The season for giving is upon us. Skip the boring gift card or the traditional bottle of wine. Instead share your love of rum. Here are our favorites under $40.
Blackwell – Jamaica ($23)
Behind Blackwell rum is Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records.The rum is small batch pot distilled then aged in American oak barrels. Although the nose is very sweet with vanilla, caramel and tropical florals, those notes are more subdued on the palate and finish. Blackwell makes a great rum for the entry level sipper.
Jonah’s Curse Spiced – Caribbean ($23)
This spiced rum is not relegated to a mixer. The nose is unexpected featuring sweet notes of vanilla, caramel, banana, mocha and oak. The spice comes from cinnamon providing a toasty and comforting sensation. Save the twist of lemon or the Coke and enjoy this rum neat.
Mt. Gay Black Barrel – Barbados ($29)
Black Barrel is the company’s small batch, handcrafted rum that needs neither mint nor fruit juice added for full enjoyment. The cherry vanilla nose gives way to charred oak and bursts of cinnamon which can take over. The finish though is all oak. Adding an ice cube mellows this rum out on warm summer evenings.
El Dorado 12 yr old – Guyana ($30)
Demerara Distillers used a blend of rums distilled in the original Wooden Continuous Coffey Still and the 18th century Double Wooden Pot Still. The golden amber liquid has a distinctive molasses nose with plenty of baking spices from start to finish. Throw in cherry, apricot and florals for a rum that will surprise you with every sip. Great rum for a winter’s night.
Pyrat XO Reserve – Caribbean ($35)
Owned by Patrón Spirits, Pyrat is a blend of carefully sourced rums from throughout the Caribbean. The handcrafted bottle, garnishing a pewter medallion featuring Hoti, the Patron Saint of Bartenders, resembles decanters used by sea captains and pirates. The rum is very orange forward from start to finish. Notes of cinnamon, cloves, apricot and lemon provide a needed counterbalance to the sweetness. Enjoy neat or over ice.
Kirk & Sweeney 12 yr old – Dominican Republic ($35)
Named after a rum-running vessel of the early 1900s, this molasses based rum has a buttery nose with vanilla, oak, berry and almond. The palate takes time to develop opening notes of tobacco and apricot. The finish is much like the start – buttery, oaky and slightly sweet. Enjoy the long finish which certainly begs you to sip more.
Kaniché Perfección – Panama ($40)
Maison Ferrand double ages Kaniché Perfección; first locally aged in ex-Bourbon casks then transported to France to be finished in Cognac casks. This unique aging provides a very fragrant nose with oak, spice, cherry and orange giving way to a smooth palate accentuating those same notes. The finish is warm and inviting. This is a well-founded, finely aged rum with a mature taste.
Tell us your favorite rums under $40 at [email protected]
About Clint and Terry: We have sampled many a dram over our 33 years of marriage and quite often we don’t fully agree. Could be the difference is male/female taste buds. Or, somebody is just wrong.