Aged Rum

Best Aged Rum

The Fifty Best Aged Rum Tasting 2022


The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a "blind" tasting of 11 aged rums with fourteen members of our spirits judging panel. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Strict tasting rules were applied. Each of the rums were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and served at slightly above room temperature. The judges wrote down their impressions of each product on score sheets. Double-Gold, Gold and Silver Medals are awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no Bronze Medals awarded for this tasting. Medals are provided based entirely on merit and only to products judged worthy of such award.

The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The distilleries, states, countries of origin and alcohol proofs are identified for each brand. Clicking on the brands' names will link to their websites.


Papa's Pilar Legacy Edition 2021 Dark Rum
(FL)  86 prf
Sourced from Barbados, D.R., Panama, Venezuela & Florida.
Pot & column distilled. Solera blended in bourbon barrels, Port wine casks & Spanish sherry casks. Finished in rye whiskey barrels.

Nose: Caramel, toasted caramel, burnt caramel, toffee, butterscotch, chocolate, sweet molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, bourbon vanilla, rum & coke, crème brûlée, French toast, fruit cake, raisins, very ripe fruit, orange zest, coffee.

Palate: Caramel, toffee, chocolate, cocoa, chocolate latte, dark chocolate filled with vanilla cream, vanilla, banana, raisins, dried fruit, citrus, oats, coffee, cinnamon, sweet spicy, dark wood, oak, cedar, nice sweetness, rich, gourmand.

Finish: Smooth chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, maple syrup, French toast, coconut, banana, dried fruit, citrus, peppery spice, white pepper, sherry notes, well balanced, complexity, hearty, rich, creamy.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal


Papa's Pilar Legacy Edition 2021 Dark Rum

Flor de Caña Centenario 12
Single Estate Rum

(Nicaragua)  80 prf
Aged 12 years in whiskey and bourbon oak barrels.

Nose: Butterscotch, warm caramel, toffee, sweet molasses, brown sugar, beckoning cane, candy corn, vanilla extract, apricot, cola, almond, pecan, cashew, hazelnut, nutty, oak, distant wood, sherry, delicate.

Palate: Toffee, chocolate, cocoa, burnt sugar, brown sugar, vanilla bean, vanilla, honey, dried apricot, citrus peel, licorice, nuts, spicy, leather, woody, wood, oak, sherry, madeira, fruit & tannin balanced, nicely balanced, layered, very approachable develops, smooth, deep & rich, elegant.

Finish: Toffee, milk chocolate, cocoa, mocha, brown sugar, honey, vanilla, allspice, nutmeg, oak, good length, smooth, nice afterglow of raw cane, flavorful, delightful.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal


Flor de Caña Centenario 12 Single Estate


Twisted Path Dark Rum
(Twisted Path Distillery, WI)  90 prf
Distilled from organic molasses. Aged in whiskey barrels.
Organic & gluten free.

Nose: Rum toffee, caramel, sweet molasses, demerara sugar, brown sugar, maple, vanilla, nougat, crème brûlée, honey, ripe guava, citrus, coffee, nutty, white pepper, musty, tobacco, leather, light minerality, toast, oak, smoked oak, rich.

Palate: Toffee, dark chocolate, molasses, burnt sugar, brown sugar, buttery, vanilla, dark raisins, peach, apricot, lemon peel, coconut, walnuts, rye, barley, grain, toasted oak, dry oak, velvety.

Finish: Rich cocoa, light mocha, vanilla, brown sugar, lingering honey, raisins, prunes, nutmeg, warm spices, peppery spice, oak, wood, like a log fire, balanced, nice, robust.

Gold Medal
   Gold medal


Twisted Path Dark Rum

Saison Rum Sherry Cask
(Barbados & Trinidad)  84 prf
Aged at least 5 yrs. in American & French oak barrels.
Finished in first fill Pedro Ximénez sherry casks.

Nose: Caramel, vanilla, cooked sugar, honey, bubble gum, pineapple, banana, guava, mango, tropical fruit, ripe apple, tangerine, citrus, orange peel, citrus peel, dried fruit, dried cherry, banana peel, gardenia, musty, sauterne.

Palate: Caramel, butterscotch, molasses, brown sugar, burnt sugar, vanilla, milky, crème brûlée, coconut, strawberry, pineapple, guava, apple, orange, citrus, orange peel, warm spice, smoke, oak, toasted oak, wood, well-rounded, soft, refreshing.

Finish: Chocolate, vanilla, honey, apricot, peach, orange, bergamot, tropical, spices, white pepper, toast, smoke, wood, spicy wood, cedar, balanced, nice, soft & elegant.

Gold Medal
   Gold medal


Saison Rum Sherry Cask

Thomas Tew Reserve Rum
(Newport Craft Distilling CO., RI)  100 prf
Made with blackstrap molasses. Copper pot distilled.
Aged a minimum 7 years.

Nose: Caramel, toffee, cocoa, demerara sugar, vanilla, honey, raisins, barley, rye, walnuts, faint mint, strong cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, tobacco, toasty, wood, forest, oak, pine sap, sweet wine.

Palate: Caramel, toasted caramel, buttery, creamy, butterscotch, vanilla, molasses, honey, dried herbs, nutty, clove, allspice, cinnamon, warm spices, spicy, earth, strong oaky-ness, overwhelming wood, sherry, bourbon-like, higher proof, nice heat, balanced, nicely done.

Finish: Caramel, cocoa, brown sugar, honey sap ribbons, honey, dried prunes, raisins, fennel tea, herbaceous, clove, peppery, wood, oaky, good to sip, nice, elegant.

Gold Medal
   Gold medal


Thomas Tew Reserve Rum

Ron Colón Salvadoreño
High Proof Aged Rum

(San Salvador)  111 prf
Distilled from sugar cane.

Nose: Butterscotch, butterscotch candy, buttery, cream, caramel, demerara sugar, fresh cane juice, rich vanilla, honey, coffee cake, Banana’s Foster, sweet wine, cherry, stone fruits, guava, lemon, lilac, herbal, grass, agave, apple cider vinegar, oak.

Palate: Molasses, raisins, fig, papaya, banana, Granny Smith apple, dried apple, melon, hint of pear juice, orange peel, herbs, grass, spice, black pepper, earth, peaty, smokiness, toast, oak, butter, funk, Agricole.

Finish: Caramel, butter, cream, sugarcane, honey, ripe pineapple, ripe banana, apple, esters, balanced, complex.

Gold Medal
   Gold medal

Ron Colón Salvadoreño

Kō Hana KOHO Hawaiian Agricole Rum
Barrel Select

(Manulele Distillers, HI)  90 prf
Distilled from Kō Kea native Hawaiian sugar cane.

Nose: Caramel, molasses, vanilla, honey, raisin, sweet citrus, clementine blossom, wildflower, apple blossom, floral, subtle corn, rye bread, wheat, dried hay, pine, fragrant oak, dark wood, Agricole, clean.

Palate: Vanilla, buttery, sugar cane, honey, peach, plum, dried fruit, corn, cereal, toast, orange blossom, anise, spices, straw, bamboo, earth, funk, heavy char, woody, very oaky, underlying sweetness, nicely blended flavors, develops, complex, Agricole.

Finish: Sugar cane, honey, golden raisin bread, wheat, rye, licorice, vegetal, spices, white pepper, leather, oaky, wood, good heat.

Gold Medal
   Gold medal

Kō Hana KOHO Hawaiian Agricole Rum Barrel Select

Mount Gay Black Barrel Barbados Rum
Double Cask Blend

(Mount Gay Distilleries, Barbados)  86 prf
Aged 3-7 yrs in American whiskey casks,
finished in bourbon casks.

Nose: Toffee, caramelized, burnt brown sugar, brown sugar, toasted sugar, demerara, sugar cane, vanilla, honey, honey Graham cracker, toasted coconut, banana, lemon peel, hint of citrus, almond, cinnamon, spicy.

Palate: Creamy caramel, cooked caramel, butterscotch, cocoa, nougat, vanilla, maple, honey, raisin, herbal, spice, light grain, toast, nice tannins, wood, oaky, balanced, semi-rich.

Finish: Caramel, brown sugar, dark dried fruit, raisins, plum, lingering honey & spice, white pepper, black pepper, pine, oak.

Gold Medal
   Gold medal

Mount Gay Black Barrel Barbados Rum Double Cask Blend


Alto Grande Puerto Rican Rum
Aged 5 Yrs

(Club Caribe Distillers, PR)  80 prf
Distilled from rganic sugar cane & molasses,
artesian well water.

Nose: Caramel, toffee, chocolate, molasses, sugar cane, toasted sugar, honey, toasted coconut, banana, light citrus, floral, powder, resins, wood, oak, dessert-like.

Palate: Burnt sugar, molasses, faint vanilla, honey, dried fruit, dried citrus peel, coconut husk, herbs, warm spices, earthy, oak, well balanced, rich, gentle, very nice.

Finish: Cocoa, mocha, vanilla, coconut husk, sweet spice peppery, toast, wood, oak, above average.

Silver Medal
   Silver medal

Alto Grande Puerto Rican Rum Aged 5 Yrs

Rumson's Grand Reserve Rum
(MA)  80 prf
Hand select barrel-aged Caribbean rums,
blended and finished in New England.

Nose: Caramel, light butterscotch, Werther’s Original, buttery, vanilla, chocolate covered brandy cherries, molasses, raw cane, candied apple, cooked apple juice, pineapple, lime rind, citrus, yellow flowers, slight vegetal, nutty, cedar, sherry.

Palate: Light cocoa, creamy, buttery, burnt sugar, honey, pineapple, mango, apricot, cherry, white grape, mixed tropical fruit, dried fruit, sweet chamomile, bamboo, peaty, wood, French oak, brandy, grape cognac, Armagnac.

Finish: Light butterscotch, cocoa, mocha, light cane sweetness, tropical fruit, lime rind, slight spice, pepper, smoky, wood, cedar, oak, nice balance, clean.

Silver Medal
   Silver medal

Rumson's Grand Reserve

Thomas Tew Single Barrel Rum
(Newport Craft Distilling CO., RI)  85 prf
Made with blackstrap molasses. Copper pot distilled.
Aged 3-5 years.

Nose: Caramel, butterscotch, molasses, brown sugar, vanilla, crème brûlée, banana, malt, toasted pecans, rye, grain, Earl Grey tea, wet hay, funk, tobacco, toast, charred wood, oak.

Palate: Vanilla, burnt sugar, brown sugar, banana, mango, dried pineapple, grain, strong rye flavor, licorice, black tea, spice, pepper, tannic, earthy, oaky, wood, complex, creamy mouthfeel, velvety mouthfeel.

Finish: Dark bitter chocolate, lingering mocha, touch of vanilla, green apple peel, ginseng, tangy, spice, leather, oak, round, delicate, mix in a cocktail.

Silver Medal
   Silver medal

Thomas Tew Single Barrel Rum



A brief history of rum in the Americas.

During the 18th century, the 159 distilleries in New England produced huge quantities of quality rum from molasses shipped to the colonies from the islands. More rum was made in Colonial America than in the Caribbean, and rum became the colonists' most popular spirit. Twelve million gallons of rum were consumed annually by the early colonists. After the Revolution, as the trading of molasses was restricted by the British, Americans switched to home-grown products such as corn and grain. The American whiskey industry was born, and whiskey replaced rum as the tipple of choice. Most New England distillers closed shop, but rum production continued in the Caribbean, shipping most of the product to Europe.

George Washington, the first President of the United States of America, knew the value of supplying the public with a little rum. When running for a seat in the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1758, Washington gave out 28 gallons of rum and 50 gallons of rum punch, as well as wine, beer and cider – to 391 voters. It cost his campaign £50 (about $8,000 today), but he won his seat.
The strangest rum fact: When Admiral Nelson died in the Battle of Tralfager, his body was preserved during the voyage home in a cask of rum before it was laid to rest.

Following World War II, rum became fashionable in pre-Castro Cuba where luxury hotels and bars in Havana were notorious for their rum-based cocktails. Ernest Hemingway's favorite cocktail, a Daiquiri, was made with white rum at the notorious Cuban bar El Floridita. Also in the late 50s early 60s, Tiki Bars were all the rage at places such as Trader Vic's with its exotic rum cocktail concoctions featuring the Zombie and Mai Tai.
More recently there has been a resugence with over 400 distilleries currently producing aged rum in the U.S.

Rum is a sugar cane distilled spirit that is directly influenced by terroir, tradition and technique. Sugar cane can be grown anywhere in the world that hosts a tropical climate, but the Caribbean was usually considered as the predominant producer of rum.

Aged rums are rested in charred oak barrels that were previously used to age bourbon (from the U.S.) or scotch, cognac and sherry (from Europe). The distillation process, the barrels and warm climates produce rums that are darker color and richer in flavor, mellower and more aromatic than clear rums. Aged rum offers a full spectrum of flavors ranging from butterscotch and cinnamon to tropical fruits and tobacco— best enjoyed straight or on the rocks for casual sipping.



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