Inspired by our gin tasting a few months back, we made a pact to eventually do the same for all of our liquor. This time, we pulled out the rum: one of Jen’s favorite spirits. I’ve always been lukewarm on rum, so this was a pretty big eye opener for me. I’ve long wondered why Tiki drinks might call for 3 different kinds of rum that I didn’t consider to be that different from one another, and I’ve finally got my answer.
Just like with the gin, there were some real surprises, and some discoveries in our own collection that really changed the way I thought about quite a few of these. We invited our friend Becky over again to help, and we individually rated each and picked an overall favorite. Here’s everything we tried, in the order we tried them (prices according to the PLCB site, when available), complete with a chart of our individual ratings at the end:
1| Mount Gay Eclipse Gold ($13.99, 80 Proof): This may have been a bad place to start. Across the board, this was the least favorite rum of the night. It had a harsh burn, tasted like the rum that everyone pictures after they haven’t had any rum since that one night in college, and lacked in character. It would be useful in large batches of fruit mojitos or something else where a powerful fruit can overtake the flavor in a party setting for the non-discerning drinker when you need a lot of a booze that no one is going to appreciate anyway.
2| Cruzan Aged Gold Rum ($12.99, 80 Proof): We were all surprised to find out that we greatly preferred the Cruzan to the Mount Gay, especially because we initially got the Mount Gay specifically to replace the Cruzan as a mixer. The sugarcane flavor really came through, and in the sweetness there was a little bit of a pleasant throat warmth. “Inoffensive” and “smooth” were the two most common descriptors.
3| Mount Gay Eclipse Silver ($10.99, 80 Proof): While it was better than the Mount Gay Gold, it wasn’t by a large margin. Almost no sweetness to the rum somehow made the flavor almost reminiscent of tequila. No one was shocked by how bad it was, but we agreed that we probably won’t be buying it again.
4| Bacardi Silver ($14.99, 80 Proof): This was another one we weren’t looking forward to drinking. Years of ads and being classified as a well liquor had us all expecting the worst. Of course, we were wrong again. The Bacardi was smooth and easy to drink with almost no burn at all. Someone described it as “buttery,” and everyone agreed with the assessment. By this point, we were starting to learn that our liquor prejudices might be a bit unfounded. We closed out this round agreeing simply: Bacardi is pretty good.
5| 10 Cane ($26.99, 80 Proof): The 10 Cane was a little different than the rum we had tasted so far in that it had a bit more character to go on. I actually liked it a bit more than Jen and Becky, thought we agreed that price-wise, it was a little high for what we were tasting. It had more burn than we expected, and had a bit of a sour flavor that would mix well with sour. If I had to pick a way to use the 10 Cane, it would be in a Mojito. The lime would balance it well, and the kick would stand out well enough to compete with the mint.
A whole bunch more – including our stand-out favorites – after the break.
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