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Rum Howler Top 50 Rums of 2016

On My DeckFor the first time in 5 years, I did not publish a daily countdown for the Best Rums of the Year. I did however compile a list, and this is my reveal of the Rum Howler Top 50 Rums of 2016.

Every year when I publish my annual list I receive emails wondering why certain rums were left off. It always boils down to the same two answers.

  1. That particular Rum just wasn’t up to the standard of the rest of the spirits on the list.
  2. That particular spirit was not made available for me to taste and access in time for inclusion.

On the first score, I make no apologies for my rankings. Just because some other publication or a particular marketing campaign says that such and such a rum is the Elixir of the Gods, that doesn’t make it so. I trust my tasting sessions. I do not trust marketing hype.

On the second score I readily admit that quite a few premium rums are simply not available to me. Although many producers jump through the hoops of the Canadian tax and excise system to make their spirits available for me to review, it is simply impossible for me to obtain a sample of every premium rum in the world.

I am always striving to do better, and to that end I have created a new page on my website here (Sample Policy) which I hope will encourage many more companies to make the effort to direct samples my way. In that way my year-end lists can be made even better.

Every year my list undergoes a few changes. Some of my favourites drop a little in rank, while others move up, and some new rums have entered the list. I should note that this year I expanded the list to a full 50 rums making this my best annual Top Rum list yet.

And so with no further ado, allow me to present my list of The Rum Howler – Top 50 Rums of 2016:

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

50)  Plantation Barbados (Grande reserve) 5 Year old Rum  
49)  Reimonenq Vieux 5 Year Old Rhum (Distilled 2006) 
48)  Bacardi Gran Reserva 8 Años Rum 
47)  Old Monk Supreme Rum  (Very Old Vatted)
46)  Doorly’s Fine Old Barbados Rum (XO)
45)  Appleton Estate 21 Yr Old Rum 
44)  Brugal Siglo de Oro   
43)  Rum Nation Panama (Aged 18 years)
42)  Panama Red 108 Overproof Rum 
41)  Penny Blue XO Single Estate Mauritius Rum  
40)  El Dorado 3 Year Cask Aged Demerara Rum
39)  Noxx & Dunn 2-4-5 Rum
38)  Plantation 3 Stars Silver Rum
37)  Cockspur 12 Bajan Crafted Rum 
36)  Barbancourt 15 Year Old Estate Reserve 
35)  Cruzan Single Barrel Rum 
34)  Brugal Titanium Rum
33)  Diplomático Reserva 
32)  Flor de Caña Centenario 12 
32)  Rum Nation Jamaica White Pot Still Rum
30)  El Dorado 8 Year Old Cask Aged Rum
29) Dictador XO Perpetual
28) Rum Nation Barbados Anniversary Edition (12 Years Old)
27)  Havana Club Selección de Maestros Rum
26)  Rum Nation Jamaica 25 Year Old Supreme Lord V 
25)  Santa Teresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera  
24)  Dictador 12 Year Solera 
23)  Ron Matusalum Gran Reserva 18 Rum
22) Brugal 1888 (Ron Gran Reserva Familiar) 
21)  Flor de Caña Centenario 18
20)  Dictador 20 Year Solera Rum
19)  Rum Nation Panama (Aged 21 years)
18)  Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solera) Rum
17)  Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva 
16)  Angostura 1824 (12 Years Old) Rum
15)  Ron Zacapa Centenario XO 15
14)  Juan Santos 21 Yr Antigua Reserva Rum
13)  Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum
12)  Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial 
11)  El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum 
10)  Rum Nation Demerara 23 Year Old
09)  Appleton Estate Extra Old 12 Year
08)  Pusser’s 15 Year Old Navy Rum (Nelson’s Blood)
07)  El Dorado 15 Year Old Special Reserve Rum
06)  Rum Nation Caroni 1998 (Bottled in 2014 @ 55%) 
05)  Reimonenq Vieux 9 Year Old Rhum (Distilled 1999)
04)  Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) Rum 
03)  Dictador XO Insolent Rum
02)  El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve Rum
01)  Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum

 

 

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5 Responses to “Rum Howler Top 50 Rums of 2016”

  1. Dwayne Stewart said

    My interest in sipping neat spirits is only a couple of years old and stems from an encounter with the excellent Seleccions des Maestros. At about the same time I came across your blog and since have followed your reviews and rankings with interest.
    In this particular list the positioning of the Reserva Exclusiva really pops for me. This rum seems to be extremely polarizing among rum reviewers. If Selfbuilt had a Rum Database the standard deviation would likely exceed 1.00
    In light of your own drop from 4th to 17th over 2 years for a rum you have not (yet) re-scored in a mostly stable collection of rums, I wondered if you would care to comment on the change. I’ll note I have not yet myself tried this particular rum, But as my palate skews to the sweet I plan to.

    • Hi Duane

      The Diplomatico Exclusiva is a polarizing rum.

      In 2016 I did not re-score very many of the sipping rums on my year end list as I was simply too busy with my other two major lists, the Top 50 Mixing Rums, and the Top 50 Canadian Whiskies. In constructing my annual list of the best rums for 2016, I based my rankings upon not only my review scores but also upon my taste perceptions during the calendar year. My ranking for the Exclusiva reflects a slight decline in my overall enjoyment of the rum over the past two years. I still like the rum very much, but I am not drawn to it as I was earlier.

      The rum is definately still a spirit I would score in the 90s but it would probably be true to suggest that if I were to have rescored it in 2016, my score would have been closer to the low 90s than the mid 90s. Whether this is a real reflection of a pemanant decine in quality, or whether this was batch variation is hard to determine (time will tell).

      BTW: Batch variation is real, especially at the high end of spirits where blenders have access to fewer barrels with which to match flavour profiles.

      • Dwayne Stewart said

        Note that there was no rebuke implied for the lack of re-scoring. The top 50 Mixing Rums was a fantastic production-as the appearance in my bar of the Mount Gay Eclipse and Myers’s Plantation Punch will attest!

        In regard to batch variation, maybe the takeaway should be if we come across a new favorite (and if the budget will allow) we should lay away extra now rather than wait-Redbreast 12 Cask Strength, anyone?

        Back to the Exclusiva. I’m sometimes jealous of the selection and occasional fantastic price of fine spirits in your market. In this case, though, the inventory in the regional Saskatchewan stores of Exclusiva hardly changes year to year. So my hope is the stocks are more likely to be early 2010’s than later. For me it’s the Treasure hunt that adds to the enjoyment. Cheers!

    • Mark said

      Having tried by the diplomatico exclusiva and the 12 year old El Dorado, which are both fine rums, I was wondering from your list what you considered to be the best value, not necessarily cheapest rum?

      • Value is a tricky thing. Prices for spirits vary wildly in different areas. However, in my neck of the woods two of the best values with respect to 12 year old Rums are the Appleton Estate Rare Blend, and the Eldorado 12 Year Old.

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