Looking for the best rums? Rum has been having a renaissance of late – annual sales recently topped the £1 billion barrier, 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 with 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 perfect for sipping.
Cut Smoked Rum
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.
Dead Man’s Fingers
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.
East London Liquor Company Demerara Rum
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.
FAIR. Muscovado Rum
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.
The Duppy Share Caribbean Rum
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.
Wester Premium Spiced Rum
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.
Don Papa Rare Cask Rum
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.
Old Salt Rum
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.