Greetings, Rummies! Yes, I know people use that word in the pejorative sense, but in truth rum possesses a lineage and history similar to that of whiskey. Today on our online bartending school, we’ve decided to focus on the top 10 rums! First, a little history. Early records show that whiskey began in the early 15th century in Ireland, and then changed its name to whisky when it moved to Scotland. For reference, if a country has an “e” in its name it is called whiskey (U.S., Ireland), otherwise it’s called whisky (Canada, Scotland, Japan).
The name “rum” evolved in the mid-1600s and there is a great deal of argument as to its entomology, but a popular theory is that it is the last syllable of the Latin word saccharum, which means “sugar”. It was probably first distilled in ancient India or China. The people of Malay (which includes the modern nations of Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, and southern Thailand) produced rum from fermented cane juice thousands of years ago. Since fermenting sugar is easier than fermenting grain, rum likely predates whiskey by a significant length of time.
The IWSC (International Wine & Spirits Competition) will happily tell you what the ten “best” rums are, as will many other judging organizations and competitions. As with whiskeys and whiskies, it is extremely subjective depending on what you personally like.
In 2014 the IWSC said the top 10 rums were:
- Rhum Agricole Vieux Niesson
- Angostura Gran Anejo (7 year old)
- Angostura Single Barrel Dark (yes, these are the “bitters” people)
- Royal Oak Trinidad Rum
- Rum Company Old Guadeloupe Calvados Finish Rum (should have gotten the Longest-Name award)
- El Dorado (12 Year Old),
- Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros,
- Inner Circle Rum Green Dot,
- and two entries from Appleton Estate, their Reserve Rum, and their 21 Year Old.