Rum is a distilled spirit traditionally made from sugarcane juice or molasses and typically aged in oak barrels, although experimentation with other barrels also takes place. Rum is most widely associated with the islands of the Caribbean and Latin American countries, but it is made in many countries around the world, including Scotland, Sweden, and the U.S. In Spanish-speaking countries rum is called ron, though no one knows for sure where the word “rum” itself was born. White or silver rum is either unaged or is lightly aged, then filtered to strip out the color; it is generally intended for use in cocktails. Gold or amber rum is aged in oak barrels, though there are no agreed upon standards on how long this term, nor any real distinction between the terms. Dark rum is usually made from caramelized molasses, aged for a longer period of time, and usually in barrels that have been more deeply charred. Overproof rum can hit up to 160 proof and is intended for use in cocktails, including the Volcano, where the overproof rum is floated on top and ignited. Spiced and flavored rums are also quite popular.

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Review: Rum Cartavio XO

By Drew Beard | August 9, 2022 |

Ron Cartavio is a Peruvian rum brand that dates back to the late 1920s. Their portfolio is impressively large with no less than seven age-stated offerings, along with several bottlings more geared toward mixing. Our first look at the lineup starts at the very tip top with their oldest XO offering, a blend of 10-…

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Review: Papalin Jamaica Rum 7 Years Old

By Drew Beard | August 5, 2022 |

Italy’s Velier became a well-known name in the rum world with its rare and much-loved bottlings from Caroni, a Trinidadian distillery that shuttered in the early 2000s. Unfortunately, Caroni stocks have dwindled, so Velier has shifted to other marquee producers over the years. Their Papalin brand launched in 2013 with a blend of Caroni-distilled rum…

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Review: Holmes Cay Single Cask Rum Trinidad 2012

By Christopher Null | July 25, 2022 |

A recent night out in Austin provided me the good fortune to meet Eric Kaye, founder of the top-shelf Holmes Cay rum brand, in person. (Fun fact: Holmes is his middle name, and then there’s “Kaye” and “Cay.”) A lively education session and tasting reminded me that I had a small sample of Holmes Cay’s…

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Review: Zaya Rum – Cocobana and Alta Fuerza

By Christopher Null | July 15, 2022 |

Zaya rum — made in Trinidad and Tobago — recently dropped two new unusual expressions — the first line extension for the brand, ever. Both are blends that include rum up to 16 years old, and one is lightly flavored. We received them both for review. Thoughts follow. Zaya Cocobana Rum – Flavored with banana,…

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Review: Ron del Barrilito Rum 3 Stars

By Drew Beard | May 25, 2022 |

Ron del Barrilito is a Puerto Rican rum brand with a long history that dates back to 1880 and the Fernandez family, which would serve their house rum to guests from little barrels (“barrilito” in Spanish). For nearly a century, the rum has been available as a 2 Estrellas (Stars) and older 3 Estrellas offering,…

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Review: Goslings Black Seal 151 Proof

By Drew Beard | May 24, 2022 |

Bermuda’s Goslings Rum has become a staple in lots of watering holes, both waterside and landlocked, over its 200-plus year history. There’s the bartender friendly flagship, Black Seal, that comprises, as a rule, the base of the classic (and trademarked) Dark N’ Stormy cocktail (along with their own brand of exceptional ginger beer, if you can…

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Review: Old Line Aged Caribbean Rum – Single Malt Cask Finish

By Drew Beard | May 18, 2022 |

In addition to an impressive and diverse line of single malts (see here), Baltimore’s Old Line Spirits also includes several rums in its portfolio. Sourced from an unspecified Caribbean producer and aged in the Dominican Republic, Old Line’s founders reportedly worked with master rum blenders Luis and Margaret Ayala to finalize their rum blend, which…

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Review: The Real McCoy Distiller’s Proof Rum 5 Years Old

By Drew Beard | May 17, 2022 |

We’re finally working our way through the Real McCoy Rum portfolio. Chris enjoyed the distillery’s 5-year-old flagship offering (nearly a decade ago), and next up is this bottle, the Distiller’s Proof version of that same rum. As a reminder, Real McCoy is sourced from the well-known and well-loved Foursquare Distillery in Barbados. Unlike the standard…

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Review: Foursquare Mark XI “Sagacity” Single Blended Rum

By Drew Beard | April 12, 2022 |

Last fall, Chris reviewed the aptly named Redoutable from Foursquare, a 14-year-old bruiser of a rum comprised of the distillery’s pot and column distillates aged in ex-bourbon and ex-Madeira casks and bottled at a very healthy cask proof. It appears that an earlier, younger version of this same rum hit our shores in late 2019,…

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Review: SelvaRey Coconut Rum

By Christopher Null | April 9, 2022 |

SelvaRey — best known as Bruno Mars’ rum company — is out with its newest expression: Coconut. No huge surprises await here. This is a two year old rum, filtered to clear, infused with “a velvety coconut essence.” As coconut rums go, SelvaRey doesn’t exactly raise the bar. A bit harsh on the nose, the…

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