I host rum tastings for firends very frequently. For the beginners I pour Plantation XO and ask their opinion, then propose next rums based on their answer. This time i will go to my friend's house so I will only be able to grab several small bottles.
What 4 rums would you take on my place to show the variety of rum world to complete beginners?
I feel like there is a lot of possible factors that would contribute to what I might bring. Would I be trying to show off the best rum can be or am I trying to show someone rums that they would feel comfortable spending the money on? I would also add I'm new to the hobby and have not spent large amounts on single bottles. That being said I would try to show some of the breadth of rum.
I would bring an Appleton Signature, Clement VSOP, Flor de Cana 12, and a Real McCoy 5 year. My idea basically being to show lots of different rums as opposed to diving deep into one style/category.
Now it may also depend on whom I was going to visit. If a good friend then I may bring my favorite Privateer Queen's share over the Real McCoy etc. So I guess I don't have a hard four but would generally go with those above. I think they feature rum's variety decently and would not be indimidating on price for the uninitiated.
I would try to show them what best fits their tastes, since Plantation XO is a sweet rum, but not a sugar bomb. However, let me know what small bottles you have and I can probably point you in the right direction. If they grimace on the XO, then bring your best affordable dry rums. If they love the XO, then their next one should be a sugar bomb. Good choice for the first one, but I no longer buy that one, which was my old favorite years ago.
I generally decided to present different styles and origins. I skipped the Agricole rums because I'm nether a fan nor an expert.
I have several rums from Appleton, I think I'll take their 12 rare cask or 21. Alternatively I have the basic Hampden.
Then I thought about something navy, here I got Pusser's blue label, gunpowder proof and Velier's Tiger shark.
From Barbados I got some Doorly's, equiano, the ECS shibboleth and Plantation XO.
I also have a wide choice of Central America and "other" rum, mostly from gifts since these are a bit too sweet for me. I got DRE, Dictator 20 old bottle, Centenario 20, Bumbu XO, Lazy Dodo, Flor de Cana 18. I also have the first HC pacto navio.
I think of Appleton 12, Pusser's Gunpowder, Equiano and Dictator. What do you think?
I agree with Appleton 12 and Pusser's Gunpowder, but Equiano is for specialized tastes. As for Dictador 20 in the old bottle, don't part with it! They changed the formula on the new bottle. So if your friends like the Dictador 20 in the old bottle, they will be sorely disappointed when they wind up buying the new bottle. Also include DRE, Bumbu XO, and Doorly's. Hang onto that ECS Shibboleth for dear life!!!! That is another one that if your friends like it, good luck finding another bottle and at an affordable price. Appleton 21 and Hampden are also for advanced tastes. I agree with you on Agricoles and one should neverr begin their rum journey with Agricoles or Cachacas. FDC 18 is one that sunk from my high rating to down near the bottom. You could include that one, but only to get rid of it.
A while back I had the idea of creating some kind of 'beginners tasting kit' based on the tasting club boxes with 5 rum samples. Could see Appleton, Pusser's, Doorly's, Flor de Cana, and maybe an El Dorado rounding it out? Might make for a good holiday gift?
That would make a great holiday gift, but pick another Spanish style rum instead of FDC. Also include an El Dorado. The most popular DRE is just too much of a liqueur. You wisely chose no French style rhum because those are not for beginners.
One key factor to consider is that all must be readily available. In other words, no Foursquare ECS or other hard to find rums. Each bottle should be able to be purchased easily again. Five mini-bottles is cetainly cheaper than having to buy full bottles from our suggestions.
But for people like me who live in states whereby spirits cannot be shipped to, that poses a problem. These crazy alcohol laws are a hangover from Prohibition. Yes, it's crazy. In New Orleans, one can drink all they want on Bourbon Street or at parades out in the open, but don't any dare to ship out or send in spirits. There is one part of Mississippi whereby whisky is legal, but beer is not. The new cannabis laws for each state are actually more liberal than the alcohol laws.
Any particular suggestion what should be subbed for FDC? I was also keeping in mind region and trying to spread that out a bit.
I searched through my Spanish speaking countries for the best rated ones that are readily available. Here goes:
Columbia - Dictador 12
Panama - Bumbu XO
Venezuela - Santa Teresa 1796
Dominican Republic - Matusalem Gran Reserva 15
Puerto Rico - your choice from Don Q
On another note, the Who Dats from New Orleans will be descending upon London this weekend for the Sunday game between the Saints and the Vikings. Try to check out the tailgating parties before the game if you can. Totally nuts!
3 games here in London this year!!!
Those 5 sure would make a neat Spanish style tasting kit - will see what we can do :)
You can always go with RR's choices and just pick the ones with the best ratings. Apparently people just like them so it's good for beginners.
You might include a Cuban rum or a Dictador instead of FDC.
In the USA, Cuban rums are still illegal because of the embargo. I did get to try Havana Club 7 several years ago at a bar. When I asked the owner how he got a hold of it, he told me not to ask.
Had small samples been available when I first started on this site, that would have saved me a shit load of money. However, my rum journey has been a very expoensive retirement hobby that I can afford. It has inspired my favorite saying when other major financial problems arise, "Compared to buying rum, it's all relative". Would I like to get back all of the money that I spent on rum these past five years? Hell no!!!!
My only suggestion is to walk down the total wine & spirits rum aisle, blindfolded if your brave, and pick up 5 bottles. Then next time do it again & again & again. Then take note as Paul does. That's what I do again & again & again! Hey, u never know! It's a big world out there and I don't believe there are any favorites. There are those that will remain memories but u have to hoist the sails eventually and head to the next port of call. No one ever lives long enough to cover the entire world of rum and that's part of the adventure. Hell, I'm only part way there and I hope it never ends! Arrgh!
Ranking my rums by favorites determines repeat purchases for me. My formula worls quite well. My all time favorite is still Selvrey Owner's Reserve. But at $150, it is not an everyday sipper. I truly do not expect to find a better rum any day.
Since I only buy rums that I have rated at 7 or higher (my top 157 as of today), I find myself sometimes modifying the order of rankings within each rating. At this stage, very few will get their rating changed, unless the flavor slowly deteriorates in the bottle. Very few wind up with better ratings.
One that recently got lowered in my rankings while keeping the same rating is Chairman's Forgotten Cask. When I first tried it more than a year ago, I loved it. Now after a few bottles and comparing it to other rums with my same rating, it slid down a bit in my rankings. But somehow, it still came out as an excellent buy. I finally got my hands on another bottle of Chairman's Legacy the other day, which is much better.
I could never figure out why Total Wine places the cheapest mixers in the two middle bays. If one goes blindfolded and just grabs in Total Wine, it is highly unlikely that something good will come up. I often have a hard time finding what I came in there for and sometimes have to ask a clerk. One time it was like, if it was a snake, it would have bit me.
Paul the TW by me sets up a little different from yours. The cheap no name crap along with Bacardi, Capt Morgan, etc is at the start of the aisle on all shelves and the more you move down the better the selection. It surprises me that they're all not coordinated? Although those big guys keep all their product grouped together and your correct the cheap ones are at eye level for their brand.They have quite the variety and some changes happen throughout so I just don't do it blindfolded but I'm always looking for something new. I believe that for beginners this method is best because your going to wind up with a wide range and that's where beginners should start so they can see what's to their liking. It's been working quite well for me. I have also found that buying different recommended rums from others works only 25% of the time and too much out of pocket. Don't do that anymore! There's just too much variation in product and palates. It's those blindfold hits that make memories!
Before I drive 25 miles to Total Wine, I always check their website to see what is in stock. Then I bring my list with no intentions of buying anything else. Most of them are now repeat purchases with a few new arrivals. Since I don't have a smart phone and refuse to get one (long story), I have to do my research from my desktop computer at home. I have driven all the way home to research a new rum to grace the shelves of 2 nearby stores that do not have a website, only to have to drive back to buy it. The only exception to this was when I saw a bottle of Hog Bay that was not on TW's website yet. Not bad at all and very cheap.
Of all the rums that I have purchased, 30% qualify as to be never bought again, and this is WITH the benefit of all of these reviews. With these reviews, you cannot just look at the overall score. Always sort by rating. Then I look at the lowest ratings first. If these are from a reviewer who I respect, then I can forget that rum. Most of the rums rated as a 10 will often have very few reviews from that member. Over time, you will find fellow members whose taste in rum is similar to yours. Let those be your cue!
Paul, In my neck of the woods one door stores are a dime a dozen and they all cater to what sells. That's what makes TW so special. With an entire aisle dedicated to rum it's pirate heaven. So, what comes to mind is be there or be square. Their website can never keep up with the shelving stock. Most of the good spirits are long gone way before their website has been updated. So, back to this blog, I recommend just flat out going for it, blindfolded, if need be, is the best way, until you find what you desire, seeing rum is the only spirit with a such a vast diversity! Although, I have had many special memories with particular rums, I never expect to find a rum that I will always be satisfied with nor will I abandon the pursuit. My pledge is to never cease exploring! I shall be on the lookout for Hog Bay. Arrgh!
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