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: Holmes Cay Single Cask Rum – Belize 2006, Jamaica 2007 ITP, Australia 2012, and Jamaica 2014 EMB

By Christopher Null | October 3, 2022 |

Fall 2022 finds Holmes Cay dropping four of its single cask rum offerings, including a pair of dueling selections from Jamaica and a bottle from Australia. Let’s dive in to the collection. Holmes Cay Single Cask Rum Belize 2006 – A 16 year old molasses-based column still rum produced at Travellers Liquors Distillery in Belize.…

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Review: Mount Gay Master Blender Selection – Madeira Cask

By Christopher Null | October 2, 2022 |

For its fifth annual release, Mount Gay’s Master Blender Selection takes a cue from a newly popular whiskey finishing option: the Madeira wine cask, which seems to be popping up just about everywhere. The twist? This isn’t finished in Madeira, it’s fully aged in these casks. Here’s some extra info to dig into: For this…

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Review: Botran Rum – No. 12, 15, and 18 (2022 Relaunch)

By Christopher Null | September 28, 2022 |

Guatemalan rum brand Botran has been unavailable in the U.S. market since 2019. Now the brand is back, with new expressions, new branding, and a new sustainability accreditation Basically: new everything. The bulk of the new Botran Rum line now carries a number on the label, unlike previous editions, but not that these are not…

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Review: Matusalem Gran Reserva Rum 15 (2022)

By Drew Beard | September 25, 2022 |

It has been over a decade since we last checked in on Matusalem rum. While the Gran Reserva 15 Years Old remains the brand’s flagship, their portfolio is rather extensive, including a white rum, Gran Reserva 18, and Gran Reserva 23 among others. We’ll hopefully get to some of those in due time, but before that,…

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Review: Foursquare Mark XVIII “Indelible” Single Blended Rum

By Drew Beard | September 7, 2022 |

It’s getting a bit hard to keep up with these Foursquare Exceptional Cask Selections. I don’t know if they adhere to a particular schedule, but I seem to always be noticing a new one on the shelf at least a couple of times each year (and at steeper and steeper price points). In addition to…

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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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