Top 25 Rums of 2014
Once again, I have prepared my annual listing of the best rums available in the world, this time for the year ending, 2014.
If you have followed any of my year-end countdown lists over the past few years you will have noticed that they are ever evolving as new spirits become available for me to taste each year, and as previously reviewed spirits disappear (for example: Appleton Estate 50 Year Old Jamaica Rum – Jamaica Independence Reserve) or become unavailable in my market for me to re-evaluate.
Another factor causing change in my rankings each year is the evolution of the various spirit brands which, contrary to popular opinion, do not necessarily remain consistent from year to year (or even from batch to batch). Within spirit companies, and within individual distilleries, philosophies and styles change as does the quality of the spirit produced from year to year (and from batch to batch). It was refreshing to me when I chatted with Hernan Parra Arango, Rum Master for Dictador Colombian Rum earlier this year, and he openly spoke of how each batch of rum he produces will be different. For example, at Dictador, the average age of Hernan’s solera rums have been increasing slowly from year to year within his solera, and this change as well as changes in barrel quality, and in the actual distillate from year to year has resulted in a taste profile which is ever evolving. At Dictador, the emphasis is on making each batch of rum the best it can be, rather than attempting to match exactly a specific flavour profile.
Another example of this type of evolution seems to be evident within the Flor de Cana brand. I noticed this year that the company had dropped definitive age statements from the labels on their entire line-up of aged rums. Although they have assured me that the liquid inside the bottles is the same as always, it did seem rather coincidental to me that I began to notice a drop in quality two years ago (as reflected in my lower review scores). This perceived drop in quality on my part, seems to me, to have been confirmed with the new labels which no longer feature firm age statements. If the rum is still the same as it always has been, why would the age statement have been dropped?
It seems to make sense to me that if I believe that spirit brands evolve over time, it is only logical that one who reviews spirits (such as I) should periodically revisit these brands and discover whether we believe the rums quality is evolving as well. This year as I was contemplating my yearly Rum Howler listing of the 2014 Top 25 Rums, I decided I should spend some of my time re-tasting and re-evaluating many of my favourites. As I did this, I re-scored each rum and in some case rewrote the entire review. From that exercise, I compiled my list of this year’s top 25 best rums in the world.
My list as usual will be presented “Countdown Style” beginning on November 30th, and then through the month of December with the best rum of 2014 revealed on December 24, 2014 just in time for you to grab a bottle for Christmas and New Year’s cheer! As you return to this page each day (beginning November 30th), a new spirit will be revealed as we count down to the best rum I have personally tasted in 2014!
As so with no further ado, allow me to present my list of The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014:
25) Flor de Caña Centenario 12 (90)
24) El Dorado 8 Year Old Cask Aged Rum (91)
23) Dictador XO Perpetual (91)
22) Havana Club Selección de Maestros (91)
21) Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 18 Rum (91)
20) Dictador 20 Year Old Solera Rum (91.5)
19) Pumpkin Face 23 (92)
18) Rum Nation Barbados Anniversary Edition (12 Years Old) (92)
17) Angostura 1824 (12 Years Old) Rum (92)
16) Dictador 12 Year Solera (92)
15) Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum (92)
14) Rum Nation Panama (Aged 21 years) (92)
13) Ron Millonario Solero 15 Reserva Especial Rum (92.5)
12) El Dorado 25 Year Old Vintage Reserve Rum (92.5)
11) Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solera) Rum (92.5)
10) Reimonenq Vieux 9 Year Old Rhum (Distilled 1999) (93)
09) Rum Nation Caroni 1998 (93)
08) Juan Santos 21 Year Antigua Reserva Rum (93.5)
07) El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum (93.5)
06) Rum Nation Demerara 23 Year Old ( 93.5)
05) Appleton Estate Extra Old 12 Year (94)
04) Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva (94.5)
03) Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum (95)
02) El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve Rum (95)
01) Dictador XO Insolent Rum (97)
- You may find my Countdown list of the 2014 Top 25 Canadian Whiskies here: The Rum Howler 2014 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies
- You may find my Countdown list of the 12 Cognacs of Christmas: The Rum Howler 2014 – The 12 Cognacs of Christmas
- You may find my 2014 Gin and Tonic Challenge list here: The Rum Howler 2014 Gin and Tonic Challenge