Picked up an El Dorado 12 yr. lovely for sipping neat although I like it over a small cube.
Eld Dorado white standard or 3 Yr. is my go to mixer.
I bought a Smith and Cross last week. Good gravy! It's pure rum dunder, the very essence of rum funk.
Smith & Cross is excellent in a Mai Tai with Clement VSOP, by the way.
Smith and Cross is arguably my favorite rum. Amazing mixer, and the most complex sipper.
Enjoying a pour of the Facundo Exquisito tonight. Smooth and excellent stuff.
I was a rum expert before I started my quest to be a bourbon expert.
Thought I'd post some of my findings, for your consideration.
I was an early adopter of Zacapa 23, and eventually the XO. Hard to go wrong with these.
Over time and the development of my palate, I have gravitated towards the Demarara rums.
Notably, El Dorado 21 is just fantastic, and has that great Demarara burnt molasses style that I got into.
My favorite recent find has been a dusty Pusser's rum from 1994. This is a TOTALLY different animal from current production Pusser's, which is a bit irritating, since Pusser's is sold under the idea of the continuance of a traditional recipe. The bottles I have found can be recognized not only by a weird block logo (I've attached a photo), but also by lettering in the bottom of the bottle that states "Tortola, British Virgin Islands" on it.
This old Pusser's is a musty, earthy, smokey, molasses-soaked complexity bomb that just screams "sailor". Which is cool, since I work at sea. The new one is flat and one-dimensional compared to it, with a more chemical sweetness.
I tried the Smith And Cross mentioned above, but gave my bottle away last week. For me, it was too bitter. Although I agree this can be used well in cocktails where the sweetness comes from somewhere else.
I have found that the best rums for mixing are the non-sweet rums - the rums that have more of an empty, spicy taste to them. Since most rum cocktails are mixed with other elements that have sweetness to them already, I find that sweet rums stack sweet on sweet and end up cloying. My current fave for mixing is Vizcaya rum, which lets the sweetness of the mix come through umolested, and adds the rum spices at the top end of the spectrum.
If ever I find a rum that doesn't have much sweetness, I designate it a good potential mixer.
My dark rum of choice is Coruba, which came from a recommendation by Rumdood, whose original Hurricane recipe is a favorite around our house. I have found a lot of dusty Coruba around town looking for bourbon, but have done a taste-off and can't discern a taste difference - the new version costs less, and is therefore the better deal, although the old label admittedly looks more fun in a kitschy way.
I also use Lemon Hart 151 to spice things up if that is called for.
The best value rum I have found was the Plantation 20th anniversary, which tasted like buttered caramel and could be drank all day long for $20/bottle. When that isn't available, I like the Atlantico Gran Reserva, the Diplomatico Gran Rerserva and Pampero are also great value for that buttery Venezuela thing. Cacique 500 is also elegant in this vein, if you can manage to get some (difficult in the US, but available easily abroad).
I haven't yet seen the appeal of Flor De Cana, although they have released some new stuff since I gave up on the brand.
Dogs I have tried have been Matsulem, Sea Wind, Zaya (vanilla overload), and many others that I have been fortunate enough to forget.
Well, that ought to be enough to start a dialogue...
Link to Rumdood's hurricane recipe, for the benefit of everyone:
Also, do order the Auntie Lillikoi's Passion Fruit syrup. It is essential.