Venture on a virtual journey across the Caribbean and Central America to learn more about the history of this well-known spirit. Enjoy 5 top rums produced in these regions and let them inspire you to start planning your next tropical vacation.
The history of rum somewhat parallels the discovery of the new world. It is widely believed that various versions of the spirit were created by the slaves who were the backbone of the sugar plantations. In 1552 in Brazil, cachaça, also made from sugar cane, was already in production while almost a century later the first batches of rum made their appearance in Barbados. Eventually, the popularity of the spirit spread throughout the Caribbean islands and in Central and South America. Today rum is one of the top spirits as the main ingredients in some very popular cocktails or served neat. Here are some of the must-tries, should you be so lucky!
Clément Canne Bleue, Martinique
The Clément Canne Bleue Agricole from Martinique is made from blue variety of sugarcane. It is a favorite among rum connoisseurs. Its history dates back to 1887, in fact the distillery was founded by the physician Homere Clément. Once pressed, it is fermented and distilled. The liquid rests for just over six months in a stainless steel vat. Destiller reviewer Jack Robertiello shares the following tasting notes "Sweet smells of freshly-cut cane and mowed grass at first yields to hints of citrus flowers and tropical fruit. On the palate, lots more ripe and overripe tropical fruit - lush and sweet, and slightly peppery. Intense, sapid and barely sweet. Beautifully distilled and at 100 proof, surprisingly easy to drink."
Mount Gay 1703 Master Select, Barbados
Mount Gay is believed to be the world oldest rum distillery house. The distillery began production in 1703 and as a homage to its rich history Master blender Allen Smith created a very limited edition rum. This special batch is created using a blend of copper pot and copper column rums combines some of distillery’s oldest rums that are then aged for 10 – 30 years and released in small batches on a yearly basis. According to Distiller Paul Senft "This complex rum provides three distinct layers with its flavor profile. The top layer provides the caramelized banana and char notes from the aroma transmuting into a banana foster flavor. This smoky sweet flavor swirls with the mid-line notes of honeyed pineapple, dried apricot, clove, cocoa, and cinnamon. Lastly, the foundation of the rum is grounded in earthy mineral notes, black pepper, tobacco, and just a hint of dried leather."
Angostura 1787 Trinidad
The Angostura brand may be familiar to you as they are the makers of the famous bitters we add to many cocktails. This distinguished distillery also produces a selection of top of the line rums including the Angostura1787. Make sure you take your time sipping this liquid gold which is perfectly balanced with a medium-bodied palate, and a hint of banana, dried fruit and oak with top notes of apples. Angostura also offers a line of more accessible brands such as the Angostura 1919 and the Angostura 7 year old, packed with mouthwatering flavors and great for sipping.
Appleton Estate 21 Year Old Rum, Jamaica The Appleton Estate sits in the Cockpit County of Jamaica. A land of fertile plains and terroirs located in the interior of the island. This is also the oldest sugar estate and distillery in Jamaica with over 265 years in the continuous production of a unique spirit. One of their most distinguished rums is the Appleton Estate 21 Year Old which uses only the finest blend of aged rums to craft this superb spirit. Tawny in color and powerful on the nose, with notes of orange peel and warm spice, it is both dry and sweet to the palate.
Zacapa 23, Guatemala At the Zacapa Distillery in Zacapa, Guatemala, Master Distiller Lorena Vásquez is a force to be reckoned with. With a background in pharmaceutical chemistry she found her way to the rum industry to produce some of the best product in the world. The unique aging system ‘solera’ is used (same as Spanish Sherry). The rum in this very unique blend are aged in a succession in cognac and whisky barrels for a period of 6 -23 years. Zacapa 23 was awarded the first place prize at the prestigious Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago and scored an incredible 97 points. According to Amanda Schuster, reviewer at Distiller, when you sip Zacapa 23 neat, first the sweet notes of roasted coffee, butterscotch, vanilla and dark chocolate appear, then some fresh citrus and apricot refresh the palate with green herbal accents, nutmeg and ginger. The long finish includes flavors of caramel, pipe tobacco, cedar and roasted nuts.