While whiskey remains king in the spirts world, over the past few years enthusiasm for high-quality rum has increased substantially. There’s a pretty good reason for this and it should be obvious to whiskey fans. This sugarcane-based spirit — which is undergoing the same barrelling revolution as bourbon — is well suited for the whiskey drinker’s palate and complex enough that there’s a whole subculture for would-be geeks to dive into.
As with any booming industry, it’s not all gold. Though you have more high-quality rums readily available than ever before, you’ve also got a few duds to wade through, too. We’re talking about overrated bottles that get poured more than they deserve. This isn’t about putting brands on blast. Think of it as more of… an education, at the hands of bartenders. A reminder that you don’t have to always grab the bottle you immediately recognize.
Here’s what a handful of bartenders called out as their picks for the most overrated rums on the market.
Nestor Marchand, director of food and beverage at Plunge Beach Resort in Lauderdale, Florida
Diplomatico Reserva. This rum is not very complex for a premium brand. It gets a lot of praise, but the flavors aren’t on par with the high price tag.
Captain Morgan Cannon Blast
Shawn Brown, general manager of Wine World in Miramar Beach, Florida
Captain Morgan Cannon Blast. Compared to others at this price point, it lacks complexity and depth of flavor. At 70 proof, it won’t go as far in mixing cocktails. It seems more like a gimmick than a serious bottle.
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Reniel Garcia, bar director of Havana 1957 on Espanola Way in Miami
The Kraken — The quality has dropped lately, while the others around it have improved. I don’t know how much sugar is in this rum, but it is very, very sweet.
Seamus Gleason, bartender at Hotel Jackson in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Pyrat. It’s way too sweet. Drinks more like a cheap cognac and that’s really not what we’re hoping for with an aged rum.
Robert Swain Jr. of On the Rox Bartending Service in the British Virgin Islands
Popularly used for mojitos and other rum-based cocktails, Bacardi Spiced in my opinion has been overrated for many years. It’s very harsh, dry, and tasteless.
Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
Kurt Bellon, general manager and beverage director at Chao Baan in St. Louis
Captain Morgan is the brand called for when folks are looking for a generic rum and coke. Its marketing has positioned itself as the spiced rum, but I certainly don’t think it’s the best-spiced rum out there.
Tim Wiggins, co-owner and beverage director of Retreat Gastropub in St. Louis
Bumbu “rum” is one product that is incredibly misleading and overrated. It is marketed as “craft rum” when in reality it is a liqueur. It is a flavored liquid that is at best a bastardized version of rum. It’s truly unfortunate that it has become so popular.
Jeremy Allen, beverage director of MiniBar Hollywood in Los Angeles
Starts with a B and rhymes with “the party.” The rough aftertaste is rivaled only by Absolut. To be fair, their 8 year is actually very nice [We argee!].
Sure, if it’s the first alcohol you ever drink, you might enjoy the cloyingly sweet flavor of Malibu mixed with cola or pineapple juice. But if you actually drink rum, this stuff will make it feel like your teeth are going to fall out. Sure, it’s technically a liqueur, but it still has a rum base and is called rum — both of which are insults to the dynamism of this spirt.
Myer’s Original Dark
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Part of the appeal of Myer’s Original Dark is that its fairly cheap and it’s a blend of nine different rums of various ages. But for more refined palates, it’s a little too sweet because of the addition of extra molasses after distillation. Not a bad bottle to have in your collection, but certainly overrated.