I don't necessarily care for the dryness or approach in general compared to others, etc.  It is personal preference and there are many great ones though, so if this is something you like, then by all means, go for it.  I've found canesteros varieties a better value than dictador's, etc.





Paul B 🇺🇸 | 425 ratings Replied 16 Nov '21


Great post and obviously from a real computer instead of one of those damn smart phones that I hate.  However, it was either your rum drinking or lack of proof reading that had all of those typo errors.  Go back and fix them!

Glad to see that you have been a member longer than I and have come back into the fold.

zangyorange 🇳🇿 | 1 rating Replied 17 Nov '21

Great responses thank you everyone, I'm very excited to embark on my rum journey 

Jaycee 🇦🇺 | 36 ratings Replied 18 Nov '21

Zangy, can you get Duppy Share over there? It's a blend of Barbados and Jamaican rums which I rate highly. And it's not Blackheart or coruba 😉

tanay10a 🇺🇸 | 1 rating Replied 9 Jan '22

Diplomatico Riserve Exclusiva is a beautiful bottle for an amateur drinker. I am amateur drinker of rum so I know. Smooth, no burn, voluptuosly sweet. Its gentle with first-timers ;)


Thanks for setting up the thread so I can get other recommendations.

Triton Ogletree 🇺🇸 | 103 ratings Replied 30 Jan '22

All of these products are GOOD (easy to drink and at worst, mixable) and AFFORDABLE (most are $10-30):

DARK RUM-Myers Dark Rum or Cruzan Black Strap

OVERPROOFED RUM-Plantation Overproofed O.F.T.D. (accept no substitutes-careful, it's lightning!)

SPICED RUM-Kraken or Kilo Kai

FLAVORED RUM-Cruzan or Don Q flavors (pick out a few that sound good)

GOLD RUM-Appleton Estate Special Gold or Appleton Estate Signature, Cruzan Gold or (if you can afford it) Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva

LIGHT RUM-Cruzan Light Rum (accept no substitutes)

AGED RUM-Appleton 8 Year Reserve or Flor de Caña 7 Year

I would hold off on trying Cachaça or Agricole until you figure out what you like from this list. I would also suggest after getting through these products, try other Appleton and Plantation products and expand from there. I'd try all of these rums straight first so you can figure out what items you like most, then try the better tasting ones with some ice and make a few basic cocktails with the rest like a Dark 'n Stormy, Planter's Punch or some basic fruit juice cocktail. Have fun with it and go from there. Enjoy!

rumtrinker 🇩🇪 | 30 ratings Replied 30 Jan '22

Basically, trying anything that you can easily afford is a good way to go. You should not get into any kind of financial difficulties due to buying rum, it is not worth that.

All the above advice is good and comes from different approaches to rum. I will gladly add my own favourites among affordable rums (where I live):

- Pusser's Navy Rum and Pusser's Gun Powder Proof (excellent "demerara" style Guyanese rums)

- Myers's Dark (very good Jamaican rum, quite funky)

- Smith and Cross (even betterJamaican rum, very funky)

- Appleton Rare 12 Years (another sort of very good Jamaican rum, more complex, quite funky)

- Wray and Nephew White Overproof (Jamaican white rum, very funky, surprisingly sippable with some water or ice)


And some rums that I would not buy again: El Dorado 12 Years (too sweet, too thin), Centenario 20 (way too sweet), Lemon Hart Original 1804 (weird off-notes for my taste), Havana Club 7 Years (too boring), Havana Club 3 Years (I do not enjoy the sort of cocktails that this rum is used for).

All these rums that I would not buy again are good rums in my opinion (perhaps not the Centenario 20). They do just not give me the sort of taste experience I am looking for - which is a very personal thing. I do not regret buying these rums (except for the Centenario 20), since they are priced fairly (except for the Centenario 20...) and they are all useful for mixing (including the Centenario 20).

The Havana Club 7 I would probably try again at some point. I might just not have been ready for it, since I was looking for much bolder, funkier rums. I can see what is good about that one and might re-visit it.


This should make clear what my tastes are: I like funky, molassy, heavy flavour rums. And I have a thing for Jamaican rum. Split opinion on Guyanese rums. Not into sweet rums. If you are like me, my rums are good advice. If not, the rums that I do not like so much might be a better start.


And if you can get decently-priced mini-bottles of rum (or, in fact, any other interesting spirit), this is a very good way to acquire a lot of tasting experience without littering your shelves with bottles of spirits that you do not really like.

wayoutwest 🇬🇧 | 60 ratings Replied 31 Jan '22

The impression I get is that some folk like sweet rum - e.g. Diplomatico, Plantation, Angostura - and some like dry rum  - e.g. RL Seale, La Hechicera, Chairman's Reserve  - and some like something in the middle  - e.g. El Dorado, Doorlys, Santa Teresa. 

Then, some people like milder, smoother flavours  - e.g. Havana Club, Appleton, Brugal  - and some like stronger, more challenging flavours  - e.g. Clement, Hampden, Clairin. 

It seems like some folk like a bit of everything, but it seems most of us have a preference in one direction or another. If you have an inkling which way you lean, there are lots of great suggestions in the thread already mentioned. Review carefully and sample where you can. Out of 40 bottles so far, I've had a couple I really didn't like, but I judge that is an acceptable return for such an interesting journey! Enjoy!

Paul B 🇺🇸 | 425 ratings Replied 3 Feb '22

I was at first reluctant to make this post, but there seems to be confusion among some between dry and sweet. What some think is a sweet rum winds up being a dry rum and vice versa.

So, I have assembled the following list based upon actual numbers for added sugar. For dry rums, I categorize those with 9 gpl of added sugar or less. The sugar police would highly dispute this unless it is zero. Much of these low sugar counts actually come from the barrel itself, such as done from Dictador. So, I still rate rums as dry as long as there is less than 10 gpl of added sugar. The recommended dry rums are too numerous to mention, and if picking one at random, there is a 50% chance that it will get rated at 7 or higher.

Here are now my recommended rums from each category of added sugar. Spiced and flavored rums usually have 50 gpl of added sugar or more, but there are some exceptions to this rule. Only three spiced rums have zero added sugar and got rated 7 or higher like the rest of my recommendations here. They are Foursquare Spiced, Bounty Spiced, and Roulaison Amer Spiced.



Semi-Dry with 10-19 gpl of added sugar


Bacardi Facundo Eximo

Ron Centenario 18 Reserva de la Familia

Bacardi Facundo Exquisito

Don Pancho Origenes 18

Angostura 1919

Papa's Pilar Marquesas Blend

El Dorado 8

Bacardi Gran Reserva Especial 16 Year

Bacardi Limitada

Papa's Pilar Legacy Edition 2021 Rye Finish

Calazan Reserva 10 Year

Plantation Original Dark Double Aged

Bacardi Gran Reserva Diez

Bacardi Reserva Ocho 8 Year

El Pasador de Oro Gran Reserva

El Pasador de Oro XO

Pampero Aniversario

Angostrua 1824

Plantation Trinidad 2009

Don Pancho Origenes 8

Ron Barcelo Imperial

Zafra Master Reserve 21


Sweet with 20-29 gpl of added sugar


Plantation XO 20th Anniversary

Vizcaya VXOP 21

Ron Zacapa XO

Pusser's 15

Bumbu XO

Optimus 15

Kaniche XO

Ron Cartavio XO


Sugar Bombs with 30-49 gpl of added sugar


Dos Maderas 5+5

El Dorado 15 Year Madeira Sweet Cask Finish

Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva

El Dorado 21


I hope this helps!




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