2015 Rum Favorites from the Tasting Table

December 31, 2015

As we bring 2015 to a close here at Distiller, we’ve got just one more thing for you! We brought together as many of the members of the Tasting Table (for whom we are incredibly grateful) as we could, to bring you their personal favorites of the year, in a handy, bite-sized format.

Here are the Distiller Tasting Table’s favorites in rum from 2015!

Jake Emen:

Brugal Papa Andres 2015 Alegría Edition Rum
Only 36 casks were incorporated into this release of the Brugal family’s private reserve. A deep, resonating nose of candied fruits, brown sugar and raisins leads to a velvety mouthfeel and palate with sherry, dried fruit, caramel and molasses.

Ron Zacapa Centenario Rum XO
Zacapa’s XO incorporates rum up to 25 years of age, aged in ex-Cognac barrels. A wonderful after dinner selection offering a range of spicy and oaky notes paired with a sweeter and fruitier side.

Admiral Rodney Extra Old Rum
This rum made at St. Lucia Distillers is produced in column stills and aged up to 15 years. Admiral Rodney is an incredibly smooth sipping yet nuanced expression.

Afrohead XO Rum
Molasses from the Dominican Republic and yeast from Angostura are incorporated into the Afrohead brand. The XO offers a bourbon-heavy nose with char, vanilla and caramel, followed by a sweet palate also offering brown sugar and maple syrup

Ron Barceló Imperial
Barcelo takes the extra step of finishing the Imperial release in French oak barrels for two years. The result is a smoky, roasted nose leads to a creamy and buttery palate, and a warming finish.

Amanda Schuster:

Foursquare Rum Port Cask Finish
It’s a gamechanger. So much happening there
sweet, tart, smooth, spicy, roasty, satisfying. Hope they import this to the states soon.

Taildragger Amber Rum
A surprisingly great, delicious rum, well made, simple and lovely rum from the states!

Ron Diplomatico Reserva Rum
It’s just yummy and such a bargain for what it is.

Novo Fogo Tanager Rum
Lots of surprising berry flavors and spice showing attention to detail in all aspects of production.

Plantation Pineapple Stiggins’ Fancy Rum
Who knew flavored rum could be this good?

Josh Miller:

Foursquare Rum Distillery Port Cask Finish
Three years in Bourbon casks and six years in Port casks has transformed a really well-made white rum into a truly transformational sipping rum with complexity to rival your favorite whisk(e)y. Limited to 2,000 cases in the US.

Mezan Jamaica Rum 2000
Single cask and limited release rums have been a staple in Europe for years, and now Americans are finally getting in on the practice. This Mezan release from Long Pond Distillery is a delightfully bold Jamaican rum that bursts with fruit, spice, and Chantilly cream.

KōHana Koa Hawaiian Agricole Rum
Distilled on Oahu from native Hawaiian sugar cane, Kohana’s agricole style rums are redefining the defintion of rum in the islands. The Koa expression is aged in oak and manages to convey fresh grass and fruit, and oaken rum cake at the same time.

Ron Cartavio Solera 12 Year Rum
Recently re-introduced to the US market, Cartavio’s rum lineup is solid from top to bottom. Perhaps the best is the 12 Solera, which works delightfully on its own and in classic cocktails like the Palmetto.

Damoiseau Rhum Agricole VSOP
Guadeloupe is so hot right now, and Damoiseau is leading the charge here in the US. Made from fresh sugar cane juice in the French style, the VSOP is a really affordable agricole that has major crossover appeal for folks who already enjoy other brown spirits.

Matt Piertek:

Dictador 20 Year Solera System Rum
A solera-aged rum from Colombia. Remarkably smooth and flavorful, and a joy to sip.

K&L Faultline Jamaica Rum 14 Year
The world needs more high-proof, high-ester Jamaican rums. This 14 year aged rum from Jamaica is a treat for anybody who appreciates the Jamaican style.

Neisson 52.5 Rhum Agricole Blanc
A stellar example of unaged Rhum Agricole. A flavor bomb to be savored neat or in a Ti Punch.

Ron Cartavio Solera 12 Year Rum
The standout of Cartavio line from Peru. Smooth and rich with hints of sherry without added sugar.

Mezan Panama Rum 1999
An outstanding, fruit forward yet dry rum from Panamanian master Don Pancho by way of the UK’s Mezan. This expression wasn’t imported to the U.S. but releases from subsequent years have been.

Paul Belbusti:

Hawaiian Moonshine Okolehao
Fascinating, and as far as I know, the only commercial Okolehao currently produced.

Revelation Rum
I’ll take a healthy pour in a snifter and very fine a cigar, please.

Avalon Silver Rum
I often find myself thinking back and wondering, was that, in fact, the best white Rum I have ever tasted? Perhaps.

Twenty Boat Cape Cod Spiced Rum
This is a meticulously and carefully made spiced rum that deserves to be enjoyed neat.

Berrys’ Finest St Lucia Rum 11 year
Completely and totally unlike any Rum I have ever tasted. Primary flavors of menthol and eucalyptus left me intrigued and happily confused.

Paul Senft:

Mezan Jamaica XO
Mezan sourced rums from several Jamaican Distilleries to create a product that exemplifies the funky and dynamic flavors found in Jamaican rums.

Rhum Barbancourt Estate Reserve 15 Year
While visiting the distillery in Haiti, I enjoyed a sample of the rum. When I got home I tracked a bottle down and found the aroma and flavor actually reminded me of the aromas from the distillery. Sipping the rum reminds me of great people and an awesome trip.

Ron Cihuatán Gran Reserva Solera 8
This 8 year old rum from El Salvador exemplifies everything I enjoy about Central American Rums. The balance of smoky oak and spice notes create a flavor profile that is a quality sipping rum.

Siesta Key Toasted Coconut
The folks at Drum Circle Distilling raised the bar in the flavored category this year with rum. This product is made with maturated shredded coconut with no additives creating a coconut rum product that tastes “real” and is a big step up compared to most coconut rums in the marketplace .

Monymusk Plantation Special Reserve Rum
I discovered this rum at an Authentic Caribbean Rum event in the Dominican Republic. Advertised as one of the finest blends of Jamaican mature rums it surpassed expectation.

Ron Bechtol:

The Devil’s Own Spiced Rum
The flavors are unabashedly full-blown without ever being totally over-the-top.

Ron Abuelo Centuria Rum
The palate, rich with syrupy cane, avoids any cloying aspects by virtue of its lively, berry-like fruit, mulled cider, baked pear and tobacco notes–many of which continue into a lingering, smoldering finish.

Liberty Call San Diego County Spiced Rum
The spice is not gratuitous here, nor is the restrained sweetness–a welcome exception for a spiced rum product.

Ron Cartavio XO Rum
Raisins and dried apricots join the parade on the palate, along with additional brown sugar, hazelnuts, vanilla bean and a hint of mocha.

Petty’s Island White Rum
There’s a modest bite to the palate, yet it’s balanced by vanilla, brown spice and fresher, floral grassiness.

Stephanie Moreno:

Avuá Amburana Cachaça
The Amburana oak offers a warm and exotic blend of spices and the cachaça itself is slightly sweet with herbaceous tones and a creamy profile. Sippable and mixable, it is definitely one you should seek out.

Pink Pigeon Vanilla Spiced Rum
A flavored and spiced rum that has character and a non-artificial taste. Don’t just use in a rum and Coke, give it a try in a rum sour and exclude the sugar.

R.L. Seale’s 10 Year Rum
This one gets put on my Top 5 list both for the packaging and for the contents. An aged rum with no sugar added post distillation. Tangy and smoky with a little funk and barrel spices.

St. George Spirits California Agricole Rum
Fresh grass, briny olives, and the funk that comes along with distilling fresh sugarcane. St. George is a true craft distillery we can be proud as Americans to call our own.

Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12 Year Rum
This belongs on my Top 5 list for the year, because it is one of my all-time go-to’s. Solid. Happy to drink it anytime, anywhere.


Looking for a new Rum to add to your life?

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