Updated for 2019: The following rum recommendations are selections from Marcos Pilavakis, Founder of ‘Rum Interest’ follow him on Instagram @ruminterest
Best Rum Recommendations for 2019
1. El Dorado 12 (Guyana) –
Voted in The New York Times Top 10 Rums and quite rightfully so. It’s elegant, it’s balanced and it’s on the right side of sweet with notes of toffee, raisins, sultanas, banana and brown sugar. It’s the bottle you will keep going back to and it’s made the perfect gift on many an occasion!
2. Appleton 21 (Jamaica) –
A Rum for a special occasion. The Appleton Estate have a wealth of experience in producing exceptional rums. The Appleton 21 is a blend of rums aged for a minimum of 21 years. It’s light, sweet, nutty, tropical with zesty orange notes with a backdrop of more pronounced notes of tobacco, chocolate and oak. It’s a wonderfully balanced rum. It comes at a premium price, but you are paying for quality. If the price is a stretch, the Appleton 12 years is a worthy alternative at a fraction of the cost.
3. Foursquare Zinfandel Cask Blend (Barbados) –
Anything that the Foursquare Distillery touches turns to Rum gold and with Richard Seale behind the production, it is no surprise. The Foursquare range is for the purists. This release is first aged in bourbon casks and then in ex-Zinfandel wine casks. The result, flavours of red berries, a touch of cinnamon and light notes of vanilla and caramel. If you see a bottle of Foursquare Criterion, grab it straight away, but the Zinfandel is a great alternative!
4. Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva (Venezuela) –
Next on my rum recommendations is Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva, considered to be one of the best rums to come out of Venezuela. Crafted from sugarcane honey, it’s rich, velvety and sweet with notes of chocolate, toffee, vanilla orange peel and an oak backdrop. Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva is a firm favorite amongst many and never disappoints.
5. Zacapa XO (Guatemala) –
Voted Top 10 Sipping Rums and Top 10 Spirit of the Year, Zacapa XO is presented in a stunning bottle and screams premium. Frowned upon by Rum purists for the additional sugars but loved by the masses, this is the Rum that the non rum lovers will keep coming back for. It’s amber nectar will coat your palate with orange peel, dark chocolate, brown sugar, toffee, oak and a sherry sweetness. It’s not a multi award winner for no reason.
Best Value Rum For The Money!
1. Plantation Barbados 5 years (Barbados) –
Produced in Barbados, this release is first aged in Bourbon casks before making the journey across to France to finish the ageing process in Pierre Ferrand cognac casks. It offers notes of fresh tropical fruits with hints of dried coconut, aromas of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s warm, inviting and fantastic value for money.
2. Santa Teresa Gran Reserva (Venezuela) –
This my “house rum”. It’s versatile; drink it neat, on the rocks, mixed with Coca Cola or in a cocktail (I like it in a Rum Old Fashioned). It’s light, it’s silky with warm notes of caramel, chocolate, and brown sugar with a lovely mellow smokey oak finish. If you want a quick rum fix or you have a large gathering and don’t want to get the expensive stuff out, this is the rum to get!
Best Rum From a Lesser Known Distillery –
1. Parce (Colombia) –
A relatively new Rum on the market and gaining popularity across USA. They have 2 multi award winning releases, the 8 and 12 year. On the palate it’s a blend of tropical fruits and caramel with more mature notes of pipe tobacco and oak. The 8 year will appeal to a sweeter palate and the 12 year to those who like cleaner and slightly more complex and defined flavors. And like ‘Prestige Decanters’, for every bottle of Parce purchased, a tree is planted to support biodiversity conservation.
About Marcos Pilavakis
Marcos is the founder of one of Europe’s biggest independent Rum Instagram Blogs, ‘Rum Interest’ where he shares his top Rum picks. Follow him on Instagram @ruminterest to get all the latest reviews.