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Bottles Of Dark Rum Actually Worth Their $90+ Price Tags

Rum gets better with age, there’s no denying that. It’s not that unaged white or “rested” gold rums don’t have their place in a home bar rotation, especially if you’re mixing cocktails. They certainly do. But a 15, 20, and even 25-year-old bottle of dark rum can hit some serious high marks in both taste and texture that an unaged spirit simply can’t — standing up to any aged whiskey, bourbon, or scotch.

That’s why today — even in the dead of winter — we’re calling out some of the best expensive dark rums we’ve had the pleasure to have ever tasted. Ever.

There are no caveats for this list. These are simply the 10 best expensive rums we’ve tried in recent memory. Naturally, with how vast the spirits universe is, this can’t be a complete list of every expensive dark rum. And you may not be able to find many of these bottles on the average liquor store shelf. But if you ever do spot any of these expressions — maybe at a bar or party post-pandemic or maybe at a well-stocked liquor store when you’re flush with cash — give them a shot.

Sure, they’re pricey — but they’re also freaking delicious.

Goslings Family Reserve Old Rum

Goslings

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $90

The Rum:

This is a classy rum. It’s the standard Bermudian Goslings blend that spends a few extra years in the barrel. The rum is crafted to be a sipper that hints at both cognac and scotch.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a clear sense of very dark, almost burnt molasses on the nose that’s counterpointed by a spicy tobacco smoke. The palate introduces orange oils next to the Christmas spices and plenty of bittersweet oak. A dried fruit edge arrives and really drives home the Christmas cake spiciness while all that oak and tobacco emboldens the finish’s slow fade.

Bottom Line:

This really needs a little time to open up on the palate. Let it bloom in the glass with a touch of water and take your time savoring each sip.

Pusser’s Aged 15 Years

Pussers

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $90

The Rum:

Pusser’s is an old-school British Navy stalwart that blends various rums from the Caribbean. These rums are crafted to be savored with no-flashy bottles or elaborate backstories. This is good old rum that is left to rest for 15 years in barrels kissed by Guyana’s sun and humidity.

Tasting Notes:

Musty oak sits next to a real rummy funkiness on the nose. The palate has a nice underbelly of Christmas cake with plenty of spice, dried fruit, and nuts that are counterpointed by that wood, funk, plus a hint of minerality. The finish is surprisingly short, sweet, spicy, and centered on the old oak barrels.

Bottom Line:

This is probably the most unique rum on the list. It really stands out as a palate expander that’s also mixable. Don’t go crazy though — try it in a highball with fizzy water or tonic.

Bacardi Gran Reserva Limitada

Bacardi

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $100

The Rum:

This is the mountaintop of Bacardi. The batch is a limited edition blending of Puerto Rican rums that have aged from 12 to 16 years depending on the release you come across. That blend is specifically crafted to mimic the reserved rum the Bacardi family kept for their own home bars back in the day as the ultimate sipping spirit.

Tasting Notes:

Hints of bourbon vanilla, rich Christmas spice, marzipan, and an old cellar full of resting oak. A slight note of dark chocolate covered raisins arrives next to a clear note of orange oils as the palate holds onto the spice and vanilla at its core. The end mellows dramatically as the oak sweetens and that vanilla fades. Pure velvet.

Bottom Line:

This really is next level Bacardi. It’s really smooth, meaning you barely need a rock or water to cool it down. Still, water will help it bloom, especially if you’re looking for those dark chocolate notes.

Ron Zacapa XO

Ron Zacapa

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $114

The Rum:

This expression is a blend of Guatemalan rums that spent six to 25 years resting in the Solera warehouse in former sherry casks at high elevations. The rum is then finished in French cognac casks to add that little extra refinement to the final taste.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a familiar draw of vanilla and spice that’s accentuated by worn leather, salted butter, rich pipe tobacco, and a foundation of soft cedar. Those notes hold strong as a sticky and buttery toffee arrives with plenty of dried fruits, more spice, chewy vanilla tobacco, and a hint of cacao. The finish is long, svelte, mildly sweet, and full of that cedar until the very end.

Bottom Line:

This is a really f*cking good sip of rum. It’s complex while being totally accessible without even adding water.

El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve

El Dorado

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $115

The Rum:

This expression is a blend of three one-of-a-kind Guyanan rums. The base is distilled in the world’s only still-in-operation 19th-century wooden column still. The next rum is distilled in the world’s only still-in-operation 18th-century single wooden pot still. The third rum is distilled in an 18th-century French Savalle column still.

That history alone is worth the money. Each rum then spends 21 years resting in oak before blending, proofing, and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a real sense of butter and rum-laden Christmas cake packed with dried and candied fruits and nuts wrapped up in a giant chocolate-tinted tobacco leaf on the nose. Those notes hold true on the palate as a clear sense of cacao arrives to take the sip toward bitter-yet-sweet territory before a hint of banana pushes it back on keel.

The sip holds onto the spices, nuts, fruit, and tobacco the longest as a mild sense of cedar arrives on the end, with one of the slowest fades on this list.

Bottom Line:

This is the perfect post-meal digestif. It really feels like the ultimate winter sipper, especially when you get a little water in there to let it bloom in a big old snifter glass.

Diplomático Single Vintage

Diplomatico

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $120

The Rum:

This well-crafted expression is a marrying of Venezuelan rums aged in ex-bourbon and ex-single malt casks for up to 12 years. The rums are then hand-selected and hand-blended to find the perfect balance of taste and texture. The blend finally spends a year in sherry casks to give it that final note of ultra-refinement.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a sharpness to the nose that leans more towards candied ginger than Christmas spices with a bit of funk. The taste leans hard into the spiciness, with an orange zest brightness next to more funky old oak and plenty of sherried sweetness and plummy depths. The end fades very slowly and hits each note again as it warms your soul.

Bottom Line:

This is a surprisingly light sipper that usually works really well neat. It’s also crazy good in simple rum cocktails, like a rum Manhattan.

Appleton Estate Aged 21 Years

Appleton Estate

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $140

The Rum:

Master Blender Joy Spence has been making great rum at Appleton Estate for decades and this is a great example of her craft. This expression of Jamaican rum is a blend of minimum 21-year-old rums that are hand-picked by Spence for their ability to build a truly great final product.

Tasting Notes:

That classic Jamaican funk is front-and-center with hints of marzipan, vanilla, brown sugar, black pepper, and a hint of bitter orange marmalade. The palate delivers on what the nose promises — while also highlighting the aged oak, mild spiciness, more marzipan, dark chocolate (with water), and a white sugar cube sweetness (in the best possible way).

Bottom Line:

This goes down way too easily, especially with a single rock to open it up.

Flor de Caña 25

Flor de Caña

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $154

The Rum:

This rum is a true cane-to-glass experience from the slopes of the San Cristobal volcano in Nicaragua. This particular expression is a marrying of rums aged up to 25 years in the shadow of that volcano and is proofed with mineral water bubbling up from the volcanic soil underneath.

Tasting Notes:

There are classic bourbon notes of vanilla and caramel/toffee on the nose next to bitterly charred oak and chocolate with hints of orange oils and black tea. There’s a tobacco spiciness to the body of the sip that leads towards a mintiness next to more toffee, spice, and oak. The chocolate darkens as the spice sharpens on the slow fade, leaving you with a sense of an old cedar box that once held cigars and vanilla pods.

Bottom Line:

This is a massively popular sipper that wins awards and titles. It’s even been heralded as the best sipping rum in the world. We feel like that’s a pretty accurate way to look at this expression.

Mount Gay The Port Cask Expression

Mount Gay

ABV: 55%

Average Price: $200

The Rum:

Master Blender Trudiann Branker hit it out of the park with this Barbados rum. The expression is a blend of rum aged for five years in Tawny Port casks that’s married to 14-year-old rums aged in ex-bourbon casks. That blend is then transferred to fresh Tawny Port casks for a final year of resting/finishing. The rum is then bottled at cask strength with no fussing whatsoever.

Tasting Notes:

The bourbon comes through with rich notes of oily vanilla and buttery caramel next to those deeper port notes of dried stonefruits next to marzipan with a hint of rose water. The palate builds on that by veering into a real sense of bright red cherries and chewy prunes stewed in Christmas spices with a sense of musty oak and more of that marzipan edging in. The end lightens to a velvet sip that’s perfectly rounded as the spice, cherry, and almond slowly fade out.

Bottom Line:

This is one of those sips that make you say, “wow…” It’s just so goddamn easy to drink without water. It’s also a wonderful outlier on this list with all that cherry really bringing some brightness.

Goslings Papa Seal Single Barrel

Goslings

ABV: 41.5%

Average Price: $200

The Rum:

We’ve come full circle and back to Bermuda and Goslings. This bottle is a blend of ex-bourbon barrel rums that spent 21 years maturing. The batch is married and then finished for two more years in a new American oak barrel before it’s proofed and bottled from that single barrel.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a real sense of the bourbon via notes of vanilla and toffee up top, next to an almost cognac fruitiness and nuttiness. The taste holds onto the vanilla as soft cedar enters the fray along with subtle Christmas spices, chewy and fruity tobacco, and a salted caramel edge. The finish embraces that savory-sweet aspect with more of the cedar and tobacco lingering on the slow fade.

Bottom Line:

This is unbelievably smooth. It’s like drinking silk with beautiful notes of flavor delicately woven in.

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