rum glasses on a bar

Our Top 5 Best Rum Picks

Rum is a delicious and deeply beloved liquor that uses sugarcane as its primary base. It is often known for popular mixed beverage combinations such as rum and coke, yet its wonderful depth of choice has made it a massively popular adult drink. While folks in the United States gush over whiskey and vodka, rum is quietly well-consumed nationwide.

The issue with rum is that while it is undoubtedly a favorite of the Western world, it is rare that people know what to look for in the drink. This reality is regrettable, as the ways it is made and the number of quality brands available are astounding.

In the interest of showing off some of the more impressive rums available today, we will go in-depth on what makes the very best rum. We will also take a few of our favorites currently on the market and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

What You Need to Know About Rum

Rum has been a popular drink since the 17th century when it quickly found a home in the thirteen colonies. It is a mysterious and deceptive dark liquid with a taste that betrays its sugarcane base. While no two liquors are the same, rum has a crisp, earthy flavor with subtle notes of cedar or nuts, depending on the brand.

Rum has an everyman reputation from its history of being a drink for the working class, though this does not mean there aren’t several top-shelf offerings worthy of any special occasion. Whether you are a first-timer to the barrel-bred beverage or an avid enthusiast, the following paragraphs will comprehensively cover what goes into the best bottles of this tropical liquor. Plus, you can experience rum as a clear liquor like gin or a dark liquor like cognac.

Rum: An Overview

The first thing to know about rum is that it will always use molasses or sugarcane juice to create the iconic flavor. The lanky weed was brought to the Caribbean by the controversial Christopher Columbus, where it became a common cash crop for several islands along the eastern coast of the Americas. Before long, rum became a popular drink for the colonies and sailors alike.

Rum is commonly seen as a drink for those trying to take the edge off a long, arduous work day. It is associated with the common man and woman and has rarely, if ever, been associated with a refined, affluent society. Despite this, recent years have seen a notable increase in the reputation of quality rum, and liquor aficionados have taken notice.

The depths of rum come from a taste that varies depending on what type of rum you get. If you get a spiced rum, you can expect a sweeter flavor with a bit of heat on the end. Conversely, dark rum feels as if it has been poured through a well-used chimney.  There are three main types of rum: White, Gold, and Dark, and all are as visually independent as their flavors.

Be wary of following the types too closely. While certain white rums can be unaged, others will go through a charcoal filter and look as clear as a mountain spring despite being aged for a few years. Rum is a deceitful drink, and the enthusiast who doesn’t do their due diligence may end up getting more or less than they bargained for.

How to Choose the Best Rum

A few key factors go into judging a good bottle of rum. While individual taste will always win the day (drink what you enjoy, folks), there are several things to look for in a drink. While many assume rum to be a bottom-shelf booze meant for forgetting a tough week, several important details can be observed and tasted in a good glass of rum.

An often overlooked factor in a glass of rum is the nose or overall aroma of the drink. If the first sniff of a bottle feels like your nostrils have been sterilized for surgery, you may not be dealing with a quality rum. Rum should not have an intensely enflamed alcohol scent on the nose and instead offer a humble and comfortable variety of tropical and earthy aromas.

There is a lot of variation in flavor from one type of rum to another, so having specific tastes in mind is not the goal. Instead, look for subtle hints of fruits or even some spice, with less sugar than is necessary. While sugar is a common feature in all rums, it is often thrown in heavy doses to cover up the subpar taste of cheaper products.

What Does a Bottle of Rum Cost?

When choosing a bottle of rum, no one is stopping you from reaching for the twenty-dollar bottle a few inches above the floor of your nearest liquor shop. The drink has a hard-earned reputation as a liquor made for all walks of life, and decent flavor can be found at every price point if you are willing to shop around. However, expect to spend between $35 – $70  for genuine quality.

Where Can You Buy Rum?

Most bars and restaurants typically have one or two quality brands of rum on hand, though you aren’t guaranteed to find a favorite everywhere. When people think of rum, the image that comes to mind is a captain with his foot on the broadside of a barrel. Because of “the Captain,” several places that serve liquor keep their rum selections limited to a few popular brands.

Thankfully, all the better selections mentioned in this article can be found in Speakeasy’s rum section!

The Best Rums

Now that you know the background of rum and how to judge it properly, you can start looking at some of the better choices on the market. To give our thirstier readers a bit of range from one drink to another, we will offer various types of rum from different price points. 

Whether you are looking for an affordable white or a gold rum to enjoy while tasting your favorite cigar, we have you covered!

1. Joséphine Eau-de-Vie

MSRP: $62.99

Proof: 86

Tasting Notes: Creamy, smoky, earthy, fruity, apricot, butterscotch, sandalwood, and vanilla

Our Rating: 4 out of 5

Joséphine Eau-de-Vie is a gold rum that is hard to put into a box. The flavor is as complex as organic chemistry, with a wide variety of fruity flavors and earthy undertones that will take several sips to measure fully. The nose hits you with a wonderfully fruity aroma that smells like blueberries suspended over a warm campfire.

The rum is wonderfully rich and sweet, though it may be a bit much for those who prefer a warmer, sharper rum. However, It will be costly and may be better reserved for special occasions. That said, It makes a brilliant gift for rum fans, as it has a memorable and unique flavor.


  • Smoked, fruity nose that is immediately pleasant and inviting.
  • A wonderful collection of complex flavors
  • Unique rum that is sweet and great for sipping


  • It may be too sweet for some
  • On the pricier side

2. Lorenz Crafted Spirit

MSRP: $37.99

Proof: 86

Tasting Notes: Vanilla, fruity, cinnamon, and apple

Our Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Lorenz Crafted Spirit has a gentle nose that brings up idyllic memories of baking pastries and roasted apples with an earthy undertone as it begins to open up. As the drink hits your lips, the first thing that will touch your taste buds is a strong cinnamon flavor with a sugary apple finish. After a few sips, discerning palates may begin to note a gentle heat that adds minor complexity to the drink.

The Lorenz Crafted Spirit has many upsides and is a great white rum for those who want something on the subtler side. However, it is not for people who enjoy a depth of flavor. While the liquor has a beautiful taste, it could be considered simple for those with more decadent tastes.


  • Attractive nose of vanilla, cinnamon, and apple.
  • Deep cinnamon flavor with hints of sweet apple.
  • It is an affordable yet quality liquor.


  • Not for those who want complicated or spicier rums.
  • The taste is a bit simplistic.

3. Balcones Texas Rum

MSRP: $59.99

Proof: 127 (Varies from one batch to another)

Tasting Notes: Caramel, cinnamon, roasted fruits, citrusy

Our Rating: 4 out of 5

Balcones Texas Rum is the Lonestar state’s attempt at a rum, and it does not disappoint. An incredibly dark visual is joined by a nose that hits far subtler than the alcohol would suggest. A fruity fusion of syrup, oak, and citrus comes in gentle waves, giving a surprisingly pleasant smell. The taste is solid and deep, giving a hint of caramel before the fruit overpowers the senses.

The taste is as robust and large as the state the drink originates from, though the alcohol flavor may be too much for those who prefer a lighter liquor. Similarly, while some may like its subtle whiskey taste, others may prefer having a rum that tastes exclusively like a rum.


  • Deep, dark, fruity flavor
  • A pleasant nose that doesn’t knock your head back
  • Great for whiskey drinkers working their way over to rum


  • Alcohol taste can be overpowering
  • Likely a bit overpriced

4. Bacardi 8-Year Reserva Ocho

MSRP: $39.99

Proof: 80

Tasting Notes: Deeply spiced, oak, fruity, apricot, vanilla, and nutmeg

Our Rating: 5 out of 5

The second you unscrew the cork on this aged rum, you can immediately get strong whiffs of vanilla, oak, and cherry. Bacardi 8-Year Reserva Ocho‘s flavor is incredibly easy on the palette and doesn’t bite or grow bitter on the tongue. It has a smooth, fruity taste with a strong, woody presence throughout. The name Bacardi may scare folks away, but this rum is as good as any top-shelf bottle and far cheaper.

While the flavor isn’t as complex as other rums, it is incredibly impressive how good the rum tastes for how affordable the price tag is. If you want a mid-range price for high-end flavor, this 8-year-old rum is a must-buy.


  • Delightful nose with a fusion of scents
  • The flavor is pleasant and easily sipped or mixed
  • Outdoes rums that are twice its price


  • The alcohol flavor is a tad strong

5. Balcones Distilling Prohibida

MSRP: $44.99

Proof: 100

Tasting Notes: Smokey, roasted fruits, nutmeg, ginger, and lemon

Our Rating: 4 out of 5

The only brand so nice that it is featured twice, Balcones Distilling Prohibida rum smells like a cooking campfire when first uncorked. Notes of lemon, honey, and herbs wrapped together in smokey twine create an exciting overall scent. The taste feels like a promise kept, with a deeply sweet and soft entrance that gradually evolves into myriad flavors of fire-roasted fruit.

The flavor is incredibly agreeable and excellent for folks who have a hard time contending with the kick that alcohol sometimes brings. That said, it will not give the kick or spice that discerning rum lovers may seek out in their drink of choice.


  • A deep, dreamy nose
  • The sweet, subtle flavor is anything but harsh
  • Fair price


  • It can be somewhat underwhelming
  • It may be too sweet for some

Last Call on the Best Rums

wooden barrels in a cellar

Rum is a complex liquor commonly associated with naval captains and common people, though its variety is astounding. In line with its reputation, the liquor has several variations that can knock your socks off without emptying your wallet. 

If you are looking for an affordable bottle to understand what rum has to offer, try Bacardi 8-year Reserva Ocho or Lorenz Crafted Spirit. To impress colleagues and companions with higher-shelf choices, fetch a handle of Joséphine Eau-de-Vie or Balcones Texas Rum.

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