Looking for the best rums? Rum has been having a renaissance of late as more and more drinkers embrace the spirit, both as a base for cocktails and as something to be sipped and savoured in its own right.
Intrigued but not sure where to start or which rum brands to try? Read on for our pick of the best premium rums available now, from clear white rums perfect for daiquiris to buttery, spiced numbers and dark, sultry spirits ideal for sipping.
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The distillery behind award-winning Tarquin’s Gin have turned their attentions to rum – another Cornish favourite – with this new Spiced Golden Rum. The spirit is inspired by coastal life and is created using a secret recipe of spices which flavour a blend of Jamaican and Dominican Republic varieties. The addition of a little PX sherry and aging over charred oak chips give this rum a warm, complex finish, with notes of vanilla, caramel and nutmeg – like a Cornish sunset in a glass. This is a super-smooth, rounded rum so perfect for sipping straight-up.
Blending three-year-old, traditional-style Jamaican rum with five-year-old Barbadian rum, this has notes of oak and vanilla on the nose, and a smooth, almost buttery mouthfeel. Ideal in a punch.
Aged in ex-bourbon casks for three years, this is a sumptuous, smooth and complex rum with a beautiful toffee colour and luscious brown sugar, caramel and spicy vanilla notes. Seriously sippable.
Believed to be the world’s first Afro-Caribbean rum, Equiano is a blend from distilleries in Barbados and Mauritius, aged for a minimum of eight years and finished in ex-bourbon casks. Expect a sweet butterscotch flavour, as well as sultana and buttery vanilla notes. Look out for an orange peel aftertaste, too. Best enjoyed simply poured over ice.
This single-origin demerara hazelnut rum from Guyana has masses of toasted nutty notes in aroma and flavour, as well as creamy vanilla and some subtle cocoa. Sweet but not cloying, it’s smooth enough to sip on its own or over ice, and would also work beautifully in an old fashioned.
Competitive pricing and slick, modern branding mercifully free of pirates, skulls or mermaids make Cut Rum one of the more interesting newcomers to the rum scene. Made from a blend of Jamaican and Trinidadian spirits, we were impressed with all the rums in its new range but it was the smoked rum that won the most praise. The smokiness (from burnt wood chips) doesn’t dominate the palate, mingling instead with beguiling notes of tobacco, coffee, oak, rich vanilla and brown sugar.
A rich, opulent Venezuelan rum with dried fruit, vanilla and baking spice notes, and subtle cocoa tones on the palate. With a rounded, velvety texture, this is one to sip neat and savour – preferably in front of a roaring fire.
It was a night drinking Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva that led to the birth of Neythan Hayes and Chris McGuire’s rum and seafood bar in St Ives and, later, their own Cornish rum, Dead Man’s Fingers. They infuse Caribbean rum with spices and age it for three years. The result has notes of orange peel, saffron cake (a Cornish speciality), vanilla and nutmeg – best served over ice.
The Wester Spirit Co in Glasgow has produced a corker. Crafted in copper pot stills, it’s a super-smooth spiced rum, with warming flavours of dried orange peel and creamy vanilla overtones. Sip on the rocks.
This unfiltered Filipino rum has been aged for several years in toasted American oak casks. At 50.4% ABV it packs a punch and has rounded flavours of dried fruit and smoky oak, and a surprising hint of mint at the end.
One of the few rums produced entirely in the UK, Old Salt is triple-distilled and then aged in English oak for three years. The end result is an elegant affair – think subtle smoke (almost whisky-like) with hints of butterscotch, banoffee pie and a peppery edge.
This unusual white rum from ethical drinks company FAIR. packs a punch, with fragrant herbaceous and menthol aromas, plus rich sugar (thanks to the rum’s high molasses content). Try in an aromatic daiquiri.
Rhum agricoles are made from freshly pressed sugar cane juice rather than molasses as with most other rums, resulting in a funkier spirit. This complex number was matured in oak and finished in port wine casks, and the end result is rewardingly complex – with wood, caramel and seductive chocolate notes.