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The 10 Best Dark Rum Brands to Try in 2022
Many rum enthusiasts seem to fall on one side of the dark rum or white rum line.
White rum is aged in stainless steel and generally offers a cleaner, fierier taste. They are the most popular inclusion in fruit cocktails like mai tai, daiquiris, or simple syrup and rum drink mixers.
Dark rums, which can go from gold rum and amber through to spiced or black rum, feature a heavier sweetness that utilizes the caramel and oak flavors brought on by barrel maturation. Dark rums – while also making fantastic cocktails – are favored by those drinkers who want simple mixed drinks or prefer their rum neat or with a glass of ice.
The following collection of 10 best dark rum brands feature a range of expressions from across the Caribbean. You’ll be certain to find a dark flavored rum that suits your taste and budget.
If you’re looking for white rum, then don’t worry, there’s plenty on the list of 15 rum brands to try!
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1. Diplomatico Ambassador
Diplomatico Ambassador Selection Rum is created by Master Blender Tito Cordero from 100 per cent pot still heavy rums aged a minimum of 12 years in ex-bourbon casks, then finished for an additional two years in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks.
Ambassador features a nose rich with subtle aromas of dried and candied fruit combining powerful vanilla, spices, smoke and cane syrup. On the palate the aromas give way to a creamy mouthfeel of dark chocolate, dried fruit, coffee and vanilla that leads in to a long and warming finish.
2. Appleton Estate 21 Year Old
The rums that make up 21 Year Old Appleton Estate Jamaican rum are hand-selected for the unique character, flavor, and sensorial bouquet they bring to the blend.
The quintessential Jamaican rum, the 21 year old has a tremendously deep dark brown color and a wonderful nose that greets you with sap-like brown sugar, oak, green apples, sweet tobacco and dark chocolate.
Two decades in barrel sees the sugars reigned in with spicy oak overlaying the flavor of raisins, dates, and light molasses.
It offers a drier finish with lingering traces of muscat wine, rancio and all-spice woven through the aftertaste.
3. Rhum Barbancourt Reserve Speciale 8 Year
The star of our 15 rums to try in 2020 list, Rhum Barbancourt Reserve Speciale (5 Star) is a product of Haiti aged 8 years to perfection in 100% French Limousine oak barrel.
Barbancourt is produced from pure sugarcane juice and double distilled in a manner simlar to Cognac. Afficionados often rate it superior to AOC Rhum Agricole (from the Isle of Martinique) but at a much more affordable price.
This powerful, fine dark rum includes notes of fruit, vanilla and pepper, and is perfect for simple sipping or carrying a tropical cocktail recipe such as a rum punch, mai tai, or tiki drink. Rhum Barbancourt Réserve Spéciale is a unique head turner sure to draw comment from those checking out your collection.
4. Facundo Exquisito
Facundo Exquisito (which means to be free) is a bold dark rum marrying those aged 7 years with matured rums aged 23 years aged in oak barrels and finished in sherry casks. After maturation the rums are blended, transferred and stored in sherry casks to rest for a minimum of one month.
Exquisito combines the sharper, fruitier notes of its 7 year old rums with smoke and spices from the anejo rums. It features madeira, vanilla, blackened fruit cake and brown sugar, balanced by spice hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. The standalone Facundo collection is a tribute to Bacardi founder Don Facundo Bacardi Masso.
5. Pusser's True Aged 15 Year Old British Navy Rum
“Pusser” is British Royal Navy slang for a purser, who was a ship’s supply officer. They controlled the quantity and quality of rum rations each sailor was assigned (although a rationed Navy rum supply was stopped in 1970).
The best rum in Pusser’s vaunted collection the 15 Years is a multi award winning limited edition dark rum crafted in small batches. Pusser’s Rum is a true aged rum (no mixing of differently aged rum blends) with a distinctively smooth and well-rounded taste, featuring a mix of demerara sugar, molasses, and Caribbean Island spices. If you’re looking for darker rums with an interesting back story, Pusser’s rum is a quality choice.
6. St Aubin Rhum Agricole Vanilla
Rhum agricole is the French term for sugarcane juice rum rather than molasses. St Aubin Agricole Rhum Vanilla is a delicious, laid back flavored rum in combined with vanilla grown on the St Aubin plantations in Mauritius.
The vanilla pod – you’ll find it at the bottom of the bottle – combined with the sugarcane juice helps make this an excellent smooth flavored rum. For those who prefer an amber rum with a sweeter touch for sipping tiki cocktails, a daiquiri, or tasty pina colada, this is exactly the type of rum you need.
7. Bacardi Gran Reserva Limitada
The premium rum expression from one of the world’s most beloved brands mixes some of Puerto Rico’s finest aged rum, then is aged for 12 years in oak. Bacardi Gran Reserva Limitada features clean oak barrel flavor with distinct woody, vanilla and toasted almond notes. Hints of butterscotch and dried fruit give way to a long, dry finish.
Every bottle of Bacardi Gran Reserva Limitada carries the signature of the Maximo Maestro de Ron Bacardi, before being individually marked with its blending batch, bottling date and bottle number. Bacardi Gran Reserva Limitada is a standout sipping rum for you to add to your home bar.
8. Stolen Overproof Rum
Stolen Overproof Rum is a 6 Year Old Jamaican Rum from Hampden Estate, who claim to have found this rum at the 250 year old distillery. Stolen Overproof Rum uses dunder (the liquid left in a boiler after distillation) as a flavor source. Stolen is the last of a 6-year aged rum distilled using very old, traditional pot stills.
At 123 proof this dark premium rum couples a kick in the pants with complexity and depth of flavor from baking spice and tropical fruit. If you prefer a lighter ABV beverage, then mixing Stolen with ginger beer, ginger ale or in a cocktail recipe works brilliantly, however this is one of those darker rums made for sipping.
9. OVD Demerara Rum
OVD stands for Old Vatted Demerara, a style of rum blending unique to the Demerara region of Guyana. All Demerara rum is distilled in Guyana, regardless of where it may be aged and bottled (with plenty of this happening for brands elsewhere in the world).
The rum is derived from sugar cane juice grown along the Demera river. OVD rum is distilled from molasses in a wooden Coffey still in Guyana before it’s blended and bottled in Glasgow before sale. OVD is a syrupy thick dark rum that is resplendent with banana, butter and sweet coffee, with a lingering molasses finish.
10. Flor De Cana 25 Year Old
Flor de Cana is a sustainably produced and Fair Trade certified premium rum produced solely from a 5th generation family estate. The rum is distilled with 100% renewable energy and naturally aged without sugar or artificial ingredients, making it one of the most sustainable alcoholic beverages on the market.
The 25-year old, ultra premium dark rum features the aroma of vanilla, wood and dark cocoa, combined with the flavor of fruit, almond and nuts. Flor de Cana 25 year old is a true sipping rum best enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or with just a touch of fresh lime to fully enjoy the long, sweet finish.
Bonus Premium Rum: The Mount Gay Port Cask Expression
The Mount Gay Master Blender Collection is released annually. The Mount Gay Port Cask is a blend of Barbados fine rums distilled in a traditional column still and aged for 5 years in Tawny Port casks.
It is then married with rums double distilled in a traditional copper pot still and aged for 14 years in bourbon casks before finishing again in Tawny Port casks for 1 year.
This golden amber rum expression features aromas of vanilla, caramel, almond, dried fruit. It stretched out to cherries, baking spice, prune, and currents. At the finish, Mount Gay features tremendous traces of bourbon oak along with the sweet overlay of fortified wine.
Cheapie Black Rum Bonus: Goslings Black Seal Rum
Ginger Beer, black rum, and lime juice. Simple and sizzling. A dark and stormy rum cocktail is made better by Goslings Black Seal Rum.
It’s such a potent combination the company has even trade-marked the name Dark and Stormy. That’s all the evidence I need.
Look, a black spiced rum of this type is not for everyone, but it will put you right. The molasses, brown sugar, heady spice mix and lengthy maturation process adds to its mystique, and the lovable seal on the label doesn’t hurt either.
It’s not just in the mix for dark and stormy either, add this for a belter rum punch or in a variety of tiki cocktails to give them that spiced rum flavor hit.