Today we are going to be talking about one of my favorite types of spirits, and one that I think offers some of the best bargains in all sipping liquors. When most people think of rum, they immediately envision the watery, vaguely sweet stuff that goes into blended daiquiris or a spiced accompaniment to their cola of choice. It is far less common that rum is thought of as a sipping drink, and although it may be most typically found served in a hurricane glass, there are some fascinating exceptions that would be just as at home served in a snifter as a fine Cognac or Scotch.
Sipping rum, commonly referred to as premium rum, like the premium tequila I featured by Don Julio a few months ago, is made with a higher level of quality in mind, with smaller scale production, longer aging in barrels, and artisan techniques. The beauty of sipping rum is that unlike brandy and whiskey, which have achieved a massive and loyal following, it is still a fairly unknown, and thereby very affordable, luxury. It is easy to find rums that have been aged 8, 15, 40+ years in barrels that sell for only a fraction of the price of other, better known brown liquors of the same age or less. Sipping rum’s relatively undiscovered status allows it to offer fascinatingly complex aromas and flavors, and a rich, hedonistic drinking experience all at a price that can’t be beat. Additionally, these rums are produced in countries throughout the Caribbean, each offering their own unique style and flavors, making it an endlessly intriguing category to explore.
We will be talking about two sipping rums today, both from famous producers and both priced at $25 a bottle. The first comes from Bacardi, the producer probably the most synonymous with rum. The second is a personal favorite of mine by the Patron company (better known for their tequila), under the Pyrat label.
Spirit #1: Bacardi Ron 8 Años Reserva Superior Rum
Our first rum represents Bacardi’s entrance into the premium sipping rum market. Along with their Añejo and Solera rums, which also undergo extended aging and could potentially fall into the sipping rum category (particularly Solera), Ron 8 Años solidly secures Bacardi’s place in the premium sector. Winning numerous awards, this rum from the Bahamas is a blend of rums aged in oak barrels for eight years or more.
The nose is dominated by pleasant oak influences, showing vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, and clove. There is a subtle molasses tone combined with a very soft undertone of dried apricot, old leather, and wood.
Subtle, with medium intensity, this is a pleasant, well composed rum from the first sip. Showing notes of oak, leather, and a diverse mix of kitchen spices, particularly cinnamon and clove, there is also a faint hint of the same dried apricot found on the nose. Very light molasses and raw sugar show at the core and into the finish. This is an easy to enjoy, well made, and subtle rum, with an endearing softness that makes it perfect to serve at room temperature in a snifter. I could see this also going well on the rocks, although the softer flavors may be diluted by the melting ice. Overall, a subtle, solid example of sipping rum that is easily…
Worth Trying. 89 points.
Spirit #2: Pyrat XO Reserve Rum
Patron’s Pyrat brand consists of three sipping rums. XO Reserve is their middle tier bottling, aged longer than their entry level Pistol, and not nearly as long as their Cask 1623, which is aged up to 40 years in oak and commands nearly $200 a bottle. The XO Reserve is a blend of rums aged as long as 15 years in French and American oak.
Bold and intense on the nose, this rum explodes with notes of fruit, sugar, and spice. A complex combination of crystallized ginger, candied orange peel, dried apricots, and possibly even some wild, exotic flowers show initially on the nose. Rich tones of light molasses, honey, and mixed kitchen spices also show at the core, with enticing notes of fresh cut vanilla bean around the edges. The complexity of this rum’s aroma alone almost makes it worth trying.
The palate is just as rich and bold as the aroma, with dense flavors of candied orange peel and ginger, apricot, and golden honey showing at first. An almost candied melon rind component shows on the mid palate, mixing with light molasses, exotic flowers, vanilla bean, and kitchen spices. This rum is fascinatingly complex, rich, and powerful, with excellent intensity that should ideally be served at room temperature in a snifter, but could also stand up to being served on the rocks. This ranks with some of the most intriguing rums I have found, and it is absolutely a bargain at the price point.
Worth Buying. 94 points.
Please Leave a Comment:
Have you ever had a sipping rum and what were your thoughts?