If you are looking for top shelf rum, it is becoming easier and easier to obtain it, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to narrow it down into a coherent top 10 list. Over the course of the past five years, we have made an effort to identify our top ten favourite bottlings by looking back at the year that has just come to a close. Regrettably, a significant number of these rums have price tags that are considered to be rather luxurious. These bottles may be over thirty years old, single barrels, one-off trials, or all of the above. If you are forced to select between some of them and that brand-new Xbox, please accept my apologies in advance.
When you look back at our previous list of the best 10 rums of 2022, 2021, 2020, and 2019, you will certainly find more excellent selections. Wine-searcher also allows you to search numerous retailers in order to discover the cheapest pricing on all of these goods and more.
The Guyana Flag Series by LM&V in 1998
The rum experts at La Maison & Velier have released a single barrel of their exquisite rum: After spending two years in bourbon barrels in Guyana, this behemoth of a rum was then aged in Port casks for a period of twenty-two years in Europe. The rum, which is characterised by molasses and barrel char, transports you to a variety of flavours, including coffee bean, cola, chocolate, and others. This is all accomplished by filtering the rum through the unique fruit that Port barrel ageing delivers. The only rum that we gave an A+ grade to in 2023 was this one, which was described as being light yet properly sweet and unbelievably rich in flavour.
The Appleton Estate Rum, a Legend that is 17 Years Old
A bottle of Wray & Nephew rum that was produced at Appleton in the 1940s was the source of inspiration for the mai tai, which is widely considered to be my preference among all cocktails. A year ago, the distillery made the decision to replicate the flavour of this highly regarded rum by employing some well-aged stock, all of which was at least 17 years old, much like the W&N original. Although it is difficult to imagine putting a tiki cocktail that contains rum that costs $500 into a drink, I went ahead and did it anyway. The experiment was a huge success. The cocktail was a fantastic match for the rum’s spicy, earthy, and peppery properties, which worked really well. It is also possible to drink it by yourself if you are the type of person who enjoys doing that.
2009: Plantation Rum from the Fiji Islands
This 100% pot still rum from Fiji, which is 13 years old and matured for a total of ten years on the island and three years in France, was our favourite selection from Plantation’s 2023 “Under the Sea” collection. It is a tropical fruit explosion that is coated with coconut, caramelised sugar, and a raisiny underbelly. It is blatantly fruit-forward and in your face. It is a little bit sweet because of the low amount of sugar that is used, so be sure to prepare appropriately. We believe that the additional burst of sweetness works very well in this combination.
Known to be 29 years old, the Appleton Estate Rum Hearts Collection year 1993
A new rarity from Jamaica’s Appleton, a well-aged, pot-distilled oddity that just keeps coming and coming at you, is the oldest rum on our list, although it is not the most costly rum on this list. Cherry, marshmallow that has been burned, barrel char—all of these elements are rolled up into a dense core that is rich with molasses and has not been tamed by time. Take the water at your own pace.
Cay of Holmes” Barbados Single Cask Rum Pot Still from the Year 2002
Authentic pot still rum from the Foursquare distillery, which was aged in the United Kingdom for twenty years prior to being bottled into bottles. It is filled with rich molasses and woody tannin, and it is layered with overripe citrus below. This is the exact essence of the most known distillery in Barbados, and it is on full show here. You should persevere with it since it requires some time to mature in glass before it can display all of its attractions, which are numerous, varied, and rather wonderful.
Traditionally, Isautier is sixteen years old.
Isautier is not exactly a well-known brand in the world of rum because it is headquartered on Reunion Island, which is located in the Indian Ocean; nevertheless, this bottling from LM&V may help to change that perception. The robust column distillate, which was placed in barrel in 2006, gradually gives way to a surprise fruitiness, which is comprised of blueberries, blue raspberries, coconut, and vanilla. This fruitiness is the result of time spent in glass. All things considered, it is a wall of flavour that, in the end, makes its way to a lively tiki party.
2022 edition of Papa’s Pilar Rum, the Legacy Edition
Papa’s Pilar, a boutique rum manufacturer, releases limited edition rums on a consistent basis. The combination of rums from Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Venezuela, and Florida that is finished in French oak apple brandy barrels is probably the greatest one that we have seen so far. This expression that we did not witness until the beginning of 2023 is probably the best one that we have seen so far. Baking spice, cocoa, orange peel, and other wintry flavours that are not often seen in the world of rum are included in this rum, which is considered to be complex and suitable for the holiday season.
Jamaican rum from the year 1990 called Bhakta
When Raj Bhakta first began, he began with brandy. He has now turned his attention to rum as well, beginning with this vintage-dated mix of two Jamaican rums, one from the year 1990 and the other from the year 1985. Armagnac barrels were used to complete the production of this one-of-a-kind, cask-strength monster that will never be replicated. The flavour is really rather light and vibrant, with flowers, citrus, and significant amounts of sweetness, despite the fact that its enormous age implies that it will be a challenging experience. Less harsh than its abv would have one to believe.
Select Barrel Selection of Bayou Rum Reserve
The year 2023 marked the beginning of our collaboration with Bayou Rum, a company situated in Louisiana that is producing a wide range of items that are remarkable, high-end, and unique. Our favourite batch of this product to far is batch #2, which is a pot still rum that has been matured in bourbon barrels using the solera method. When things begin, there are bright flavours of citrus, and then they transition into more conventional cuisine, which is sweet with molasses and spice, followed by berries and fig jam respectively. Very impressive, especially considering the cost.
Mount Gay Single Estate series
Mount Gay, a distillery located in Barbados, introduced a rum in the year 2023 that was the first of its type for the company. The rum was manufactured from sugar cane that was cultivated on the estate. It took two years to harvest a little piece of land that was just a few hundred acres in size, and the rum that was produced is a mixture of spirit that is five and six years old. It is a bottling that is familiar to the operation; it has a character that is earthy and savoury, and it has a pretty hefty char. This quality temporarily conceals the fruit that is underneath. Even if it is more stunning due to the fact that it was created and is an original, it is still highly satisfying on its own merits.