I find that I jump around between favorite rums. But hands down my current favorite at less than $50 is Diplomatico Family Reserve. I tend to sip some more expensive rums and it ruins my pallet for some decent $30-40 rums, but Family Reserve holds its own with more expensive rums. Sip it neat, one small ice cube but never mix it.
Quite hard to say, because of the different tax rates.
Of old, my favourite cheaper rum was Bermudez 1852 Aniverario 12yo, but then they went and changed the blend and it really isn't very nice. What I seem to have at home are some of Doorly's rums. I like them all really.
Also was a fan of Sunset Captain Bligh XO. Haven't had in a while so best get some more in. And for something a bit funky, Arcane Extraroma is top notch. But in all this, it is so subjective. And as a drink, I can't think of any other that is so varied as rum. You have a whisk(e)y, brandy, gin etcetc and sure, there are many nuances that differentiate one from another. But the huge range in rum, is far greater than say an Islay vs Speyside whisky.
One thing I do find, is that very often, the rums at GBP30-50 are better than many of the more expensive ones which have been played around with far too much. I used to like Abuelo, but then tried some of the sherry cask finishes. They were so disgustingly sweet and far worse than their normal 12yo (which was sweet enough already), that it actually turned me off most sweetened rums.
You can thank my spreadsheet for coming up with this long list of rums that costs less than $50 US and rate as an 8 from me. The first one on this list is the only one with my rating of 9. Some of these are no longer available or can be quite difficult to find. With this many good cheap rums available, you can see why I get quite reluctant to try any rum costing more than $50. I actually have $60 US as the cutoff point between cheap and expensive.
Clairin Le Rocher at 98.4 proof
South Bay Small Batch
Vizcaya VXOP 21
Ron Centenario 18 Reserva de la Familia
Chairman's Reserve Legacy
Ron Inmortal 12 Year
Plantation OFTD 138 Proof
Hamilton Florida Rum Society 90 Proof
Chairman's Forgotten Casks
Pusser's Gunpowder Proof
Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican
Depaz Blue Cane Amber Rhum
Mount Gay XO Triple Cask
Stade's Bond No 8 Dark
The Real McCoy 12 Year Limited Edition
Ron Cartavio Solera 12
Clement Rhum Select Barrel
Santa Teresa 1796
Ron Alegro XO
Roulaison Barrel Aged
Matusalem Gran Reserva 18
Rum Fire Overproof
Papa's Pilar Marquesas Blend
El Dorado 8
So how did the rest of my rums costing less than $50 US fare? Three times as many got my rating of 7, and about 6 times as many of those listed above got my rating of 6. Together, all of these make up two thirds of my cheap rums. The other one third is not even worth buying!!!!
For me it used to be MGXO ($47 CAD) but the Triple Cask XO is nowhere the qualityof the MGXO. So I really enjoy Appleton 12 & 15 and Real McCoy 5
MGXO (the new one for me is better than the old version) and HSE VSOP, the real mc coy 12 (don t know if it stays in that price range in USA, i ve paid it 80 euro here)
That's the mythical sweet spot for me, and so far challenging to fulfill. Nothing under £50 really excites me the way Hampden or clairin does, but Black Tot is my current every day rum of choice.
Looking forward to trying Forgotten Casks and English Harbour Port Finish, and see how they fare.
Wow thanks for the great replies. I find it interesting the different rums that are available in different regions, many are not readily available in my area but I will be searching for them. Anyone that likes the Abuelo from Panama might want to try the 12 year double oak, available from the rum ratings club. For some reason Ron Abuelo is currently hard to find anywhere in my county in Florida. Both the regular Abuelo 12 and double oak are good contenders. I also agree the original MGXO was a great rum. A similar rum from St Croix Cruzan single Barrel is a good contender.
If one winds up in the poor house (again), Cruzan Gold is always the best rum for the money ( I rate it as a 6). It is light years better than anything from Captain Morgan or bottom shelf Bacardi. On the other hand, if one sees a bottle of Cruzan Gold on the horizon, then let this be a warning of tough times lying ahead. And a change of fortune could happen to anyone, especially when it comes to medical problems or major financial setbacks. Enjoy all of these good rums that one can afford now, but also realize that nothing is forever.
I'm back to ElDorado. The revamp of their line is outstanding. ED15 @ $46 is my new go to. Way better than MGXO. But that's just my opinion!
I guess it all comes down to personal taste, but the cheap one that I find quite nice is the Bayou Reserve.
I think that they've slightly changed their line up, as when I first had their rums, it was the Single Barrel and Select. The Select seems to have gone to be replaced by the Reserve. The Single Barrel seems to be a limited run and since I had it first time around, the price seems to have gone up a lot. It was only GBP3 more than the select , but now it's more like GBP23 different from the Reserve.
Currently the Appleton 12yr Rare Casks is my go-to.
In this range I'd say Pusser's, Doorly's and Appleton 12 rare cask. Equiano is somehow on the edge of the price limit but I'd recommend it too.
Wow that is a tough question. Pushing the $50 limit I would have to say el pasador de oro gran reserve followed by plantation XO and the real.McCoy 5 year. Whether some of us are long time rum lovers or just getting into the great experience I think everyone can agree that for under $50 there are some really amazing rums out there and spending more than $50 absolutely guarantees nothing as far as getting a really better tasting rum
I certainly hope that you fared well in Hurricane Ian. I am sure that your rum collection survived.
Thank you Paul, the storm was weaker when it came directly over us in Melbourne area and back offshore. Living through many hurricanes it seems like the backside always packs the punch after the eye. Seems like we both live in storm magnet areas.
WHEW!!! Glad that you are okay! I had thought that you lived in the Fort Myers area.
I have been through so many hurricanes in my life that I quit counting. Where I live is 26 feet above sea level and my lake is not connected to where the storm surge can get there. My home has survived countless hurricanes and rum gets me through the ones whereby I did not evacuate. The power outage in intense heat afterwards is always the worst. Gas can always be found at truck stops!
I now have two new rums that each cost less than $50 and both are truly incredible!!! Yolo Gold and Yolo Silver. Both are products from Don Pancho with the Yolo company being based in Denver. My reviews will be coming soon.
My 3: Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, Plantation 20th Anniversery and Papa's Pilar Marquesas Blend
In addition to the Appleton 12-yr Rare Casks, other favs under $50 would be Pusser's Gunpowder Proof, and (don't laugh) Gosling's 151. Another would be OFTD. I love the taste of Plantation OFTD, but it gives me such a hangover for some reason that it's not worth drinking it IMO. I tend to really like darker, overproof rums so YMMV.I sure wish I could find Plantation XO 20th Anniversary for less than $50 in my area, I'll tell you. It's $72 for 750ml here.
I got one more new rum the other day. It is Myer's Single Barrel and it appears to be exclusive to Total Wine & More. However, not all of their locations carry it. I rated it as an 8 and paid $33 for it. It is aged in former casks that held Sazerac Rye Whiskey.
I like to reap the rewards of my very large rum spreadsheet. So I sorted all of the excellent buys by price and plotted them. The bulk of them were in the $20 to $50 US price range. Only two were less than $20 US, Doorly's 8 Year and Foursquare Spiced. Seven wound up in the $60 to $83 price range.
So what was my batting average for $20 to $50 US per bottle of rum to wind up in my excellent buy category? Only 14%!!! The bulk of rums in this price range wound up in the bad buy category. So, randomly choosing a rum is a crap shoot, no matterr what the price. And if it were not for all of these reviews, my luck would have been much lower.
I have enclosed a plot of all 461 rums that I have reviewed based upon recommendations to buy.
There's no way I can keep a large inventory. Guess that's the pirate in me. I just tried the ED 8yr and at $24 that's a good bang for the buck even though the ED 15 is my favorite in this range.
It has taken me almost five years to review 461 different rums. I never had more than 50 bottles in my collection at any time and I usually keep about 14 bottles opened at all times. For the really bad rums, I either gave them away or poured them down the toilet. These days, I concentrate on repeat purchases and run across a new rum every now and then. With those kinds of risks, sometimes I win and sometimes I lose. More often than not, I wind up losing. There is a lot of crap out there.
I have seven bottles open at the minute, Doorlys 12 year(£37) Santa Teresa 1749 solero (£33) Mount gay golden rum black barrel (£27) Foursquare spiced rum (£22) Appleton estate signature (£16) Ron zacapa solero 23 (gifted) el dorado 12 yr (£30). The he only one I'm not a fan of is Appleton.
At the moment I am trying to see if I can find a top rating bottle at an affordable price so looking at anything that in average has scored a 9 and then looking to see if I can purchase it for under £100 just to see how it compares to the above bottles...
That Appleton Signature Blend is a mixer rum and one of their worst buys. I have it rated as a low 6. Their 8 Year Reserve Blend is only $7 US more and I consider it as an excellent buy with my rating of a high 7. However, it can be somewhat hard to find because most stores push the more expensive 12 Year version instead.
After almost five years on this site, I finally got my hands on several bottles of Yolo Gold at less than $30 US each. This is now my top recommended buy and it finally beat out my previous best buy of Blackwell's Reserve.
mwb1:I'll agree with Paul B here, the Appleton Reserve ($29 US in my area) is quite a bit better than the Signature Blend ($23 US), and as I stated before, the 12-yr ($40 US) is my current go to under $50.As far as a suggestion for a bottle under $100 that's a 9, my suggestion would be the Plantation XO 20th Anniversary which retails for $75 US in my area and is rated at an 8.5 on this site. Pretty tasty but a bit more than I want to spend on a regular basis.
Ok gentlemen, I've been in Panama for a couple of weeks so I loaded up at the big supermarket. I purchased the following, Havana Club Maestro 15yr @ $44 & their 7yr @$21, Abuelo 7 @ $19 & 12yr @$24 & their double wood finish @$42 and a bottle of some off the shelf Panama blended Carribean rum @ $18 a bottle. That rum was just palatable and no loss at $18. Yes we did finish it but will not go there again. Worth the try. The Havana rums all had Cuban import stamps so we prayed for authenticity and were wonderfully surprised by the 7yr old! The 15yr old bottle were the 1st gone, obviously. Delightful but the surprise came with their 7yr rum. Wow, this rum changes like the weather. Extraordinary! At 1st it seemed like your average Cuban rum. Tobacco & leather so we set it to the back shelf. This was a game changer. After all was gone we pulled this back out and after sitting for 2-3weeks it was totally another animal. Very noticeable dark chocolate notes galore! The standout winner. The Abuelo double wood, great sipper, the 12yr blah! The 7yr old was our main go to on board. We had 6 bottles of it and was never disappointed. All under $50.
That's what's great about rum. Such different flavours that appeal to different people. Personally don't like Abuelo. Too sweet, and the Double Wood is near undrinkable to me.
Chairman's Reserve Forgotten Casks. You cannot stop, once you start sipping, it is very balanced, pleasing to the taste and arouses your taste buds with hints of smoke. An extremely good, mid-range (money-wise), mid-tier (quality-wise) sipper! Where i am now, it is sold for ~40 euros.
I like brugal 1888 I think the don Qs are very good as well
Unsurprisingly, I buy Pusser's Blue all the time and it is way below 50 Dollars (or Euros).
I also think that all the Jamaican Overproofs, especially the Wray & Nephews one, are very good and extremely fairly priced. Same goes for Smith & Cross.
Appleton 12 is another great example of quality rum for (well below) under 50 Dollars.
doorlys xo good value as well
Don Pancho 8 year ($40) and Zafra 21 year ($50) are both really good sippers under $50. Don Pancho 18 year is even better but usually more expensive ($70).
I got lucky today and picked up 4 bottles at the local Total Wine for $44 each... it's going to be a very Merry Christmas.
After obtaining a bottle in a neighboring state, I'm adding Myer's Single Barrel to my list of exceptional values for dark, funky rums. At $22 per bottle nearby, I might need to add it to the list for the monthly run.
Double check the label on your $22 bottle of Myer's. It probably says "Reserve Dark". For only $5 US more where I live, I can get the Total Wine version with the medallion around the neck. Their version says "Single Barrel Select" and being aged in Sazerac Rye Whiskey casks. If your bottle reads the same, then you really got a bargain!!! If your bottle says "Reserve Dark", then I wound up paying another $5 over your $22 bottle. This is a VERY confusing tactic from Myer's since both bottles are shaped exactly the same. The color difference shows two very different rums.
@Paul B Looks like I got a deal. Think I'll stock up on the next trip before the word gets out. That is exceptional drink for the price AFAIC.
You certainly got the best bottles, and for $10 per bottle cheaper than what I paid for mine!!! However, this particular Total Wine has been known to way overcharge for certain items. Today, they wanted $66 for a bottle of Mount Gay XO Triple Cask, so I left it there and drove a couple more miles away. At another store (not part of Total Wine), this same rum was only $46, so I grabbed one.
With a mild champagne hangover from New Year's Eve, it was time to open that new bottle of Myer's Reserve Dark that looks a lot like their Single Barrel Select that we both rave about. NO CONTEST!!! The Resreve Dark is nothing more than an expensive mixer that cannot be sipped neat like the Single Barrel Select. Did you ever luck out on pricing!!!!
Appleton 12y - Rare Blend, or how they call it these days.
don Q double wood Vermont cask finish
good sipper under 50 tbh in UK to they have a lot off rums costing 40 odd which are better than some expensive rums I think the 40 price point is hard to beat especially in the UK so many good rums
In my opinion, there aren't many good sipper in the $50 range (more mixers). I would say either appleton 12 year rare blend or Mount Gay XO.
RumGod, So, then what is your range for good rum. I find plenty in the under $50 range and much less above.
I disagree with that I found many in 40s and 50s to be brilliants rums for sipping
@Kevin I find more complex rum in the $50 to $100( including taxes). This based on my own palette so it's ok if we disagree. What's your favorite under $50? I've had just about all of them.
@Les 80 That may be true for you. For me, I haven't found anything below $50 that is exciting. Also, selection depends on where u live. What's your #1 under $50?
re seals 10 years old
doorlys 12 very hard for me to choose from them
I like the re Seale 10 year. A little too bourbon-like for my taste but its really good for the price. I like Doorly's 12 year also. I love Doorly's 12 year at 43% abv at bit better. I talked with Richard Seale and asked him to try to get it to stores in the U.S. but that might be impossible.
am surprised by that doorlys is easy to get over in UK the Xo is good value as well under 40 must been cool talking to him
@Leo 80 I've been to whisky exchange in London. OH my God what a selection. If i could smuggle all the rum there to the U.S., you wouldn't see me complaining about rum under $50.
nice I will after go one day
RumGod, If you've gone through this thread you'll see that ED15 is my favorite under 50 rum and I've been through a hell of alot in this price range. But, I'm always in search of rums I haven't tried so things may change!
As usual with me, a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, it is another plot that my spreadsheet can produce. As you can see, spending more than $50 US for a bottle of rum does not necessarily mean that the quality will go up with price.
Paul B Your right. Sometimes price doesnt reflect a product's quality. Zacapa XO is prime example of that. Don't get me wrong, there are some good choices under $50. But let me ask you, are you blown away by any rum "under" $50, that you can buy in Louisiana?
Yes, I was recently absolutely blown away by a $29 bottle of rum that I had been waiting for two years to finally arrive to my area. It is only available from Martin Wine Cellar in SE Louisiana.
It is called Yolo Gold and was created by the legendary Don Pancho. He was the original Mestro de Ron in Cuba and he has a PhD in Chemistry. He made the finest rums for the Cuban big wheels and the cheap stuff to keep the masses inebriated. Then in the early nineties, he got pissed off when a French congolmerate bought out Havana Club Rum. He had enough power that he was able to fly a plane to Panama in the middle of the night to meet up with his girlfriend in Panama while he was still a young 50 years old. He then started his own rum business, going from communism to capitalism. He never returned to Cuba. How wonderful! He now allows independent bottlers to his massive stash of rum casks. Most are excelllent and Yolo Gold really stands out. His Yolo Silver is a Cuban style white rum and is also very good, but nothing like the Yolo Gold. The bottler of his rums for this brand is from Denver.
I was so impressed that I gave a spare bottle to a bourbon loving friend. He absolutely loves it. I have it rated as a 9 and it now qualifies as my all time best buy for rums. However, Don Pancho is now about 80 years old and can't live forever, so when his casks are all gone, there will be no more. I keep several bottles stocked up at home. Read my review on here!
And to give you an idea for comparison, Bruno Mars went searching the Caribbean for two years with his partners for rum that was good enough for him to put his name on it. He found them in Panama with Don Pancho. Bruno's rums are called Selvarey, which is Spanish for King Of The Jungle. His Owner's Reserve runs at least $150 per bottle and is also available at MWC. I compared the two side by side. The more expensive one has a super smooth finish, but other than that, both tasted the same to me. Truly amazing! I will just keep Yolo Gold stocked up until thay are no longer available. I now think twice about splurging for another bottle of Selvarey Owner's Reserve.
Many rave about rums from Richard Seale, but his rums are created for bourbon lovers moving onto rum (which is healthier because it is gluten free). On the other hand, Don Pancho creates rums for true bourbon lovers. My friend loves that bottle of Yolo Gold that I gave him, but he would probably love those Bajan rums from Richard Seale even more. As for me, I hate bourbon notes.
Paul b I never had the Myers rum but it's cheap I will add it to my list
Thanks Paul B. I'll make a trip to Martin's and grab it. E Jimenes rum and Havana Club Seleccion has been my go to lately.
I had also stocked up on bottles of E Leon Jimenes. Since Yolo Gold tasted similar, I did my usual side by side taste test. I liked the Yolo Gold more because the finish was better! No more chasing all over to find the E Leon Jimenes at the best price. Last time I checked, Dorignac's had the best prices on those.
I found the Havana. seleccion de maestros for 49 but can't have it till next week has its a birthday present but think it will be very good value
Damn rum loving boys Glad to see this thread still going strong. Just read all the threads since my original posting. I have to say E Leon Jimenez is awesome but around $100 bottle when I can find it. But have been buying Barcelo 30th anniversary from Costco at $80 bottle is very similar and same distillery that makes E Leon.
I'm headed to Total Wine in next few days to try to find Yolo, as I've never had it. My new favorite but impossible to find under $200 bottle is Foursquare Isonomy, but luckily I got 3 bottles at distillery in Barbados for $69 each. Add in airfare and vacation it cost me a lot more, but what a trip with a bonus.
I still love all Pussers rums, Eldorado, Don Pancho, Abuelo's, HC Selection De Maestros, and aged Appleton's.
@Les 80 @Jimmy Cliff
I wish the U.S. didn't have this stupid Embargo thing with Cuba. I have to go out of the country just to buy Havana Cuba Seleccion de maestros. My introduction to rum was Havana Club Maximo and ive been in love with rum since then. In my opinion, I've found more higher quality rum under $50 outside the U.S. than in it. I'm traveling to Europe and the Carribean soon, so I'm gonna restock on all my favorites. Due to the pandemic, I depleted my rum collection of 70 bottles. I'm down to 20
Btw, you always make great suggestions. Your the reason I drink E jimenes rum now.
Anyone know where you can buy Yolo in Florida. So far only found on Drizzly but hate to pay all the extra charges.
@ Les80 find Maestros at several duty free Spain airports. My wife bought me a wine suitcase from Total Wine. Hold 12 bottles checks in within most checked luggage weights. It's all foam inside I've brought back good rums traveling with it several times. Usually pull foam inserts out in one side for clothes and bring back 6 bottles of rum. Hey I'm not greedy.
I checked Wine Searcher. You have three choices to find Yolo Gold Rum in Florida. All are fairly close to you. I left out the one is Sarasota that is way too expensive and on the opposite shore. Here they are:
Palm Beach Liquors in Delray Beach, FL
Hollywood Discount Liquors in Hollywood, FL
Primo Liquors & Fine Wines in Fort Lauderdale, FL
I now have eight bottles stocked up!!!!
Last February, I drove about 300 miles to pick up the last 7 bottles of Hamilton Florida Rum Society Rum at a store. I still have three bottles left, plus the one that is opened. I am treating my Yolo Gold stash the same as I treated my FRS stash. I fear that one day, I may never be able to get these again. Don Pancho is not getting any younger.
Chips Liqor has Hamilton FRS (unfortunately no Yolo Gold) in stock most of the time they are in san Diego CA and ship all over the US. They usually have a good selection of rum available at fair prices. Cheaper than driving 300 miles :-) I hope this helps.
I live in Lousiana with alcohol shipping laws left over from Prohibition. I can neither have any shipped to me nor can I send any out. Thankfully, I live about 200 miles from the gorgeous Emerald Coast of Florida and they have much better rum selections. I always need more than one purpose to make long drives. Those beaches are gorgeous and two of them allow dogs! One clerk in Louisana told me that Florida alcohol laws were worse than Louisiana's. I did not believe her for a second.
Crazy laws that serve no purpose. :-( We have similar issues in CA on items other than alcohol. There are many things that you cannot order on Amazon and ship to CA, but you can ship to almost any other state.
Sometimes it seems like we live in 50 different countries rather than 50 different "united" states. At least you can combine it with the travel/sightseeing.
Thank you for the input guys. Nothing like a rum hunt to brighten up a grey day. My hardest hunt yet was Foursquare Isonomy, now there's 3 bottles sitting in a boutique liquor store 4 miles away but $179 bottle.
Trois rivieres VSOP
fogliauce I will add it to my list
just had the maestro's it's brilliant 1,st Cuban rum I love 45% no burn hardly am surprised how much I like it very good value at 49
Love Maestros wish it was easier to get in US.
I'm sampling a rum tonight that I have recommended before. Cana Fuentes 16 year old from Nicaragua. It's complex with a lot of depth, I heard several don't take to it but at $40 US I think its a strong contender does not taste like any added sugars just rich full bodied with great depth. I'm not sure if its a Total Wine exclusive but a very good staple in this range.
Cana Fuerte 16 Year is one incredibly tasty rum. However, it is very easy to over do it. Then on the next day, one will be REALLY sorry that they did so. What on earth is in it to cause such a penalty will remain a mystery. Carupano rums from Venezuela also come with quite a penalty the next day.
When I want something:
sweet: dos maderas
strong: hamilton st lucia
different: santa ana (by Barrilito)
Sipping some Dos Maderos 5+5 tonight along with El Dorado 12 both a bit on the sweet side but $39 & $29 great bargains. Last might some Cana Fuerte 16 $$39. Not sure about the hangover thing seldom get one, but if I indulged 1/2 a bottle or more in one night I suppose I would feel it the next day. Previous night Foursquare 2009 & Isonomy which is one of my all time favorites very hard to find and expensive $169. Found a few bottles and splurged yesterday as only going to be harder to find and more expensive moving forward.
I discovered Foursquare Indelible recently soooo good!!!
I would have said El Dorado 12 year but I went to the liquor store the other day and it was $55.00! Thanks to government run liquor stores in North Carolina.
The 10 year old Arundel, you have to buy 6 to get them delivered in the U.S. but at 45 dollars a bottle this is fun rum for people who like to drink barefoot.
Hands down Denizen Merchants Reserve. It's the perfect balance of oak and sweet fruit that's ultra smooth. It also works great in the majority of rum cocktails that call for a dark rum.
Just read through all these and the takeaway is that I must get my hands on a Yolo gold bottle.
other notes: yes selva rey white is really good comparable to cozumel white.
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