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These Dark Rums Will Transport You To The Tropics This Spring

Most years, spring kicks off with adventures to tropical locations around the globe. But due to the pandemic, traveling abroad still feels like a dream. Not too distant — thanks to the rollout of vaccines across the country we’re officially in “Yay! Traveling internationally is on the horizon!” territory — but we’re not booking tickets to Antigua, Jamaica, or Cuba just yet.

Thankfully, there’s rum, which is 1) delicious and 2) a wonderful way to both conjure and learn about the tropics (where most brands are made). In fact, some rums carry such a clear sense of place in their flavor profiles that we find ourselves inspired to add their countries of origin to our travel wish lists.

Consider the list below a tasting guide and a travel assistant — letting you know what to sip now and where to visit later.

Ten To One Caribbean Dark Rum

Ten To One Rum

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $44

The Rum:

This dark rum is a blend of eight-year-old Barbados and Dominican column still rums, combined with Jamaican pot still rum, plus Trinidadian rum. This multi-island spirit is then matured in American white oak ex-bourbon casks.

Tasting Notes:

With a swirl of scents ranging from banana to leather, your palate is immediately locked in for a taste. The bright and divine sip is features hints of baking spices, spicy cinnamon, and brown sugar. There’s also the presence of vanilla and candied apple notes hiding below the surface. The finish is long-lasting and drizzled with heat.

Bottom Line:

If the tropics had a flavor, this would be it.

Appleton Estate Reserve Rum 8 Year

Appleton Estate

ABV: 43%
Average Price: $25

The Rum:

Appleton Estate rums mature quicker in the tropical Jamaican weather than spirits aged in cooler climates, allowing fuller flavors to develop in a shorter span of time. Crafted by renowned Master Blender Joy Spence, this rum has been aged for a minimum of eight years.

Tasting Notes:

Do you know the person that dominates the conversation but is legit good at it? That’s the orange peel aroma that overtakes the nose here. It’s powerful, but also cheery and welcome. That same orange peel that greeted you at the beginning of the experience is met with flavors of clove, banana, and oak on the palate. The finish is longish — those flavor notes stay to play long after you enjoy a mouthful.

Bottom Line:

Come for the beautiful Jamaican landscape, stay for the Appleton Estate rum. It’s just that simple.

Ron Abuelo Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish

Drizly

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $60

The Rum:

This 15-year-old rum is aged in American oak barrels before being finished in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks. It was crafted by expert distillers at Varela Hermanos, a family-owned company that dates back to 1908, when Don José Varela established the first sugar mill in Pesé, Panama.

Tasting Notes:

Smoky oak coupled with the aroma of ripe oranges lures you in for the beginning of a delightful tasting experience. Dark cherry shares the glory alongside vanilla bean notes on the palate, contributing to the complexity of the rum. The slightly heated finish quickly dissipates, leaving you with the taste of toasted almonds at the back of the palate.

Bottom Line:

I’ve never been to Panama. This rum has single-handedly made it a travel priority of mine.

The Rum Cooperative Volume Two

Bully Boy Distillers

ABV: 42%
Average Price: $36

The Rum:

Made by Boston’s first craft distillery, Bully Boy Distillers, The Rum Cooperative Volume Two, is comprised of premium rums sourced from five prominent rum-making regions: Martinique, Panama, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Colombia. It is crafted with a blend of eight to 12-year-old pot-stilled and column-distilled rums.

Tasting Notes:

The faint scent of vanilla and oak doesn’t build much anticipation for the first sip, but once the rum hits your palate, you’re in for an unexpected ride. The creamy, flavor-rich sip is riddled with coconut, sugar cane, and dark cherry. The blend of flavors coupled with the subtle spicy finish demands you to savor your pour.

Bottom Line:

Unconventional but also just flat-out delicious. Take me to all the tropical locations this rum is crafted from!

Coconut Cartel Special

Coconut Cartel Special

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $37

The Rum:

This aged Guatemalan rum is distilled with sugarcane molasses before its barreled and aged for up to 12 years in new, charred American white oak barrels. Using fresh, locally sourced coconut water, the distillery then proofs the rum blend from cask strength down to bottle strength (40% abv).

Tasting Notes:

It’s not called Coconut Cartel Special without reason. The aroma’s main star is — you guessed it — coconut. But don’t let that prevent you from indulging in the drink itself. Rich caramel and coconut complement each other, while a slight hint of banana completes the tasting experience. There’s hardly any heat on the finish and that’s okay, because the delectable flavors remain on the palate.

Bottom Line:

If you’re loco for coconuts (I couldn’t resist), then you’ll *really* enjoy this rum…and a trip to Miami. Because when would you not want to go to Miami.

Flor de Caña 12 Year

Flor de Caña

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $33

The Rum:

From a fifth-generation family estate, this 12-year old naturally aged rum is distilled with 100 percent renewable energy and is Kosher certified, plus sugar-free. Especially noteworthy is the fact that this rum is also sustainably produced (Carbon Neutral & Fair Trade certified).

Tasting Notes:

There’s depth to this rum that you can grasp from the honey and oak aroma. It has a velvety mouthfeel that’s beaming with character in the form of baked green apples, vanilla, and peppery spice. The finish is a quick kiss of heat coupled with a delicate sweetness.

Bottom Line:

I’ve been to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, and enjoyed this rum chilled while watching the sunset. You should do the same.

Cruzan Estate Diamond Dark Rum

Cruzan Rum

ABV: 40%
Average Price: $19

The Rum:

In the late 1700s, a sugar mill crushed cane at the site of the current Cruzan Rum distillery in St. Croix. Inspired by the name of this old sugar mill estate, this dark rum was born. It’s a blend of five to 12-year-old rums aged in American oak barrels.

Tasting Notes:

Beautiful amber hue, and a tantalizing nose comprised of hints of cinnamon alongside vanilla. The palate is as equally pleasing, with subtle sweet vanilla and oak, thanks to the barrel-aging process. Slight heat on the finish.

Bottom Line:

This rum is just as tasty neat as it is in a spirit-forward cocktail. Plus, anything that puts me in the mood to visit the US Vigin Islands is a winner.

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