Aged Rum
 

Best Aged Rum

The Fifty Best Aged Rum Tasting 2020

 

The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a "blind" tasting of 14 aged rums with fifteen members of our spirits judging panel. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Each of the aged rums were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and served at slightly above room temperature. Only ice water, neutral unsalted crackers and chips were available to cleanse the palate.

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 highest. Double-Gold, Gold and Silver are awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no Bronze medals awarded for this tasting.

The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The country/state of origin and ABV are identified for each rum.




DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Tanduay Double Rum
(Tanduay Distillers, Philippines) 80 prf
Distilled from heritage Asian sugarcane. A blend of 16 yo & 5 yo rums, then aged in oak for an additional 2 yrs.

Nose: Praline, burnt sugar, Nutella, marzipan, amaretto, almond, raisins, prunes, dried dates, coconut, figs, bright citrus, cereal, allspice, oak, delicious.

Palate: Caramel, chocolate nibs, burnt sugar, brown butter cake, rum cake, fruitcake, tropical fruits, cherry, sweet coconut, sweet wheat, vanilla bean, vanilla. creamy, butter pecan, marzipan, amaretto, almond oil, black tea, cinnamon, allspice, clove, spicy, oak, smooth.

Finish: Caramel, chocolate, dark chocolate, demerara, burnt sugar, marzipan, Amarerna cherry, prunes, cinnamon, allspice, smoky, great.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

 



Tanduay Double Rum




Ron Cihuatán Indigo Aged Rum
(El Salvador) 80 prf
Distilled from sugarcane. Bourbon barrel aged for 8 yrs.

Nose: Caramel, red velvet cake, Graham Crackers, granola, biscuit, burnt sugar, molasses, maple syrup, maple, sugarcane, honey, bee hive honey, honey butter, butter, vanilla, marzipan, almond, coconut, dates, pineapple, lime, spearmint, tobacco.

Palate: Caramel, cream, sugar cane, molasses, demerara, maple syrup, maple, vanilla, honey, marzipan, warm almond butter, almond, short bread, honeysuckle, orange blossom, lilac, mint, licorice, pepper, clove, coffee, oak.

Finish: ROLO chocolate caramel candy, creamy, buttery, nougat, sugarcane, vanilla, ginger bread, lingering raspberries, citrusy, coffee, nutmeg, black pepper, complex, super soft, smooth.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

 



Ron Cihuatán Indigo Aged Rum




GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Sam Smith's Boatyard Aged Rum
(Cooperstown Distillery, NY) 86 prf
Distilled from 100% Florida sugarcane. Aged a min. of 2 yrs in ex-bourbon barrels.

Nose: Butterscotch, chocolaty, Nutty Buddy wafer bars, brown sugar, sweet cane, molasses, nougat, crème brûlée, lightly burnt butter, vanilla, honey, coconut, tropical fruit, raisins, dried fruit, orange peel, sweet peas, minty, mocha, nutmeg, smoke.

Palate: Caramel, cream, brown sugar, sugar cane, confectioner's sugar, crème brûlée, vanilla, fruit punch, guava, lime, walnuts, nutty, coffee, burnt toast, eucalyptus, cilantro, pepper, clove, nutmeg, tobacco, musty, oaky, smooth.

Finish: Caramel, creamy, chocolate, raw cocoa, light mocha, burst of sugar, sweet straw, toasty, lemon, lime, cinnamon, clove, peppery, tobacco, leather, musty, oak, soft.


Gold Medal
   Gold medal

 



Sam Smith's Boatyard Aged Rum




Ron Cihuatán Obsidiana Aged Rum
Exclusive Traveler’s Edition

(El Salvador) 80 prf
Bourbon barrel aged.

Nose: Vanilla, clotted cream, brown sugar, dates, rum cake, sweet cherry candy, apricot, coconut, butter vanilla spice, oatmeal, Play Doh, almonds, mocha, coffee, nutty, light clove, citrus, fresh mown hay, baby powder, silky.

Palate: Dark caramel, butterscotch, chocolate, molasses, vanilla, honey, yam casserole with burnt marshmallow, sweet cherry candy. mango, guava, apricot, lemon, citrus, ginger, herbaceous, mint, oak, well balanced, clean, smooth.

Finish: Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolate, vanilla, sugar cane, burnt sugar, dates, dried fruit, pepper, tannins, woody, well balanced, soft, smooth.


Gold Medal
   Gold medal



Ron Cihuatán Obsidiana Aged Rum Exclusive Traveler’s Edition




Papa's Pilar Sherry Cask Finished
24 Solera Dark Rum

(Hemingway Rum Co., FL) 86 prf
A blend of Floridian, Central American and Caribbean rums, Solera aged in ex-port & ex-bourbon barrels, finished in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks.

Nose: Chocolate, chocolate milk, clotted cream, candy chews, molasses, brown sugar, burnt sugar, Vermont maple, intense maple syrup, pancakes, baked goods, bran, mocha, coffee, espresso, fig, walnut, cinnamon, allspice, oak.

Palate: Chocolate, ganache, butterscotch, brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, maple, mocha, caramel macchiato, mocha, cereal, walnut, violets, green tea, light licorice, pepper, clove, nutmeg, woody, deep oak, rich, velvety.

Finish: Sweet chocolate, Perugina chocolate, nougat, vanilla, Honey Nut Cheerios, molasses, mocha, hazelnut, lilac, mint, nice spice, tannic, barrel, oaky, perfect, delicious.


Gold Medal
   Gold medal

 



Papa's Pilar Sherry Cask Finished 24 Solera Dark Rum




Ron Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
(Venezuela) 80 prf
Aged up to 12 yrs in ex-bourbon & ex-malt whiskey barrels.

Nose: Chocolate, milk chocolate, burnt sugar, cola, sassafras soda, maple syrup, vanilla, honey, pumpkin pie, orange peel, almond, anise, black tea, oolong, allspice, nutmeg, clove, grassy, pepper, leather, woody, oak.

Palate: Caramel, creamy, affogato, chocolate, brown sugar, burnt sugar, molasses, vanilla, cola, spicy cola, dried fruit, mango, passion fruit, almond oil, sweet cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, white pepper, tobacco.

Finish: Chocolate, vanilla, demerara, sugar cane, penny candy, cola, sweet tea, caramel popcorn, dates, nutty, coffee, peppery, a touch of wood, soft.


Gold Medal
   Gold medal

 



Ron Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva




Tanduay Asian Rum Gold
(Tanduay Distillers, Philippines) 80 prf
Distilled from heritage Asian sugarcane. Aged up to 7 yrs in Kentucky bourbon barrels.

Nose: Caramel, crème brûlée, chocolate, burnt sugar, molasses, dried molasses, vanilla, honey, red licorice, coconut, bananas, pineapple, berries, ginger, rose, sage, almond, nutty, biscuit, black tea, tobacco, maritime, oak, tropical.

Palate: Crème brulée, burnt sugar, cream, sweet cream, clotted cream, vanilla, marzipan, coconut, banana, pineapple, cascade of fruity flavors, herbaceous, dill, fresh mown hay, clove, baking spices, tobacco, mineral, earth, oak, well balanced, smooth.

Finish: Deep caramel, sweet cream, vanilla, burnt sugar, root beer float, dates, figs, banana, earth, wet stones, toasty, oak, scotch whisky, soft.


Gold Medal
   Gold medal



Tanduay Asian Rum Gold




Richland Single Estate Old South
Georgia Rum

(Richland Distilling Co., GA) 115.80 prf
Distilled from sugar cane. Aged 5-6 yrs in virgin American oak, #4 char barrels.

Nose: Chocolate, brown sugar, molasses, coconut praline, mocha, vanilla, grape, figs, orange, cinnamon, dill, pepper, tobacco, salinity, leather, heavy char, oak, dark wood, woody, wood chips, cognac.

Palate: Vanilla, clotted cream, burnt sugar, raisins, dates, guava, mango, coconut spice, eucalyptus, mint, cilantro, clove, cinnamon, leather, oak, clove, allspice, well balanced.

Finish: Caramel, vanilla, dried prunes, banana, chewing tobacco, minty, cinnamon, cigar box, char, charred oak, oak, woody, velvety, smooth, delicious, perfect.


Gold Medal
   Gold medal



Richland Single Estate Old South Georgia Rum




SILVER MEDAL WINNERS

Neptune Barbados Gold Rum
(Barbados) 80 prf
A blend of 8, 5 & 3 year-old rums.

Nose: Caramel, praline, buttery, clotted cream, vanilla, maple, marzipan, candied oranges, orange, pineapple, sweet cherries, peach, honeysuckle, pecans, walnut, mocha, mint, nutmeg, cinnamon, wood, oak.

Palate: Caramel, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, butter, light chocolate, vanilla, marzipan, nuts, biscuits, cooked bananas, pineapple, ginger, anise, licorice, spearmint, grassy, cinnamon, baking spice, pepper, great balance of fruit & minerality, soft, smooth.

Finish: Caramel, creamy, praline, toffee, molasses, burnt sugar, powdered sugar, milk chocolate, honey, coconut, orange, orange blossom, nutty, nutmeg, clove, baking spice, spicy, oak, well-balanced, velvety, soft, smooth, tasty.


Silver Medal
   Silver medal



Neptune Barbados Gold Rum




Richland Single Estate Virgin
Coastal Georgia Rum

(Richland Distilling Co., GA) 101.40 prf
Distilled from sugar cane. Aged 60 days resting in virgin toasted oak barrels.


Nose: Vanilla, honey, fresh dates, banana, apricot, dried mango, orange, orange blossom, ginger, sour lemon, grassy, minty, wheat, bread, funk, oak, agricole.

Palate: Banana, dates, fruit rolls, licorice, almond, herbal, peppermint, tea leaves, green grass, sage, spicy, kitchen spices, pepper, black pepper, tobacco, tannins, oak, wet oak.

Finish: Cane sugar, dried bananas, pineapple, orange peel, tea leaves, mint, anise, allspice, clove, sesame oil, pepper, cedar.


Silver Medal
   Silver medal



Richland Single Estate Virgin Coastal Georgia Rum




Ron Cihuatán Cinabrio Aged Rum
(El Salvador) 80 prf
Distilled from sugarcane. Bourbon barrel aged for 12 yrs.

Nose: Caramel, white chocolate, brown sugar, maple, vanilla, dates, dried mango, mango, pear, lemon, herbal, ginger, cereal, soft mocha, walnuts, nutty, sage, thyme, baking spices, cigar smoke.

Palate: Caramel, chocolate, milk chocolate, treacle, molasses, maple syrup, vanilla, marshmallow, cookies, cereal, oats, walnuts, sweet lentils, apricot, blueberry, citrus, sweet orange blossom, cinnamon, clove, warm spice, char, cedar, oak, smooth, easy drinking.

Finish: Vanilla, cookies, brown sugar, burnt sugar, molasses, figs, tea, mocha, coffee, roasted nuts, faint cinnamon, smoky, oak, gentle.


Silver Medal
   Silver medal



Ron Cihuatán Cinabrio Aged Rum




Parchando 12 Colombian Rum
(Three of Strong Spirits, ME / Colombia, So. America) 80 prf
Distilled from Grade A molasses. Aged 12 yrs in ex-bourbon barrels.

Nose: Tootsie Roll, mocha, brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, sugarcane, buttery, dried figs, fig, banana, wheat grain, whole wheat bread, cereal, hazelnut, mint, baking spices, tobacco, oak, dark wood.

Palate: Dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, burnt sugar, molasses, light cola, buttery, vanilla, honey, fig, herbal, mint, grassy, pekoe tea, tea leaves, light matcha, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, pepper, oak, cedar, floats, smooth.

Finish: Drizzled caramel, cacao, demerara sugar, warm cider, tea, eucalyptus, grass, wintergreen, cinnamon, late spice, pepper, nutty, smoky, oak, nice, smooth.


Silver Medal
   Silver medal



Parchando 12 Colombian Rum




Ron Bermúdez Gran Reserva Aniversario
(Dominican Republic) 80 prf
Aged 12 yrs.

Nose: Molasses, brown sugar, demerara, sugarcane, dried pineapple, honey, vanilla extract, coffee, oak.

Palate: Caramel, smoky caramel, molasses, burnt sugar, brown sugar, sugarcane, honey, butter, vanilla, cocoa, spice, oak.

Finish: Toffee, cocoa, molasses, butter, caramel popcorn, spicy, woody, oak, caramelized oak, sweet, smooth, easy drinking, great neat.


Silver Medal
   Silver medal



Ron Bermúdez Gran Reserva Aniversario




Howlin’ Hounds Barrel Aged Rum
(Missouri Ridge Distillery, MO) 80 prf

Nose: Toffee, burnt caramel, buttery, molasses, brown sugar, burnt sugar, sugar cane, maple, cola, cherry, biscuits, herbs, chervil, dry grass, tarragon, allspice, tobacco, nutty, briny, musty cellar, sweet oak, fresh cut wood.

Palate: Butterscotch, buttery, creamy, crème brûlée, molasses, banana, highly herbal, jasmine, cinnamon stick, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, warm nuts, tobacco, musty, charred barrel, oak, smooth.

Finish: Glazed donut, spicy orange, chervil, sweet pepper, peppery, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, nutty, earth tones, smoky, woody, oak.


Silver Medal
   Silver medal



Howlin’ Hounds Barrel Aged Rum


Rhum Clément 1865
(Martinique)

Extremely rare sample – bottled in 1865.
Not rated.

 

 

 



Rhum Clément 1865

 

 


 

A Brief History of Rum

 

Rum is the second largest selling spirit category in the U.S., 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.

 

 

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