Rum, as a general rule, is fairly inexpensive—you can find a truly fantastic bottle for just a little more than $20. That means that anything over $45 is considered pretty pricey when it comes to the sugar cane spirit, especially if you aren’t a serious rumhead or tiki fiend. But some of these higher end bottlings are truly worth their price tags. Here are seven bottles of pricey, aged rum that deserve your money, in order of least to most expensive.
Aged solera style (fractional blending of different ages of spirit), this Venezuelan rum is a terrific intro for beginner rum sippers. It’s sweet (but not too sweet) with complex layers of nuttiness and orange zest. First released in 1996 in celebration of the distillery’s 200 year anniversary, it is now a staple for any serious rum drinker. Sip it neat or on one giant rock. Or, if you really are just getting acquainted with good, aged rum, try adding a few dashes of orange bitters and a couple of Angostura bitters for an easy “cocktail” that any Old Fashioned lover will enjoy.
This Nicaraguan rum is filled with heady vanilla flavors. It’s particularly good for bourbon drinkers turned rum drinkers with its full body and baking spices, though it does have a hint of banana as well, betraying its tropical character. While we would recommend sipping this straight or on the rocks, many people swear that it is one of the best bases for a Cuba Libre.
Like the Santa Teresa, this Guatemalan rum is also aged in the solera style. It’s a blend of rums that range in age from six to 23 years, and you can taste how each year affects the overall flavor. The older rums add weight and oak, while the younger rums bring some bright tropical funk to the table. It is on the fruitier side of rum, with notes of cooked fruit and raisins.
A blend of rums distilled on both pot stills and column stills, this rum is not for beginners. With its fresh, brash funk, it is a complex and grassy sipper. It’s still sweet, but with an almost vegetal twinge that keeps you curious and coming back for more. It finishes dry and clean, leaving behind only some alcoholic heat and a touch of herbal freshness. Drink this straight and neat.
We’ve sung the praises of Barrell before, but it’s been for their delicious bourbons. Their rum, though, is equally worthy of celebration. Distilled on a pot still in Jamaica, the rum is aged for seven years in used bourbon barrels before traveling to Kentucky for bottling. It smells like an island vacation, with tropical notes of sweet sugar cane and banana. Take a sip and you’ll get wave upon wave of white pepper, grass and funky papaya, with some tangy guava on the finish. It’s bottled at a cask strength of nearly 135 proof, though, so be careful about gulping it down too fast.
Bacardi’s premium line of sipping rums, Facundo, produces some excellent bottles but our favorite is the Exquisito, which is a blend of rums between seven and 23 years old. Finished in sherry casks, the rum is incredibly soft upon first sip with spices and dried cherries to follow. It finishes fairly dry and oaky, with just a hint of that nutty sherry cask. It certainly lives up to its name.
If you get your hands on this jewel of a bottle, hold onto it and serve it to only friends who you think merit its precious, amber liquid. Named for Joy Spence, Appleton’s master blender and the first woman to earn the title of master blender in the industry, it commemorates her 20th anniversary in her position. A blend of rums that are at least 25 years old, the rum is chocolaty and spiced with a twinge of oak and a long, silky finish.