Aged Rum 2011

Best Aged Rum 2011


The Fifty Best Aged Rum Tasting


The Tasting:
At Riverpark in NYC, 21 journalists, bartenders and aficionados tasted 26 premium aged rums. The products were served "blindly", without distractions of brand names. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Strict tasting rules were applied. Each of the rums were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and immediately served at room temperature. Ice water and plain hard rolls were available to cleanse the palate. Food was served during a break.

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, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals are awarded based on a set range of final point scores received from the judges.

The tasting notes are summaries of the judges’ opinions. Prices quoted are for 750ml sizes. Prices may vary by state and do not include sales tax.



Vizcaya VXOP


1. Vizcaya VXOP -
(Dominican Republic) $40

Nose: Floral, toffee, caramel, vanilla, molasses, dried fruit, nutmeg. Palate: Creamy, buttery, vanilla, caramel, cinnamon, spice, chocolate, biscuit, sherry, woody, light oak, rich, sweet, robust, lovely, classy, flavorful, delicious, amazing, round, well-balanced, smooth. Finish: Burnt sugar, caramel, sweet, clean, lingering.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

2. Two-Way Tie - Ron Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva - (Venezuela) $30

Nose: Burnt sugar, light caramel, ginger, cinnamon, almond, sugar cane, chocolate, spearmint candy. Palate: Vanilla, cream, butterscotch, caramel, toffee, treacle, banana, apple, malty, clove, floral, nutty, spice, sweet, smooth, well-balanced, nice, awesome. Finish: Smooth, oaky, coffee/toffee, botanical, great, lingering.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

Ron Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva

Tortuga 12 yr.

Tortuga 12 yr. -
(Cayman Islands)

Nose: Cane sugar, butterscotch, cocoa, coconut, nutmeg, caramel, vanilla, toffee, maple syrup. Palate: Vanilla, molasses, toffee, honey, sweet, buttery, creamy, butterscotch, cantaloupe, banana, hazelnut, cinnamon, ginger, clove, pepper, spice, woody, medium bodied, mellow, well-balanced. Finish: Sweet sherry, brown sugar, spicy, velvety, smooth, short.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

3. Zaya 12 yr. -
(Trinidad & Tobago) $42

Nose: Caramel, vanilla, buttery, almond, marzipan, nutmeg, spice, black tea. Palate: Butterscotch, cream, hot butter, rich caramel, vanilla, honey, maple syrup, toffee, cocoa, cinnamon, coconut, hazelnut, almond, nutty, licorice, smooth, round, robust, well-balanced, excellent. Finish: Soft, light, sweet, smooth.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

Zaya 12 yr.

Dos Maderas PX 5+5


Dos Maderas PX 5+5 -
(Guyana/Barbados) $46

Nose: Fresh, sweet, faint oak, blossoms, lightly floral, fruity, butterscotch, molasses, cocoa, vanilla. Palate: Honey, butterscotch, caramel, banana, apple, biscuit, nutmeg, cinnamon, hazelnut, toasted almond, vanilla, oak, smooth, soft, sweet, very smooth, even, well-balanced, excellent, inviting. Finish: Creamy, slightly spicy, gentle, big.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Zacapa Solera Grand Reserve 23 yr. -
(Guatemala) $49

Nose: Brown sugar, coffee, toast, lime, floral, oak, faint nutmeg. Palate: Vanilla, caramel, honey, creamy, fruity, pear, sweet malt, buttery cinnamon, nutmeg, tobacco, cola essence, sherry, oak, woody, menthol, round, balanced, very smooth, lovely, excellent. Finish: Smooth, round, even roasted, lingering.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Zacapa Solera Grand Reserve 23 yr.

Zacapa XO Centenario Solera

Zacapa XO Centenario Solera -
(Guatemala) $95

Nose: Cinnamon, honey, caramel, toffee, light toast, apple, green tea leaves, mint. Palate: Creamy, vanilla, fudge, toffee, molasses, sherry, sugar cane, sweet, dried fruit, plum, citrus, coffee, nutmeg, floral, ginger, spicy, smoky, robust, very smooth, excellent, yum. Finish: Slight spice, molasses, pepper.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Tortuga 5 yr.
(Cayman Islands)

Nose: Vanilla, caramel, buttery, cane sugar, demerara, molasses, nutty, floral, rich. Palate: Toffee, butterscotch, honey, buttery, vanilla, strawberry, dates, coffee, mocha, spice, creamy, smooth, sweet, well-balanced. Light bodied. Finish: Oak, soft, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Tortuga 5 yr.

Old Monk 7 yr.

Old Monk 7 yr. -
(India) $20

Nose: Buttery, floral, vanilla, maple, butterscotch, sweet, toffee, oak, nutty. Palate: Butterscotch, caramel, toffee, creamy vanilla, molasses, dates, mango, sugar cane, sherry, toasted walnuts, almonds, nutmeg, floral, cloves, allspice, tobacco, woody, pine, oak notes, pepper spice, smooth, different, nice, mellow. Finish: Floral, caramel, slightly sweet, soft, a touch of spice, long.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Botran Reserva -
(Guatemala) $26

Nose: Vanilla, nutmeg, caramel, orange peel, spice, grassy, floral. Palate: Sweet spice, honey, caramel, molasses, butterscotch, creamy, vanilla, apricot, pineapple, raisins, marzipan, maple, nutty, slight woody character, medium bodied, soft, very smooth, well-balanced, rounded. Finish: Light, buttery, floral, peppery, hints of leather, lingers nicely.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Botran Reserva

Gosling’s Old Rum

Gosling’s Old Rum -
(Bermuda) $60

Nose: Caramel, fudge, cola, chocolate, toffee, cream, dried fruit, cinnamon, nutty, rich. Palate: Honey, vanilla, caramel, sugar cane, molasses, fudge, toffee, butterscotch, cola, apple, banana, lemon, sultana, marmalade, hazelnut, cinnamon, clove, nutty, oak, sherry, woody, leather, pepper, spicy, smooth, well-balanced. Finish: Dates, nutty, long.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Botran Solera 1893 -
(Guatemala) $45

Nose: Vanilla, maple, heavy cream, molasses, coffee, apricots, floral. Palate: Vanilla, sultana, dried fruit, hazelnut, anise, mint, cinnamon, cotton candy, not too sweet, spicy, woody, complex, smooth, balanced. Finish: Hot, toasty, soft, fading.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Botran Solera 1893

Plantation Grande Reserve 5 yr.

Plantation Grande Reserve 5 yr. -
(Barbados) $23

Nose: Buttery, butterscotch, caramel, toffee, apricot, toasty, nutty. Palate: Spicy vanilla, creamy, toffee, citrus, tropical fruit, mango, raisins, hay, sweet pepper, butternut, almond, ginger, cloves, spicy, floral, sweet, balanced. Finish: Caramel, gentle.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Ron Barceló Imperial -
(Dominican Republic) $30

Nose: Vanilla, nutmeg, maple, citrus elements, lightly spicy, aromatic. Palate: Creamy, vanilla, honey, caramel, sweet, treacle, toast, allspice, nutmeg, almond, pepper, coffee, tobacco, floral, grassy, woody, sherry, eucalyptus, well-balanced, robust, tasty, buttery smooth. Finish: Sharp, spicy, leather.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Ron Barceló Imperial

Brugal 1888 Gran Reserva Familiar


Brugal 1888 Gran Reserva Familiar -
(Dominican Republic) $54

Nose: Floral, cut grass, marzipan, molasses, sugar cane. Palate: Buttery, nutmeg, cinnamon, bananas, coconut, sweet, honey, creamy, vanilla, hazelnut, nutty, cereal, cloves, licorice, eucalyptus, pepper, spicy, robust, very smooth. Finish: Peppery, woody.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Cockspur 12 yr. -
(Barbados) $34

Nose: Sweet, honey, molasses, lightly floral, nutmeg, citrus, pineapple, licorice, mint, toasty. Palate: Caramel, raisin, buttery, toast, treacle, citrus, orange notes, fruity, apricot, dates, fudge, hazelnut, almond, cane sugar, floral, minty, eucalyptus, leather, pepper, cloves, light, sweet, crisp, robust, well-balanced. Finish: Oak, vanilla, slightly spicy, late peppery bite.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Cockspur 12 yr.

Plantation Old Reserve 2000

Plantation Old Reserve 2000 -
(Jamaica) $36

Nose: Butterscotch, vanilla, caramel, honey, molasses, apples, honeydew, orange peel, lightly floral, nutmeg, clove. Palate: Caramel, butterscotch, bright citrus, marmalade, molasses, dates, ginger, pear, nutty, oak, woody, spicy, mint, medicinal, alcohol, full-bodied, intense, complex, balanced, round, mellow. Finish: Nutmeg, smooth.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Zafra 21 yr. -
(Panama) $49

Nose: Hazelnut, chocolate, pepper, bananas, guava, marmalade, a touch floral. Palate: Walnut, nutmeg, biscuit, butterscotch, honey, butter, creamy, caramel, white chocolate, fudge, toffee, almond, tropical fruit, toasted hazelnut, elderflower, grass, spicy, smoky, woody, fiery, robust, sharp, medicinal, authentic, well-balanced. Finish: Dry, smooth, strong, long.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Zafra 21 yr.

Rhum Clément V.S.O.P.

Rhum Clément V.S.O.P. -
(Martinique) $40

Nose: Lightly fruity, apple, banana, cherry, floral, grassy. Palate: Toffee, butterscotch, honey, buttery, vanilla, strawberry, dates, coffee, mocha, spice, creamy, smooth, sweet, well-balanced. Finish: Oak, soft, smooth.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Prichard’s Private Stock -
(U.S.A.) $79

Nose: Aromatic, lightly floral, pear, apple, dried fruit, dates, treacle, maple, nuts. Palate: Fruity start, raisins, sultana, orange, citrus, vanilla, molasses, sherry, oaky, woody, smoky, pine, clove, peppery, spice, fiery, sharp, robust, well-balanced, smooth. Finish: Hot, harsh, strong, lingering.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Prichard’s Private Stock

Rhum Barbancourt Estate Reserve 15 yr.

Rhum Barbancourt Estate Reserve 15 yr. -
(Haiti) $42

Nose: Dried fruit, grassy, toffee, bright vanilla, elderflower, orange blossom, cinnamon, nutmeg. Palate: Dark muscovado, butterscotch, honey, treacle, vanilla, piney, ginger, pepper, eucalyptus, licorice, straw, oak, woody, medicinal, strong, complex. Finish: Salty, peppery, soft, creamy, smooth, lingering.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Appleton Estate Reserve -
(Jamaica) $29

Nose: Vanilla, dried fruit, citrus, hazelnut, woodsy. Palate: Marmalade, caramel, treacle, fig, dates, coffee, sweet, spicy punch, clove, hints of oak, woody, leather, minty, smooth. Finish: Light, dry, buttery fade.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Appleton Estate Reserve

Plantation 73% Overproof

Plantation 73% Overproof -
(Trinidad & Tobago) $32

Nose: Caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, orange blossom, dried papaya, almond, hazelnut, tobacco. Palate: Light vanilla, toffee, treacle, butterscotch, cherry, orange, citrus. dried fruit, blitzkreig spiciness, salty, woody, grassy, pine, sour, medicinal, harsh, sharp, distinct. Finish: Smooth, strong, long.

Silver Medal
Silver medal


Rhum J.M Vintage 1997 -
(Martinique) $95

Nose: Sweet, honey, tropical fruit, apricot, banana, vanilla, cereal, woody. Palate: Honey, caramel, butterscotch, maple, cane sugar, apple, banana, leather, woody, pepper, spicy, hot, harsh, mellow. Finish: Smooth, short.

Bronze Medal
Bronze medal

Rhum J.M Vintage 1997

Rhum J.M V.S.O.P.

Rhum J.M V.S.O.P. -
(Martinique) $60

Nose: Vanilla, maple, butterscotch, coconut, sweet citrus, toast, licorice, tobacco, oaky, light, floral, ethereal. Palate: Minty, licorice, cereal, tapioca, nuts, sour fruit, apple, spice, pepper, sweet, sherry, some wood, musty, earthy, medicinal, robust. Finish: Sweet, citrusy, eucalyptus, smoky, strong, smooth.

Bronze Medal
Bronze medal

Dos Maderas 5+3 -

Nose: Briny, salty, cane sugar. Palate: Oak, nutty, leather, tea leaves, some fruit, toffee, licorice, pine, musty, oily, salty, briny, peat, medicinal, dry, harsh, smooth, light. Finish: Menthol, lingering.

Bronze Medal
Bronze medal

Dos Maderas 5+3




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Comments and Suggestions:

Sat. September 29, 2012 3:57 AM - by: Bruce Fichelson
I, too, love the El Dorado 15 (though not the 12 so much). But my favorites tie between Zaya 12 and Diplomatico. Both are fantastic and at bargain prices for the quality!
Mon. August 6, 2012 5:50 AM - by: Gary Herbert
One of my favourites is Pusser's British Navy Rum 15YO "Nelson's Blood", a very smooth and palatable rum which is still aged in casks.
Mon. March 19, 2012 10:09 AM - by: Susan Fuller
The best dark rum I have come across thus far is Traveller's Liquors (Belize) 5 Barrel Rum. Let me know where I can send a bottle for your tasting pleasure.
Fri. February 17, 2012 9:09 AM - by: Alessandros
An impressive list of rums, but I do not see my favorite and one of the best in the world, the best in its kind, Santiago de Cuba 25 Years Extra Añejo, the best rum of Cuba along with Máximo of Havana Club.
Fri. February 17, 2012 7:32 AM - by: Carl Kanto
I like the idea of enlightening the world about the most romantic beverage in the universe. However it is indeed unfortunate that no one took the time and interest to have the best rums in the world analysed. El Dorado 15 years have been identified as THE BEST RUM IN THE WORLD on numerous occassions but it was not in this grouping. I would have loved to see the El Dorado 12 years and 15 years added to the gruoping. Would the comments be the same? I dare you.Looking at some of the rums analysed I would love to add in the El Dorado 5 years, 8 years and 21 years. I am 101% confident that the El Dorado brand would sweep all the top honours.
Thu. February 16, 2012 7:04 AM - by: Cyrille from Luxembourg
Hi all... I have the most of these rhums above mentioned. BUT my favorite is "Angostura 1824"...Try it out and leave a message, enjoy you drink ;)
Wed. February 15, 2012 1:19 AM - by: Lluis Casado
Ron Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva simple the Best!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fri. December 2, 2011 10:37 AM - by: Paul Senft
Dos Maderas is aged for five years in the Caribbean (Guyana or Barbados) in Oak barrels then shipped to Spain where it is aged the additional three or five years in Sherry casks.
Thu. December 1, 2011 1:48 PM - by: Edward Hamilton
Columbus brought sugar cane to Hispaniola in 1493.
Thu. December 1, 2011 11:50 AM - by: P.R.Lopez
My understanding is that Dos Maderas is a wrong aged and bottles in Spain and not in Guyana or Barbados.

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Fifty Best > Spirits Archive > Aged Rum 2011
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