Aged Rum
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Best Aged Rum
&
Best Gold Rum

Rum is the second largest selling spirit category in the U.S. with 25.6 million cases sold in 2013, but most people have the impression that rum should only be used in cocktails. Aged rum offers a full spectrum of flavors ranging from butterscotch and cinnamon to tropical fruits and tobacco— best enjoyed straight or on the rocks for casual sipping.

Rum is a sugar cane distilled spirit that is directly influenced by terroir, tradition and technique. Most rums are bottled directly from the still, but some are aged in charred oak barrels. Typically, these barrels were previously used to age bourbon (from the U.S.) or scotch, cognac and sherry (from Europe).

In some cases, the rum is allowed to blend and mature in another barrel for a second maturation. This rum is designated as “single barrel”. Occasionally distillers will top off their barrels with rums of the same age. Or in the case of a “solera”, with rums that is one year younger. Bottling occurs straight from the barrel. In the U.S., the age is determined by the youngest spirit in the bottle, and must be indicated by an age statement.

The distillation process, the barrels, and warm climates produce rums that are darker color and richer in flavor, mellower and more aromatic than clear rums.

The spirit of choice by pirates and princes, rum has earned its place in history:
In 1493, Columbus brought sugar cane to Hispaniola.
140 years later, in 1636 - Sugar became the chief crop of Barbados and of all the Caribbean islands.
Soon after, in 1687 - Rum is officially adopted as the daily ration for the Royal Navy.
50 years later (1740) - The Royal Navy’s dilutes rum rations with water, calling it “grog”.
At that time, Massachusetts had 63 distilleries that produced rum made from molasses. (Another reason why the British colonies in New England were very important to Britain.)

After the American Revolution, the British enforced a naval blockade to the Caribbean, restricting access to sugar plantations in the West Indies. So what did the American colonists do? They used their chief crop corn to make bourbon, marking the beginning of bourbon's popularity and the decline of distilleries in the Northeast.

Flash forward to 1980– when rum outsold vodka in the United States and outsold whiskey for the first time since the early nineteenth century.

 

The Fifty Best Aged Rum & Gold Rum Tastings 2014

 

The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 20 premium aged rums/rhums agricole and 4 gold rums with 19 pre-qualified judges. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Each of the rums were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and served at slightly above room temperature. Only ice water and neutral unsalted chips and crackers were available to cleanse the palate.

Gold rums, aged rums and aged rhums agricoles were tasted in groups, with medals awarded on the basis of the judging panels’ rating of all rums from that group. The judges wrote down their impressions of each product on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the best. Double-Gold and Gold medals were awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. Scores were exceptionally high overall, and there were no Silver or Bronze medals awarded in this tasting.

The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The countries of origin are identified for each brand.

 

AGED RUM TASTING RESULTS:

 

Ron Cartavio XO

DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNERS:

Ron Cartavio XO
(Peru)

Nose: Toffee, caramel, crème brûlée, cane sugar, vanilla, honey, maple, cola, raisins, green apple, orange, lemon zest, brine, oak.
Palate: Molasses, dark sugar, brown sugar, honey, caramel, spicy butterscotch, cocoa, Coca Cola, dried cherries, sherry, gorgeous sherry flavors, tobacco, extra smooth.
Finish: Cinnamon, nutty, molasses, maple syrup, plums, port wine, sweet, soft, silk, nice, mellow.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Ron Cartavio Solera 12 Años
(Peru)

Nose: Brown sugar, cane sugar, sweet cane, light molasses, vanilla, butter, caramel, light cherry, apple, banana, lemon, floral, cloves, nutty, toasted nuts, tobacco.
Palate: Cherry, blueberry cantaloupe, apple, coconut, orange, banana, citrus, dates, sultana, tropical fruit, rose, honey, maple syrup, dark brown sugar, caramel, toffee, fudge, spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, pine, nutty.
Finish: Flavorful, woody notes, clean, well-balanced, smooth.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Ron Cartavio Solera 12 Años


St. Nicholas Abbey 10 y.o.

GOLD MEDAL WINNERS:

St. Nicholas Abbey 10 Years Old
(Barbados)

Nose:Honey, toffee, light caramel, light vanilla, maple syrup, banana, sherry barrel, smoky, oaky, leather.
Palate: Tropical fruit, coconut, banana, pear, citrus, honey, vanilla, toffee, spicy caramel, creamy, butterscotch, hint of dried fruit, light almond notes, mint, mint cream, herbal, sherry, pine, oak, balanced, very smooth.
Finish: Dates, figs, light spice, clean, round, nice, very smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal




Pusser's Aged 15 Years
(Tortola, B.V.I.)

Nose: Dried fruits, ripe fruit, banana, dark sugar, maple syrup, dark fudge, molasses, cane sugar, honeysuckle, Pedro Ximenez sherry, spice, pine, nutty, smoky.
Palate: Caramel, cream, butter, butterscotch, treacle, honey, sugar cane, molasses, dark brown sugar, muscovado, raisins, orange, apple, guava, pineapple, mango, coffee, toast, herbal, oaky, silky.
Finish: Dried fruit, tropical, floral, peppery, oak, sweet, light.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Pusser's Aged 15 yrs


Pusser's Blue Label 3 y.o.



Pusser's Blue Label 3 y.o.
(Tortola, B.V.I.)

Nose: Vanilla, honey, brown sugar, cane sugar, butterscotch, toffee, butter-rum toffee, fruitcake, dried fruit, banana, passion fruit, star fruit, lemon, tobacco, light bark, leather.
Palate: Dark molasses, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, caramel, fudge, figs, banana, apricot, peach, white grape, dried fruit, elderflower, mint, spice, pepper, nutty, woody, oak.
Finish: Candy apple, spicy, wood, clean, gentle, fresh, lovely.

Gold Medal
Gold medal




Ron Viejo de Caldas Gran Reserva 8 yrs
(Colombia)

Nose: Tropical fruit, banana, melon, gingko fruit, dried fruit, faint apple, blossom, honey, brown sugar, tart, exotic mix of spices, sweet cognac.
Palate: Banana, apple, raspberry, raisin, dates, dried fruit, marmalade, creamy, milk & honey, butterscotch, caramel, licorice, sherry, green tea, nutty, spice, aged wood, delicate.
Finish: Rum raisin, butterscotch, woody, gentle, clean, fresh, smooth, well-balanced.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Ron Viejo de Caldas Gran Reserva 8 yrs


Richland Rum




Richland
(Georgia, U.S.)

Nose: Apricot, pineapple, orange peel, ripe fruit, stewed plums, sour apple, fruity, vanilla, caramel, cane sugar, maple sugar, green tea leaves, floral, herbal.
Palate: Coconut, orange, pear, lovely fruit, dried fruit, ginger, honey, maple syrup, chocolate, cinnamon, eucalyptus, peppermint, minty, pine, herbal, elderflower, myrtle, nutty, licorice, cumin, garam masala, pepper, wood.
Finish: Light, ginger, orange, elderflower, eucalyptus, nutty, smoke, mellow.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Tiburon
(Belize)

Nose: Dried fruit, prune, ripe fruit, honeysuckle, vanilla, creamy, hint of butterscotch, pastry dough, cane sugar, marzipan, cinnamon, spice, oak.
Palate: Vanilla, molasses, honey, butterscotch, dark fruit, dried fruit, spicy, pepper, oak, very well-balanced, clean, smooth.
Finish: Banana, dandelion, spicy, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Tiburon Rum


El Ron Prohibido Solera 12 yrs



El Ron Prohibido Solera 12 yrs
(Mexico)

Nose: Dark sugar, molasses, dark muscovado, cane sugar, caramel, fruitcake, cocoa, oaky.
Palate: Caramel, fudge, toffee, cocoa, dark sugar, brown sugar, molasses, blackstrap molasses, maple, sherry, spicy apple, peppermint, pepper, light spice, coffee hints, velvety.
Finish: Cocoa, sherry, leather, clean, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Kirk and Sweeney 12 Year
(Dominican Republic)

Nose: Cane sugar, toasted sugar, maple syrup, creamy, caramel, chocolate, citrus, mulled cider, spice, oak, toast, clean.
Palate: Ripe fruit, orange, dates, banana, apricot, vanilla, sugar cane, caramel, grains, elderflower, anise, eucalyptus, touch of cinnamon, spicy cream, oaky, lovely.
Finish: Melon, honey, sherry, licorice, herbal, hazelnut, oak, clean, soft, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Kirk and Sweeney 12 yr Rum


Ron Barceló Imperial



Ron Barceló Imperial
(Dominican Republic)

Nose: Ripe fruit, dried fruit, faint caramel, toffee, butter, powdered sugar, white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, butterscotch, sherry, blossom, hazelnut, nutmeg, spice, tobacco, smoky, hints of caramelized wood.
Palate: Vanilla, buttery, creamy, molasses, honey, caramel, toffee, rum raisin ice cream, prune, apricot, nectar, marmalade, lemon, mint, black walnut, wood, oak, smooth, silky.
Finish: Buttery, smooth, woody, clean, well-balanced, elegant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal





Pyrat XO Reserve
(Anguilla & Various Caribbean Islands)

Nose: Blackberries, cherry, apricot, apple, orange marmalade, orange peel, orange, candied orange, lemon oil, faint vanilla, almonds, Amaretto, mint.
Palate: Molasses, maple syrup, honeycomb, orange, orange liqueur, citrus, fruit punch, raisins, chocolate, zesty, spicy.
Finish: Spicy, clean, soft, smooth, delicious.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Pyrat XO Reserve Rum


Cane & Abe Rum



Cane & Abe
(Wisconsin, U.S.)

Nose: Marshmallow, chocolate, fruity, cherry, apricot, dried fruit, ginger, wheat grass, leather, tobacco.
Palate: Light brown sugar, sugar cane, honey, butter, dough, mocha, fudge, dates, cherry, some spice, mint, tea leaves, hay, dried grass, nutty, woody, oaky.
Finish: Vanilla, spicy, oaky, mild, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



St. Nicholas Abbey 15 Years Old
(Barbados)

Nose: Dried apricot, banana, pineapple, pear, green apple, sugar, honey, blossom, molasses, sweet maple, dark Quebec maple syrup, rum-raisin, cinnamon, sherry, sherry barrel, bark, oak, saline, exciting.
Palate: Tropical fruit, banana, pineapple, mango, coconut, apricot, pear, dates, sugarcane, honey, vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, fudge, ginger, eucalyptus, mint, peppermint, pepper, almonds, oak, tart, lovely, classic.
Finish: Treacle, muscovado, nutty, peppery, smooth, woody notes, full-bodied.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



St. Nicholas Abbey 15 y.o.


Don Reyes Añejo



Don Reyes Añejo
(Dominican Republic)

Nose: Citrus, raisin, dried fruit, brown sugar, cane sugar, maple syrup, faint butterscotch, oats.
Palate: Sugar cane, molasses, caramel, buttery, vanilla, gingerbread, banana, nutmeg, light spice, pepper, herbal, earthy, musty, oak, light, balanced.
Finish: Nutty, peppermint, pepper, spicy, smooth, gentle.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Busted Barrel Dark Rum
(New Jersey, U.S.)

Nose: Nutmeg, cinnamon, eucalyptus, dark fruits, ripe fruit, fruity, vanilla, butterscotch, molasses, blossom, scotch barrel, charred oak, smoky, peaty, saline.
Palate: Creamy, vanilla, molasses, caramel, toffee, cherries, banana, coconut, licorice, hazelnut, nutty, little spice, saline, smoky, oak, charred oak.
Finish: Vanilla. buttery, nutty, some cinnamon, grassy, earthy, musty, woody, soft, mellow, full-bodied.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Busted Barrel Dark Rum



Rhum Clément Select Barrel



AGED RHUM AGRICOLE

DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNER:

Rhum Clément Select Barrel
(Martinique)

Nose: Coconut, lemon, green apple, hint of apple, ripe cherry, dried fruits, vanilla, honey, molasses, maple syrup, crystal sugar, sweet cane, allspice, bark.
Palate: Tropical fruit, banana, lemon, golden delicious apple, fruity, prune, demerara, molasses, caramel, maple, cinnamon, mint, spicy pepper, raw almonds, nutty, toast, hint of wood.
Finish: Buttery, caramel, coffee, licorice, spicy, pepper, mellow.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS:

Damoiseau VSOP
(Martinique)

Nose: Vanilla, maple syrup, sweet frosting, honey, brown sugar, caramel, butter, strawberries and cream, mango, ripe banana, coconut, ripe fruit, dried fruit, raisins, wood.
Palate: Vanilla, toffee, creamy, butterscotch, caramel, demerara, honey, sugar cookie, nutmeg, almond, hazelnut, peppery, oaky, aged wood, well balanced.
Finish: Honey, fudge, creamy, cherry pop, ginger, nutty, wood, mellow, soft, silky, short.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Damoiseau VSOP


Damoiseau Virgin Cane



Damoiseau Virgin Cane
(Martinique)

Nose: Dried fruit, raisin, dark bread, vanilla, clotted cream, ripe fruit, pineapple, green apple, walnut, vegetal, cactus, pine, absinthe, light & airy.
Palate: Fruity, banana, apricot, dark fruits, cocoa, creamy, vanilla, molasses, light rose, green tea, ginger, eucalyptus, mint, almonds, clove, spicy, pepper, faint hay, nicely balanced.
Finish: Light spice, spicy, tobacco, slight oak, clean, smooth, elegant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Rhum Clément Canne Bleue
(Martinique)

Nose: Green tea, sweet grass, pineapple, citrus, butterscotch, buttery, creamy, honey, raw sugar, cane sugar, powdered sugar, toasted sugar, marshmallow, pastry dough, dusty.
Palate: Dried fruit, figs, dates, coconut, toffee, butterscotch, faint chocolate, sugar cane, green apple, grassy, herbal, clove, eucalyptus, mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, spice, oak.
Finish: Creamy, apple, lemon, sugarcane, cinnamon, spice, pepper, woody, tobacco, leather, smooth, mellow.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Rhum Clément Canne Bleue



Rusticator



GOLD RUM

GOLD MEDAL WINNERS:

Rusticator
(Maine, U.S.)

Nose: Molasses, sugar cane, faint vanilla, shortbread, caramel, fruity, banana, melon, tropical fruits, citrus, grass, pine, brine, smoky, oak, Vietnamese coffee, leather.
Palate: Butterscotch, caramel, vanilla, spicy fudge, chocolate, hint of Kahlua, light nectar, prune, walnut, burnt toast, nutty, mint, licorice, black pepper, spice, oak, smoky.
Finish: Allspice, buttery, nutty, woody, leather, charred barrel, soft.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Phraya
(Thailand)

Nose: Light orange citrus, citrus, pineapple, preserved fruit, dried fruit, green apple, green tea leaves, cola, black walnut, toasted coconut, honey, brown sugar, molasses, maple, caramel, vanilla, cream, faint butter, tobacco, oak.
Palate: Cream of coconut, toasted coconut, ripe banana, orange oil, vanilla, brown sugar, maple, bittersweet toffee, butterscotch, elderflower, grape jelly, sherry, cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed nuts, light spice, licorice, slight pine, tobacco.
Finish: Apricot, coconut, ginger, almond, nutty, cinnamon, clove, spicy, toast, buttery, slight oak, very soft, gentle, clean.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Phraya Rum


Gubba Gold Rum



Gubba Gold
(Colorado, U.S.)

Nose: Sugar cane, confectioner's sugar, cake frosting, Golden Grahams cereal, cotton candy, subtle caramel, brown sugar, honey, vanilla beans, maple syrup, dried fruit, tropical fruit, wood.
Palate: Apricot, banana, ripe fruits, vanilla, creamy, cotton candy, Krispy Kreme, cream soda, honey, molasses, maple syrup, chocolate.
Finish: Floral, sweet, pepper, soft, very smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Eight Bells
(Maine, U.S.)

Nose: Butterscotch, caramel, vanilla, crystal sugar, cane sugar, treacle, toffee, fruity, pear, cherries, tropical fruit, fragrant cake, coconut, green apple, nutty, toast, oatmeal, hay, blossom, must, leather.
Palate: Mango, melon, pear, topical fruit, citrus, dried fruits, prune, dates, molasses, honey, vanilla, toffee, caramel, buttery, creamy, cookie dough, oatmeal, toast, spicy clove, pepper, light sherry, nutty, oak, leather.
Finish: Honey, nutty, floral, spicy, musty, smooth.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Eight Bells Rum

 

 

 

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Comments or questions welcome, please e-mail to: editor@thefiftybest.com

 

Comments and Suggestions:

 
Mon. August 18, 2014 11:15 AM - by: Lester Terry
Where do you find Havana club Rum?
 
 


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