Another Tiki Rum Recommendation Question.

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SlandT 🇺🇸 | 21 ratings Author Posted 1 Mar '24

I'm new to the rum fan club, mostly by way of my interest in tiki drinks.

I started as a fan of the Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai and then the original.  I've tried a few other drinks before discovering Trader Sam's.  Being a Disney fan and loving their Monorail Yellow variation on the Painkiller, I've been digging deep (and writing a recipe book of the two Trader Sam's drinks for no reason at all.)

Anyway, I'm trying to keep my rum collection reasonable, but I could use some suggestions.

I've already decided to next try Don Q Cristal for lightly aged/filtered rum, having already abandoned Bacardi Superior for Sergeant Classick Silver.  Also planning to try Grind Espresso Shot in place of Kahlua, and Plantation Dark since most Jamaican Dark options aren't easy to find, and I've never been a Myer's fan.

While I didn't love Appleton 8 the first time I tried it, finding it kind of flat tasting, I don't want to go older aged, but most other aged Jamaican are kind of hard to find where I am.  I'll probably get it again anyway.

For moderately aged rum, I really want to replace my Pyrat, which although called for in Trader Sam's recipes is pretty much a one trick pony and not good for all (most) aged rum uses.  Other Trader Sam's recipes call for Bacardi 8, which seems ridiculous for two reasons.  First, being more aged, it'll probably be drowned out in a tiki drink.  Second... it's Bacardi.

I've heard Bacardi Quatro is more reasonably priced and almost indistinguishable in a drink.  I was considering some other options.  Mount Gay Eclipse seems well liked, but I've only found the Heritage Blend (crisp and aromatic) that isn't well liked.  I did find their Navy Proof version that seems a better option.

How similar are these?  Is Bacardi 8 or 4 worth going with or Don Q, Cruzan, Mount Gay?  (Edit: Also considering Costco/Kirkland's Guatemala XO Aged Rum, although I'm not sure that would be appropriate for tiki drinks.)

Last and probably not least is overproof/151.  For tiki drinks demerara overproof is recommended, Plantation OFTD is again, hard to find.  Some Trader Sam's recipes call for Gosling's 151, which seem to be well liked, but obviously isn't Demerara.

I'm open to suggestions and recommendations.  Like I said, I'm looking to keep this within a reasonable budget and not a huge bar of bottles.  I also don't want to have to drive a half hour to a store or have bottles delivered (if I can help it).

SlandT 🇺🇸 | 21 ratings Author Replied 3 Mar '24

And more questions...

I see I'll have the ability to get Plantation Barbados 5-year which is rated here significantly better than Bacardi 8 and pretty much the same price.  Would that worked better as an aged rum for mixed drinks, but similar enough not to skew a recipe?

Also, Plantation Xaymaca... which is a big ??? for me.

Like I said, I tried Appleton 8 and found it uninteresting, which is weird since I learned about it as having more Jamaican character than Appleton Signature.  Yet, I noticed no funk at all.

I have tried Wray and Nephew (unaged of course) and actually threw it in the trash. I hated the funk so much I didn't want it at all.

Where does Xaymaca rank on the funk scale?  It's priced near Appleton 8, but which is better and how does it's Jamaican funk compare?  More, less, same?  Or is it closer to Signature in character, but more expensive?

DB avatar image
DB 🇺🇸 | 70 ratings Replied 4 Mar '24

I don't know all of the rules in place for all states and how that affects importing from other states for you, but depending on where you are, a ton is available online that will open up your options. I can get a fair amount locally, but I get a lot from online.

You're going to severly limit yourself by not being willing to drive a bit, or have bottles delivered. I think delivered is even better - seriously, you'd think the shipping would be pricey but it isn't comparatively.

For another lightly aged, filtered option(s) - El Dorado 3yr., Cruzan is not half bad when hunting for less expensive choices. I do like Don-Q Cristal very much.

Jamaican Dark options: Coruba, Myers's Reserve Dark or Single Barrel - both quite different from Original Dark - and not much more expensive. One of my favorites is Worthy Park 109. Funk, yes, not overdone. Great for mixing, and not a bad sipper. And while it's not exactly Jamaican, but consider Chairman's Reserve Original - pot/column blend so shares similarities, and it's dark enough...

Of the Mount Gay rums, the Navy Strength is a better choice than regular Eclipse, and I like Black Barrel as well. Liking these more with time, though Bajan rums are a bit flat for me. Doorly's might have some options for you to consider. I do like the Plantation 5-yr., in spite of the added sugar. Better than Bacardi 8 is subjective, of course. They are different styles and each style brings sometjhing to the table. You could also consider El Dorado 5 or 8yr.

151 - Lemon Hart & Sons 151, or Hamilton 151 are options.

On Jamaican Rums - you need time to get used the funk. If you're not a fan, beware of unaged agricoles as well. I do find the Jamaican OPs like Rum Fire and W&N, along with agricole blancs to add some nice character to cocktails in small ratios, can be quite enjoyable. Don't give up completely! Smith & Cross is a must-try in my book - I really like it - funky, but not over the top to me. YMMV.

Platation Xaymaca is decent, it's approachable. Closer to Signature. Not too funky at all, but moreso than your Myers's orignal dark. (Actually, if you can find it, Myers's Platinum is not at all bad in my opinion for a light rum.) Appleton rums are not known for their funkiness. There's some; you know they're Jamaican, but they're not like Hampden or Worthy Park.

Check out Steve the Barman on Youtube for some good rum comparison, opinion, and recommendation vids., but keep in mind, only YOU can determine what works best for you through experimentation - yes, it can be time-consuming and a bit costly, but it's a fun journey.

Good luck on your collecting and cocktailing!



SlandT 🇺🇸 | 21 ratings Author Replied 7 Mar '24

Spent (cough) a BUNCH (cough) of money this week stocking things up.

Grind's Double Shot Espresso Rum instead of Kahlua (meh, will write a review later).  My first bottle of Don Q Cristal to try instead of Bacardi/Sergeant Classick.  Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum instead of Malibu.  Doorly's XO instead of Bacardi 8.  Wicked Dolphin instead of Sailor Jerry's Spiced.

Plus a few other non-rum bottles needed for the drinks.  I still need to find Gosling's 151 somewhere, get an Appleton (I think I'll go with Signature... almost bought Xaymaca until I read it's quite funky) and probably a Plantation Dark... but I'm leaving those for next month (maybe).

SlandT 🇺🇸 | 21 ratings Author Replied 30 Mar '24

As a follow up: Next week I'm stocking more rum (my cabinets are quite full) because I want to try an original Trader Sam's Shrunken Zombie Head.

I think I've located Gosling's 151. Appleton 8 is easy.

I don't know what to do about Bacardi 8 though.

I know Bacardi isn't well loved, the 8 has a better rating, but I already have a couple aged rums.  Pyrat XO and Doorly's XO (as well as Pusser's Blue Label which I know is too different).  I find that the Doorly's tastes like brandy, not rum and I figure the Pyrat is probably too flavored.

I kind of feel like none of those are a good substitute, but I've never tried Bacardi 8.

Is it like any of those or significantly different enough to be worth buying even if it's just for the one cocktail?