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The Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits

I thought I would do something special this year, a countdown list of the best 100 spirits I have tasted and reviewed since opening my website about 6 years ago. Towards the end, I began working on my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits list at the beginning of July, and put the final touches on it in early September. This is the largest countdown list I have ever published.

On My DeckOf, course, throughout the construction of this list I had to make judgement calls. Fortunately, most of the spirits I would be including were in my possession as part of my growing collection of fine spirits, I had an opportunity to re-taste some of them side by side with others of similar quality to ascertain their rankings. However, it was also true that a number of the spirits I was considering for inclusion were no longer in my possession. I (and my friends) had consumed them over time, and I had not (as yet) re-added them to my collection. In those cases my rankings were based purely upon the memory of my past indulgences (and my review scores). It was not a perfect situation, but I am confident that I did the best I could under the circumstances.

Persons unfamiliar with my website should be aware that the primary spirits of interest to me are rum and whisky. Therefore my list is perhaps weighted in favour of those spirits which I particularly enjoy. However, I have manged to taste and review many excellent examples of all of the major classes of distilled spirits, and my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits List does indeed include outstanding examples of each class (yes, even a few Vodkas).

There were a few surprises, as I found upon re-tasting the spirits (sometimes up to five years later) that some are better than my previous review scores suggested, and some upon re-tasting have fallen in stature just a little. Of course, all regular readers of my website know that I like to reveal my lists in reverse order, countdown style. In the case of my Top 100 Spirits list, my reveal begans on September 16 and carried on one spirit at a time until December 24th, 2015.


100) Ultimat Vodka
99)   El Dorado 8 Year Old Cask Aged Rum
98)   Glenfiddich 15 Year Old – The Solera Vat (2013)
97)   Santa Teresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera
96)   The Macallan Ruby (Single Malt Whisky)
95)   Camus XO Elegance (Cognac)
94)   Glenfarclas 15 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky
93)   Dictador 20 Year Solera Rum
92)   Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban (12 Year Old) Single Malt Whisky
91)   Auchentoshan 1976 (Bottled for CSN Wine and Spirits – Aged 28 Years)
90)   Bermudez Anniversario
89)   Century Reserve 21 Year Old Canadian Whisky
88)   The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel
87)   Glenmorangie, The Original 10 Year Old Single Malt
86)   No. 3 London Dry Gin
85)   anCnoc 12 Year old Single Malt Whisky
84)   Pristina Vodka
83)   Dictador 12 Year Solera
82)   Glenglassaugh 26 Year Old
81)   Travellers 5 Barrel Rum
80)   The Macallan Fine Oak (17 Year) Single Malt
79)   Angostura 1824 (12 Years Old) Rum
78)   Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky
77)   Rum Nation Panama (Aged 21 years)
76)   Beefeater 24 London Dry Gin (45 % abv)
75)   Pumpkin Face 23
74)   Old Parr Superior Scotch
73)   Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum
72)   Nemiroff Lex (Super Premium) Vodka
71)   Torres Jaime I Brandy (30 year Solera)
70)   El Dorado 25 Year Old Vintage Reserve Rum
69)   Century Reserve (Lot 1525) Canadian Rye Whisky
68)   Ron Zacapa Centenario XO 15
67)   Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo Rum
66)   Johnnie Walker Gold Label – The Centenary Blend
65)   Collingwood 21 Year Old Canadian Whisky
64)   Evan Williams Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon
63)   Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial
62)   CAMUS XO Borderies
61)   Pusser’s 15 Year Old Navy Rum (Nelson’s Blood)
60)   Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky (2012 Edition)
59)   Botanist Islay Dry Gin
58)   1921 Añejo Tequila
57)   Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky
56)   Corzo Reposado Tequila
55)   Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Year Old
54)   Appleton Estate Master Blender’s Legacy
53)   Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky
52)   Roca Patrón Silver Tequila
51)   Pierre Ferrand Selection Des Anges (Grande Champagne)
50)   Crown Royal Cask No. 16
49)   Rum Nation Caroni 1998 (Bottled in 2014 @ 55%)
48)   Canadian Club Anniversary Edition 30 Yr Old Whisky
47)   Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey (15 Year)
46)   Juan Santos 21 Yr Antigua Reserva Rum
45)   Hennessy X.O (Extra Old) Cognac
44)   Johnnie Walker Black Label

43)   El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum
42)   Wyborowa Exquisite (Wodka)
41)   Rum Nation Demerara 23 Year Old
40)   Ron Zacapa Centenario  (23 Anos)
39)   Glenfarclas 30 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky
38)   Renegade Panama Don José 1997
37)   Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
36)   Belvedere Unfiltered (Rare Diamond Rye) Vodka
35)   Forty Creek John’s Private Cask No. 1 Whisky
34)   Cubaney Ron Tesero Grand Reserve
33)   Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky
32)   Highland Park 25 Year Old Single Malt
31)   Amrut Indian Single Malt Whisky
30)   Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey
29)   Pierre Ferrand Cigare (Grande Champagne Cognac)
28)   Appleton Estate Extra Old 12 Year
27)   Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel
26)   The Macallan Fine Oak (15 Year) Single Malt
25a) Reimonenq Vieux 9 Year Old Rhum (Distilled 1999)
25b) Wiser’s Red Letter (2013 Release)
24)   Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
23)   Highland Park 12 Year Old Single Malt
22)   Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye Whisky
21)   Angel’s Envy Rum Finished Rye Whiskey
20)   Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) Rum
19)   Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
18)   Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof Rum  95
17)   Forty Creek Portwood Reserve 2009 Whisky
16)   Citadelle Reserve Gin (2011 Edition)
15)   Glenmorangie Tùsail
14)   Beluga Noble Gold Line Vodka
13)   Bruichladdich Black Art
12)   CAMUS Extra Elegance
11)   Alberta Premium Limited Edition 30 Year Old
10)   Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum
09)   Wiser’s Very Old (18 Years Old)
08)   Panamonte Reserva XXV – 25 Year Old Rum
07)a Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon
07)b Diplomatico Single VTG 2000 Rum
06)   Dictador XO Insolent
05)   Dufftown 1984 (Signatory – Aged 26 years)
04)   Dulce Vida Organic Tequila (Extra Añejo)
03)   El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve Rum
02)   Flor De Cana Centenario 21 Commemorative Edition
01)   Alberta Premium Limited Edition 25 Year Old


16 Responses to “The Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits”

  1. Hi Chip, I stumbled upon your rum reviews in attempting to help a friend out of state take advantage of a local that has some older bottles on the shelf. I picked up a couple inc. Flor de Cana 12 year age stated, and a leather wrapped RonCentenarioXXAnos. I’m more of a bourbon sipper and have been looking at 3 bottles of Wiser’s very old 18 year sitting for awhile. After reading your review I grabbed them as well. Is there a way to tell from bottle embossing [like with most bourbon] the bottling date? Thanks for some well written reviews. . .I enjoy the read. . .while sipping.

    • The Wiser’s Bottles have no markings on them that I can find which differentiate which year they were bottled. However the label has changed over time, so if you match the label to the ones in my reviews you can get an idea of the approximate year it was bottled (unless the labels are different in the USA).

  2. Great list! Love your reviews. I do, however, feel that the El Dorado 25 is criminally underrated… but I respect this list all the same 🙂

    • The El Dorado 25 is subject to a pretty high degree of Batch Variation as it is made from soo few barrels each batch. Maybe the bottle you tried was exceptionally good ….


  3. Bret said

    I like the reviews. I look forward to reading many of them. I did notice that your missing and Australian favorite. Bundy. Check it out.

    • Jim Weaver said

      Is it likely that I am seeing MOLD on some of my natural corks in the rum bottles? What can we do about that??
      BTW I have enjoyed the Arctic Wolf reviews for years, Thanks!!

      • Some corks definitely get musty, I would switch the cork possibly from another bottle which was emptied recently. (I save the synthetic corks from empty bottles just so I have a supply on on hand.)

  4. wes moorman said

    sure hope you get to finish b 4 xmas cuz it looks like the top end is mostly my favorite rumsand I need a boxing day present

  5. neandrewthal said

    I thought this series meant that we wouldn’t be seeing any new reviews until the new year but I was pleasantly surprised to see some new additions sneak in (Northern Harvest, Glenmorangie Tusail). Any other I missed?

  6. lseton2014 said

    Chip – I just wanted to say how much I’m enjoying your count down. Lots of good memories with each reveal. Cheers

  7. GrandMasterJay said

    This could be exciting! I’ll keep my eyes peeled I noticed you rated the Diplomatico 2000 vintage highly. You gave it 95 would you say it’s better than Zacappa XO or El Dorado 21?

    The Zacappa for me is far to easy to drink and does not have that long finish. El Dorado lingers just a bit longer. I’ll need to to compare the Diplomatico with them all one day.

  8. GrandMasterJay said

    Hi Chip, does this list mean I’ll not have the yearly Rum Howler rum top 30 award for me to order something new to add to my collection this year?

    • Hi Jay

      I wanted to do something new this year which means I will not be doing a Top 30 Rum Countdown this year; however, I do plan to publish a list of the Top 30 Rums of 2015 a few weeks before Christmas, as well as the Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2015 at the same time.

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