Cigar news: The “High Five” of Rums
Some rums just simply don’t belong in cocktails.
The fact is, they are just too good to have their carefully distilled complexities trounced by sweet sodas, fruit juices, and that most dastardly of sins, pre-mixed syrups.
That’s not to say a 21 Year Old El Dorado combined with Pusser’s 15 Year Old Navy Rum wouldn’t make one heck of a Planter’s Punch, but why muck up the rich taste of those two Demerara spirits – both of which are distilled on Guyana in the world’s last remaining pair of wooden pot stills – with grenadine and pineapple?
And there are other premium rums as well – far better than anything that was ever distilled in the 18th century, when rum was all the rage – that are worthy of the finest cut crystal snifters today. Of those super-premiums that exist, I have selected five of what I consider some of the very best. In fact, you might call them the high five.
RON BARCELÓ 30TH ANNIVERSARY IMPERIAL PREMIUM BLEND ($119.99)
Distilled and blended in the Dominican Republic to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Barceló Imperial rum, this elegant decanter was released in 2011 and can still be found with a little diligent searching. Or if you happen to be in the DR, it is often seen in some of the better spirits shops, especially in Puerto Plata and other popular tourist resorts. Aged for a minimum of ten years in American ex-bourbon barrels, it is then finished in Chateau d’Yquem barrels. Rich and full-bodied, it is a perfect accompaniment to another excellent Dominican product, a Macanudo Vintage.
FACUNDO EXQUISITO ($120)
In 2014, Bacardi chairman Facundo L. Bacardi, the great-great-grandson of the company’s founder, Don Facundo Bacardí Massó, wanted to demonstrate that his family’s firm was capable of producing rums that went far beyond Bacardi’s well-known products. To accomplish this goal, Bacardi Global Master Blender Manny Oliver selected the very best rums from the family’s private cellars, and blended them to create a limited annual release of four super premium offerings called The Facundo Collection, in honor of founder Don Facundo. One of the top tiers, Exquisito, consists of barrel-aged rums from 7 to 23 years, which were blended and finished in Oloroso sherry casks. With a palate-soothing caress of butterscotch, apricots, and raisins, no ice is needed for this San Francisco World Spirits Competition Double Gold winner.
FACUNDO PARAISO X.A. ($250)
This is the top of the line in the Facundo Collection. With its deep amber color and blended with rums ranging in ages from 16 to 23 years (with a few younger rums added to temper the strength of the older rums) it is also the most complex, thanks to a month of XO cognac cask finishing. Thus, it is worthy of its X.A. (Extra Aged) designation. No wonder, like the Cohiba Luxury Selection, it was a Robb Report Best of Best winner. Together, they make a great after hours combination.
PYRAT CASK 1623 RUM ($260)
This carefully crafted, limited edition is a blend of selected barrel aged pot still rums, all sourced from different microclimates throughout the Caribbean. Many of the rums used in Pyrat Cask 1623 are up to 40 years old, with some being produced in the same 300-year-old wooden stills used in Guyana for Pusser’s and El Dorado rums. After blending, Pyrat Cask 1623 is further aged in a combination of French Limousin and toasted American oak barrels. As for the 1623 designation in Pyrat Cask’s name, that is the year rums were first distilled in the Caribbean.
LEGACY BY ANGOSTURA ($25,000)
Although Angostura may be more familiar as the name of a popular bitters made by the same company, this Trinidadian rum will change your perception of the brand. Arguably, Legacy by Angostura is the world’s most expensive rum, and with reason. Limited to just twenty-two, silver engraved butterfly-bedecked crystal decanters, the rum inside is equally impressive. A rare blend of at least seven column-distilled rums (the master distiller won’t divulge exactly how many rums he used), the youngest of these is seventeen years old. The blend was then aged in ex-bourbon barrels. Although Angostura has been producing rums for years (with their more conservatively priced 1919 and 1824 blends now on the market) it is the Legacy that has captured the attention of connoisseurs and collectors, as evidenced by the fact that the three bottles allocated for the United States have already been sold.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
RICHARD CARLETON HACKER
Contributing Editor Richard Carleton Hacker is one of the foremost internationally known luxury lifestyle writers, specializing in wine, beer, spirits, pipes, and cigars. He has been a long-time contributor to such notable magazin…