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The 2013 Rum Howler – Top 30 Rums

On My DeckHere is my 2013 year-end listing of the 2013 Rum Howler – Top 30 Rums available today, based upon all of the rums I have personally sampled during the last four years. If you compare this list with my Rum Howler 2012 – Top 30 Rums you will notice more than a few differences. This is because new rums became available to me to sample in the last year, and because this listing is based upon my review scores rather than completed with a judging panel to assist me.  As well some rums seem to be vanishing from the market (For example: Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo Rum), and I decided that if I could not determine whether a spirit was available for retail, then it would be best to drop it from the list.

30)  Pampero Anniversario Reserva Exclusiva  (90)
29)  Diplomático Reserva   (90)
28)  Bacardi 8 Yr Old Rum  (90.5)
27)  Rhum Barbancourt 15 Year Old Estate Reserve  (90.5)
26)  Ron Matusalum Gran Reserva 18 Rum   (91 pts)
25)  Santa Teresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera  (91,5)
24)  Dictador XO Perpetual   ( 91.5)  
23)  El Dorado 25 Year Old Vintage Reserve Rum  (92)
22)  Dictador 12 Year Aged Solera Rum  (92)
21)  Rum Nation Panama (Aged 21 years)  (92)
20)  Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old Rum  (92)
19)  Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum   (92)
18)  Ron Zacapa Centenario XO 15     (92.5)
17)  Ron Millonario Solero 15 Reserva Especial Rum  (92.5)
16)  Flor de Caña Centenario 12 Year Old Rum   (92.5)
15)  Havana Club Selección de Maestros  (92.5)  
14)  Dictador 20 Year Old Solera Rum   (93)
13)  Rum Nation Demerara 23 Year Old   ( 93)
12)  Appleton Estate Master Blender’s Legacy  (93) 
11)  Juan Santos 21 Year Antigua Reserva Rum   (93.5) 
10)  El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum   (93.5)
09)  Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solero)   (94)
08)  Cubaney Ron Tesero Grand Reserve 25 Year Soleras Rum   (94)
07)  Reimonenq Vieux 9 Year Old Rhum (Distilled 1999)  (94.5)
06)  Ron Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) Rum (95)
05)  Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum  (95)
04)  El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve Rum  (95)
03)  Panamonte Reserva XXV – 25 Year Old Rum   (96)
02)  Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva   (97)
01)  Flor De Cana Centenario 21 Commemorative Edition  (97.5)


Note: Hera are a few other fun (and more current) Countdown lists:



23 Responses to “The 2013 Rum Howler – Top 30 Rums”

  1. David Simmons said

    I have been drinking Ron Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva for the past two years, and it is excellent. My favorite rum is Wood’s Old Navy, which I cannot get in the US. Any information on this brand?

  2. russ said

    hi…all the best 2 u in the great white…leaving at months end for the drive home from miami to sauble,rumfest was a delight…have acquired the complete line of plantation rums and hopefully the border will be no worry…if you can,try and aquire a bottle of guatemala available in oct.,maybe from astor…i think you will be adding some new ones to your2014 list! as always enjoy your site immensely..cheers russ

  3. Scott Eisenberg said

    There are a lot of views on this rum.
    I entered the tasty dark rum world about 1 year ago. I used to like single malt Scotches, but in all honesty, it was always a little too harsh for my tastes. I didn’t realize that until my brother in law gave me a small glass of Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva.
    Recently after that, I bought a liter of Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solero), which I finished a little too quickly.

    Just recently, I had the job of buying a bottle of rum for a someone’s 35th birthday present.
    I live in Sweden and prices are sky high here, but I work in Denmark (still high prices, but little lower). I found a Danish website ( and their selection of rum was scary good.
    I found a bottle and then another and then another, and in the end I bought 6 bottles (1 was a present and 5 are for me).

    I ended up for myself after reading many reviews with:
    1) Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva
    2) El Dorado 12 yr
    3) Angostura 1919
    4) R. L. Seales
    5) Botran Añejo Reserva (this was bought because some good reviews, but mostly because it was about 20% on sale at the time)

    Along with another half bottle of Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 already at home, I feel like I have a pretty fun collection right now.

    I usually try 2-3 different rums most nights- not alot of rum – about 1 cl of each.

    What I have noticed is how different each of them smells and tastes. There is the rum similarity, but they are all so different
    I have also noticed that the first one I drink in the night is usually the tastiest.

    Ron Zacapa Centenario – Great all around rum. This is the only rum I have decent amount of experience with

    El Dorado and Diplomatico are Fantastic rums – very sweet and almost an after dinner avec. Diplomatico is smoother and a distinct taste of caramel

    Botran is my least favorite so far (that could change by the end of the bottles) – not much to say about it right now

    R.L. Seales is 43% and doesn’t have the same sweetness, but very clean, but with a little extra kick. I think in the end this will end up being one of my favorites.

    Angostura 1919 – My favorite so far with the perfect blend of sweetness and rum flavor and a special smell., It is a great all around rum that can be drinken under any circumstance.
    The kind of rum you always want available.

  4. Keith said

    Hi Chip, I thought your reviews were very informative! Great website! After reading your reviews and top 30 blog, I picked up a bottle of Ron Zacapa XO (25 Year old Solero) in Sao Paulo yesterday at the duty free and brought it back to Edmonton. $95 US. I will be opening it in 2 weeks to enjoy with a Cuban Cohiba. I am now also thinking about buying the Ron Millonario XO after reading your reviews.

    I picked up a bottle of Brugal Siglo de Ouro in the Dominican last year and have yet to open it. I haven’t been able to find much information on it. I was wondering if you knew anything about it.


    • Hi Kieth

      The Ron Millonario and the Ron Zacapa are both great. I have been sipping on the Ron Zacapa 15 lately and although it is a bit drier than the 25, it is nonetheless great as well. As for the Siglo de Ouro of Brugal, I have seen it in a few here in Edmonton, but I have not had a chance to try it yet. All the best!

  5. Mark Hall said

    Great blog, Chip! And congrats on the most recent recognition. You’ve put a lot into this and it shows.

    My wife and I moved from Boston to the Cayman Islands in September (I know, pinch me). It’s as good as you can imagine – better, in fact. I’ve been a single-malt junky for 20+ years, as well as brandy and cognac. I’d never had a good rum, though, to my shame. Your blog has been the foundation of my rum trek through the Caribbean, Central and South America. I’ve been able to find most everything on your top 30 list on island and feel justified in supporting the “local” economy. Honestly, rum tastes like it belongs here – particularly on a night like tonight as I enjoy a glass of Flor de Cana sitting on our back porch in 80 degree temps watching night descend over Governors Harbour. Let me know should you find yourself heading this direction.

  6. John lelekis said

    Congratulations Chip for the Best Rum Blog in Cyberspace.
    Keep on the good job…

  7. Chris said

    Thanks for this. It’s amazing how little attention is given to a good rum, and how few such lists there are. Everybody seems to care so much about Scotch, that a quality rum is too often disregarded. So anyway, this is helpful to me, as I agree with much that you’ve said about the dozen or so rums on this list that I’ve also tried, so I suspect that I will agree with your other picks, and will watch for them when I’m shopping… 😉

    • Thanks Chris

      I appreciate your kind words and I am glad my list is helpful to you. Keep on enjoying your rum, they can be every bit a great as any whisky!

  8. John lelekis said

    A few days ago i managed to get a bottle of the “Flor de Cana Centenario 21 Commemorative Edition”.
    Can you infrorm me how many of them have been bottled ?
    (My bottle’s number is 101462 if I’m not wrong).

    Thank you in advance,


    • Sorry John, I do not have that information at my fingertips, but I do know that the Centenario 21 is all but sold out.

      • John lelekis said

        Ok Chip, thank you.
        The funny think is that there is one more bottle in the liqeur shop here in Thessaloniki-Greece (???), so I think I’m gonna get it just as a collectible item (I haven’t open the first bottle yet and I’m anxious to taste it).

  9. Dean Baker said

    I went into a liquor store looking for a sipping rum. I picked up the Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva in a gift boz. Great rum, and it was under $30. If it is number 2, it is a great bargain!

  10. russ said

    enjoyed all but a couple on the list..well thought and turned out…a lot of agreement… some choices not so much..enjoyable read as always…happy new year and best wishes as we start our boat drinks down here in south beach…..gonna be a long day! lol russ

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